- TRAINER SEEKS TO UPSET BEHOLDER ON SUNDAY
- PALMA, D’AMATO DOUBLE, TALAMO WINS THREE
- TACO FIESTA AT SANTA ANITA NEXT SATURDAY
SOUZA HOPES CAREER MARCHES FORWARD TOMORROW
Felipe Souza is a 30-year-old trainer only three years in the business stateside, flying far under the radar at this point in his aspiring career.
But if he were to upset three-time Eclipse Award champion Beholder in Sunday’s Grade III Adoration Stakes, he might become an overnight sensation.
Souza has not fallen that far out of touch with reality, however.
Training out of San Luis Rey Downs, Souza will saddle Backintheacademy in Sunday’s Adoration, for fillies and mares three and older at 1 1/16 miles. The six-year-old Florida-bred mare owned by the Freedom Stables of Eduardo Magalhaes Venosa of San Marcos is a rank outsider at 30-1, while Beholder, winner of 11 of 12 starts at Santa Anita, sits at 1-9.
Souza knows he’s shooting for the moon and is not delusional about his chances. He says second or third would be great.
“This could be her last year racing,” Souza said of the daughter of Put It Back, winner of just two starts from 32 races. “If she earns some black type by finishing in the money, we would be thrilled. She finished third last out at Los Alamitos but lost a shoe in the race.
“She’s training well, it’s a small field, so we’ll give it a try.”
Souza, a native of Brazil, got his training license nine years ago. Backintheacademy is one of only three horses he has in training at San Luis Rey.
“We know she’s a longshot, but we hope she can sit back and try to pass horses late,” Souza said. “We hope she can earn some black type.”
The Adoration, race five of nine: Moyo Honey, Drayden Van Dyke, 12-1; All Star Bub, Rafael Bejarano, 12-1; She’s Reddy, Santiago Gonzalez, 30-1; Backintheacademy, Brayan Pena, 30-1; Sheer Pleasure, Martin Garcia, 8-1; and Beholder, Gary Stevens, 1-9.
FINISH LINES: Track Superintendent Dennis Moore reported just over an inch of rain hit Santa Anita from Friday into Saturday morning, but he expected the main track to be listed as “fast” barring further rain. The track was sealed prior to Friday’s races and was closed for training Saturday morning . . . David Hofmans had to scrap Saturday’s scheduled workout of Melatonin and will breeze the Santa Anita Handicap winner when track conditions are suitable. Trainer John Sadler also had to reschedule the work for champion Older Female of 2015 Stellar Wind, who also was listed to breeze this morning. Hofmans, meanwhile, was accepting congratulations all around for winning Friday’s Grade III American Stakes with Home Run Kitten under Joe Talamo, who won three races on the day . . . The Two P’s proved profitable Friday, as trainer Hector Palma and apprentice jockey Brayan Pena teamed to win two races, the second with favored Magical Touch (4.60) and the eighth with longshot Sanitation ($21.20), who rallied from last after a tardy start to score by a head in a furious finish. “He’s a good rider and he listens to instructions,” Palma said of Pena, who is represented by agent Bill Sadoo. “Sanitation has a tendency to shy from the other horses at the break. I told Brayan yesterday that if he did it again, keep him in the center of the track, make a strong run the last part, and maybe we’ll get a piece. We got more than a piece. We just got lucky.” . . . Trainer Mark Glatt also registered a double, with last-to-first winner Big Tire ($22.80) piloted by Santiago Gonzalez in the fifth and front-running favorite Wildfire Kid (5.40) under apprentice Chad Lindsay in seventh. Glatt tied Doug O’Neill for the training title at the recent Los Alamitos meet, where he has some of his 75 horses in training, and others at Santa Anita . . . Phil D’Amato, fresh from capturing his first-ever training title at Santa Anita’s Winter Meet, also got off to a flying start, winning with odds-on favorites Mysterious Miracle in the fourth and Larry Birdstone in the ninth . . . Jockey Abel Lezcano, who rode Nancy From Nairobi to victory in the Royal Heroine Stakes on opening day, has been suspended three days (May 12, 13 and 14) for causing interference in the race. No disqualification resulted . . . Martin Garcia rides Robert B. Lewis third-place finisher I Will Score for Jerry Hollendorfer in next Saturday’s Grade III Lazaro Barrera Stakes for three-year-olds at seven furlongs.