- ‘HAPPY’ GORMLEY IN LIESURELY JUVENILE WORK
- NYQUIST OUT OF CLASSIC WITH A ‘PUFFY ANKLE’
- CLASSIC CONTENDER MELATONIN FRESH AND FIT
- MASOCHISTIC, RUNHAPPY IN SHARP BC BREEZES
- SMITH REMEMBERS TWO-TIME MILE WINNER LURE
- ICONIC ASSISTANT STARTER HUNGERFORD TO RETIRE
GORMLEY BREEZES FOR BC JUVENILE
Undefeated FrontRunner winner Gormley worked six furlongs Saturday morning under
Chantal Sutherland in a pedestrian 1:16.40 for the $2 million Sentient Jet Breeders’ Cup Juvenile next Saturday.
“His ears were up and John (Shirreffs) just wanted to keep him happy,” Sutherland said. “He wasn’t worried about the time at this point.”
Gormley worked in company with Veneto who was clocked in 1:18.
NYQUIST TO MISS CLASSIC, FUTURE PLANS ON HOLD
Kentucky Derby winner Nyquist has been declared out of next Saturday’s $6 million Breeders’ Cup Classic due to a “puffy ankle,” trainer Doug O’Neill announced on his Facebook page just prior to 9 a.m. Saturday morning.
“It’s with heavy hearts that we regrettably have to report that Kentucky Derby winner Nyquist came out of his most recent work (seven furlongs in 1:27.40 on Thursday) with a puffy ankle,” read O’Neill’s statement. “Though Nyquist is 100 percent sound and X-rays are clean, the timing unfortunately precludes us from the dream of having him run in the Breeders’ Cup Classic in our own backyard.”
O’Neill, who trains the three-year-old son of Uncle Mo for owners Paul and Zillah Reddam, reported that no plans have been made for Nyquist’s immediate future. The colt had been scheduled to retire to stud at Darley after the Classic.
MELATONIN FRESH, FIT, FORMIDABLE
Not only is Classic outsider Melatonin undefeated in four starts at Santa Anita, while trained by David Hofmans, the gelded son of Kodiak Kowboy has never been beaten after a layoff, to wit:
Winning by 2 ¾ lengths on Aug. 15, 2015 after an absence of more than six months; winning by 3 ¾ lengths on Feb. 5, 2016 after not racing for three months; and winning the Grade I Gold Cup at Santa Anita on June 25 this year after being away nine weeks.
The Classic will be Melatonin’s first race in more than four months.
In other Breeders’ Cup news:
- Masochistic, one of the favorites for the $1.5 million TwinSpires Sprint, worked five furlongs from the gate in a minute flat Saturday under Mike Smith. “It went great,” trainer Ron Ellis said of the breeze. “Mike got him to really relax well and has gotten to know him pretty good working him. He’s gotten a handle on him.”
- Under the cover of darkness at 5 a.m., Runhappy worked five furlongs in 58.40 from the half-mile pole to the seven-eighths marker. Exercise rider Marcus O’Donnell was on the 2015 Eclipse Award-winning sprinter for trainer Laura Wohlers, who will saddle the four-year-old son of Super Saver in the $1 million Las Vegas Dirt Mile next Friday.
- “I thought she went well,” trainer Craig Dollase said after Del Mar Debutante winner Union Strike (Juvenile Fillies) worked a minute in 1:00.40 with Martin Garcia aboard. “I was happy with the time. It went real smooth, everything is good and Martin gave us a thumbs up.”
- Jockey Club Gold Cup winner Hoppertunity worked five furlongs for Bob Baffert in a sprightly 59.80 for the Classic. Rafael Bejarano was aboard Hoppertunity, who worked with First Degree Burn (59.80).
- Vyjack (Dirt Mile) worked five furlongs for Phil D’Amato in 1:00.40, while Ashleyluvssugar (Turf) went the same distance in the same time for Peter Eurton.
- Also, Coronoa Del Inca (Distaff) went four furlongs in 47.80 for Guillermo Frenkel and Daddys Lil Darling (Juvenile Fillies) four furlongs in 51.20 for Ken McPeek.
- The top 15 trainers in earnings through Oct. 26 have horses entered in Breeders’ Cup races, as do 16 of the top 18, totaling $155,036,085, led by Chad Brown’s $19,067,303.
MIKE SMITH REMEMBERS GREAT TURF MILER LURE
Mike Smith understandably has fond memories of Lure, aboard whom he won the
Breeders’ Cup Mile twice, once from the inside post, and once from the outside, nearly a quarter century ago in 1992 at Gulfstream Park and a year later at Santa Anita, which has Sunday’s feature race named in honor of the bay Danzig colt trained by Shug McGaughey.
“Lure was great,” Smith said, “especially when he won the Breeders’ Cup here for the second year in a row. It seems like yesterday I was standing here looking out towards the mountains and knowing how well he was doing, thinking if he gets the opportunity, he’s going to do something special on Breeders’ Cup day, and he did.
“I had to come from way on the outside post, was able to get in on the first turn, and then for him to win the way he won was just incredible. I never even touched him with the whip.”
The Lure: Perfectly Majestic, Gary Stevens, 4-1; A Red Tie Day, Norberto Arroyo Jr., 3-1; Express Himself, Drayden Van Dyke, 12-1; Twentytwentyvision, Flavien Prat, 9-5; Drummer, Kent Desormeaux, 6-1; Patriots Rule, Joe Talamo, 15-1; Clever Royal, Rafael Bejarano, 12-1; Little Curlin, Martin Pedroza, 6-1; and also eligible Touching Rainbows, Tiago Pereira, 30-1.
HUNGERFORD A WINNER FROM START TO FINISH
Santa Anita wishes long-time assistant starter Junior Hungerford all the best when he retires on Nov. 6 after 42 years on the beat.
“He began in 1973, and I started in 1978, but he’d been around a while,” said Santa Anita Starter Jay Slender. “When I was a kid up at the Fairs, he was working on the gate, so he was a little older than I was and a guy I always looked up to. He’s definitely been the go-to guy, the senior guy here. You could put him in any position and he’d get it done.”
Hungerford, 65, who was raised in Pleasanton, California, in close proximity the iconic Alameda County Fair racetrack, has been an integral part of the Santa Anita starting gate crew since 1980.
“I first came to Santa Anita in 1970,” said Hungerford. “I was galloping horses, freelance. In 1973, there was a job opening on the Los Alamitos starting gate and I got the job. It was fun handling Quarter Horses. I like all the horses here. They’re all different . . . I feel I’ve done everything I’d ever want on the gate, but it’s all about the horses. The mornings are the best because you see them all and they all have to come by us.
Hungerford listed champions Paseana, A.P. Indy, Cigar and Skip Away among the thousands of horses he’s personally handled in the afternoon.
Although he’s sustained dozens of injuries over the years, including broken ribs and hands, a fractured elbow and broken feet, Hungerford considers himself to be in good health.
“I’m pretty good right now, but this is a job for a young guy . . . I float (file) teeth and I can do that now closer to where I live, in Anza, which is about 125 miles from Santa Anita.”
Hungerford, who considers retired Hall of Fame riders Laffit Pincay, Jr. and Eddie Delahoussaye as “pretty close friends,” is ready to call it a career.
“There have been a lot of memories over 42 years, but it’s time to quit!”
FINISH LINES: With six racing days left, and thanks to three wins Friday, perennial Southern California riding king Rafael Bejarano has opened a 19-15 lead over runner-up Tyler Baze in the race for riding honors. Flavien Prat, Norberto Arroyo, Jr. and Kent Desormeaux are deadlocked with 14 wins each . . . Peter Miller is three up on Bob Baffert (13-10) in the trainers’ race.
|SANTA ANITA STATISTICS|
|(Current Through Friday, Oct. 28)|
|Norberto Arroyo, Jr.||80||14||12||13||18%||49%||$592,853|