STABLE NOTES BY ED GOLDEN – SUNDAY APRIL 10, 2016

  

  • CHAMPION SONGBIRD IS STILL ‘PERFECT’ AFTER OAKS ROMP
  • KENTUCKY AWAITS SANTA ANITA DERBY KING EXAGGERATOR
  • D’AMATO HONORED TO WIN HIS FIRST-EVER TRAINING CROWN

 

SONGBIRD CONTINUES TO FLY ABOVE THE REST

            Superstar filly Songbird, who soars over her prey like a raptor, won her seventh straight race with consummate ease Saturday, taking the Grade I Santa Anita Oaks by 3 ¾ lengths, leading throughout the 1 1/16-mile race as is her wont despite breaking from the rail and running over a sloppy track.

Now, it’s on to Kentucky for the daughter of Medaglia d’Oro owned by Rick Porter’s Fox Hill Farms for her next major goal, the $1 million Kentucky Oaks at Churchill Downs on May 6.

“Songbird came out of the race in perfect order,” Jerry Hollendorfer said on an overcast but rain-free Sunday morning at Santa Anita, where it was business as usual for the Hall of Fame trainer, assistant Dan Ward, and their team, despite the fact that the main track was closed for training for the second straight morning due to a spate of rain that had begun early Thursday morning but abated to typical Southern California status Sunday, sunshine and all.

“She seems very good this morning,” Hollendorfer went on. “We have to wait to make shipping plans because there will be a lot of horses going back and forth at that time (for the Kentucky Derby May 7 and the Oaks).

“We’ll try and make the most advantageous arrangements. Songbird will stay here and likely have her last work at Santa Anita before the Oaks and then ship.”

Many in yesterday’s on-track crowd of 27,821, obviously diminished due to rainy weather that resulted in a “sloppy” but sealed main track throughout the 12-race program, came to see Songbird, who is joining Zenyatta, California Chrome and American Pharoah as recent fan magnets in a game that welcomes them like a bettor treasures a Pick Six score.

“She has a pretty good fan base,” Hollendorfer said of last year’s Eclipse Award winner as champion two-year-old filly who has won her races by an average margin of more than five lengths. “We’re very pleased about that.

“A lot of the horses from California are doing pretty good right now, so we’ll see what happens in Kentucky.”

 

ON TO KENTUCKY FOR BROTHERS DESORMEAUX

John Keith Desormeaux and Kent Desormeaux are down home guys from Louisiana, far removed from Philadelphia, the so-called City of Brotherly Love, but if the brothers make it to Kentucky with Exaggerator on May 7, everything will be, um, relative, when they take on the likes of champion Nyquist and 18 others in the 142nd Run for the Roses at Churchill Downs.

Trainer Keith was realistic bordering on ecstatic this morning discussing Exaggerator’s 6 ¼-length triumph in the Grade I, $1 million Santa Anita Derby Saturday, earning the son of two-time Horse of the Year Curlin 100 qualifying points for the Kentucky Derby.

“Here’s a news flash,” Keith said by phone after attending church, a Sunday ritual: “Everything looks good this morning. I said after he was third in the San Felipe that maybe the reasons he didn’t finish were that maybe he was a miler, maybe it was one of those crazy bounce theories, but not now.

“I think his impressive win can be attributed to a combination of several things: his fitness, his pedigree, but most of all, his demeanor before the race. He’s never been a fidgety horse, but yesterday before the race he was calm and never turned a hair.”

Kent, at 46 three years younger than Keith, enjoyed a banner day, winning two other stakes, the Grade III Providencia on Decked Out trained by Keith and the Grade III Thunder Road on What a View, conditioned by Kenny Black.

Overall, horses Kent rode Saturday earned $759,910, boosting his meet total to $2,512,694.

Said Keith said of his kid brother, a member of racing’s Hall of Fame and a three-time winner of the Run for the Roses, with Real Quiet (1998), Fusaichi Pegasus (2000) and Big Brown (2008): “He just keeps coming back.”

In other post-Santa Anita Derby news:

Trainer Cliff Sise Jr. said Danzing Candy came out of his fourth-place finish after leading past the three-quarter mark in the 1 1/8-mile race in good order but had “no plans” on what might be next for the San Felipe Stakes winner.

Trainer Gary Sherlock had no word the next race for Uncle Lino, who outran his odds in the Santa Anita Derby by finishing third at 26-1, other than “he won’t run in the Kentucky Derby.”

Sise called Exaggerator’s powerful rush from next to last after a half mile to a runaway victory in the Santa Anita Derby “an Arazi-type move.”

Meanwhile, in the What-Have-You-Done-For-Me-Lately Department, Brian Beach, agent for Victor Espinoza, winner of five of the last six Triple Crown races who was seventh, beaten 37 ½ lengths on Smokey Image in the Santa Anita Derby, said his rider is “now officially open in the Kentucky Derby.”

 

FINISH LINES: Trainer Richard Baltas, who saddled Mokat to a runner-up finish behind Songbird in the Santa Anita Oaks: “I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. Songbird is a champion. We ran into a horse that’s a true champion, it’s that simple. There aren’t many like her, and you can say the same the same thing about Nyquist. “We’re in a year where we have two juvenile champions and they’re both going into the Kentucky Oaks and the Kentucky Derby undefeated. It’s very exciting. Mokat ran her race and we’re very happy running second to Songbird. Flavien (Prat) said she wasn’t really handling the track, so if she comes back good, we’ll try Songbird one more time in the Kentucky Oaks.” . . .Congrats to Peruvian sensation Rafael Bejarano, who entered today’s card with 74 wins, enabling him to win his fourth consecutive Winter Meet riding title and his seventh overall. Along with his seven Golden Whip Awards, Bejarano, dating back to 2007, now has a staggering 24 Southern California riding titles to his credit . . . Phil D’Amato, on winning his first-ever training title: “It’s an honor, and I have to give a lot of the credit to my owners and my crew. Without the horses, I couldn’t do this. I have a great bunch of hard-working members of my staff, from my assistants down to my grooms. Everything’s jelled and they get just as much credit for the success as I do.” . . . Congrats to Jesus Camacho on winning the Men’s Division of Santa Anita’s 5K Derby Day run Saturday in the time of 21:09 over runner-up Aaron Galvan, and Lulu Joko in 29.09 over Christine Beer in the Women’s Division . . . Santa Anita’s 63-day Winter Meet ends today. Live racing returns to The Great Race Place May 5 and runs through July 10.

 

SANTA ANITA STATISTICS
(Current Through Saturday, April 9)
Jockey Mts 1st 2nd 3rd Win% ITM% Money Won
Rafael Bejarano 312 74 58 35 24% 54% $3,506,841
Flavien Prat 287 50 54 44 17% 52% $3,106,466
Santiago Gonzalez 269 47 34 33 17% 42% $1,898,601
Edwin Maldonado 212 44 22 22 21% 42% $1,427,680
Tyler Baze 304 34 48 48 11% 43% $1,779,991
Joseph Talamo 268 33 28 32 12% 35% $2,260,638
Kent Desormeaux 151 26 28 23 17% 51% $2,512,694
David Lopez 190 25 17 24 13% 35% $812,121
Mario Gutierrez 188 21 34 25 11% 43% $1,320,514
Martin Garcia 144 21 16 17 15% 38% $1,236,631
Fernando Perez 200 20 22 26 10% 34% $1,130,302
Drayden Van Dyke 184 19 18 30 10% 36% $1,152,987
Martin Pedroza 126 18 14 11 14% 34% $551,565
Agapito Delgadillo 108 14 12 11 13% 34% $406,157
Mike Smith 104 13 9 18 13% 38% $1,984,165
Gary Stevens 72 12 13 14 17% 54% $1,914,058
Victor Espinoza 103 12 13 10 12% 34% $969,825
Abel Lezcano 96 9 7 5 9% 22% $624,144
Tiago Pereira 138 8 16 13 6% 27% $585,478
Alonso Quinonez 99 7 11 6 7% 24% $357,880
Brice Blanc 70 7 7 9 10% 33% $584,555
Brayan Pena 80 7 5 14 9% 33% $217,625
Stewart Elliott 54 4 6 4 7% 26% $221,231
Trainer Sts 1st 2nd 3rd Win% ITM% Money Won
Philip D’Amato 166 39 25 27 23% 55% $2,068,665
Doug O’Neill 205 34 30 26 17% 44% $1,645,662
Jerry Hollendorfer 158 25 16 18 16% 37% $2,008,048
Bob Baffert 112 23 19 19 21% 54% $1,897,075
Richard Baltas 133 22 22 16 17% 45% $1,531,054
Peter Miller 149 22 15 22 15% 40% $892,030
Peter Eurton 104 16 25 14 15% 53% $1,254,397
John Sadler 96 14 11 11 15% 38% $907,814
Steven Miyadi 79 13 17 11 16% 52% $456,427
Kristin Mulhall 56 13 8 4 23% 45% $471,190
Mark Glatt 107 11 12 10 10% 31% $525,575
Mike Puype 88 10 13 6 11% 33% $457,975
Jeff Mullins 37 10 9 4 27% 62% $295,039
J. Keith Desormeaux 53 10 7 10 19% 51% $1,046,919
William Spawr 44 10 7 6 23% 52% $294,612
Ron Ellis 39 10 3 6 26% 49% $267,555
Vladimir Cerin 53 9 7 8 17% 45% $365,974
George Papaprodromou 62 9 7 8 15% 39% $322,710
Michael Machowsky 44 8 8 5 18% 48% $322,731
Carla Gaines 55 8 6 3 15% 31% $654,045
Robertino Diodoro 34 7 8 3 21% 53% $210,390
Jeff Bonde 45 7 5 7 16% 42% $201,895
Hector Palma 47 7 5 6 15% 38% $193,462
Art Sherman 42 7 2 4 17% 31% $354,700

 

-30-