- SHORT WORKS FOR BATTLE OF MIDWAY, ROYAL MO
- FOLLOW ME CREV DOING WELL FOR CALIFORNIAN
- SAN JUAN DISTANCE SUITS LONGSHOT GENEROSO
BATTLE OF MIDWAY, ROYAL MO HOPE TO MAKE THEIR POINTS
Battle of Midway and Royal Mo, second and third in the Santa Anita Derby, each worked Sunday morning for what their connections hope will lead to a position in the starting field of 20 for the 143rd Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs on May 6.
Royal Mo’s three furlong effort was too slow to make Santa Anita’s official work tab, which has a cutoff time of 39.80 for that distance. With Gary Stevens in the irons, Royal Mo was timed in just over 41 seconds, with a quarter mile clocking of more than 27 seconds.
“He didn’t go too fast, but it’s no big deal,” said trainer John Shirreffs of Royal Mo’s time. “Gary wanted to work him to become more familiar with him. Normally, I’d put my exercise rider on him, but this is something Gary likes to do.”
Qualifying points for the Run for the Roses could be an issue, however, for Royal Mo, who, with 30, currently ranks 24th, four spots from No. 20.
“The points are out of our control, but we’ll keep training him with the Kentucky Derby in mind and try to stay on course,” Shirreffs said.
Shirreff’s other Kentucky Derby candidate, Santa Anita Derby winner Gormley, who worked three furlongs Saturday in 37.80, is secure in qualifying points with 125, third behind Girvin (150) and Classic Empire (132).
Battle of Midway, with 40 points, is tied at 17th with four other horses. A son of Smart Strike owned by Rick Porter’s Fox Hill Farms, Battle of Midway went four furlongs in 48.40 under Edgar Rodriguez for Jerry Hollendorfer, who termed it “a maintenance work.”
FOLLOW ME CREV ‘REALLY GOOD’ FOR CALIFORNIAN
With the King Midas of Thoroughbreds, Arrogate, cooling his heels prior to another conquest in the handicap ranks, Vladimir Cerin and eight other trainers have horses nominated to next Saturday’s Grade II, $200,000 Californian Stakes for three-year-olds and up.
Cerin plans to enter Santa Anita Handicap third-place finisher Follow Me Crev in the mile and one eighth race. The five-year-old Kentucky-bred gelding had his final major breeze for the Californian Saturday, going six furlongs in 1:14 flat.
“He’s really good right now,” Cerin said of the son of Quality Road owned by longtime Cerin clients David and Holly Wilson. “There are a lot of good horses nominated to the race.
“I wouldn’t say this is a thin race, although if Arrogate isn’t in any race, it’s a thin race. The Californian looks to me every bit as tough as the Oaklawn Handicap.”
Bob Baffert trains five of the 15 nominated to the Californian, but was non-committal Sunday as to which would be entered, though Cat Burglar and Mor Spirit seem most likely. Mor Spirit worked five furlongs Sunday in 1:00.60.
Other probables include Prime Attraction, winner of his last two races for trainer Jim Cassidy, and Prospect Park for trainer Cliff Sise, Jr.
LOBO BACK FOR SECONDS IN SAN JUAN CAPISTRANO
Generoso was a distant sixth after prompting the pace in last year’s San Juan Capistrano Stakes for three-year-olds and up at about a mile and three quarters on turf.
Trainer Paulo Lobo hopes the second time’s the charm for the eight-year-old gelding bred in Uruguay, whose races in Brazil were mostly marathons on the grass.
“We are running him only because of the distance of the race,” Lobo said. “He used to run very long races in Brazil and did very well there.”
Generoso won twice at a mile and a quarter and once at a mile and a half in the South American country. Probable for the Grade III, $100,000 San Juan, in addition to Generoso, are Inordinate, Patentar, Power Foot, Syntax and Texas Ryano.
SPEEDY PEE WEE REESE WINS AT SANTA ANITA ON ‘JACKIE ROBINSON DAY’
Saturday was Jackie Robinson Day in Major League baseball, so it was fitting that Hall of Famer Pee Wee Reese, one of Robinson’s closest friends on the Brooklyn Dodgers’ fabled “Boys of Summer” teams, was remembered at Santa Anita, as his namesake led throughout to win Saturday’s second race, a one mile turf allowance, by 1 ¼ lengths under Joe Talamo.
Owned and bred by Nick Alexander and trained by Phil D’Amato, “Pee Wee,” who was trying two turns for the first time, registered his fourth consecutive win while getting the mile in a rapid 1:33.78. A four-year-old California-bred colt by Tribal Rule, Pee Wee Reese was the 2-1 favorite and paid $6.
FINISH LINES: Next Saturday’s $75,000 Mizdirection Stakes for fillies and mares, three and up at about 6 ½ furlongs on turf, could have a big field. Expected to be entered are Coniah, Desert Steel, Do the Dance, Miss Double d’Oro, Perfect Pic, Riri, Smoove It and Watch This Cat. Miss Double d’Oro worked six furlongs on the training track Sunday in a bullet 1:12.20 for Neil Drysdale . . . Trainer Kenny Black expects Grade I winner What a View back Tuesday from Kentucky where the six-year-old California-bred finished sixth in Friday’s Grade I Maker’s 46 Mile at Keeneland. Black now has his sights set on the Grade I, $400,000 Shoemaker Mile on turf June 3 for the speedy Vronsky gelding . . . Agent Tom Knust has Mario Gutierrez booked to ride Gangster for Doug O’Neill in next Saturday’s Grade II, $1,250,000 Charles Town Classic at 1 1/8 miles in West Virginia . . . Belated happy birthday wishes to jockey Iggy Puglisi, who passed the 43-mile pole yesterday . . . Every Saturday and Sunday at Santa Anita, fans can enjoy Family Fun Zone, featuring an Infield full of activities. A special $40 online only discount package includes food for four, two racing programs, two unlimited jumper wristbands, two pony ride vouchers, two face painting vouchers and eight carnival game vouchers. The package can be purchased online at santaanita.com/events.