- UNBEATEN NYQUIST DRILLS FOR SAN VICENTE
- ‘CHROME’ WORKS FOR SAN PASQUAL STAKES
- RUNHAPPY IN GREAT SHAPE AFTER MALIBU ROMP
- LIVE RACING THIS WEDNESDAY AT SANTA ANITA
- SANTA ANITA HAS BLOCKBUSTER OPENING DAY
NYQUIST ‘CRUISES’ IN WORK FOR THREE-YEAR-OLD DEBUT
Undefeated Breeders’ Cup Juvenile winner and odds-on favorite to be named champion two-year-old male of 2015, Nyquist worked four furlongs on Santa Anita’s fast main track Sunday morning in preparation for his three-year-old debut in the Grade II San Vicente Stakes at seven furlongs on Feb.15.
“He worked great today,” said Doug O’Neill, who conditions the son of Uncle Mo for Paul and Zillah Reddam. “He went 48 and change (48.40), just cruising. As long as he stays injury-free and El Nino doesn’t come blasting through the door, we’re on for the Feb. 15 race.
“His regular exercise rider, Johnny Garcia, was on him and he was all smiles.
“Timing-wise, after the San Vicente, the Florida Derby would be perfect, because it would be five weeks out before the Big Dance (the Kentucky Derby on May 7). In an ideal world, it would be the San Vicente, the Florida Derby and the Kentucky Derby.”
‘CHROME,’ DORTMUND SHOWDOWN LOOMS IN SAN PASQUAL
Under regular rider Victor Espinoza, California Chrome worked seven furlongs at his Los Alamitos headquarters Sunday in 1:25.40 as he prepares for the Grade II San Pasqual Stakes on Jan. 9, his first race since running second last March in the Dubai World Cup.
The San Pasqual, at a mile and a sixteenth with a $200,000 purse, also is likely to attract Kaleem Shah’s Dortmund, meaning it would showcase the last two Santa Anita Derby winners, California Chrome (2014) and Dortmund (2015).
“He’s right on schedule,” trainer Art Sherman said of California Chrome. “The workout was perfect. He’ll have one more breeze before the race, this one at Santa Anita, but we’ll play it by ear depending on the weather and track conditions.”
The over-sized chestnut Dortmund, now at 1,333 pounds according to trainer Bob Baffert, galloped Sunday morning at Santa Anita, as did top Triple Crown prospect and Los Alamitos Futurity winner Mor Spirit.
R&R IN STORE FOR MALIBU KING RUNHAPPY
Breeders’ Cup Sprint winner and likely Eclipse Award winner as champion sprinter of 2105 Runhappy was in good shape Sunday morning after his smashing 3 ½-length victory in the Grade I Malibu Stakes Saturday.
“He came out great,” said Jonathan “Finn” Green, consultant for deWaal Thoroughbreds, LLC, who accompanied trainer Laura Wohlers to Santa Anita for the Malibu.
“I had my hand on his rib cage in the winner’s circle and it wasn’t even moving,” Green said. “By the time we got to the test barn, he was dry. He was great this morning.
“I think the horse will leave Santa Anita Monday night to a farm in Texas. He’ll get some time off now with the Met Mile (June 11) on his agenda. We might get a prep race for him or we might train him into the Met Mile.”
THREE BAFFERTS COULD ENTER GRADE II SANTA YNEZ
Bob Baffert could have three entered in next Saturday’s Grade II Santa Ynez Stakes for three-year-old fillies at 6 ½ furlongs: One Last Shot, Pretty Cool, and Treasuring.
The Hall of Fame trainer, who has won the Santa Ynez three times, with Queen of Money (1997), Yearly Report (2004), and Indian Blessing (2008), has five of the 15 nominated to the Santa Ynez.
LIVE RACING AT SANTA ANITA WEDNESDAY; DOLLAR DAY JAN. 1
Santa Anita will offer a five-day racing week beginning this Wednesday, Dec. 30, through Sunday, Jan. 3. First post time throughout the week will be 12:30 p.m.
Santa Anita will be dark Monday, Dec. 28, and Tuesday, Dec. 29. New Year’s Day, Santa Anita offers Dollar Day, with draft beer, hot dogs and sodas available for a buck apiece.
CASSIDY EXPECTS IMPROVEMENT IN EDDIE LOGAN
James Cassidy expects dramatic improvement from Mr Notorious when the French-bred colt runs in Thursday’s $75,000 Eddie Logan Stakes for two-year-olds at one mile on turf.
“The distance is not a problem,” said Cassidy, who conditions Mr Notorious for principal owner Deron Pearson of Valencia, campaigning as DP Racing, LLC. “My owner told me I made a bad purchase,” Cassidy said with a laugh.
Mr Notorious has not raced since Sept 5, when ninth of 11 by 16 ¼ lengths in his U.S. debut at Del Mar, but he has been working steadily for the Eddie Logan, named for the charismatic shoe shine man who was at Santa Anita when it opened Christmas Day 1934 and was on hand at the start of every meet hence until his death at the age of 98 on Jan. 31, 2009.
FINISH LINES: Trainer Doug O’Neill on the 44,873 who attended Opening Day at Santa Anita, the largest crowd since 1994 when 46,904 were on hand: “Offer good racing, good weather, good marketing and good promotions and people will come out.” . . . Undefeated Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies winner Songbird has the Grade II Las Virgenes on her schedule for her three-year-old debut on Feb. 6, but “everything would have to go right with the weather; we can’t miss anything,” Dan Ward, assistant to Jerry Hollendorfer, said Sunday, a day after Songbird worked three furlongs in 36.40, her first breeze since winning the Juvenile Fillies on Oct. 30 . . . Multiple stakes winner Salutos Amigos, prepping for the Midnight Lute Stakes next Saturday, worked four furlongs for David Jacobson Sunday in 50 flat . . . Citing illness, apprentice David C. Lopez took off his four scheduled mounts Sunday . . . Apprentice rider Brayan Pena, who has 25 career wins, will lose his seven-pound weight advantage when he reaches 40 victories, or on Oct. 16, whichever occurs later. If he reaches 40 by Oct. 16, he will lose two pounds on his weight edge, from seven pounds to five.