- D’AMATO TO DOUBLE TEAM SONGBIRD IN OAKS
- IMPERATIVE BREEZES FOR GRADE I GOLD CUP
- KOBE‘S BACK IN STIFF WORK FOR TRIPLE BEND
BELLAMENTARY, COPPA TO FACE SONGBIRD
Phil D’Amato plans to enter two fillies against undefeated champion Songbird in next Saturday’s Grade II, $200,000 Summertime Oaks, Bellamentary and Coppa.
Bellamentary won the restricted Angels Flight Stakes at seven furlongs by 2 ½ lengths on May 15, and breezed six furlongs June 4 in a bullet 1:13, but the daughter of Bellamy Road was beaten 10 lengths by Songbird on a sloppy track in the Grade I Santa Anita Oaks April 9.
Coppa, a Florida-bred daughter of Yesbyjimminy, is unbeaten in two starts, both at 6 ½ furlongs, winning each by the identical margin of 3 ¼ lengths.
“There aren’t many options and they’re both doing good,” D’Amato said in explaining his reasons for tackling Songbird, Eclipse Award winner as outstanding two-year-old female of 2015 and winner of all seven of her starts, each by a margin of at least 3 ¾ lengths.
“It’s really the only option,” D’Amato said. “We’ll give it a shot.”
D’Amato continues well on his way to his second-ever training title with a 17-9 lead over runners-up John Sadler and Mike Puype through 23 racing days of the Spring Meet. D’Amato captured his first crown at Santa Anita’s recent Winter Meet.
IMPERATIVE PREPS FOR GOLD CUP, MELATONIN WORKS MONDAY
With leading rider Rafael Bejarano aboard, millionaire Imperative worked six furlongs on Santa Anita’s training track Sunday morning in 1:14 flat in preparation for the Grade I, $500,000, Breeders’ Cup “Win and You’re In” Gold Cup at Santa Anita on June 25.
“We work 90 percent of our horses on the training track,” said 33-year-old Brit David Meah, assistant to trainer Richard Baltas for the past 26 months. “We find it has a lot softer footing and think it will help him going a mile and a quarter (the Gold Cup distance).”
Also working Sunday for the Gold Cup were Californian Stakes winner Second Summer for Peter Eurton (five furlongs on the main track in 59.60) and Lieutenant Colonel (six furlongs in 1:11.60) for Jerry Hollendorfer.
Santa Anita Handicap winner Melatonin is scheduled to work seven furlongs Monday morning for the Gold Cup with regular rider Joe Talamo up for trainer David Hofmans.
BEJARANO, LADY VALEUR SET FOR HONEYMOON
Lady Valeur seeks her first stakes victory when the Irish-bred filly trained by Paddy Gallagher runs in the 65th running of Grade II, $200,000 Honeymoon Stakes (run from 1952 through 2013 at Hollywood Park) next Sunday at 1 1/8 miles on turf, and Rafael Bejarano likes her chances.
“I think she has a really good chance,” said Bejarano, who rode her for the first time in an overnight race at 1 1/8 miles on grass May 20, winning by a length and a half. “She relaxed real well last time and was very comfortable. She’s going to be ready.”
As to winning yet another Southern California riding crown, the perennial king is in a familiar spot–on top–after winning three races Saturday to take a 28-25 lead over Flavien Prat, who rode at Belmont Park yesterday.
“I think I can win a couple more races today and take a bigger lead,” Bejarano said.
Probables for the Honeymoon: Be Mine, Cheekaboo, Gone to Bali, Jeremy’s Legacy, Lady Valeur, Lynne’s Legacy, Stays in Vegas, Sutton’s Smile and Where’s the D.
FINISH LINES: On Santa Anita’s fast main track Sunday morning, multiple graded stakes winner Kobe’s Back had his most significant workout prior to the Grade I Triple Bend Stakes on June 25, going five furlongs in 59.40 for Peter Eurton, who had the stretch-running gray galloping out six furlongs in 1:12 and change. “Today it was a stronger work,” the trainer said. “The one next week will be a bit lighter.” . . . It was a busier morning than usual for Jerry Hollendorfer, whose horses had 19 recorded workouts, including a five furlong move by Kona Gold Stakes winner Wild Dude in 1:00.40 as he preps for the Triple Bend . . . Trainer Ed Moger, Jr. has eight horses entered on today’s 12-race card closing day at Golden Gate Fields, which will have a mandatory payout on its Golden Pick 6 Jackpot of $1,408,071. The total pool is expected to exceed $4 million . . . Santa Anita offers a Father’s Day Brunch for every taste next Sunday, June 19. Fans can celebrate at The Great Race Place with brunch in the Turf Terrace Restaurant in a shaded patio setting. For further information on this all-inclusive package, visit www.santaanita.com/events . . . Live racing resumes at Santa Anita Thursday at 1:30 p.m., with free General Admission and free grandstand parking on Thursday and Friday.
|SANTA ANITA STATISTICS|
|(Current Through Saturday, June 11)|
|Hector O. Palma||18||4||4||0||22%||44%||$82,830|