- AMERICAN PHAROAH ‘PERFECT’ AFTER REBEL ROMP
- CHARLES TOWN CLASSIC NEXT FOR SHARED BELIEF?
- THERE’S NO ZIGGY FOR IGGY IN FRESH START AT 40
ALL OPTIONS OPEN FOR AMERICAN PHAROAH
TrainerBob Baffert said Sunday morning that American Pharoah came out of his front-running 6 1/4-length victory in Saturday’s Rebel Stakes on a sealed but sloppy track at Oaklawn Park “perfect” and that all options are open for the champion male 2-year-old of 2014.
That that would include the Santa Anita Derby on April 4 and the Arkansas Derby on April 11.
“We’ll see how he is when he gets back (from Arkansas),” Baffert said by phone as he was en route to the OBS Sale in Florida. “We’ll see how he’s doing. We’ve got lots of options.”
Baffert’s other monster 3-year-old, unbeaten Dortmund, has had the Santa Anita Derby on his docket since his fifth consecutive victory, a powerful front-running score in the San Felipe Stakes on March 7.
While it would seem illogical to run American Pharoah and Dortmund against each other before the May 2 Kentucky Derby, should each reach that major objective, Baffert said, “We never rule anything out.”
Based on past performances to date, the rest of the Triple Crown aspirants appear to be batting below the Mendoza Line.
Baffert, meanwhile, is sitting in the dugout with Ruth and Gehrig.
CHARLES TOWN CLASSIC ON SHARED BELIEF’S RADAR
Here’s a frightening thought for horsemen with stars in the handicap division: Shared Belief is getting better.
“He’s filling out and getting bigger and better,” said Dan Ward, assistant to Jerry Hollendorfer, of the 4 ¼-length winner of the Santa Anita Handicap on March 7.
“He’s a horse that’s easy on himself and not hard to handle,” Ward said, adding that the $1.5 million Charles Town Classic on April 18, in addition to the Oaklawn Handicap on April 11, is under consideration for Shared Belief’s next race.
Trainer Craig Lewis said after the 5-year-old mare Warren’s Veneda won the Grade I Santa Margarita Stakes Saturday that the Charles Town Classic was an option for the streaking California-bred daughter of Affirmative.
Richard Mandella also said the rich race in West Virginia was a possibility for Catch a Flight, third in the Santa Anita Handicap.
FRESH START FOR JOCKEY IGGY PUGLISI AT AGE 40
Ignacio Puglisi is getting a new start at age 40. With three wins, four seconds and seven thirds from 53 mounts through 47 racing days, the journeyman jockey, born in Rosario, Argentina, but raised a few furlongs from Santa Anita in Temple City, has been making ends meet in recent times as the go-to rider for trainer Paul Aguirre.
But he recently hired Philadelphian Bill Sadoo as his agent, spurning efforts to fly solo, and has been on the wagon for the last four years.
“Things are going well,” said Puglisi, called “Iggy” by his friends. “I’ve been clean for four years and that helped. I stopped drinking. I’ve picked up an agent, which I haven’t had in a couple of years. He’s really smart, keeps a lot of data on horses and we discuss different options on how we can attack the game and not just be riding for one guy. What’s really given me a shot is riding some horses for (Mike) Puype.
“People really noticed it and it helped out. I don’t want to say by accident, but he put me on one horse and it ran second. He asked me if I could work some horses in the morning at Los Al, and I’ve been going there and he was really tickled about the way the horses were working.
“He said he thought he’d be able to put me on a few horses, and he did. I work a bunch of horses for him and every week he sticks me on three or four, so we’re just bound to get lucky. I think people notice when you ride for a big outfit that the trainer must see something in the rider.”
FINISH LINES: Indefatigable one-win wonder Crimson Giant, showing he’s lost little zip after his last-place finish in the Santa Anita Handicap, worked five furlongs Sunday in a bullet 59 seconds flat for trainer Charlie Stutts . . . Sunland Derby-bound Firing Line worked five furlongs in company with Pillow for Simon Callaghan, the pair going in 59.80 and 1:00.20, respectively . . . California Cup Derby winner Mischief Clem, with designs on the $200,000 Echo Eddie Stakes on April 4, worked four furlongs in 49.40 for Bob Hess Jr. . . . Congrats to trainer Jack Carava on registering his 1,000th career victory when Perfect Set, owned by the Roncelli Family Trust, rolled to a 4 ½-length triumph in Saturday’s first race under Santiago Gonzalez. “Hopefully, the second 1,000 won’t take as long,” said Carava, training since the mid 80’s. “A lot of good help has worked for me. I couldn’t have done it without them.” . . . Santiago, represented by Craig Stephen, is paying off with Jim Cassidy. In 31 rides for the trainer, Gonzalez had five wins on horses that returned $29.20, $18, $26.20, $15 and $28.20. A $2 win bet on all 31 would have cost $62, but the payoffs totaled $116.60 for a profit of $54.60 . . . Seven-pound apprentice Brandon Boulanger moves his tack to Florida Thursday after winning six races from 113 mounts at Santa Anita . . . Santa Anita welcomed iconic rocker and accomplished actor Stevie Van Zandt Saturday, as he presented the trophy for the Grade I Santa Margarita . . . Congrats to jockey Mike Smith who surpassed fellow Hall of Famer Chris McCarron yesterday with a third-place finish in the Santa Margarita on Thegirlinthatsong to become racing’s fourth all-time money-earning jockey with purse earnings of $264,025,867. Only Hall of Famers John Velazquez, Pat Day and Jerry Bailey rank higher than Smith.
|SANTA ANITA STATISTICS|
|(Current Through Saturday, March 14)|
|Drayden Van Dyke||170||18||20||22||11%||$1,157,066|
|Thomas F. Proctor||43||7||6||3||16%||$524,878|
|A. C. Avila||25||7||2||3||28%||$208,298|
|Hector O. Palma||27||6||4||1||22%||$142,370|