- UNIQUE BELLA WORKS FOR BEHOLDER SHOWDOWN
- RYE BACK WITH CAL-BREDS IN THE CRYSTAL WATER
- FASHION BUSINESS A FIRST FOR THE SIRE FRANKEL
UNIQUE BELLA BREEZES FOR APPEALING BEHOLDER
Working towards perhaps the most anticipated race of the Spring Meet, champion Unique Bella breezed six furlongs from the gate at 6:30 Sunday morning in 1:11 flat for the Grade I Beholder Mile on June 2.
Exercise rider Freddie Rodriguez was on the four-year-old gray daughter of Tapit for Jerry Hollendorfer, who called it “a good work.”
Santa Anita clocker Dane Nelson recorded fractions of 23.60, 46.80 and 58.80.
The Beholder Mile, named for the recently retired multiple Eclipse Award champion trained by Richard Mandella, also is expected to attract the Mandella-trained Paradise Woods, a two-time Grade I winner, and Selcourt, a lightning-quick four-year-old daughter of Tiz Wonderful trained by John Sadler.
Selcourt is riding a three-race winning streak: the restricted Kalookan Queen, the Grade III Las Flores, and the Grade II Santa Monica, in which she defeated Paradise Woods.
“I’m sure the Beholder will appeal to the fans,” Mandella said, “but my filly is good and the race is here, so that’s where we’re going.”
Also a possibility for the Beholder Mile is another filly on a stakes roll, Fault. The stretch-running daughter of Blame won the Grade II Buena Vista on turf Feb.17, the Grade I Santa Margarita on the main track March 17 and the Grade III Adoration May 6.
Trained by Phil D’Amato, Fault also is a candidate for the Ogden Phipps at Belmont Park on June 9.
But even without her, the Beholder would arguably showcase three of the best fillies in training, each possessing an abundance of class and speed.
Should they all go, safe to say somnambulism won’t enter into their race strategy.
RYE HOPES TO CONTINUE ON A ROLL IN CRYSTAL WATER
Rye, a late-charging son of English Channel, is likely to run against California-breds again in next Sunday’s $100,000 Crystal Water Stakes at a mile on turf after two straight races in graded events.
The five-year-old chestnut won the Unusual Heat Turf Classic against Cal-breds on Jan. 27 before running fifth in the Grade II San Luis Rey Stakes and third in the Grade III San Juan Capistrano, each at considerably longer distances than the Crystal Water.
“We’ll probably run mostly because it’s for Cal-breds,” trainer Bill Morey explained. “He’s won at a mile going back a few (on Aug. 11, 2016, at Del Mar), but of course he’ll need some help up front (pace-wise). You need some luck in all these races, right?”
Probable for the Crystal Water: Accountability, Gary Stevens; Anatolian Heat, no rider; Ashleyluvssugar, Flavien Prat; Camino Del Pariso, no rider; Fly to Mars, no rider; Rye, Kent Desormeaux; and Ward ‘n Jerry, no rider.
FRANKEL (THE SIRE) REGISTERS FIRST WIN IN SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA
Fashion Business, who bounded home in front by 2 ½ lengths in Saturday’s first race at a mile on turf under Joe Talamo for trainer Phil D’Amato, is the first winner in Southern California by super horse Frankel, according to Billy Koch, founder and managing partner of Little Red Feather Racing, part owner of Fashion Business.
Frankel, unbeaten in 14 career starts, was bred by Juddmonte Farms and two-time European Horse of the Year in 2011 and 2012. He currently is a stallion at Banstead Manor Stud in Suffolk, where he was born.
Bred in England, the four-year-old gelding Fashion Business was making his seventh United States start, having missed by a head in the Grade III La Jolla Handicap last August.
“We’ve got big plans,” Koch said, walking with D’Amato Sunday morning before the rains hit. “Whatever my trainer tells me, that’s what I’ve learned. It’s called ‘trust your trainer.’
“That’s the theory we live by.”
FINISH LINES: Congratulations to Santa Anita-based jockeys Kyle Frey and Tyler Baze, who ran one-two in Saturday’s Grade III Peter Pan at Belmont Park aboard the Doug O’Neill-trained Blended Citizen and the Peter Eurton-trained Core Beliefs, respectively. Eurton, sizzling at Santa Anita with two more wins Saturday, now has seven from 22 starters through 17 days, 32 percent. He also has two seconds and two thirds for an in-the-money mark of 50 percent. Overall this meet, favorites are winning at 37.42 percent (58 out of 155) and 42.86 percent on dirt (39 of 91) . . . There is a two-day Pick Six carryover Sunday of $295,110, and a Super High Five carryover of $18,575, in addition to a guaranteed Late Pick Four pool of $500,000 . . . Probable for next Saturday’s $100,000 Fran’s Valentine Stakes for California-bred or sired fillies and mares, three and up at a mile on turf: Barbara Beatrice, Cheekaboo, Enola Gray, Moonless Sky and Shy Carmelita . . . Agent Derek Lawson has the meet’s leading rider, Flavien Prat, booked to ride Best Pal winner Run Away for Simon Callaghan in next Saturday’s Chick Lang Stakes at Pimlico . . . Fans can enjoy Preakness Day next Saturday at Santa Anita, which will offer live music, Michelada flavors and a Michelada Rumble in the Infield, a trackside beer festival, brunch in the FrontRunner, a two-day Preakness betting challenge, the Bud Light Lounge and the Family Fun Zone. Tickets can be purchased at www.santaanita.com/events. Must be 21 or older . . . Santa Anita will be dark for live racing Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday next week, resuming live racing on Thursday, May 17, at 12:30 p.m., but will be open for simulcast racing Wednesday, with free parking and free general admission. Admission gates open at 10 a.m.