BC CLASSIC BATTLE CRY IS ‘REMEMBER McKINZIE!’
HUSBAND AND WIFE MEAH TEAM UP IN NEW CAREER
SINGLE TICKET PICK 6 JACKPOT STANDS AT $662,512
McKINZIE WORKS FOR BREEDERS’ CUP CLASSIC
Bob Baffert’s battle cry for the Breeders’ Cup Classic won’t be “Remember the Alamo!” but it could be “Remember McKinzie!”
Seemingly the odd horse out although he is among the three favorites for the Classic to be run Nov. 3 at Churchill Downs, McKinzie (pictured winning the Sham Stakes) is the third choice behind John Sadler trainee Accelerate and Baffert’s West Coast, each making Santa Anita their home base.
McKinzie (video) worked six furlongs in company with Dabster Sunday morning in his penultimate breeze at Santa Anita before the $6 million, mile and a quarter Classic in Kentucky.
With Joe Talamo aboard, McKinzie went six furlongs in a bullet 1:11.20, while Dabster was clocked in 1:11.60. Baffert also breezed West Coast (video), who went six furlongs in company with Roman Rosso, receiving respective times of 1:11.80 and 1:12.
“At the start of the year, McKinzie was one of my best horses, until Justify came along,” Baffert said after Sunday’s early drill. “The Classic is a tall order for him because he’s only had one prep coming off a layoff (winning the Pennsylvania Derby on Sept. 22), but McKinzie will move up off that race.”
Prior to the Pennsylvania Derby, McKinzie had been sidelined some six months recovering from a “twisted hock” suffered last March.
“But one thing in his favor, even though the Classic is a mile and a quarter, I had a really good foundation into him,” Baffert said. “I think the horses to beat are all out here. Accelerate is the gold standard and West Coast got within two (lengths) of him off a real long layoff.”
West Coast, champion three-year-old male of 2017, was second by 2 ¼ lengths behind Accelerate in the Awesome Again Stakes on Sept. 29, his first race since last March 31 when he was second in the Dubai World Cup behind Horse of the Year Gun Runner.
Baffert has won the Breeders’ Cup Classic three times, more than any other trainer in its 34 previous editions. All were consecutive, with Bayern (2014), American Pharoah (2015) and Arrogate (2016). The two-time Triple Crown-winning trainer also plans to enter 2017 Pacific Classic winner Collected in the Breeders’ Cup Classic along with West Coast and McKinzie.
“Accelerate is the horse to beat,” Baffert conceded. “He’s become so consistent and he likes to win.”
Other Breeders’ Cup workers Sunday included Dirt Mile favorite Catalina Cruiser (video), seven furlongs in 1:27.60 for John Sadler, and Selcourt (video) (Filly & Mare Sprint), six furlongs in 1:13.80, also for Sadler. Catalina Cruiser was given fractional times by Santa Anita clockers of 25.40, 37.60, 49.40, 1:01.80 and 1:14.
MR. AND MRS. DAVID MEAH HAVE DEBUT RUNNER THURSDAY
David Meah, former assistant to Richard Baltas, is now on board with his wife, Anna, who is training in her own right with eight head at Santa Anita’s Autumn Meet and has her first horse entered on Thursday, Sekhmet’s Revenge, in the first race.
“I’m focusing on my bloodstock business and will continue to gallop and breeze horses,” said David, 36, a native of Leicester, England. “I’m heading to the Fasig-Tipton Yearling Sale this week, then to Tattersalls in England Oct. 29 and back to Kentucky for the November sale there.”
While still with Baltas, Meah bought Next Shares for $190,000 at Keeneland in November of last year. Winner of the Grade I Shadwell Turf Mile on Oct. 13, Next Shares is an outsider in the Breeders’ Cup Mile Nov. 3.
“I loved him,” Meah said when asked about the purchase. “It was more than his conformation. He looked like an awesome individual on the end of a shank when (trainer Bill) Mott had him. He looked like a Grade I winner.”
Anna, 26, also worked with David while with Baltas. A native of Battle Ground, a little town north of Vancouver, Washington, Anna arrived at Hollywood Park in December of 2012, worked for Eoin Harty and Walther Solis, met David, and the rest is blissful history.
SINGLE TICKET PICK SIX JACKPOT CARRYOVER OF $662,512
With no single winning ticket Saturday, there is a 20 cent Single Ticket Pick Six Jackpot carryover of $662,512 into Sunday at Santa Anita.
There was $267,988 in “new money” bet into the Rainbow Six yesterday, creating a total pool of $869,148, which resulted in 62 winning tickets, each worth $2,326.90.
With a nine-race card on tap today, the Rainbow Six begins with race four and runs through race nine. Approximate post time for the fourth race is 2:05 p.m. PT.
FINISH LINES: Angel Cruz rides in his first race at Santa Anita this meet aboard 20-1 outsider Cee Sam’s Girl in today’s eighth race, but it’s not the first time the 23-year-old native of Puerto Rico has ridden at The Great Race Place. He rode Dancing Rags to an eighth-place finish for Graham Motion here in the 2016 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies. Represented by agent Matt Nakatani, Cruz is good friends with two of the leading jockeys on the planet, the brothers Irad Ortiz Jr. and Jose Ortiz. “I grew up with them,” Cruz said . . . Joe Talamo rides Streetwithnoname for Eoin Harty in Saturday’s Grade III Autumn Miss Stakes for three-year-old fillies at one mile on turf, and Argentine-bred Roman Rosso for Bob Baffert in next Sunday’s $75,000 Comma to the Top Stakes for three-year-olds and up at a mile on the main track . . . Santa Anita will be dark for live racing Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, but be open for simulcast action Wednesday in the Paddock Room, with admission gates opening at 10 a.m. General admission and parking are free. Live racing resumes 1 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 25.
XBTV VIDEO WORKS OF THE DAY:
|SANTA ANITA STATISTICS|
|(Current Through Saturday, Oct. 20)|
|Drayden Van Dyke||51||12||11||7||24%||59%||$713,200|
|Robert Hess, Jr.||18||4||4||2||22%||56%||$109,435|
|J. Keith Desormeaux||22||3||1||1||14%||23%||$95,395|