- ‘MIDNIGHT HOUR’ NEAR IN THE SANTA MARIA
- PRAT CALLS THE SHOTS IN ARCADIA STAKES
- THURSDAY WORKERS AT SANTA ANITA HIT 278
- MIDNIGHT STORM DUE TO BREEZE FOR BIG ‘CAP
STREAKING MIDNIGHT TOAST IN STAKES DEBUT
Midnight Toast makes her stakes debut in Saturday’s Grade II, $200,000 Santa Maria Stakes for older fillies and mares, and trainer Jim Cassidy is hopeful the four-year-old daughter of Midnight Lute is up to the task against favored Vale Dori and four others going 1 1/16 miles.
“She’s turned it around and become a pretty nice filly,” Cassidy said of the Canadian-bred owned by Deron Pearson, Cassidy’s chief client for some two decades.
“We’ve got her going pretty good, although there’s other speed in the race, but we can sit off of it. We don’t have to be on the lead. We’ve got the one hole, and that’s going to force us to go a little, but she’s doing well.”
Midnight Toast lost all chance in her debut race down the hillside turf course when she hopped over the dirt portion, but won her two subsequent starts, her last by 4 ¼ lengths going a mile and an eighth on a “good” track Jan. 14.
The Santa Maria, race four: Midnight Toast, Jamie Theriot, 12-1; Lady Tapit, Mario Gutierrez, 30-1; Autumn Flower, Flavien Prat, 20-1; Sheer Pleasure, Martin Garcia, 5-1; Show Stealer, Tyler Baze, 6-1; and Vale Dori, Mike Smith, 1-5.
FAVORABLE ARCADIA POST FOR CONQUEST ENFORCER
Conquest Enforcer seeks his second straight added money success at a mile on turf Saturday in the Grade II Arcadia Stakes for four-year-olds and up.
The recent acquisition to Phil D’Amato’s potent barn won the Grade II Mathis Brothers Mile Dec. 26 on a “good” course after running six of his first seven starts at Woodbine, where he won three times.
Conquest Enforcer drew the outside five post position, while committed front-runner What a View drew inside of him at No. Three.
“I really like our post position, but I’ll leave the strategy up to Flavien (Prat),” D’Amato said. “Our horse has tactical speed. He can take the lead if he wants, he can stalk. We’ll make sure we’ll be on or near the lead and hopefully win the race.”
The Arcadia, race five of nine: Bolo, Mike Smith, 5-1; Ring Weekend, Rafael Bejarano, 6-5; What a View, Tyler Baze, 4-1; Ohio, T.J. Pereira, 15-1; and Conquest Enforcer, Flavien Prat, 8-5.
HORSEMEN HEAVY ON SANTA ANITA WORKS
With rain forecast Friday, horsemen took advantage of sunny weather and “fast” track conditions Thursday when there 278 recorded workouts, including seven on the training track.
Eighteen of the workers were trained by Jerry Hollendorfer, including Longacres Mile Handicap winner Point Piper, who went five furlongs in a bullet 59.40.
Other drills of note included 2016 San Felipe Stakes winner Danzing Candy, four furlongs for Bob Baffert in 47.40; Big Bane Theory, five furlongs in 1:01.60 for Carla Gaines; Big John B, 1:01 for Phil D’Amato; and Delta Princess winner Shane’s Girlfriend, five furlongs for Doug O’Neill in 59.60.
FINISH LINES: Phil D’Amato plans to breeze Santa Anita Handicap contender Midnight Storm “Sunday or Monday” for the Grade I race for older horses at a mile and a quarter on March 11 . . . Trainer Peter Eurton is considering the $75,000 China Doll Stakes at a mile on turf March 11 for Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Sprint winner and Eclipse champion Champagne Room, who was a well-beaten third behind superstar Unique Bella in Sunday’s Grade II Las Virgenes Stakes. “Champagne Room has got so much pedigree on the grass,” Eurton said. “But our major goal is the (Grade I) Ashland (at Keeneland on April 8).” Eurton has downhill specialist Betty’s Bambino ticketed for the $100,000 Sensational Star Stakes at about 6 ½ furlongs on Feb. 25 . . . Ron Ellis said California-bred Masochistic “worked great” Sunday going six furlongs in a bullet 1:12.40 for the Grade I Triple Bend on March 11. “We got lucky and missed the last storm,” the trainer said . . . There was one winning Pick Six ticket Sunday worth $106,209.80 bought through TVG . . .Owner and horse player Ron Paolucci, and Billy Koch, founder and managing partner of Little Red Feather Racing Club, will be Tom Quigley‘s guests Saturday and Sunday, respectively, 11:20 a.m., in the East Paddock Gardens . . . Apprentice riders Evin Roman and George Wood make their Santa Anita debuts today, 18-year-old Puerto Rican native Roman in the sixth race aboard Raindance Rules for trainer Ed Moger Jr., and Wood in the eighth on Lucky Chopra for trainer Leonard Powell. “I love it,” Roman said on his first visit to Santa Anita, through his interpreter, agent Tony Matos. Wood, in from England with Powell for a few weeks on “a working vacation,” has 39 wins.
|SANTA ANITA STATISTICS|
|(Current Through Sunday, Feb. 5)|
|Norberto Arroyo, Jr.||64||9||5||4||14%||28%||$458,830|
|J. Keith Desormeaux||26||7||2||5||27%||54%||$429,640|