Triple Crown winner American Pharoah galloped over Santa Anita’s main track

Thursday as he prepares to meet his adoring public Saturday at Santa Anita where he will come through the track’s Paddock Gardens and then parade down the runway between the seventh and eighth races.

It will be a gala occasion. The only thing missing will be Bert Parks singing, “Oh, there he goes, Mr. American . . . Pharoah.”

Owned and bred by Ahmed Zayat and trained by Bob Baffert, American Pharoah will enter the track’s Paddock Gardens at approximately 4:30 p.m., following a gate-to-wire screening of his Belmont Stakes triumph, which climaxed his Triple Crown run.

He will then proceed to the track’s Seabiscuit Walking Ring where he will take a pair of laps accompanied by handlers from Baffert’s stable. He will then be led under the Grandstand and onto Santa Anita’s main track, where he will be led towards the Club House turn.

After posing for pictures, American Pharoah will turn around and head to the Winner’s Circle where he will be met by Baffert, regular rider Victor Espinoza, and an expected throng of media.

The entire ceremony will be shown live on Santa Anita’s simulcast network.

It will be no dry run for stablemate Hoppertunity, however. He competes in Saturday’s Grade I, $500,000 Gold Cup at Santa Anita, coming back in just two weeks from his third-place finish in the Grade I Stephen Foster Handicap at Churchill Downs on June 13, an uncharacteristic move for Baffert.

“I wasn’t going to run in the Foster, and he was a little short,” the Hall of Fame trainer

explained. “But he got a lot out of it and now he’s sharp and it looks like he’s ready, so I expect a big effort from him.”

The 1 1/8-mile Foster was Hoppertunity’s first start since last Feb. 7 when he was third by eight lengths behind Shared Belief in the San Antonio Invitational.

The 4-year-old son of Any Given Saturday will be seeking his fifth win from 11 starts and his second Grade I, having taken the Clark Handicap last Nov. 28 at Churchill Downs.

The Gold Cup is this year’s second “Win and You’re In” Challenge Race for the $5 million Breeders’ Cup Classic. The Breeders’ Cup will pay the $100,000 entry fee for the Gold Cup winner to start in the Classic under the enhancements of the Breeders’ Cup Challenge series.

All fans will get an officially licensed “American Pharoah Triple Crown Champion” T-shirt free with paid admission and Santa Anita Thoroughbreds Club membership. (Thoroughbreds Club signups will be available free at all T-shirt distribution locations).

The field for the Gold Cup, which will be shown live on NBCSN from 5 to 6 p.m. Pacific Time: Batti Man, Fernando Perez, 30-1; Hard Aces, Victor Espinoza, 12-1; Poshsky, Flavien Prat, 30-1; Motown Men, Tyler Baze, 6-1; Majestic City, Carlos Lopez, 12-1; Hoppertunity, Martin Garcia, 7-2; Big Cazanova, Corey Nakatani, 12-1; Moreno, Cornelio Velasquez, 7-2; Catch a Flight, Gary Stevens, 5-2; Lideris, Joe Talamo, 50-1; and Finnegans Wake, Mike Smith, 6-1.

First post time Saturday and closing day Sunday, June 28, will be 1 p.m.



Sahara Sky and Wild Dude should have ample pace to run at in Saturday’s Grade I, $300,000 Triple Bend Stakes for 3-year-olds and up at seven furlongs.

Both horses trained by Jerry Hollendorfer have good tracking styles, which should benefit them against expected pacesetters San Onofre and Masochistic.

“It looks like there’s enough pace, but we’ll see how it sets up,” Hollendorfer said. “Both horses should run well.”

Sahara Sky, a 7-year-old Pleasant Tap horse owned by Hollendorfer and Kim Lloyd’s Sweetwater Stable, rallied for third, beaten only a length, against Masochistic and San Onofre in the Grade II Kona Gold at 6 ½ furlongs on April 11. Winner of the Grade I Metropolitan Handicap in 2013, Sahara Sky has eight wins from 22 starts with earnings of $1,169,578.

Wild Dude, also owned in part by Hollendorfer along with Green Smith Jr., finished a willing third last out in the Los Angeles Stakes at six furlongs May 25. He has won Grade II stakes twice, but will be seeking his first Grade I in the Triple Bend.

The field for Triple Bend, which goes as race seven: Blue Tone, Kent Desormeaux, 12-1; San Onofre, Alex Solis, 3-1; Appealing Tale, Joe Talamo, 10-1; Sahara Sky, Rafael Bejarano, 3-1; Masochistic, Tyler Baze, 9-5; Wild Dude, Flavien Prat, 9-2; and Holy Lute, Mike Smith, 10-1.



Doug O’Neill is two in front with four laps to go in quest of his fourth Santa Anita training title. The 47-year-old Michigan native holds a 20-18 lead over runner-up Peter Miller, who is emptying the barn in a bid to overtake O’Neill while training out of San Luis Rey Downs.

O’Neill has two outsiders entered in Saturday’s Grade II Royal Heroine Stakes for older fillies and mares at one mile on turf, Birdlover and One More.

Birdlover, an English-bred daughter of Byron, won the Mizdirection at about 6 ½ furlongs on turf last out, but has won at a mile on grass and was third, beaten just a head, in the Grade III Wilshire at a mile on turf April 26.

One More, a 4-year-old daughter of 1994 Horse of the Year Holy Bull, was third in the Grade III Providencia Stakes last April but has yet to win a stakes.

“I think they’re both going to be forwardly placed, and both of them on their best day can be competitive in that group,” O’Neill said.

“We know it’s deep water, but both horses are doing well.”

The field for the Royal Heroine: Blingismything, Tyler Baze, 4-1; Generosidade, Tiago Pereira, 20-1; Stormy Lucy, Flavien Prat, 6-1; Birdlover, Mike Smith, 4-1; Mangita, Aaron Gryder, 30-1; Famous Alice, Gary Stevens, 12-1; Fanticola, Joe Talamo, 7-2; Queen of the Sand, Rafael Bejarano, 4-1; Alexis Tangier, Victor Espinoza, 6-1; and One More, Mario Gutierrez, 20-1.



Martin Pedroza and Mio Me outran their odds in an overnight race on June 5, finishing third, beaten just over a length, at nearly 20-1.

Trainer Mark Casse and his team hope the progress continues in Saturday’s Grade III Senorita Stakes for 3-year-old fillies at one mile on turf.

“Mio Me is coming up to the race beautifully,” said Randi Melton, who oversees Casse’s Southern California division. “I’m very pleased with her. Martin rode her great last time. He seems to suit her.” A Kentucky-bred daughter of Eskendereya owned by W.S. Farish Jr., who campaigns as Woodford Racing LLC, Mio Me was third in the Ultra Fleet Stakes on turf May 1.

The field for the Senorita: Rattataptap, Tyler Baze, 6-1; Long Hot Summer, Joe Talamo, 4-1; Lutine Belle, Rafael Bejarano, 15-1; Curlin’s Fox, Mike Smith, 5-2; Mio Me, Martin Pedroza, 15-1; Screaming Skylar, Victor Espinoza, 8-1; Miss Double D’oro, Martin Garcia, 12-1; Avenge, Flavien Prat, 4-1: and Prize Exhibit, Santiago Gonzalez, 5-1.



The Southern California racing community lost two of its most devoted and treasured members recently with the passing of actor Dick Van Patten and former trainer Sandy Shulman.

Van Patten, whose career on stage and screen spanned close to eighty years, died Tuesday morning in Santa Monica. He was 86.

Former trainer Shulman, a native of Pittsburgh, PA, saddled more than 800 winners in a career that began in 1981. He died on Father’s Day, June 21, at the age of 78.

A top athlete, Shulman held multiple track and field records at Fairfax High School. He is survived by his son, Leonard Shulman; daughter Eileen Daley; grandchildren Shaylynn, Tyson, Tyler, McKenzie and Kennedy, along with two great grandchildren, Hudson and Aiden.

According to a report in Variety, Van Patten died at Saint John’s Hospital in Santa Monica, Calif., due to complications from diabetes.

Van Patten began his career on the Broadway stage as a child in 1937, and appeared in such films “Freaky Friday” as well as several Mel Brooks comedies such as “High Anxiety,” and “Robin Hood:Men in Tights.”

It was on television during the late 1970’s and early 1980’s when Van Patten really made his mark, starring as Tom Bradford on the long-running hit, “Eight is Enough.”Van Patten also was a longtime racing fan and horse owner, and as this New York Times article pointed out in 2013, he first began going to tracks in New York as a kid. He made Hollywood Park a favorite stop when he moved to Los Angeles in the early 1970’s. Even in his 80’s, Van Patten could always been found at Hollywood Park, Del Mar and Santa Anita, very often in the company of the likes of actor/producer/director Mel Brooks.

“I’ve used Dick in more of my movies than any other actor,” said Brooks several years ago in the Santa Anita Winner’s Circle. “He was the most talented and he was a pleasure to be around on the set…He’s the greatest horseplayer I’ve ever met in my life.”

Van Patten is survived by his wife Pat; three sons, actors Nels Van Patten, James Van Patten and Vincent Van Patten; a sister, actress Joyce Van Patten; and a younger half-brother, director-producer Timothy Van Patten.

Services for Shulman will be held at Mt. Sinai, 5950 Forest Lawn Dr. in Los Angeles tomorrow at 11:30 a.m. For further details, contact Mt. Sinai at In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to Pediatric Cancer Research Foundation,, or the Downtown Dog Rescue,


FINISH LINES: Triple Crown hero American Pharoah is up for an ESPY for best championship performance along with Madison Bumgarner of the San Francisco Giants, Florida softball star Lauren Haeger, and LeBron James of the Cleveland Cavaliers. Fans can vote by visiting . . . Breeders’ Cup Juvenile winner Texas Red, who worked a mile in 1:38.97 under Kent Desormeaux in company with Salty Kid after Sunday’s fourth race, will ship to New York July 1 for the $500,000 Dwyer Stakes on July 4, trainer and part owner Keith Desormeaux said. “He went the last half (mile) in 48 and three, the last eighth in (one) 11 and two, galloped out from the finish line to the seven eighths pole in (one) 12 and one. It looks like he’s fit. That’s why we do these things. It gets their adrenalin pumping. We train in beautiful Southern California most every morning in 50 and 60 degree weather and this horse has never been taxed over a period of more than six months except for his second in the San Vicente on Feb. 1. With the recent hot temperatures we’ve had here, I just wanted to tax his body a little bit in preparation for the New York heat. There probably will be high heat and humidity in New York, so I tried to simulate that in his work and I think we did that Sunday.” . . . Laz Barrera winner Kentuckian turned in another smart workout Thursday for the July 4 Los Alamitos Derby, going six furlongs under Mike Smith in a bullet 1:11 for Jerry Hollendorfer . . . Tomorrow is the final 4 o’clock Friday of the Spring Meet, with first post time for the eight-race program starting at 4 p.m. . . . Jim Meeks, winner of the 2015 Horseplayer World Series ($267,000) will be Tom Quigley‘s guest Saturday, while handicapper and contest player Nick Tammaro will do honors Sunday, each day at 11:50 a.m. in the East Paddock Gardens.


(Current Through Sunday, June 21
Jockey Mts 1st 2nd 3rd Win% Money Won
Rafael Bejarano 175 42 31 30 24% $1,973,036
Tyler Baze 211 31 34 31 15% $1,802,410
Fernando Perez 128 24 21 12 19% $916,480
Joseph Talamo 147 24 15 28 16% $1,047,908
Flavien Prat 151 23 28 17 15% $1,422,952
Drayden Van Dyke 121 16 14 12 13% $681,572
Tiago Pereira 74 11 13 7 15% $485,520
Victor Espinoza 40 11 7 7 28% $759,750
Santiago Gonzalez 103 10 16 10 10% $450,024
Edwin Maldonado 91 10 14 15 11% $434,460
Mike Smith 47 9 10 6 19% $757,816
Martin Garcia 47 9 6 10 19% $381,860
Mario Gutierrez 55 9 5 9 16% $445,008
Felipe Valdez 98 8 15 9 8% $365,640
Gary Stevens 29 8 3 5 28% $671,820
Trainer Sts 1st 2nd 3rd Win% Money Won
Doug O’Neill 101 20 18 12 20% $919,568
Peter Miller 82 18 18 10 22% $719,260
Philip D’Amato 60 17 10 7 28% $965,550
Richard Baltas 62 17 9 4 27% $884,130
John Sadler 68 13 10 12 19% $840,204
Richard Mandella 46 12 13 4 26% $892,610
Mike Puype 63 9 12 7 14% $502,190
Jerry Hollendorfer 67 7 18 9 10% $611,088
Bob Baffert 31 7 3 6 23% $349,350
Eddie Truman 21 7 2 4 33% $287,208