- FILLY ON WINNING MENU FOR CELEBRITY CHEF FLAY
- DEMONICA RETURNS TO SPRINT IN IRISH O’BRIEN
- POPULAR ‘SHIP AND WIN’ PROGRAM STARTS APRIL 2
- PAPER WORK DELAY COSTS PEDROZA STAKES MOUNT
FLAY STAYS IN ‘KITCHEN’ WITH FILLY’S HEAT
Renowned celebrity chef Bobby Flay hopes the filly he owns, Dame Dorothy, serves up
another victory when she runs in Saturday’s Grade I, $400,000 Santa Margarita Stakes for older fillies and mares at 1 1/8 miles.
A $390,000 daughter of Bernardini bred in Pennsylvania, Dame Dorothy will be seeking her sixth win from seven career starts for trainer Todd Pletcher. She won her first four starts, was third in the Grade III Comely at Aqueduct at nine furlongs on Nov. 29, then captured Gulfstream Park’s Sunshine Millions Distaff at seven furlongs on Jan. 17.
“It seems like she shipped in here in great order,” said trainer Mike McCarthy, former assistant to Pletcher who is babysitting Dame Dorothy for the nation’s second-leading money winning trainer through March 10 with $2,890,154, behind only Jerry Hollendorfer at $3,362,670.
“She trained super this morning,” McCarthy said. “She galloped a mile and looked lively.”
The Santa Margarita: Legacy, Joe Talamo, 20-1; Cassatt, Kerwin Clark, 3-1; Dame Dorothy, Rafael Bejarano, 5-2; Thegirlinthatsong, Mike Smith, 9-2; Tiz Midnight, Martin Garcia, 4-1; Uzziel, Kent Desormeaux, 12-1; and Warren’s Veneda, Tyler Baze, 2-1.
SPEEDY DEMONICA MAKES STAKES DEBUT IN IRISH O’BRIEN
Demonica makes her debut on Santa Anita’s unique downhill turf course when she runs in Saturday’s $100,000 Irish O’Brien Stakes at about 6 ½ furlongs–a race which is part of the Golden State series for California-bred or sired fillies and mares, age four and up.
It will also mark the stakes debut for the California-bred daughter of First Defence trained by John Sadler for the C R K Stable. She is coming off four straight grass races at a mile or longer, winning twice on the front end, as is her wont.
“I don’t know if there’s much speed in there, but she’ll probably be in front,” said Joe Talamo, who has ridden her in her last four races and retains the mount Saturday. “Last time she ran well but that was when the turf was real soft from recent rain. She still held on pretty well (finishing fourth by three lengths), so I think she’ll like the cutback in distance.”
The Irish O’Brien: Bert’s Melody, Brice Blanc, 8-1; Demonica, Joe Talamo, 6-1; Warren’s Gussie, Edwin Maldonado, 6-1; Go West Marie, Gary Stevens, 2-1; Qiaona, Rafael Bejarano, 6-1; Velvet Mesquite, Mike Smith, 9-5; and Star Field, Tiago Pereira, 6-1.
‘SHIP AND WIN’ PROGRAM EXPANDS IN CALIFORNIA APRIL 2
“Ship and Win,” an incentive program to attract out-of-state horses to race in California that met with fine success over the past four seasons at Del Mar, will expand to take in the entire Southern California racing circuit beginning April 2.
The arrangement, which will apply to horses starting at Santa Anita, Los Alamitos and Del Mar, will guarantee a $1,000 appearance fee and a 30 percent enhancement to all purse money earned in their initial start for horses not raced in California the past 12 months.
Funding for the program will come from the three Southern California racetracks, the Thoroughbred Owners of California and the California Marketing Committee, which is tasked with promoting racing in the state.
“Horse recruitment and increasing field size are top priorities for TOC,” said Joe Morris, the ownership group’s president. “We supported the ‘Ship and Win’ program at Del Mar the last four years and believe it will be equally successful year-round for Southern California.”
Southern California’s exceptional weather, year-round racing in a relatively compact area, the attractive venues and substantial fan base are strong selling points to out-of-state horsemen. Its top riders and lucrative purse offerings add further luster to that formula.
“It’s been a very good program for my owners and my horses,” said trainer Mark Casse, who brought in a large string of runners to Del Mar for the first time last summer with the “Ship and Win” program providing a key push. “It’s a major expense to ship out there, so the bonus monies certainly helped. And now that we’ve seen that we can come and compete well, we’ll be bringing out more horses this year, including some of our better 2-year-olds. Several of my owners have never raced in the west with the exception of the Breeders’ Cup, so this has opened a door for them to try California.”
In his first season at Del Mar, Casse started 38 horses at the summer meet and won five races and over $600,000 in purses. He had 13 “Ship and Win” horses who made 25 starts and accounted for two wins, seven seconds and five thirds.
“Ship and Win” is not just for out-of-town horsemen, though. Local trainers and owners have tapped into its lure and more are expected to go outside the state to bring back runners this year with the expansion set to begin.
Trainer Bob Hess, Jr. had a stellar summer at Del Mar in 2014 with 15 wins and nearly $600,000 in purses. He had 16 different “Ship and Win” horses in his barn and they accounted for six victories, a pair of seconds and a third.
“I’m a big fan of ‘Ship and Win’,” said Hess. “We have the best stage in the country for presenting horse racing, but we need to get people aware and involved in being part of it. A program like this is a part of the puzzle, part of how we actually get people to realize how good it is to race in California.”
Southern California’s three racing secretaries – Rick Hammerle at Santa Anita, David Jerkens at Del Mar and Bob Moreno at Los Alamitos – are all strong supporters of the expansion of the program. Santa Anita will kick-off the year-round “Ship and Win” on April 2 and race through June 28. Los Alamitos picks it up from there from July 2 to July 12. Del Mar’s summer session then goes from July 16 to Sept. 7. Each of the tracks finishes out the year with additional meets – Los Alamitos (tentatively set for 9/10 to 9/20), Santa Anita (9/24 to 10/25), Del Mar (10/29 to 11/29) and Los Alamitos (12/3 to 12/20).
Racing officials at the tracks can be reached about the program either on-line or by phone: Santaanita.com (626 574-6473); Delmarracing.com (858 792-4230); Losalamitos.com (714 820-2658). Further information about “Ship and Win” also can be found on the Calracing.com website.
PAPER WORK SNAFU COSTS PEDROZA STAKES MOUNT
Martin Pedroza, about to serve a three-day suspension issued by the California Horse Racing Board, on how he missed riding Private Zone in Saturday’s Grade II Gulfstream Park Handicap:
“The Gaming Commission in Florida told me my license there had temporarily been suspended and it was no big deal for us to renew it. So we did everything we needed to do and sent the paper work to them at the last minute, but it was in a stack with other applications, from Black Jack dealers to waitresses, you name it.
“Just because I was a jockey, I had no priority, and the paper work wasn’t read in time
for my license to be approved. Everybody here tried to help, the stewards from here, the stewards from there, Mike Smith . . . But I never thought I needed to do something about my license being temporarily suspended then, because I never thought I was going to Florida anytime soon, so we let it go. It was kind of our fault.”
Formerly trained by Doug O’Neillbut now trained by Jorge Navarro, Private Zone finished second by a half-length as the 6-5 favorite under Carlos Marquez Jr.
Pedroza’s long-time agent, Richie Silverstein, said he is “hoping to” regain the mount on three-time Grade I winner Private Zone in the future.
FINISH LINES: Trainer Steve Knapp plans to give Grade III Las Flores winner Harlington’s Rose a slight break after her win under Joe Talamo Sunday and look for a race late next month. “There are no races for her now anyway,” said Knapp, whose previous graded stakes win came when $50,000 claim Icantgoforthat took the Grade II Monrovia Stakes in 2003 . . . Tom Quigley‘s guest handicappers this weekend in the East Paddock Gardens at 11:20 a.m. will be Peter Fornatale, Daily Racing Form Contest Editor, Saturday, and Jonathon Kinchen, seventh-place finisher ($59,000) in the 2015 NHC event, Sunday . . . Through 44 racing days, perennial Southern California riding champ Rafael Bejarano has opened his biggest lead yet in Santa Anita’s standings, 50-29 over runners-up Kent Desormeaux and Tyler Baze . . . Eerie racing rarity: Crimson Giant, owned by Bryan Carney who recently sold his popular watering hole called “The Hundred to One Club,” finished 13th and last in Saturday’s Santa Anita Handicap. No surprise there. Beaten more than 31 lengths, the same margin by which Secretariat won the 1973 Belmont Stakes, Crimson Giant went off at odds of–you guessed it–100-1.
|SANTA ANITA STATISTICS|
|(Current Through Sunday, March 8)|
|Drayden Van Dyke||162||17||18||21||10%||$1,114,916|
|A. C. Avila||25||7||2||3||28%||$208,298|