- UNIQUE BELLA READY FOR SANTA YSABEL
- MIDNIGHT STORM IS DEFINITE FOR BIG ‘CAP
- ECLIPSE CHAMP CASTELLANO RIDES ‘KOBE’
- BLACK CALLS SANTA ANITA TURF ‘BEST EVER’
VERSATILE UNIQUE BELLA ON RAIL FOR SANTA YSABEL
Unique Bella will have to overcome two firsts in Saturday’s Grade III Santa Ysabel Stakes for three-year-old fillies: breaking from the rail and going a mile and a sixteenth.
It should make no never mind for the budding superstar filly, winner of her last three races by a combined margin of 26 ½ lengths, who is using the Santa Ysabel as a prep for the Grade I, $400,000 Santa Anita Oaks on April 8.
“She can adapt to any situation,” said Dan Ward, assistant to trainer Jerry Hollendorfer. “She can be on the lead or sit off it. She’s schooled well for the race and ready to go.”
The Santa Ysabel, race six of 10: Unique Bella, Mike Smith, 1-5; Tap It All, Santiago Gonzalez, 20-1; Spooky Woods, Flavien Prat, 20-1; Mistressofthenight, Corey Nakatani, 30-1; What What What, Rafael Bejarano, 6-1; Noted and Quoted, Martin Garcia, 6-1; and Abel Tasman, Joe Talamo, 5-1.
MIDNIGHT STORM TO WORK FOR BIG ‘CAP
Midnight Storm will run in the Santa Anita Handicap a week from Saturday, March 11, and not in the Dubai World Cup March 25, Phil D’Amato confirmed Thursday morning.
“We’re running in the Big ‘Cap,” the trainer said. “We made the decision yesterday for sure. The horse is going well and depending on weather, he could breeze Sunday or Monday.”
Probable for the 80th Santa Anita Handicap, a Grade I, $750,000 race for older horses at a mile and a quarter: Follow Me Crev, Gangster, Hard Aces, Hi Happy, Imperative, Isotherm, Midnight Storm, Shaman Ghost and Twentytwentyvision.
MULTIPLE ECLIPSE CHAMP CASTELLANO AT SANTA ANITA
Javier Castellano, winner of an Eclipse Award as the nation’s outstanding jockey the last four years, invades Santa Anita a week from Saturday, March 11, to ride Kobe’s Back in the Grade I Triple Bend Stakes at seven furlongs for trainer Peter Eurton.
Kobe’s Back, who last raced June 25, 2016, finishing third in the Triple Bend, worked six furlongs in 1:13.13 on Santa Anita’s “good” main track before Sunday’s first race.
A six-year-old Kentucky-bred son of Flatter owned by the C R K Stable, millionaire Kobe’s Back has a 5-3-4 record from 20 starts with earnings of $1,036,250.
Castellano, whose agent is former Santa Anita Racing Department official Mike Lakow, won the Eclipse in 2013, 2014, 2015 and 2016. The 39-year-old native of Venezuela has 4,625 career wins and $271,934,924 in purse earnings.
SANTA ANITA’S GRASS COURSE COULDN’T BE GREENER
What a View, on target for the Grade I Frank E. Kilroe Mile a week from Saturday, will be running on a grass course that drew rave reviews from Kenny Black.
“It’s a great turf course,” the trainer said. “It’s taken all that rain and still looks wonderful. It’s as good a turf course as I’ve ever seen.”
Probables for the Kilroe include Bal a Bali, Bolo, Conquest Enforcer, Flamboyant, Papacoolpapacool, Ring Weekend, War Envoy and What a View. Flamboyant worked six furlongs on the main track Thursday in a bullet 1:12.20 for Paddy Gallagher.
FINISH LINES: Today’s pro sports parlay: Kopitar, a three-year-old son of Shackleford making his debut in the fifth race, is named for Los Angeles’ Kings Captain Anze Kopitar, while Catfish Hunter, a three-year-old son of Grazen named for the Hall of Fame pitcher, makes his first start in the sixth race. Kopitar, trained by Phil D’Amato, is 4-1 on Jon White‘s morning line, while Catfish Hunter, conditioned by Steve Miyadi, is 7-2 . . . Five of the six three-year-old fillies entered in today’s second race finished second through sixth in their last race, the California Cup Oaks here on Jan. 28 . . . All THOROUGHBREDS members at Santa Anita on Big ‘Cap Day will receive a free Santa Anita umbrella with paid admission while supplies last. There will be a $1 million guaranteed Late Pick 4 and a $100,000 guaranteed Pick 6.
|SANTA ANITA STATISTICS|
|(Current Through Sunday, Feb. 26)|
|Norberto Arroyo, Jr.||82||13||8||8||16%||35%||$648,020|
|J. Keith Desormeaux||34||7||3||5||21%||44%||$446,760|