- D’AMATO HAS TWO FOR THE MONEY IN SAN LUIS REY
- GAINES EYES BETTER SCENARIO FOR TEXAS RYANO
- ADVANCE WAGERING FRIDAY ON DUBAI WORLD CUP
- STEWART ELLIOTT RECEIVES WOOLF AWARD SUNDAY
D’AMATO ROLLS SAN LUIS REY DICE WITH LONGSHOTS
Phil D’Amato sends out old timer Papacoolpapacool and new hand Syntax in
Saturday’s Grade II, $200,000 San Luis Rey Stakes for four-year-olds and up at a mile and a half on turf.
Tied for fourth in Santa Anita’s standings with 19 wins through Sunday, the trainer gives each an outside chance in the grassy marathon.
“I’ve had Syntax about five months or so,” D’Amato said. “He’s a neat little horse and I’m still getting to know him. I think I’ve got two nice, live longshots in the race. I can see Syntax sitting mid-pack and coming with his run.”
Bred in Ireland, Syntax is a five-year-old full horse formerly trained by Michael Dickinson before D’Amato ran him for the first time on Feb. 5, finishing third by a length in an overnight test at 1 1/8 miles on turf.
Papacoolpapacool has run 15 times for D’Amato, winning four, including the restricted Pasadena and La Puente Stakes in 2015. The gelded son of Temple City has run 18 of his 20 career races on turf.
“Papacool will be up close to the lead and try to get first run on the closers,” D’Amato said. “Both horses are doing really well and I’m looking forward to seeing what they can do at a mile and a half.”
On other fronts, D’Amato said Enola Gray came out of her smashing hillside turf course win in last Saturday’s Irish O’Brien Stakes in good fashion and it’s on to the Grade II Royal Heroine Stakes at a mile on grass April 8.
“She came to the track Thursday morning and looked good,” D’Amato said of the California-bred daughter of Grazen owned and bred by Nick Alexander. “If she gives me a couple good breezes, that’s where we’ll run.
Santa Anita Handicap runner-up Midnight Storm is “tentatively” set for the Grade I Met Mile on Belmont Stakes day, June 10, but D’Amato added,” there are a lot of options out there. He’ll probably breeze sometime next week, stretch his legs, and we’ll formulate a plan.
“Tentatively, we have the Met Mile on our radar.”
The San Luis Rey, the ninth and final race: Inordinate, Corey Nakatani, 8-1; Power
Foot, Kent Desormeaux, 15-1; Flamboyant, Brice Blanc, 6-1; Ashleyluvssugar, Gary Stevens, 5-2; Liam the Charmer, Victor Espinoza, 12-1; Syntax, Rafael Bejarano, 15-1; Buster Douglas, Santiago Gonzalez, 30-1; Papacoolpapacool, Edwin Maldonado, 10-1; Texas Ryano, Joe Talamo, 7-2; Itsinthepost, Tyler Baze, 5-1; Some in Tieme, Tiago Pereira, 30-1; and Site Read, Stewart Elliott, 30-1.
TEXAS RYANO SET FOR SAN LUIS REY
Texas Ryano finished sixth, beaten just 3 ½ lengths, in the Grade II San Marcos Stakes Feb. 4, his first race in nine weeks, but Carla Gaines doesn’t attribute the off-the-board finish to his absence.
“I think he’ll move forward,” the trainer said of the six-year-old full horse owned by
breeder Warren Williamson. “But more than not racing for nine weeks, I think conditions of the race, the pace and other things, caused him not to run quite as well as we were hoping.
“It wasn’t just the nine-week layoff. That wasn’t even a factor. That’s my take on it.”
A son of two-time Horse of the Year Curlin, Texas Ryano won Del Mar’s Grade II Hollywood Turf Cup at a mile and a half last Nov. 15. All 19 of his races have been on turf.
ADVANCE WAGERING FRIDAY ON SATURDAY’S DUBAI WORLD CUP
On Friday, there will be advance wagering on races three through nine on Saturday’s Dubai World Cup program. Early bird wagering opens at 8:30 a.m. Saturday, with betting available on races seven through nine, the ninth race being the World Cup with an approximate post time of 9:45 a.m.
Arrogate, trained by Bob Baffert, drew post position nine in a field of 14. Hoppertunity, also trained by Baffert, has post position 11.
ELLIOTT TO RECEIVE WOOLF AWARD SUNDAY
Veteran jockey Stewart Elliott, who was named winner of the 2017 George Woolf Memorial Jockey Award on Feb. 24, will receive the prestigious trophy, which depicts the legendary George (The Iceman) Woolf, in a Winner’s Circle ceremony between races at Santa Anita on Sunday.
Established to honor the memory of Woolf, who died following a spill on Santa Anita’s Club House turn on Jan. 3, 1946, the Woolf Award was first presented by Santa Anita in 1950 and this year marks the 68th anniversary of the honor that can only be won once.
Voted on by jockeys nationwide, the Woolf Award seeks to recognize riders who have not only achieved a high degree of success in the saddle, but who have conducted both their personal and professional lives in a manner that brings credit to the sport of Thoroughbred racing and to them personally.
Born in Toronto on March 11, 1965, Elliot celebrated his 52nd birthday on Santa Anita Handicap Day, March 11. A strong finisher who is also an outstanding judge of pace, Elliott, best known for capturing the 2004 Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes with Smarty Jones, has now amassed more than 4,700 career wins.
One of five 2017 Woolf finalists, Elliott outpolled contemporaries Kerwin Clark, Julien Leparoux, Glen Murphy and Scott Stevens.
FINISH LINES: Agent Vince DeGregory reports fellow agent Joe Griffin resting at home and doing fine after recently undergoing open heart surgery. “He’s getting better,” DeGregory said . . . Santa Anita Simulcast host Megan Devine did a stellar job on the Night School podcast this past Tuesday night. Night School, which is produced by horseplayernow.com, can be accessed by hitting the following link: htts://www.horseplayernow.com/night-school.html . . . Santa Anita wagering ambassador Chris Ado and Ragozin Sheets guru Jon Hardoon will be Tom Quigley‘s guests, Saturday and Sunday respectively, 11:20 a.m., in the East Paddock Gardens.
|SANTA ANITA STATISTICS|
|(Current Through Saturday, March 18)|
|Norberto Arroyo, Jr.||102||19||11||10||19%||39%||$841,556|
|J. Keith Desormeaux||44||9||4||6||20%||43%||$509,505|
|James M. Cassidy||45||8||8||3||18%||42%||$427,091|