- PROSPECT PARK SHARP FOR RICH SANTA ANITA DERBY
- MIKE SMITH KEEN ON BOLO IN SANTA ANITA DERBY
- SANTA ANITA DERBY COULD LURE ONE LUCKY DANE
- HOLLENDORFER HAS THE ‘EDGE’ IN TOKYO CITY CUP
- ELLIS EYES IMPROVEMENT AT MILE FOR MAJESTIC CITY
PROSPECT PARK TO BREEZE SATURDAY FOR DERBY
Prospect Park arrived Tuesday from his San Luis Rey Downs headquarters for the
Grade I, $1 million Santa Anita Derby on Saturday, April 4. Trainer Cliff Sise Jr. couldn’t be happier with the status of the son of Tapit owned and bred by Pam and Marty Wygod.
“He galloped here yesterday,” Sise said. “He’ll work five furlongs on Saturday. It’s a very good crop (of 3-year-olds) this year, and thank God, they’re not dropping like flies like they did last year.
“Right now, I’m as happy as I could be. He’s doing great.”
In other Santa Anita Derby news:
Bob Baffert said Thursday morning he is considering the Santa Anita Derby for One Lucky Dane, 9 ¾-length winner of his 3-year-old debut last Thursday. The bay son of Lookin At Lucky finished sixth by 9 ½ lengths in his previous start behind Texas Red in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile last Nov. 1.
“I might run him,” Baffert said. “He likes this track. He’s two-for-two on it (One Lucky Dane broke his maiden by 9 ½ lengths at Santa Anita last Oct. 4). Either that, or I could wait for the Lexington. Now’s the time to find out if you fit.”
The Grade III Coolmore Lexington offers $250,000 in purse money and will be decided at 1 1/16 miles April 11 at Keeneland.
Santa Anita offers a $750,000 guaranteed Late Pick 4 pool and a $300,000 guaranteed Pick 6 pool on Santa Anita Derby Day.
SMITH SEEKS SECOND SANTA ANITA DERBY WIN WITH PROMISING BOLO
A winner of a record 21 Breeders’ Cup races and considered by many to be the best big-money rider in American Racing, jockey Mike Smith figures to be a longshot to win his second career Santa Anita Derby with up and coming Bolo, who will try to turn the tables on top-rated Derby contender Dortmund in the 78th running of the West Coast’s most important Kentucky Derby prep on Saturday, April 4.
Dating back to Gallahadion in 1940, the Grade I, $1 million Santa Anita Derby has produced a total of 17 winners of the Run for the Roses, including two out of the last three–I’ll Have Another in 2012 and California Chrome last year.
Trained by Carla Gaines and owned by Golden Pegasus Racing, Inc. and Earle Mack, Bolo, a 3-year-old Kentucky-bred colt by Temple City, had won two out of his first three starts with Smith on grass, including the one mile Eddie Logan Stakes on Dec. 27, prior to running a big third, beaten only 1 ¾ lengths, by Dortmund in the Grade II San Felipe Stakes on March 7, which was Bolo’s first-ever start on natural dirt.
Although Smith, who’s lone Kentucky Derby win came with longshot Giacomo in 2005, took off of Bolo to ride Ocho Ocho Ocho to an eighth place finish in the San Felipe, he’s more than happy to be back aboard for his next engagement on April 4.
Q. You saw Bolo run a big third behind Dortmund in the Grade II San Felipe on March 7. Can he improve enough in the Santa Anita Derby to turn the tables on Dortmund?
A. “We’re sure hoping so. He had a slight tendency to get tired the other day. He made a beautiful run, looked like he was going to be a big part of it, but he just got tired. He missed close to three weeks of training in between the Eddie Logan and the San Felipe, so he definitely had a license to need that race and it should move him forward, but you just hope it moves him forward enough.”
Q. He’s shown good natural speed on dirt and turf. How important is that to you?
A. “It’s good to have a horse that has tactical speed like that, who can put you in the race early and put you in a good spot. It always helps. The first time he ran, he got away real bad. He used to be a little anxious in the gate but he’s gotten a lot better about it and he’s been breaking really well.”
Q. He’s by the Dynaformer stallion Temple City and he’s out of a Chief Seattle mare. Does he have the pedigree to be a top-tier Derby candidate?
A. “I really think he does. I don’t think distance will be a problem for him whatsoever. Like I said, he got a little tired the other day from missing training but every time I’ve ever ridden him, he’s galloped out like a monster. I don’t think the distance will be a problem, I think it will be a plus.”
Q. If Bolo runs a big second or third in the Santa Anita Derby, would you commit to him for the Kentucky Derby, or would you wait?
A. “I ride the Arkansas Derby (April 11) after that as well, so I’ll have to see how Far Right (by Notional and trained by Ron Moquett) runs and how Bolo runs in the Santa Anita Derby and go from there. As you know, things can change a lot in these prep races so you don’t want to commit right now. If you commit now and they decide not to go (to the Derby), you may have cut yourself off another horse, so you just want them all to keep taking steps forward and it should be no problem.”
Q. If you can take a step back, and assess things as a horseplayer, who’s the best 3-year-old you’ve seen this year?
A. “I think Dortmund is the best 3-year-old because he hasn’t missed a beat. He’s the only one that’s been marching straight through. He hasn’t missed training. He hasn’t missed anything. I think he’ll want every bit of a mile and a quarter and he’s already proven he likes Churchill Downs with the way he won there (7 ¾ length one mile allowance win on Nov. 29). American Pharoah ran really well at Oaklawn the other day. I’m not sure how much was in that race and it was his first race back, but he surely can’t be as tight as Dortmund is right now, so I’d have to give the edge to Dortmund.”
A native of Roswell, New Mexico, Smith, who will turn 50 on Aug. 10, won the 2007 Santa Anita Derby with Tiago and he was also the regular rider of legendary 2010 Horse of the Year Zenyatta.
DECISIVE EDGE IN GOOD SPOT FOR FIRST STAKES WIN
Jerry Hollendorfer entered Distinctive Edge and Rousing Sermon in Saturday’s Grade III, $100,000 Tokyo City Cup at 1 ½ miles on dirt, but is likely to run only Distinctive Edge, with Rousing Sermon going in Sunday’s $75,000 Santana Mile.
It would mark the first stakes start for Distinctive Edge, a 4-year-old Bernardini colt who has made eight of his 12 career races on turf.
“We’ll enter Rousing Sermon in the Santana and make a decision,” said Hollendorfer assistant Dan Ward, “because he’s very good at a mile, and since he’s a Cal-bred and there’s a Cal-bred bonus (of $22,500), it’s almost the same purse (as the Tokyo City Cup).
“But aside from that, we’ve really been wanting to run Decisive Edge long. His best was a mile and a quarter (second by a half-length on Feb. 6), and his dirt race (second to the front-running Alfa Bird at 1 1/8 miles on Jan. 2) also was an excellent race. He might be a real specialist at that distance.”
The field for the Tokyo City Cup, race eight of nine: Helm, Drayden Van Dyke, 10-1; Decisive Edge, Alex Solis, 8-1; Rousing Sermon, Rafael Bejarano, 4-1; Bronzo, Gary Stevens, 9-5; Arlington House, Tyler Baze, 6-1; Image of Joplin, Agapito Delgadillo, 12-1; Bailoutbobby, Elvis Trujillo, 8-1; and Sky Kingdom, Martin Garcia, 5-2.
SORESCA TRIES NEW TACTIC IN MARCH MADNESS
Soresca was nominated to Saturday’s March Madness Starter Handicap for fillies and mares at 1 1/8 miles on turf and the Grade III Tokyo City Cup at 1 ½ miles on dirt for older horses, but trainer Jim Cassidy is opting for the lesser of the two evils, on paper at least.
An Irish-bred daughter of Elusive City, Soresca won her last start at 13-1 going a mile on turf at the $25,000 claiming level, coming from well off the pace under Santiago Gonzalez.
“She had shown speed in her earlier races in this country,” Cassidy said, “but it didn’t work out. We’ve taken her back and that suits her better.”
The March Madness: Soresca, Santiago Gonzalez, 6-1; Jade With Envy, Felipe Valdez, 5-1; Toppers Sunshine, Fernando Perez, 6-1; Handfull, Rafael Bejarano, 3-1; Love Blind, Drayden Van Dyke, 6-1; Teasing Moment, Brayan Pena, 30-1; Loan Savant, Mario Gutierrez, 8-1; Grandiose Tactics, Tyler Baze, 5-2; Marina Del Heat, Flavien Prat, 30-1; Bitter Tears, Modesto Linares, 30-1; and Summers Dignity, Tiago Pereira, 20-1.
SANTANA MILE IDEAL SPOT FOR MAJESTIC CITY
Ron Ellis has found a softer spot for Majestic City. After performing admirably but not winning in four straight graded stakes, the 6-year-old City Zip horse has been entered by the trainer in Sunday’s $75,000 Santana Mile in quest of his first victory since capturing the restricted Big Bear Stakes at Santa Anita in October of 2013, a span of seven races.
The Santana Mile will mark Majestic City’s second start since finishing fifth in the Grade II San Carlos Stakes at seven furlongs on March 7. It was his first race in more than 10 months.
“I would hope he moves forward off his last start,” Ellis said. “I think he’s better going a mile than seven-eighths anyway.”
Majestic City has a 4-4-4 record from 23 starts, with earnings of $453,960.
The field: Secretsatmidnight, Martin Garcia; Majestic City, Tyler Baze; Blue Tone, Kent Desormeaux; Appealing Tale, Fernando Perez; Storm Fighter, Alex Solis; Galicado, Mike Smith; You Know I Know, Santiago Gonzalez; Ankeny Hill, Joe Talamo; Rousing Sermon, Rafael Bejarano; and Edge of Reality, Drayden Van Dyke.
SANTA ANITA RIDERS IN DERBY DAY 5K WALK & RUN
Several Santa Anita-based jockeys will participate in Santa Anita’s annual Derby Day 5K Walk and Run on Saturday, April 4. A traditional prelude to the 78th running of the Santa Anita Derby later in the day, the Derby Day 5K will start at 8 a.m.
“We’re going to have more jockeys participating than ever before,” said veteran rider Aaron Gryder, who was born in nearby West Covina and has more than 3,600 wins in a career dating back to 1987.
“We’re all out here to have fun, but I think the number of jocks participating is a pretty good indicator that we all are living healthier and are much more committed to fitness than maybe we were 20 or 30 years ago.”
The jockeys, with their probable odds of winning provided by Santa Anita morning line maker Jon White follows:
Saul Arias, 15-1; Cheryl Charlton, 15-1; Victor Espinoza, 12-1; Omar Figueroa, 6-1; Santiago Gonzalez, 15-1; Aaron Gryder, 10-1; Modesto Linares, 12-1; Edwin Maldonado, 12-1; Bryan Pena, 15-1; Tiago Pereira, 12-1; Iggy Puglisi, 15-1; Alex Solis, 10-1; Joe Steiner, 12-1; Kayla Star, 15-1; Elvis Trujillo, 8-1; and Drayden Van Dyke, 8-1.
All runners will begin their 5K journey in Santa Anita’s parking lot area that adjoins the Westfield Santa Anita Mall. After running north on Baldwin Ave., the course angles west into the Los Angeles County Arboretum for a scenic loop. The runners will then head east across Baldwin Ave. for a short tour of Santa Anita’s stable area en route to the track’s Infield tunnel which takes them to a quarter-mile finish on Santa Anita’s inner training track.
Adults and children of all ages are encouraged to participate and may register online at www.kinaneevents.com. Derby Day 5K walk-up registration will be available from today, March 20, through April 2 at Run With Us, located at 235 N. Lake Ave., Pasadena.
Those wishing to register the day before the event can do so on April 3 at the Promenade at Westfield Santa Anita from 4 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. Race day registration will be available in the Santa Anita parking lot, next to the 5K starting line, beginning at 6:30 a.m.
For more information on the Santa Anita Derby Day 5k Run and Walk, please visit santaanita.com/events or call (626) 574-RACE.
FINISH LINES: Breeders’ Cup Classic winner Bayern, under regular rider Martin Garcia, worked six furlongs in company Thursday morning for Bob Baffert in 1:13.40. Stablemate Oh Billy Billy was timed in 1:14.40. “Nice and easy” is how Baffert described Bayern’s move, but the trainer offered no word on what race he might have in mind for the colt’s 4-year-old debut . . . Two-time Eclipse Award winner Beholder worked six furlongs under exercise rider David Neusch in 1:12.40. “She’s training great,” said Richard Mandella, adding, “We’re still working on where to start.” . . . Leading jockey Rafael Bejarano, who won three races Sunday to increase his lead to 61-34 over runner-up Tyler Baze, has been cleared to ride based on an appeal of a three-day suspension (March 28, 29 and April 2) for causing interference on Jazzy Josh in Saturday’s fourth race . . . Firing Line punched his ticket to the May 2 Kentucky Derby with his facile score in Sunday’s Sunland Derby. “He’s back here at Santa Anita and will train up to the Derby,” Simon Callaghan said of the son of Line of David owned by Arnold Zetcher. “I was kind of hoping for that (kind of margin of victory). I think he needed to go and do that to really put himself into the Kentucky Derby picture.” . . . Crimson Giant, 12-1 morning line chance in today’s sixth race, will be making his eighth start this meet, which began last Dec. 26. That’s eight races in 90 days, an average of nearly one start every 11 days for the 6-year-old gelded son of Formal Gold, who will be seeking his second win today in this, his 68th career start . . .Tom Quigley‘s guest handicappers in the East Paddock Gardens at 11:20 a.m. will be Peter Dills, horse player and Southern California food critic, Saturday, and Jonathan Hardoon of the Ragozin Sheets, Sunday . . . Sign of the apocalypse: Leading trainer Jerry Hollendorfer, who has started 150 horses this meet, one fewer than leader Doug O’Neill, does not–repeat, does not–have a horse entered at Santa Anita on Thursday or Friday. “We entered,” Hollendorfer assistant Dan Ward said, “but the races didn’t fill.” Team Hollendorfer will make up for the rare shortfall when it plans to enter 14 horses on Santa Anita Derby weekend, April 4 and 5, and possibly one at Keeneland, one at Oaklawn Park and one in New York . . . Popular longtime Southern California-based trainer Norman MacDonald passed away in Vancouver, B.C. this past Jan.16 at age 89. A former professional hockey player, he was perhaps best known as the conditioner of long-fused turf gelding Flying Gene. MacDonald was surrounded at his passing by his sons, former trainers Brad and Mark MacDonald . . .On Saturday, the Grade III Tokyo City Cup will be the feature race on Japan Family Day, with the Ramen Yokocho Festival in the infield. For more details, visit www.tokyocitycup.com.
|SANTA ANITA STATISTICS|
|(Current Through Sunday, March 22)|
|Drayden Van Dyke||180||21||21||23||12%||$1,348,060|
|A. C. Avila||25||7||2||3||28%||$208,298|