Victor Espinoza will attempt to win a Triple Crown race for the sixth time from his last seven rides when he pilots Whitmore for trainer Ron Moquett in Saturday’s Kentucky Derby.

“I don’t know much about the horse except from what I’ve seen watching replays of all his races,” said Espinoza, who will be aboard the son of Pleasantly Perfect for the first time in the 142nd Run for the Roses.

“The last couple times, he had trouble, especially the last race. Probably 20 or 30 yards out of the gate, he got squeezed and clipped heels with another horse.

“I thought it was very encouraging because he still ran big and finished third after what happened early in the race. Hopefully, everything goes OK and he can improve for the Derby.

“Even though I won five of the last six Triple Crown races, I’m still looking forward to winning the next one. If this horse gets a nice, clean trip, I have a lot of confidence in him.”

As to not being elected to the Hall of Fame this year, Espinoza was philosophical about missing the Final Four.

“I’m not disappointed because it’s not in my control,” he said. “If it was, and I made a mistake, I’d be disappointed, but the voters decide on who they want.”

In addition to the Kentucky Derby, Espinoza is anticipating a reunion with 2014 Horse of the Year California Chrome, who enjoyed a month of R&R at Taylor Made Farm in Kentucky after capturing the $10 million Dubai World Cup, slipped saddle and all, on March 26.

California Chrome arrived at his Los Alamitos headquarters last Sunday to begin training for future races, which are expected to include the Grade II San Diego on July 23, the Grade I Pacific Classic on Aug. 20, the Grade I Awesome Again on Sept. 31 and, fingers crossed, the $5 million Breeders’ Cup Classic at The Great Race Place on Nov. 5.

“So far, so good,” Espinoza said.

The 20-horse lineup for the 142nd Kentucky Derby: Trojan Nation, Aaron Gryder, 50-1; Suddenbreakingnews, Luis Quinonez, 20-1; Creator, Ricardo Santana Jr., 10-1; Mo Tom, Corey Lanerie, 20-1; Gun Runner, Florent Geroux, 10-1; My Man Sam, Irad Ortiz Jr., 20-1; Oscar Nominated, Julien Leparoux, 20-1; Lani, Yukata Take, 30-1; Destin, Javier Castellano, 15-1; Whitmore, Victor Espinoza, 20-1; Exaggerator, Kent Desormeaux, 8-1; Tom’s Ready, Brian Hernandez Jr., 30-1; Nyquist, Mario Gutierrez, 3-1; Mohaymen, Junior Alvarado, 10-1; Outwork, John Velazquez, 15-1; Shagaf, Joel Rosario, 20-1; Mor Spirit, Gary Stevens, 12-1; Majesto, Emisael Jaramillo, 30-1; Brody’s Cause, Luis Saez, 12-1; and Danzing Candy, Mike Smith, 15-1.



Jerry Hollendorfer has two for the money in Saturday’s Grade III Senorita Stakes for three-year-old fillies at a mile on turf, Kiss N Scat and Stays in Vegas.

Kiss N Scat won the California Oaks on Golden Gate’s synthetic Tapeta course Feb. 6, but two subsequent starts on wet grass courses at Santa Anita were disappointing, despite troubled trips.

Stays in Vegas won two restricted turf stakes prior to running second in the Grade I Starlet at Los Alamitos in her most recent start on Dec. 12.

“She got freshened up and we got her ready at Golden Gate,” Hollendorfer said of Stays in Vegas, a chestnut daughter of City Zip. “It looks like she’s ready to go.”

The field for the Senorita, race nine of 11 with a first post time of 12 noon: Fourth Watch, Joe Talamo, 12-1; Mirage, Alonso Quinonez, 12-1; Decked Out, Edwin Maldonado, 5-2; Kiss N Scat, Martin Garcia, 15-1; Sheeza Milky Way, Santiago Gonzalez, 12-1; Swift Lady, Rafael Bejarano, 3-1; Be Mine, Tyler Baze, 7-2; Compel, Brice Blanc, 20-1; and Stays in Vegas, Alex Solis, 7-2.



Santa Anita hosts the “Biggest Derby Party West of Kentucky,” the KROQ Kentucky Derby Beer Festival on Saturday.

In addition to the Run for the Roses, Santa Anita will offer fans a full card of live Thoroughbred action. Admission to the KROQ Beer Festival will start in the Infield at 12 noon. Approximate post time for the Kentucky Derby is 3:40 p.m. PDT.

            For those wishing to spend Derby Day on the Trackside Apron, Santa Anita in partnership with KROQ will offer a Kentucky Derby Trackside Package that includes Club House admission, a drink voucher (must be 21 or over), a racing program and tip sheet, access to Trackside and reserved Grandstand seating areas and an American Pharoah Tote Bag.

            For more information on the Derby Day KROQ Beer Festival or to purchase tickets online, please visit



Santa Anita will offer complimentary shuttle service every racing day during the Spring Meet that runs through July 10.

The operating times will be from 12 noon to 8 p.m. Regular first post time during the spring is 2 p.m.

On Kentucky Derby Day, Saturday, two shuttles will be available from 7a.m. to 8 p.m.

On Sunday, May 8, Mother’s Day, the shuttle will be available from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Service will be offered from the Metro Arcadia train station to the Infield Admission Gates, Club House Admission Gates, and the South Battery.

The shuttle will be picking up/dropping off every 25 minutes from all locations (subject to traffic delays).


FINISH LINES: Santa Anita morning line oddsmaker Jon White has come up with this Kentucky Derby trivia question: “Only one Kentucky Derby winner that went on to be voted an Eclipse Award as champion three-year-old male was never favored in any of his career starts. Who was it?” . . . Trainer Ron Ellis expects to have crack sprinter Masochistic back in serious training soon. “He’s just starting back,” Ellis said of the winner of the Grade I Triple Bend and the Grade II Kona Gold. “He had a fracture in a hind cannon bone. He didn’t need any surgery, so he should be all right. He was out three months. He worked a quarter the other day but he’ll probably get his first recorded work on Sunday.” . . . Ron McAnally has San Juan Capistrano winner Quick Casablanca ticketed for the Grade II Charles Whittingham Stakes at a mile and a quarter on turf May 29 . . . Santa Anita offers a $300,000 guaranteed Late Pick 4 pool every weekend during the Spring Meet, and a $500,000 guaranteed Late Pick 4 and a $100,000 guaranteed Pick 6 Saturday and Sunday . . . Daily Racing Form handicapper Brad Free will be Tom Quigley‘s guest Saturday at 10:50 a.m. in the East Paddock Gardens . . . Trivia answer: I’ll Have Another, the Derby winner in 2012 trained by Doug O’Neill for J. Paul Reddam, who send out unbeaten favorite Nyquist on Saturday.


Santa Anita Winter Meet Final Standings,

Dec. 26, 2015 – April 10, 2016

Jockey Mts 1st 2nd 3rd Win% ITM% Money Won  
Rafael Bejarano 319 74 58 36 23% 53% $3,527,071  
Flavien Prat 293 51 55 45 17% 52% $3,177,251  
Santiago Gonzalez 269 47 34 33 17% 42% $1,898,601  
Edwin Maldonado 213 44 22 22 21% 41% $1,428,025  
Tyler Baze 310 37 49 49 12% 44% $1,905,384  
Joseph Talamo 275 34 28 35 12% 35% $2,304,393  
Kent Desormeaux 158 26 29 25 16% 51% $2,550,479  
David Lopez 193 26 17 25 13% 35% $849,666  
Mario Gutierrez 192 22 34 25 11% 42% $1,353,459  
Martin Garcia 144 21 16 17 15% 38% $1,236,631  
Fernando Perez 203 20 22 27 10% 34% $1,135,407  
Trainer Sts 1st 2nd 3rd Win% ITM% Money Won  
Philip D’Amato 170 41 25 28 24% 55% $2,133,810  
Doug O’Neill 209 34 30 26 16% 43% $1,649,467  
Jerry Hollendorfer 159 26 16 18 16% 38% $2,038,048  
Bob Baffert 113 23 19 19 20% 54% $1,900,075  
Peter Miller 150 23 15 22 15% 40% $925,630  
Richard Baltas 137 22 22 16 16% 44% $1,533,209