- BEHOLDER TO WORK FRIDAY FOR BC CLASSIC
- A ‘HAPPY’ AMERICAN PHAROAH GALLOPS
- BULLY PULPIT IN LARGE ZUMA BEACH FIELD
- MIRAGE MAKES U.S. DEBUT IN SURFER GIRL
- SANTA ANITA EARNS SIMULCAST HONORS
OWNER HUGHES WILL SEE BEHOLDER BREEZE
Following a sunrise that burst in brilliant hues of red and orange over the San Gabriel Mountains Thursday morning, Beholder’s owner B. Wayne Hughes was on hand at Clockers’ Corner, as he will be again Friday to watch his two-time Eclipse Award-winning champion work “an easy five furlongs” as she prepares for the Breeders’ Cup Classic at Keeneland on Oct. 31.
“We’re excited about the prospect of her running there and we’re looking forward to it,” said Hughes, who races as Spendthrift Farm out of Lexington, the home of Keeneland. “We just hope the weather holds.”
Beholder, winner of her third consecutive Zenyatta Stakes for trainer Richard Mandella Sept. 26, would not set a precedent should she beat males in the $5 million Classic at 1 1/4 miles, having “beaten the boys” by 8 ¼ lengths in the Pacific Classic at Del Mar Aug. 22.
Hughes, well-grounded however, maintained a sense of reality when asked if she might do it again.
“There are boys and there are men,” he pointed out, observing the likelihood of stiffer opposition in the Breeders’ Cup in the form of Triple Crown king American Pharoah and multiple Grade I winner Tonalist.
“We don’t know that she’s going to beat the men, but she’s got one hell of an advantage over those horses: she’s female.
“God willing, we’re going to be ready (on Oct. 31) and we’re going to try them. This is racing at its best and we have a chance to run against a Triple Crown winner, and no one’s accomplished what American Pharoah did in quite a while (37 years, since Affirmed in 1978), so we plan to be there.”
Even should Beholder conquer American Pharoah in the Classic, Hughes is among the vast majority who hold that such a victory would not sway voters enough to deny the Kentucky Derby, Preakness and Belmont Stakes winner Horse of the Year honors.
“If we were to win and we weren’t Horse of the Year, I wouldn’t be complaining about anything,” Hughes said. “The Breeders’ Cup races are championship events, and American Pharoah has had one helluva year. I don’t have a vote, so I’m sort of out of it, anyway.”
Hughes, a major player in Southern California until he relocated to Kentucky 10 years ago, is content with his move to the Blue Grass State.
“We’ve got a pretty good group of stallions and mares,” Hughes noted, without naming names, perhaps for fear of slighting one. “I really like it there. There are really good people who are interested in racing, so overall, it’s been good.
“We’ve got 23 stallions at Spendthrift,” Hughes said, adding some doubt to the equation with a smile, “but at 82, I wouldn’t consider myself a good source.”
‘HAPPY’ AMERICAN PHAROAH GALLOPS FOR BC CLASSIC
Triple Crown winner American Pharoah galloped over Santa Anita’s fast main track early
Thursday morning as he draws nearer to a start in his final race, the $5 million Breeders’ Cup Classic at Keeneland on Oct. 31.
“He looked good and he’s happy,” trainer Bob Baffert said. “We’ve been training him early to avoid this hot weather. I see a big change in him. He’s happier now.”
Asked when the son of Pioneerof the Nile would ship to Kentucky, Baffert said, “I have a few dates in mind, but I haven’t really zeroed in on it. I have options.”
BULLY PULPIT TRIES TURF, ROUTE IN ZUMA BEACH
Bully Pulpit tries grass and a route for the first time when he runs in Saturday’s $100,000 Zuma Beach Stakes for two-year-olds at one mile on turf.
“We’re going to find out,” trainer Craig Lewis said when asked if the California-bred son of Lucky Pulpit would be up to the assignment. “It’s all trial and error. He’s a nice horse, but we don’t know if he can run on grass and we don’t know if he can go two turns.
“But you never find out if you don’t try.”
Bully Pulpit has won two of five starts for owners Murray, Sue, Todd, Rick, Randy and Steven Seidner, who, appropriately enough, campaign as Six-S Racing Stable.
The Zuma Beach, race five of 10: Coach Q, Rafael Bejarano; Getoffmyback, James Graham; Go Long, Kent Desormeaux; Freedom Hill, Joe Talamo; Bully Pulpit, Tiago Pereira; Mighty Moses, Martin Garcia; I’malreadythere, Mike Smith; Phantom Heat, Gonzalo Nicolas; Dressed in Hermes, Gary Stevens; and Lucky Bryan, Iggy Puglisi.
MIRAGE MAKES U.S. DEBUT IN SURFER GIRL
Mirage makes her U.S. debut when she runs in Saturday’s $100,000 Surfer Girl Stakes for 2-year-old fillies at one mile on turf.
The Irish-bred daughter of Oasis Dream won her only start, a six furlong turf sprint in England last June 2, and has been training forwardly under the care of Simon Callaghan since coming to him after that race.
“She’s been training well; she’s a straightforward filly,” Callaghan said. “It’s kind of a competitive race but we feel we’ve got a shot.”
The Surfer Girl, the seventh of 10 races: Do the Dance, Tiago Pereira; Stay in Vegas, Alex Solis; Mirage, Tyler Baze; Aguacate, Joe Talamo; Jakaby Jade, Rafael Bejarano; Sooner Time, Mario Gutierrez; Lucky Folie, Gary Stevens; Imflatoutsweet, James Graham; One True Kiss, Victor Espinoza; One Last Shot, Martin Garcia; and Optimism and Hope, Mike Smith.
SANTA ANITA WINS SIMULCAST AWARD HONORS
Santa Anita was declared winner of this year’s Simulcast Award at the 23rd annual International Simulcast Conference in Clearwater Beach, Fla. It previously won the award in 2000 and 2001.
The Simulcast Award honors excellence in the presentation of a racetrack’s live race product to its simulcast outlets. A panel of five judges selected the winners as best among the 14 North American racetracks entered for consideration.
The judges cited Santa Anita’s readable presentation, packed with information yet easy to read, along with its excellent display of results, payouts and fractions. One judge said, “It was a pleasure to watch,” while another noted it was easy for newcomers to grasp and understand the data. Multiple camera shots with virtually unobstructed views of the starters were also cited.
The 14 track entries were the simulcast audio and video transmission of a single race sent to wagering outlets. Each entry included the pre-race features, odds, will-pays, commentaries, the running of the race, the results, and post-race features. Santa Anita’s winning entry originally aired June 27, 2015.
The winning production had noteworthy competition from other tracks receiving votes including Saratoga, Keeneland, Hoosier Park, Los Alamitos and Woodbine. Each received first, second or third-place votes.
Previous winners of the award are Churchill Downs (1997), Turfway Park (1998), Penn National (1999), Santa Anita Park (2000-01), Hollywood Park (2002), Keeneland (2003, 2008-9, 2011-4), Los Alamitos (2007), Del Mar Thoroughbred Club (2005), and Woodbine Entertainment Group (2004, 2006-7, 2010, 2012).
The International Simulcast Conference is hosted by the Thoroughbred Racing Associations and Harness Tracks of America, in association with the American Greyhound Track Operators Association.
FINISH LINES: El Cajon Stakes winner Gimme Da Lute worked five furlongs Thursday in company with Waymond Boyd, but trainer Bob Baffert revealed no specific race for his next start. “I have options,” Baffert said. Gimme Da Lute was clocked in 1:01.20 under Martin Garcia, while Waymond Boyd went in 1:01.60 . . . Agent Tony Matos has Garcia booked to ride Mike Pegram‘s Pretty N Cool for Baffert in the Grade II Matron Stakes at Belmont next Sunday . . . Om, prepping for the Grade II Twilight Derby on Oct. 24, went five furlongs for Dan Hendricks in 1:03.20 . . . Grade I winner Warren’s Vendeda is scheduled to start in the $2 million Breeders’ Cup Distaff at Keeneland Oct. 30 after “running down bad” on her front legs when she finished seventh of eight in the Zenyatta Stakes on Sept. 26. “You can’t be afraid to fail,” trainer Craig Lewis said. “If you are, you shouldn’t be in this game.” . . . Rollin’ Joe Talamo on his friendship with Angels’ second baseman Jonny Giavotella: “He’s my man! Italians from New Orleans do it right! I met him through a mutual friend. He came to Del Mar to watch me ride and I won.”Then I went to an Angels’ game and watched him win. He’s great.” Unfortunately, the Halos were eliminated from post-season play on the final day of the season Sunday. Talamo, meanwhile, won the Grade II Kelso Handicap on Appealing Tale Saturday at Belmont Park in New York, then took the redeye to California that night to win the $100,000 LA Woman Stakes Sunday on Ben’s Duchess at Santa Anita. No jet lag at 25 . . . Tom Quigley will have LA Newspaper Group turf writer Art Wilson and TVG analyst Matt Carothers as his guests Saturday and Sunday, respectively, in the East Paddock Gardens at 11:50 a.m. . . . Santa Anita offers special holiday racing this Monday, Oct. 12, Columbus Day. It will also be Dollar Day on track with beers, hot dogs and sodas available throughout the day at the bargain price of a buck apiece. The feature race will be the $100,000 California Flag Handicap for California-bred or sired horses, age three and up, at about 6 ½ furlongs on turf.
|SANTA ANITA STATISTICS|
|(Current Through Sunday, Oct. 4)|
|Drayden Van Dyke||13||2||1||2||15%||$243,160|