- BAFFERT ENTERS THREE IN SANTA ANITA DERBY
- O’NEILL HAS FOUR FOR THE MONEY SATURDAY
- HOLLENDORFER EYES FIRST SA DERBY VICTORY
- IT TIZ WELL, ABEL TASMAN HEAD GRADE I OAKS
- RECORD $16 MILLION FOR PEGASUS WORLD CUP
- PICK SIX CARRYOVER OF $135,546 INTO THURSDAY
BAFFERT SEEKS TO ADD TO SANTA ANITA DERBY MARK
Bob Baffert entered three horses Wednesday morning for Saturday’s Grade I, $1 million
Santa Anita Derby, a race he has won a record seven times. The Hall of Fame trainer made one change, entering Irish Anthem instead of West Coast for the West Coast’s major steppingstone to the Kentucky Derby on May 6.
Baffert entered Reach the World and American Anthem, as expected.
“All three have worked well and they’re doing well,” Baffert said of American Anthem, Irish Freedom and Reach the World. “I was going to run West Coast, but he’s not quite ready for that yet.”
Reach the World worked four furlongs Tuesday in a bullet 46.60, fastest of 14 drills at the distance, the average time of which was 48.87. American Anthem worked five furlongs Monday in a minute flat.
Undefeated Mastery, a sure-fire favorite for the Santa Anita Derby and the Run for the Roses had he not suffered an injury after winning the San Felipe Stakes on March 11, remains with Baffert at Santa Anita.
“He’s doing well and he’s healing,” Baffert said. “He’ll probably be here for a couple months before we ship him out.”
The 1 1/8-mile Santa Anita Derby offers 170 Kentucky Derby qualifying points, 100 to the winner, 40 to the runner-up, 20 for the third-place finisher and 10 to the fourth. The winning horse earns $600,000.
The field for the 80th edition of the Santa Anita Derby, the eighth of 11 races, with a first post time of 12 noon: Term of Art, Tyler Baze, 12-1; Reach the World, Mike Smith, 5-1; Battle of Midway, Corey Nakatani, 5-1; Comma Sister, Israel Ocampo, 50-1; So Conflated, Mario Gutierrez, 15-1; American Anthem, Martin Garcia, 5-1; Kimbear, Joe Talamo, 12-1; Gormley, Victor Espinoza, 9-2; Iliad, Flavien Prat, 7-2; Milton Freewater, Tiago Pereira, 15-1; Irish Freedom, Martin Garcia, 20-1; Midnight Pleasure, Jamie Theriot, 30-1; and Royal Mo, Gary Stevens, 10-1.
O’NEILL ENTERS FOUR IN SANTA ANITA DERBY
Doug O’Neill entered four horses for Saturday’s Santa Anita Derby, 7-2 morning line favorite Iliad; Milton Freewater; So Conflated; and Term of Art, each with his own idiosyncrasies and personality.
“Every horse is different,” said Leandro Mora, valued assistant to Team O’Neill. “Iliad is a mellow horse who likes to nibble every now and then in the stall like any other horse, but at the track he’s all business, so he’s good at what he does.
“Term of Art is a big kid who is learning. People fear him because he’s a horse that’s going up the ladder race after race, so let’s hope he can continue to do better.
“We always thought Milton Freewater could go longer because of his pedigree (by Creative Cause out of the Swiss Yodeler dam Lovehi), so we’re hoping he improves in his first race in a Grade I and his first at this distance.
“I feel more confident about So Conflated after watching him gallop yesterday. He looked very, very, very brilliant.”
HOLLENDORFER SEEKS FIRST SANTA ANITA DERBY WIN
Jerry Hollendorfer has won 7,261 races in his storied career, but never the Santa Anita Derby. The Hall of Fame trainer hopes to fill that void Saturday when major contender Battle of Midway, 5-1 on the morning line, starts from post position three in a field of 13. Hollendorfer has run seven horses in the race, dating back to 2002. His best finish was a second in 2009 with Chocolate Candy.
Battle of Midway has established himself over a distance of ground, having won an overnight race at 1 1/16 miles March 9.
“He can stalk or be close to the pace,” said Hollendorfer assistant Dan Ward. “He still has room for improvement.”
Hollendorfer holds a 34-33 lead over runner-up Peter Miller in the race for training honors at the Winter Meet with four racing days remaining.
IT TIZ WELL, ABEL TASMAN HEAD GRADE I OAKS
Honeybee Stakes winner It Tiz Well, a stablemate of sidelined super filly Unique Bella, and newcomer to the Bob Baffert barn Abel Tasman, head a field of seven in the Grade I, $400,000 Santa Anita Oaks on Saturday, one of six stakes races on the blockbuster card.
It Tiz Well, trained by Jerry Hollendorfer for Tommy Town Thoroughbreds, has won three of five career races, including the Honeybee at Oaklawn Park March 11.
Abel Tasman, recently transferred from trainer Simon Callaghan to Baffert, arrived in good order according to Baffert, who seeks his third win in the prestigious event, having won in 1999 with Excellent Meeting and in 2003 with Composure.
Two-time champion Songbird, currently sidelined, won the 2016 Oaks for Hollendorfer.
The Oaks, race six: Mopotism, Mario Gutierrez; It Tiz Well, Corey Nakatani; Paradise Woods, Flavien Prat; Abel Tasman, Mike Smith; Bernina Star, Santiago Gonzalez; Majestic Quality, Kent Desormeaux; and Princess Karen, Gary Stevens.
The Oaks offers 170 qualifying points to the Kentucky Oaks on May 5, 100 to the winner, 40 to the runner-up, 20 to the third horse and 10 to the fourth.
PEGASUS WORLD CUP RETURNS WITH RECORD-SETTING $16 MILLION PURSE
Fresh off the heels of the inaugural running of the $12 million USD Pegasus World Cup Invitational, The Stronach Group has announced that the world’s richest Thoroughbred horse race is about to get even richer. On Jan. 27, 2018, the world will again turn its attention to South Florida in anticipation of an extraordinary, new record-setting, $16 million USD purse.
The 2018 Pegasus World Cup Invitational, to be held at The Stronach Group owned Gulfstream Park, is open to 12 domestic and international owners who will put in $1 million USD each for a spot in the starting gate. The additional $4 million USD will be contributed by The Stronach Group.
“The 2017 Pegasus World Cup Invitational surpassed our expectations and we believe took the sport of Thoroughbred racing to an exciting new level,” said Belinda Stronach, Chairman and President, The Stronach Group. “Our company is committed to building on the momentum that was inspired by our Founder and Honorary Chairman, Frank Stronach. In 2018, we will bring an even bigger, more modern and unforgettable entertainment experience to a global audience.”
With the commitment to an enhanced purse, The Stronach Group aims to attract the attention of an international audience marking the resurgence of North American Thoroughbred racing.
Follow all of the excitement and details of the Pegasus World Cup Invitational at pegasusworldcup.com and on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram @pegasusworldcup.
PICK SIX CARRYOVER OF $133,546 INTO THURSDAY
There is a Pick Six carryover of $133,546 into Thursday’s eight-race card at Santa Anita. Track officials project the total Pick Six pool will approach $750,000.
Thursday’s Pick Six will be comprised of races three through eight. With first post time at 1 p.m., approximate post time for Thursday’s third race is at 2 p.m.
Note: There will be no mandatory payouts in the Pick 5, Pick Six, Single Ticket Pick Six Jackpot or the Super High Five, next Sunday, April 9, as the current season continues through July 4.
Meanwhile, effective Thursday, Santa Anita has been given approval from the California Horse Racing Board to change the rules regarding Pick Six distributions in the event of a surface switch after the bet has already begun.
If there is a late surface switch, the 15 percent part of the net pool usually set aside for the single ticket Pick Six Jackpot portion of the pool will be redirected to the portion of the pool distributed to ticket holders with six winners, or into a carryover.
For additional information, please visit http://www.santaanita.com/pick6/.
BALDWIN AVE. TRAFFIC DIVERTED SATURDAY
Those wishing to visit Clockers’ Corner on Santa Anita Derby Day Saturday are advised that Baldwin Ave. will be closed to vehicular traffic between the 210 Freeway and Huntington Drive from 7:45 a.m. until 9:30 a.m. in order to accommodate foot traffic related to the Santa Anita’s annual Derby Day 5k Run and Walk.
Accordingly, Santa Anita’s Gate 8, which adjoins the Westfield Shopping Mall on Baldwin Ave., and Gate 7, at the track’s northwest end, will also be closed to vehicles during the same time frame.
Those wishing to visit Clockers’ Corner Derby Day morning will be able to enter the track on Santa Anita’s northeast perimeter, via Gate 5, or on the track’s southern perimeter, via Gate 3 at Holly Ave. Gates 3 & 5 will be open for easy access to Clockers’ Corner beginning at 5 a.m. and will remain open throughout the day. Santa Anita’s main track will be closed for training at 7:30 a.m.
Gate 3 is located at the intersection of Holly Ave. and Huntington Drive. Gate 5 is located at the confluence of Colorado Place and Huntington Drive. For additional information, fans are encouraged to visit santaanita.com/events, or call (626) 574-RACE.
FINISH LINES: Abel Tasman, prepping for Saturday’s Santa Anita Oaks, worked six furlongs Monday for Bob Baffert in 1:13.20 . . . Baffert throws out the first pitch prior to tonight’s Dodgers-Padres game at Dodger Stadium. Game time is 7:10 p.m. . . . Dan Ward reports Unique Bella remains at Santa Anita recovering from shin issues and is expected to be back in action in a few months . . . Looking fresh and fit, Alonso Quinonez greeted friends and peers at Clockers’ Corner Wednesday morning. The 33-year-old native of Mexico came in from Kentucky to visit family. Quinonez led the recently concluded Turfway Park meet with 50 wins and will soon move his tack to Keeneland under the guidance of agent Jimmy McNerney . . . Agent Joe Griffin, recovering from open heart surgery March 6, was a welcome guest at Clockers’ corner Wednesday . . . Rafael Bejarano has been suspended three days (April 7, 8 and 9) for causing interference on Calliway in last Friday’s seventh race, resulting in a disqualification from fifth to sixth . . . Apprentice Evin Roman received a six-day ban (April 7, 8, 9, 14, 15 and 16) for causing interference on Eskenforandreya in last Friday’s eighth race.
|SANTA ANITA STATISTICS|
|(Current Through Sunday, April 2)|
|Norberto Arroyo, Jr.||120||24||13||12||20%||41%||$1,034,731|
|J. Keith Desormeaux||50||10||5||6||20%||42%||$535,460|