- ‘CHROME’ TO WORK BEFORE FIRST RACE SATURDAY
- STRATEGY CHANGE FOR IMPERIOUS ONE IN LOGAN
- DECKED OUT ‘READY TO GO’ FOR GRADE II SANTA YNEZ
- QUICK CASABLANCA: TIME IS ON HIS SIDE IN SAN GABRIEL
- SALUTOS AMIGOS ‘DOING GREAT’ FOR MIDNIGHT LUTE
- TRAINER KEEPS HIS COOL WITH ONE-HORSE STABLE
FANS CAN SEE CALIFORNIA CHROME WORK SATURDAY
California Chrome, the Marco Polo of Thoroughbred travelers, returns to the scene of one of his greatest triumphs Saturday when he works at Santa Anita for the Grade II, $200,000 San Pasqual Stakes at Santa Anita on Saturday, Jan. 9, his first race since last March 28.
The 2014 Horse of the Year is scheduled to work six furlongs under regular rider Victor Espinoza before the first race, at approximately 12 noon. First post time that day is 12:30 p.m.
California Chrome had been on a Saturday to Saturday work schedule but went seven furlongs Sunday at his Los Alamitos headquarters in 1:25.40. With rain forecast for this Sunday, trainer Art Sherman opted to move California Chrome’s final major drill for the San Pasqual to Saturday, and Santa Anita will accommodate the California-bred son of Lucky Pulpit who turns five on New Year’s Day with a pristine track free of other workers.
The popular chestnut horse, winner of the 2014 Santa Anita Derby, is expected to face the Clydesdale-sized Dortmund, 2015 Santa Anita Derby winner, among others, in the mile-and-a-sixteenth San Pasqual.
Since his victory in the Santa Anita Derby April 4 of last year, California Chrome has raced at Churchill Downs, where he won the Kentucky Derby; Pimlico, where he captured the Preakness; Belmont Park, where he dead-heated for fourth in the Belmont Stakes; Parx where he ran sixth in the Pennsylvania Derby; Santa Anita where he was third, beaten a neck, in the Breeders’ Cup Classic; Del Mar, where he won the Hollywood Derby on turf; again at Santa Anita where he was second to the late, great Shared Belief in the San Antonio Invitational; and then off to the Middle East where he was second in the Dubai World Cup last March 28.
After that race, there were trips to England and Arlington Park, where potential races never came to fruition. Now his countless fans will have an opportunity to see California Chrome work this Saturday and, if all goes well, race the following Saturday in the San Pasqual.
In 18 career starts, California Chrome has won nine races, finishing second three times and third once, earning $6,322,650. A successful venture in the San Pasqual is expected to lead to a return trip to Dubai for the $10 million race on March 26.
LOGAN STRATEGY CHANGE SHOULD AID IMPERIOUS ONE
Imperious One was no factor when he made his United States debut Nov. 29 in the Grade III Cecil B. DeMille Stakes at Del Mar, finishing ninth by 7 ¾ lengths in the one mile turf race. But Doug O’Neill is optimistic that the Irish-bred colt will improve in Thursday’s $75,000 Eddie Logan Stakes for two-year-olds at one mile on turf.
“Off his (four) races in England, he wants to be more forwardly placed,” the trainer said. “In the DeMille, we were on the outside breaking from post nine in a field of 12.
“For the Eddie Logan, the plan will be to put him up in the race and see what we can do, but we’re still excited about his prospects.”
The Eddie Logan: Trust Your Gut, Fernando Perez, 5-1; Arabian Leopard, Martin Garcia, 5-1; Bully Pulpit, Tiago Pereira, 20-1; Storming Candy, Mike Smith, 12-1; Afleet Domination, Mario Gutierrez, 20-1; Imperious One, Rafael Bejarano, 5-1; Path of David, Joe Talamo, 5-2; Giopress, Martin Pedroza, 20-1; Mr Notorious, Santiago Gonzalez, 12-1; Canada, Gary Stevens, 3-1; and also-eligible Tiz a Billy, Alonso Quinonez, 7-2.
DECKED OUT BACK AT SANTA ANITA FOR SANTA YNEZ
Decked Out has been facing “the nuts” since breaking her maiden first out last May, but is winless in four straight stakes since. Keith Desormeaux hopes the brief drought ends Saturday in the Grade II, $200,000 Santa Ynez Stakes for three-year-old fillies at 6 ½ furlongs.
“She’s freshened and she’s ready to go,” the trainer said of the chestnut daughter of Street Boss, who last raced on Sept. 12, finishing fifth after leading in the Grade II Pocahontas at Churchill Downs.
It has not been necessary for her to carry her track with her. She has raced at Santa Anita (where she broke her maiden last May 7); Belmont Park, Saratoga and Churchill. “She’s run all over the country,” Desormeaux said. “Maybe she just needs Santa Anita.”
The field: My Dynamo, Fernando Perez; Rockantharos, Edwin Maldonado; Decked Out, Kent Desormeaux; Treasuring, Victor Espinoza; One Last Shot, Mike Smith; Code Warrior, Anne Sanguinetti; Pretty N Cool, Martin Garcia; and Forever Darling, Rafael Bejarano.
QUICK CASABLANCA READY FOR SAN GABRIEL
Quick Casablanca, who ran a creditable fifth behind turf monster The Pizza Man in the Grade II Hollywood Turf Cup at Del Mar Nov. 26, hopes to run in Saturday’s Grade II, $200,000 San Gabriel Stakes for older horses at 1 1/8 miles on turf. Quick Casablanca drew post 14 on the also-eligible list for the San Gabriel.
“He worked really well on the dirt the other day, (six furlongs in 1:12.80), and he really isn’t a dirt horse,” Hall of Fame trainer Ron McAnally said of the 8-year-old Chilean-bred horse owned by Pablo Gomez. “He’s doing well and he’s had a lot of time between races.”
Quick Casablanca’s lone win in 13 U.S. starts came in the Grade III Last Tycoon Stakes at Santa Anita on April 25, 2014.
The field: Flamboyant, Brice Blanc; Big John B, Rafael Bejarano; Poshky, Victor Espinoza; Texas Ryno, James Graham; Power Red, Mario Gutierrez; Class Leader, Kent Desormeaux; Bal a Bali, Flavien Prat; Obviously, Joe Talamo; Wanstead Gardens, Gary Stevens; Chiropractor, Corey Nakatani; Macro Access, Martin Garcia; and also-eligibles Kenjisstorm, Edwin Maldonado; Southern Freedom, Mike Smith; and Quick Casablanca, Tyler Baze.
SALUTOS AMIGOS SET FOR GRADE III MIDNIGHT LUTE
Despite the fact that Salutos Amigos has won six races at Aqueduct, including four straight stakes, David Jacobson says he is not a horse for course.
“He just loves to run,” said the trainer, who has the six-year-old gelded son of Salute the Sarge entered in Saturday’s Grade III Midnight Lute Stakes at 6 ½ furlongs.
“He’s doing great. I’m very happy.”
Salutos Amigos is the star of the 20 head Jacobson has on hand for the Winter Meet, his first regular tour at The Great Race Place since he was a teenager being mentored by the late Bobby Frankel some 40 years ago.
Jacobson, who has engaged Mike Smith to ride Salutos Amigos, owns the Kentucky-bred in conjunction with Michael Blanco Moreno, who campaigns as Southern Equine Stable.
Salutos Amigos has won 10 of 34 career starts and earned $1,122,406 running for three different trainers, including Eric Guillot and Kathy Walsh. The horse broke his maiden at Santa Anita on Feb. 9, 2013, when conditioned by Guillot.
The Midnight Lute: Seattle Serenade, Mike Smith; San Onofre, Alex Solis; Distinctiv Passion, Edwin Maldonado; Pulling G’s, Victor Espinoza; Raised a Secret, Fernando Perez; All Run, Mario Gutierrez; and Salutos Amigos, Martin Garcia.
TRAINER HOPES TO BR-BR-BR-BREAK THE ICE WITH CAPE NELO
Gloves, scarves and ear muffs are the order of the day these mornings at Santa Anita, as horsemen seek to fend off temperatures pushing the freezing mark.
How cold is it?
“I reached for some straw at 5:40 a.m. Tuesday morning and couldn’t feel my fingers,” said trainer Michael Curtis, currently running a one-horse stable in Cape Nelo, a two-year-old gray son of Cape Blanco out of the Tapit mare Misinjennuous, owned by Ioan “Johnny” Bochis.
“He’s a very nice and generous man,” said the 61-year-old Curtis, displaying a photo on his phone of a recent gift given to him by Bochis, a late model Toyota Sequoia.
Cape Nelo finished sixth in his lone start, a six furlong race at Del Mar last summer, but Curtis, a native of England, has nominated him to stakes routes, including the Santa Anita Derby and the Kentucky Derby. “He’s bred to go long,” Curtis said.
FINISH LINES: On New Year’s Day Santa Anita offers another of its popular Dollar Days, with draft beer, hot dogs and sodas available for a buck apiece . . . Humberto Ascanio, assistant to the late Hall of Fame trainer Bobby Frankel for more than three decades until a stroke in 2012 put him on the sidelines, was on hand Sunday to present a trophy to the winning connections of Gender Agenda, who posted a $23.80 upset in the Robert J. Frankel Stakes. “It’s nice to be back at the track,” said Ascanio, 67. “It’s great to see familiar faces and old friends. Hopefully, in the New Year, I’ll spend more time here.”. . . Santa Anita Wagering Ambassador Christopher Ado will be Tom Quigley‘s guest handicapper Saturday, while track announcer Frank Mirahmadi will do honors Sunday, both days at 11:20 a.m. in the East Paddock Gardens . . . Thoroughbreds aren’t the only ones turning a year older on Jan. 1. Trainer Gary Sherlock celebrates birthday No. 70 on New Year’s Day.