- SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA IDEAL FOR MILLER TIME
- SONGBIRD IN ‘GOOD’ WORK FOR JUVENILE FILLIES
- PHAROAH, BEHOLDER GALLOP TOWARDS CLASSIC
- ‘BIG, STRONG’ CALIFORNIA CHROME BACK HOME
MILLER HITS TRIFECTA IN SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA
Peter Miller has the best of both worlds. He trains in an ideal setting at San Luis Rey
Downs and races at Santa Anita. Toss in the fact that he lives in a city with one of the most desired climates in the world in San Diego, and the 49-year-old feels like he’s hit the trifecta.
“I’ve been at San Luis Rey for 20 years, and I’m the luckiest trainer in America,” said Miller, whose patience and diligence in recent years has thrust him into the top echelon among horsemen nationwide and assuredly in Southern California.
“I get to live in San Diego, with the greatest weather in the world, and train at San Luis Rey (46 miles north of San Diego). It’s beautiful there, it’s quiet, the track is good, and the air is clean. I’ve got no complaints.”
San Luis Rey is a private facility owned by The Stronach Group that is located in Bonsall, where it has a one-mile track and a smaller training track.
Miller, always a threat to win a training title what with 80 horses at the ready, will be heading to Kentucky shortly where he will saddle streaking stakes winner Appealing Tale, probably in the Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile at Keeneland on Oct. 31.
Appealing Tale, a five-year-old Kentucky-bred gelding by Tale of the Cat, accounted for two Grade II stakes his last two starts, the Kelso Handicap at Belmont Park Oct. 3 and the Pat O’Brien at Del Mar Aug. 22. Owned by Gary Barber, Appealing Tale has earned $773,222.
“We may cross-enter (in the Sprint) to keep our options open, but I’d say we’re 90 percent going in the Mile,” Miller said. “He’s doing super. We also have Hollywood Don for the Juvenile Turf or the Juvenile on dirt. We’ll ship to Keeneland a week from today (Oct. 25).”
Getting there won’t be half the fun.
“It’s going to be a bear getting in and out, with a lot of traffic,” Miller said. “There’s one way in and out, really. I wouldn’t call it ideal for the Breeders’ Cup, like Santa Anita is.
“We’ve got everything here. Weather, plenty of room, ambiance, logistics. I guess that’s why the Breeders’ Cup has been run here eight times and is coming back again next year.”
‘ALL SYSTEMS GO’ FOR SONGBIRD, SMITH SAYS
Unbeaten Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies favorite Songbird worked six furlongs on Santa Anita’s fast main track on an overcast Sunday morning in 1:13.60 under regular rider Mike Smith after the 6:30 renovation break.
Trainer Jerry Hollendorfer called it a “good work” after watching the drill with hawk-like focus through his binoculars.
“She felt wonderful,” Smith said. “All systems are go. She really did everything nice and smooth and galloped out real good. One more little light breeze (next Saturday) and then she heads on out.”
Songbird, a $400,000 daughter of Medaglia d’Oro who won the Grade I Chandelier Stakes at a mile and a sixteenth in her first race around two turns, worked before an intermittent light drizzle that began at 7:30 and turned a bit heavier at 8 o’clock.
In other Breeders’ Cup news:
Obviously (Mile) and Big John B (Turf) worked on Santa Anita’s turf course Sunday, Obviously going five furlongs in 1:00.20 and Big John B six furlongs in 1:15.40.
“They both had big, strong gallop-outs,” trainer Phil D’Amato said. “I’m very, very pleased.” Exercise rider Jose Dominguez worked both horses. Also on turf, Rodeo Drive runner-up Elektrum (Filly & Mare Turf) went seven furlongs for John Sadler in 1:30.80.
Sprint contender Masochistic worked five furlongs on the main track for Ron Ellis in a bullet 59.40, sharing the fastest time for the distance with Dortmund.
Kent Desormeaux was aboard FrontRunner runner-up Swipe for a five furlong workout Saturday in 1:01.20 for brother Keith, who is preparing the son of Birdstone for the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile, which Kent won for Keith trainee Texas Red last year at Santa Anita.
“He’s on target,” Kent said of Swipe. “It was a brilliant work.”
Trainer Simon Callaghan said Filly & Mare Sprint candidate Taris will have one more breeze at Santa Anita before leaving next Sunday for the Breeders’ Cup. Gary Stevens rides.
Pre-entered fields for all 13 Breeders’ Cup World Championship races will be announced on Wednesday, Oct. 23.
ROUTINE GALLOPS FOR PHAROAH, BEHOLDER
American Pharoah and Beholder each galloped on Santa Anita’s main track early Sunday morning as the countdown diminishes for their anticipated showdown in the Breeders’ Cup Classic at Keeneland on Oct. 31.
Bob Baffert said America’s first Triple Crown winner in 37 years would work Tuesday at 7:45 a.m. “It’s 7:45 from now on,” he said. “It’s too dark at 6:30.” American Pharoah worked seven furlongs Wednesday in 1:23.
Richard Mandella said Pacific Classic winner Beholder “had a nice gallop and ships in the middle of the night” for Keeneland, where she is set to have one breeze before the Classic.
FINISH LINES: California Chrome arrived back with trainer Art Sherman at Los Alamitos Tuesday apparently ready to take on all comers. “He’s got a lot of testosterone in him right now,” Sherman said of the 2014 Horse of the Year, who could return to the races Jan. 9 in the San Pasqual Stakes. “He’s a big, strong horse and we’ve got a long way to go.” . . . Santa Anita Derby winner Dortmund worked five furlongs in company with Cat Burglar Sunday, the former going in a bullet 59.40 and the latter in a minute flat. Dortmund’s work time, the same as Masochistic‘s, was the fastest of 52 at the distance, the average time of which was 1:01.55. Dortmund, who has not raced since finishing fourth by 15 ½ lengths behind stablemate American Pharoah in the Preakness on May 16, is nominated to next Saturday’s $70,000 Big Bear Stakes at one mile. Trainer Bob Baffert said the son of 2008 Kentucky Derby winner Big Brown is “possible” for the race. Soi Phet, winner of seven races since claimed by Leonard Powell for $16,000 in May of 2013, runs in the Big Bear for the third straight year. He has yet to win . . . Ground Rules, seeking his first stakes win, runs in Saturday’s Grade II, $200,000 Twilight Derby at 1 1/8 miles on turf. Martin Garcia rides for Cliff Sise Jr., who worked the Smart Strike colt owned by Marty and Pam Wygod five furlongs on turf Sunday in 1:04.80. Other Twilight Derby probables include Hunt, Mister Brightside, Om, Prospect Park, Royal Albert Hall, Second Summer and Soul Driver . . . Congratulations to Roy Franz at Clockers’ Corner who celebrates his 72nd birthday Oct. 22. Franz has been satisfactorily serving customers at Santa Anita’s popular early morning gawking and gathering spot for 28 years.
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