STABLE NOTES BY MIKE WILLMAN – SUNDAY, MARCH 5, 2017

                                                                                                                                               

  • UNIQUE BELLA HEADED TO SANTA ANITA OAKS
  • STORMY LIBERAL MARCHES ON FOR MILLER
  • MASTERY WORKS FOR SAN FELIPE
  • MIDNIGHT STORM DRILLS FIVE FURLONGS FOR BIG ‘CAP

 

SUPERSTAR UNIQUE BELLA HEADED TO SANTA ANITA OAKS

            Jerry Hollendorfer’s newest superstar, 3-year-old filly Unique Bella, overcame a good dose of adversity in winning Saturday’s Grade III Santa Ysabel Stakes at 1 1/16 miles, winning her third consecutive graded stakes and her fourth race in a row under Mike Smith.

Slower into stride than is her custom, the Pennsylvania-bred daughter of Tapit was quickly into contention while third at the rail into the Club House turn.  At that point, Smith made the tactical decision to split horses at the seven furlong pole and Unique Bella then took command, but had to repel a serious challenge a furlong out from runner-up Abel Tasman, who was ridden by Joe Talamo.

“Hats off to the winner, what a special filly she is, because like I said, I really had a lot of horse and we had a beautiful trip,” said Talamo, currently fifth in the rider standings with 18 wins.  “The winner broke a little slow, which I was happy to see.  I was so proud of my filly.  I think she’s definitely going to move forward.”

Despite repeated media queries regarding the possibility of her stepping onto the Santa Anita and Kentucky Derby trail, Hollendorfer was again steadfast in his resolve to get Unique Bella to the Grade I Santa Anita Oaks on April 8, with the next objective the Grade I Kentucky Oaks on May 5.

“We’re just trying to do our best and she’s rewarding us,” said Hollendorfer following yesterday’s Santa Ysabel.  “I don’t have any thoughts about running her against the boys, but some other folks do I guess.  When I saw her coming into the lane, I felt that she was waiting on horses a little bit.  Mike had to wave the stick at her a little but she responded right away.  I wasn’t too worried.”

So the stage is nearly set for Hollendorfer, who won last year’s Santa Anita Oaks with two-time Eclipse Champion Songbird, to pursue his second consecutive victory in the race originally known as the Santa Susana.

 

STORMY LIBERAL TAKES NO PRISONERS IN JOE HERNANDEZ STAKES

            Winning at an astounding 30 percent clip, San Luis Rey Downs-based Peter Miller continued his winning ways in Saturday’s $75,000 Joe Hernandez Stakes, as his Stormy Liberal was up to win by nose under Norberto Arroyo, Jr. while getting 6 ½ furlongs down the hillside turf course in 1:11.89.

Claimed four starts back on Oct. 16 for $40,000, Stormy Liberal, who got a career best 102 Beyer Speed figure in the Hernandez, is now two for four racing for Miller out of San Luis Rey, having won the restricted Clockers’ Corner Stakes down the hill on Jan. 29.

Through 37 days of racing, Miller now holds a 26-19 edge over Jerry Hollendorfer, and, in the all-important stakes won category, Miller leads “The Dorf” nine to five.

 

BIG ‘CAP TRIVIA:  The Grade I, $750,000 Santa Anita Handicap, to be contested at a mile and a quarter on Saturday, will be run for the 80th time, dating back to Azucar’s win with George Woolf aboard in 1935.  In its 79 previous running’s, how many horses have carried 130 pounds to victory?

 

ANSWER:  At the bottom of today’s Finish Lines.

 

FINISH LINES:  Notable Santa Anita works this morning:  Kobe’s Back, Peter Eurton, 49.20, Accelerate, John Sadler, 1:01.80, Battle of Midway, Jerry Hollendorfer, (bullet) 1:00.20, Midnight Storm, Phil D’Amato, 1:01.20, Mastery, Bob Baffert, (bullet) 1:12.60 and Arrogate, Bob Baffert, 1:24.00…Additionally, Kaleem Shah’s Dortmund, prepping for the Grade I Frank E. Kilroe Mile (turf) worked seven furlongs this morning at Los Alamitos in 1:25.80.  Trainer Art Sherman had the 2015 Santa Anita Derby winner galloping out a mile in 1:38.40…All THOROUGHBREDS members at Santa Anita on Big ‘Cap Day, Saturday, March 11, will will receive a free Santa Anita umbrella with paid admission while supplies last.  There will be a $1 million guaranteed Late Pick 4 and a $100,000 guaranteed Pick Six.  First post time will be 12 noon, with admission gates opening at 10 a.m….               …On Saturday, March 18, Santa Anita offers the St. Paddy’s Day Pitch, with the person who tosses a ringer winning $1 million!  It’s free to enter.  Just get on track, fill out a contest entry card and you could be one of four entries selected to participate, or sign up online at santaanita.com/events before March 18, as one online entry will also be chosen.

 

BIG ‘CAP TRIVIA ANSWER:  Seven horses have carried 130 pounds to victory in the Big ‘Cap;  John Henry and Bill Shoemaker (1982), Spectacular Bid & Bill Shoemaker (1980), Ack Ack and Bill Shoemaker (1971), Round Table and Bill Shoemaker (1958), Mark-Ye-Well and Eddie Arcaro (1953), Thumbs Up and Johnny Longden (1945) and Seabiscuit with “Red” Pollard (1940).  

 

 

SANTA ANITA STATISTICS
 
Jockey Standings
(Current Through Saturday, March 4, 2017 Inclusive)
Jockey Mts 1st 2nd 3rd Win% ITM% Money Won
Flavien Prat 182 39 29 35 21% 57% $2,647,969
Tyler Baze 196 34 39 23 17% 49% $1,588,881
Kent Desormeaux 114 22 15 12 19% 43% $1,359,649
Rafael Bejarano 105 19 16 17 18% 50% $1,042,143
Joseph Talamo 125 18 11 18 14% 38% $597,168
Norberto Arroyo, Jr. 87 17 8 8 20% 38% $748,565
Stewart Elliott 127 14 14 17 11% 35% $681,748
Mike Smith 42 14 3 12 33% 69% $1,337,167
Martin Pedroza 96 12 18 17 13% 49% $540,903
Santiago Gonzalez 106 12 15 13 11% 38% $542,427
Tiago Pereira 92 11 11 12 12% 37% $371,170
Corey Nakatani 62 11 7 6 18% 39% $601,056
Luis Contreras 89 10 10 23 11% 48% $487,537
Edwin Maldonado 60 10 7 9 17% 43% $319,840
 
 
Trainer Standings
(Current Through Saturday, March 4, 2017 Inclusive)
Trainer Sts 1st 2nd 3rd Win% ITM% Money Won
Peter Miller 87 26 21 8 30% 63% $1,289,220
Jerry Hollendorfer 101 19 12 21 19% 51% $1,418,064
Richard Baltas 102 18 19 15 18% 51% $974,962
Doug F. O’Neill 116 15 23 19 13% 49% $1,162,186
Philip D’Amato 71 15 9 13 21% 52% $890,285
Peter Eurton 48 10 5 6 21% 44% $531,807
William Spawr 26 10 3 3 38% 62% $292,051
Mark Glatt 62 9 11 9 15% 47% $417,870
Bob Baffert 46 9 6 9 20% 52% $902,111
John W. Sadler 46 8 10 10 17% 61% $503,524
Vladimir Cerin 42 8 10 6 19% 57% $312,619
Steven Miyadi 54 7 14 6 13% 50% $340,733
Kristin Mulhall 31 7 6 3 23% 52% $213,230
J. Keith Desormeaux 35 7 3 5 20% 43% $447,105