- IS THIS THE YEAR FOR SADLER AND CUBS?
- MASOCHISTIC FIRES A BULLET FOR SPRINT
- GRASS GREENER FOR THE BREEDERS’ CUP
- THE FLAG IS UP FOR CONSISTENT BOOZER
STELLAR WIND BREEZES FOR DISTAFF
For the Chicago Cubs and John Sadler, the long drought could soon be over.
The Cubs are one win away from appearing in their first World Series in 71 years. All
they have to do is get past Clayton Kerhsaw and the Dodgers tomorrow, or, failing that, win game seven of their National League Championship Series in the Windy City on Sunday to advance to the World Series against the Cleveland Indians.
On Nov. 4, Sadler hopes to win his first Breeders’ Cup race in the $2 million Longines Distaff with Stellar Wind, ending a string of 37 losses in the World Championship events.
Stellar Wind worked five furlongs early Friday morning in 1:00.40 under exercise rider Jose Contreras. Stablemate Hard Aces, ticketed for the Marathon on Nov. 4, went in 1:01.
“I was real happy with her breeze this morning,” Sadler said of the 2015 Eclipse Award champion as outstanding three-year-old filly. “She broke three (lengths) behind Hard Aces, was outside him all the way and a half-length in front at the wire. She’ll have one more breeze before the Distaff, next Friday. It was a very nice work, her usual work, no deviations from what we’ve been doing with her previously. She looked good doing it, so we’re happy.”
Stellar Wind had fractional times of 25.20, 37.40 and 48.80, with a six furlong gallop out of 1:13.20.
Now four, the daughter of two-time Horse of the Year Curlin was a troubled second by a neck in last year’s Distaff at Keeneland, a race in which Sadler feels she could have been promoted to first, had the racing gods smiled upon her. She was “bumped and floated out.”
As it is, Stellar Wind enters the Distaff with two successive hard-earned wins over three-time champion Beholder, who, along with undefeated champion Songbird, is likely to ensure a solid pace in the 1 1/8-mile race.
“Her last few races have been in small fields where we can’t let the front-runner, one that good, out of sight,” Sadler said in explaining why Stellar Wind had to alter strategy in order to conquer Beholder. “I think Victor (Espinoza, her regular rider) recognized that so we’ve kind of had to change her style, and it’s worked. Under those circumstances, that was the plan.
“We’ve had a lot of placings (in Breeders’ Cup races), second, second, third, third, but it’s not a sensitive issue. Last year, c’mon, we were supposed to get put up.
“I feel like we won it last year.”
In other Breeders’ Cup news:
- Sprint favorite Masochistic worked six furlongs for Ron Ellis in a bullet 1:11.60,
fastest of 21 drills at the distance, the average time of which was 1:14.96. All Run (Sprint) went four furlongs for Richard Baltas in 50.20.
Masochistic was given fractional times of 35.40, 47 flat and 59.40 by Santa Anita clocker Dane Nelson, with a seven furlong gallop out of 1:24.60.
“It was at least as good as any of his works ever,” said Ellis, who plans one more breeze for the six-year-old California-bred gelding by Sought After, that coming next Saturday.
- Lady Shipman (Turf Sprint) worked four furlongs under Mike Smith for trainer
Kiaran McLaughlin in 48.40, getting the last quarter in 24.40.
- What a View (Mile) worked six furlongs in company in 1:13 flat with Tyler Baze
aboard for trainer Kenny Black. Stablemate King’s Palace went in 1:15.80.
- Champagne Room (Juvenile Fillies) worked six furlongs in 1:12.40 for trainer
- Zuma Beach Stakes winner Big Score (Juvenile Turf) worked four furlongs for
Tim Yakteen in 50.40, while stablemate Thorn Legacy was clocked in 51 flat.
SANTA ANITA TURF GETS THUMBS UP
With the two-day Breeders’ Cup World Championships two weeks away on Nov. 4 and 5, local horsemen weighed in this morning with consensus praise for Santa Anita’s newly installed Bandera Bermuda turf course.
“It’s fast, but it has good bounce to it and the horses are coming back well,” said Hall of Fame conditioner Neil Drysdale. “As you can see from the results, you can win on the front, middle and the back.”
Said Hall of Famer Jerry Hollendorfer, with 7,173 career victories entering today’s races: “The good thing about the turf course right now is that there are no complaints. If there was something wrong, you would hear complaints, first from the riders and then the trainers.
“But so far, there hasn’t been a single complaint that I know of.”
Added Hall of Fame jockey Gary Stevens, who has ridden the world-over and counts three Kentucky Derbies and 10 Breeders’ Cup triumphs among his more than 5,000 career wins: “It’s very kind. I’ve noticed when we walk on the turf course, you can see the hoof print where a horse has stepped and then it looks like one of those mattresses or pillows that you can watch rise right back up in front of your eyes . . . That’s what it’s like running on; it’s just like a big pillow.”
Irish-bred Paddy Gallagher, who took his early lessons on the green of the Emerald Isle, said: “It’s not a long course, but there’s a great thatch to it and it’s got a good spring to it. It’s one of the best grass courses in the country, I believe.”
Tim Yakteen, who is preparing recent Zuma Beach Stakes winner Big Score for the $1 million Juvenile Turf on Nov. 4, said, “I’ve run on the turf course several times and horses have come back off of it well. No complaints about it. It has good bounce and good life.”
“I’m really happy with the course,” said 24-year-old French-born Flavien Prat, weaned on European grass courses and in a pitched battle for leading rider at the Autumn Meet.
“The grass here is good. It’s fast, but you can come from behind. I have no problem with it. It’s really good. It’s perfect.”
Video Courtesy of XBTV.com: “Industry Leaders Talk About Santa Anita Park’s New Turf Course in Advance of the Breeders’ Cup”: http://www.xbtv.com/video/santa-anita-park/industry-leaders-talk-about-santa-anita-parks-new-turf-course-in-advance-of-the-breeders-cup/
BOOZER BACK ON FAVORITE COURSE SATURDAY
Boozer is nothing if not consistent.
The six-year-old gelding has a 7-6-6 record from 27 starts and an affinity for Santa Anita’s unique downhill turf course at about 6 ½ furlongs, which he will traverse for the 10th time Saturday in the $100,000 California Flag Handicap for three-year-olds and up.
The race is one in the popular Golden State Series for California-bred or sired horses and on a course over which Boozer has four wins, three seconds and two thirds in nine starts.
“He’s about as consistent as they come,” said trainer Mark Glatt of the six-year-old gelded son of Unusual Heat, who was recently pensioned as a stallion at the grand old age of 26. “I think the downhill race is his favorite distance.”
Boozer is owned by long-time Glatt clients Al and Sandee Kirkwood.
“He’s good at a mile, too, but we’ll see,” Glatt said. “He should be tough on Saturday.”
The field for the California Flag: Richard’s Boy, Victor Espinoza, 9-5, McHeat, Tyler Baze, 8-1; Boozer, Gary Stevens, 8-5; Somethings Unusual, Drayden Van Dyke, 8-1; Mana Strike, Tiago Periera, 20-1; Acceptance, Stewart Elliott, 6-1; and Big Bane Theory, Joe Talamo, 6-1.
FINISH LINES: There is a three-way tie for first in the jockey standings through 12 days of the 23-day Autumn Meet, Rafael Bejarano, Flavien Prat and Norberto Arroyo Jr. each deadlocked with 12 wins. Prat and Arroyo have strikingly similar numbers across the board, to wit: starters 53 and 54; wins, 12 each; seconds eight and seven; and thirds, eight each . . . Trainer Richard Baltas, a racing secretary’s dream, had five horses entered on Friday’s card, giving him a total of 51 for the meet, an average of almost four a day, but has none entered on Saturday . . . Fans at Santa Anita can enjoy some of the best hot wings in Southern California along with craft brews and Thoroughbred racing Saturday at the Hot Wings & Craft Beer Festival from 12:30 p.m. to 5 p.m. Save $10 by using PROMO CODE: Wing16 for a $25 online package that includes six hot wings, eight three-ounce beer tastings, Club House admission, racing program, wagering tip sheet and special trackside seating. To purchase tickets, visit santaanita.com/events. Must be 21 and over the purchase a package . . . Santa Anita hosts a Pumpkin Festival this weekend, Oct. 22 and 22, and next, Oct. 29 and 30. Experience a pumpkin patch unlike any other and watch the races while the kids enjoy an Infield festival packed with jumpers, a straw maze and a huge pumpkin patch. The event will be open from 12 noon until 4 p.m. For special packages, visit santaanita.com/events.
|SANTA ANITA STATISTICS|
|(Current Through Thursday, Oct. 20)|
|Norberto Arroyo, Jr.||54||12||7||8||22%||50%||$487,936|
|John W. Sadler||23||3||4||3||13%||43%||$308,675|