- SHARED BELIEF WORKS IN FOG FOR MALIBU
- FAVORED TARIS DRAWS RAIL FOR LA BREA
- TALCO SHORTENS UP FOR MATHIS BROS. MILE
- PEDROZA, BALTAS GO ‘DUKE CITY’ AT LOS AL
- McANALLY INTO SIXTH DECADE AT SANTA ANITA
- X-RAYS ‘PERFECT’ ON CHAMPION BEHOLDER
HOLLENDORFER HAS ‘VERY GOOD HORSE’ FOR MALIBU
Jerry Hollendorfer hopes Shared Belief runs to his workout when the male 2-year-old
champion of 2013 makes his 4-year-old debut in Friday’s Grade I Malibu Stakes at Santa Anita.
If he does, his rivals may not know which way he went. After all, Hollendorfer hardly knew which way the gelded son of Candy Ride went in a four furlong drill at Golden Gate Fields Monday morning, due a heavy fog.
“I didn’t actually see the work until the last eighth of a mile because of fog,” Hollendorfer said by phone Monday morning. “But I did get him in 12:04 for the last eighth of a mile. I haven’t talked yet with Russell (Baze, who was aboard for the work), but it seemed fine.”
Bob Baffert trains four of the 10 horses entered in the seven furlong Malibu, along with the La Brea Stakes one of two Grade I races on opening day.
Hollendorfer also entered Tamarando, winner of the Grade I Del Mar Futurity, in the Malibu. Together, the two Hall of Fame trainers have 60 percent of the field. Shared Belief is scheduled to arrive from the Bay Area at Santa Anita on Tuesday.
Noted Shared Belief drew a favorable post position (eight) with ample speed in the race that should benefit his stalking style, Hollendorfer wasn’t about to count any chickens before they hatched, perhaps still mindful of Shared Belief’s rough start in the Breeders’ Cup Classic in which he suffered his first defeat after seven victories.
“We’ll see what happens,” Hollendorfer said. “But I think we’re bringing down a very good horse.”
The field for the Malibu, race eight of nine, with a first post time of 12 noon: Conquest Two Step, Joe Talamo, 15-1; Chitu, Joel Rosario, 4-1; Indianapolis, Gary Stevens, 6-1; Rprettyboyfloyd, Tyler Baze, 30-1; Pimpernel, Martin Garcia, 10-1; Midnight Hawk, Victor Espinoza, 6-1; Tamarando, Julien Leparoux, 12-1; Shared Belief, Mike Smith, 4-5; Diamond Bachelor, Flavian Prat, 20-1; and Frensham, Mario Gutierrez, 30-1.
FAVORED TARIS DRAWS INSIDE FOR GRADE I LA BREA
Taris, nine-length winner of the Grade II Raven Run at Keeneland last out, drew the rail for Friday’s Grade I La Brea Stakes, not a post trainer Simon Callaghan would have chosen.
“I would have preferred another spot,” Callaghan said, “but she’s got enough speed to get out of there and get a position, so we’ll see what happens.”
The field for the La Brea: Taris, Rafael Bejarano, 2-1; Uzziel, Tyler Baze, 30-1; Thank You Marylou, Joel Rosario, 6-1; Awesome Baby, Mike Smith, 9-2; Ramona’s Wildcat, Drayden Van Dyke, 30-1; More Complexity, Mario Gutierrez, 12-1; Stonetastic, Pablo Lopez, 4-1; Amaranth, Dennis Carr, 15-1; Sam’s Sister, Elvin Trujillo, 8-1; and Jojo Warrior, Martin Garcia, 4-1.
Bob Baffert said Monday morning he likely would scratch Awesome Baby, indicating it was too tough a spot for the 3-year-old filly’s first race back since last March.
PACE, DISTANCE KEY FOR TALCO IN MATHIS BROTHERS MILE
Talco shortens up from three 1 1/8-mile turf races in the U.S. to a flat mile on grass when he runs in Friday’s inaugural Mathis Brothers Mile, formerly run as the Sir Beaufort Stakes.
“We think the distance cutback is going to be key for him,” trainer John Sadler said of the French-bred 3-year-old son of Pivotal owned by the Hronis brothers. “He’s been running in mile and an eighth races with no pace.
“I hope there’s some speed in there because that’s what he wants to close into. We think this will be a better distance for him. The (12) post isn’t ideal, but we’re running.”
The field for the Mathis Brothers: Patriots Rule, Fernando Perez, 15-1; Red Outlaw, Edwin Maldonado, 6-1; Ashleylovessugar, Elvis Trujillo, 15-1; Alert Bay, Tyler Baze, 6-1; Sawyer’s Hill, Martin Garcia, 12-1; Tonito M., Rafael Bejarano, 10-1; Heart to Heart, Julien Leparoux, 5-2; Louisiana Flyboy, Aaron Gryder, 30-1; Home Run Kitten, Joe Talamo, 6-1; Long On Value, Mike Smith, 5-1; Awesome Return, Kent Desormeaux, 10-1; Talco, Drayden Van Dyke, 10-1; and also-eligibles Cool Samurai, Victor Espinoza, 12-1; and Play Hard to Get, Corey Nakatani, 20-1.
PEDROZA, TRAINER IN CONFRONTATION AT LOS ALAMITOS
It wasn’t the Thrilla in Manila, but it was the Row at Los Al.
Jockey Martin Pedroza and trainer Richard Baltas got into verbal and physical confrontations at Los Alamitos Race Course Sunday in incidents apparently spurred because Pedroza had been removed from a Baltas-trained horse at the owners’ request.
It started in the first race, in which the favorite, Armensky, trained by Baltas and ridden by the meet’s leading rider, Rafael Bejarano, broke from the No. 3 post position in the mile race for $20,000 maiden claimers, and Mojave Desert, ridden by Pedroza, broke from the No. two post position. Pedroza had ridden Armensky in his last start, finishing second by a half-length at 12-1 on Nov. 27 at Del Mar.
Armensky, the 2-5 favorite, finished fifth on Sunday, beaten 12 ½ lengths by Mojave Desert, who ran fourth.
“Martin told me and (Rafael) Bejarano he was going to take my horse out of the race,” Baltas said Monday morning. “The stewards were warned about it. After the fifth race, Pedroza told me that was going to ‘f— with me all year long’ and after the seventh, I was minding my own business, when he came up to me and started cussing me out, then he bumped me in the chest and I put him a headlock before Security came.
“But before they did, he hit me in the face with his helmet and cut my nose (Baltas was treated and had it covered with a bandage Monday). I’m not a confrontational guy but I am competitive and I was upset. I’m thinking of taking out a restraining order against him and my owners are filing a complaint.”
Pedroza said he came over to Baltas after the seventh when the trainer motioned to him as though he wanted to talk to him, and Baltas bumped his chest. From that point, the incident grew more violent.
Richie Silverstein, Pedroza’s long-time agent, had this version. “Baltas called Martin over after the seventh race as if to discuss business. The next thing you know, Baltas had Martin in a headlock and Security was called to break it up. Martin did hit him with his helmet, but it was in self defense.
“The police came and suggested Martin file a restraining order against Baltas. There’s no need to take sides here. Everyone there saw what happened.”
ANOTHER OPENING, ANOTHER SHOW FOR McANALLY
Opening day at Santa Anita without Ron McAnally would be like a day without sunshine in Southern California. When The Great Race Place ushers in its 78th season on Friday, it will mark six decades and counting that the Hall of Fame trainer of national champions Bayakoa, Northern Spur, Paseana, Tight Spot and two-time Horse of the Year John Henry has been on hand for one of the game’s most eagerly anticipated meetings.
“I was here for the first time in 1948,” said McAnally, who at 82, ranks fourth all time at The Great Race place in total wins (703) and stakes victories (113). “I’ve seen a lot of changes over those years, but Santa Anita never gets old. The scenery, the setting, the weather: I can see why they have the Breeders’ Cup here every year (eight times, the last three in a row).
“You can’t beat it. Same way with Belmont Park. Santa Anita has been my life and I enjoy it. That’s why I’m out here seven days a week, rain or shine. I’m not thinking of retiring. I exercise every day after I get through exercising my horses.
“I don’t play cards, I don’t play tennis or golf or anything else. This is my life, right here.”
FREE WEEKEND INFIELD ADMISSION AND PARKING AT SANTA ANITA
Santa Anita Park will again offer fans free weekend Infield admission and parking, beginning opening day, Friday. With sunny skies forecast, the spacious Infield figures to be a popular destination for many families and youthful race goers who enjoy a wide variety of entertainment options, a Family Fun Zone, pony rides, face painting, inflatable jumpers and more. Those seeking Santa Anita’s traditional opening day wall calendar can purchase a General Admission ticket for just $5.
“We initiated free admission to the Infield back in April and it’s been very well received by our fans,” said Santa Anita President, Tom Ludt. “The Infield has traditionally been a popular destination for young people, families and groups and there’s a great atmosphere out there. The idea is to get new and casual fans excited about racing and about coming to Santa Anita and with the expectation of good weather, we want people to know they are welcome to bring beach chairs, coolers with picnic items and non-alcoholic beverages.”
Santa Anita’s Infield Area is most easily accessed through Gate 6 on Colorado Place, which is on the track’s northern perimeter. Anyone choosing to cross over from the Infield to the Grandstand may do so by purchasing General Admission. (Santa Anita Thoroughbreds Club members can purchase General Admission for just $3). The Thoroughbreds reward program is free to join and fans may do so any race day, on-track.
FINISH LINES: Trainer Richard Mandella said X-rays of Beholder‘s lungs “were perfect” after the two-time Eclipse Award winner returned to his barn last week following recovery from a fever which necessitated her scratch from the Breeders’ Cup Distaff last Oct. 31. “I’ve sent her Julie Adair Stack‘s facility in Chino,” Mandella said. “She’ll be there a couple weeks just to get the edge off and get started back jogging. Then I’ll bring her back. She looks like 10 million dollars.” . . . Hall of Fame jockey Kent Desormeaux rides bargain claim Soi Phet for trainer Leonard Powell in the Group 1, $1,003,000 Tokyo Daishoten at about 1 ¼ miles at Ohi Race Course in Tokyo on Dec. 29, agent Mike Ciani reports . . . Seven-pound apprentice rider Brayan Pena who tacks 110 pounds makes his Santa Anita debut this meet. The 24-year-old native of Guatemala has 11 wins to date and is represented by agent Michael Burns, who also has Christian Aragon, winner of two races for trainer Mike Harrington at Los Alamitos on Thursday . . . Sean McCarthy reports Majestic Harbor doing well as he prepares for the New Year. “He worked a half Monday in 47.40 and went super,” the trainer said of the Gold Cup at Santa Anita winner. “We’re hoping to run him in the San Pasqual Stakes (Jan. 11).” . . . Santa Anita offers a $500,000 guaranteed pool on the Late Pick 4 on opening day. Also fans on track opening day will receive a 2015 Santa. Anita Wall calendar and a contest entry for the first round of the $10,000 Handicapping Contest and Mathis Brothers’ Furniture Drawing.