- CHAMPS BEHOLDER, STELLAR WIND SET FOR VANITY
- EXAGGERATOR TO BREEZE AT BELMONT NEXT WEEK
- SONGBIRD DUE TO WORK AT SANTA ANITA TOMORROW
- OUTSIDE POST NO DETERENT FOR QUICK CASABLANCA
STELLAR WIND WORKS FOR MEETING WITH ‘THE QUEEN’
Anticipation is gaining momentum hour by hour for Santa Anita’s Spring Meet showdown between champions Beholder and Stellar Wind in next Saturday’s Grade I, $400,000 Vanity Mile for fillies and mares, three and up.
Three-time Eclipse Award winner Beholder, winner of 12 of 13 races at Santa Anita and 16 of 21 overall, eyes her eighth straight victory for Richard Mandella, who trains the six-year-old mare for owner B. Wayne Hughes’ Spendthrift Farm.
“She’s doing great, couldn’t be better,” Mandella said of Beholder Saturday morning in the company of Hughes, who will be on hand for the Vanity. Asked tongue-in-cheek if he would take a walkover in the race, Mandella quipped, “That’s one race I could be confident about.”
Stellar Wind, three-year-old filly champion of 2015, makes her first start since finishing second by a neck in the Breeders’ Cup Distaff at Keeneland last Oct. 30. The four-year-old daughter of Curlin worked five furlongs in company Saturday morning under regular rider Victor Espinoza in 59.60. Stablemate Too Fast to Pass was timed in 59.80.
“She went good,” said Espinoza of Stellar Wind, whom he has ridden six straight times, all stakes, three of them Grade I’s, since owners Kosta and Peter Hronis purchased the chestnut filly for John Sadler to train over a year ago.
“She worked in company and I let her stretch her legs down the lane. It’s been a while since she raced, but she’s ready.
“Now she has to against The Queen (Beholder). It should be fun.”
Added clocker Toby Turrell of The Yellow Sheet on Stellar Wind: “She’s right on point. She hasn’t missed a beat. Her works have been long, fast and she’s finishing good.”
Stellar Wind has never lost at Santa Anita, winning all three of her starts including the Grade I Santa Anita Oaks last April 4.
The Vanity is expected to draw a short field headed by the Big Two. Other entrants could include Divina Comedia, Lost Bus, Moyo Honey and Taris.
SONGBIRD TO WORK FIVE FURLONGS EARLY SUNDAY MORNING
Undefeated and untested champion Songbird is scheduled to work at 6:30 a.m. Sunday for a possible return to the races in the Grade II, $200,000 Summertime Oaks at 1 1/16 miles on June 18.
“She’s going to go five-eighths,” trainer Jerry Hollendorfer said of the daughter of Medaglia d’Oro owned by Rick Porter’s Fox Hill Farm.
KENT DESORMEAUX TO WORK EXAGGERATOR AT BELMONT
Santa Anita Derby winner Exaggerator will have his regular rider, Kent Desormeaux, aboard in his major drill next week at Belmont Park for the final jewel in the Triple Crown, the Belmont Stakes on June 11.
“Kent will work him,” said Keith, trainer and part owner of Exaggerator, Saturday morning at Santa Anita. “I just haven’t figured out which day I’m going to breeze him yet (either next Saturday, June 4, or Tuesday, June 7).”
Kentucky Derby winner Nyquist, meanwhile, remains on the road to recovery from a fever that will prevent him from running in the Belmont Stakes.
“He’s back eating, his fever is down, and tentatively he’s scheduled to come back (to Santa Anita) a week from Sunday (June 5), but he’s doing really, really good,” said Dennis O’Neill, brother of Doug O’Neill, who trains the son of Uncle Mo for Paul and Zillah Reddam.
QUICK CASABLANCA ON OUTSIDE LOOKING IN
Quick Casablanca drew the extreme outside post position for Sunday’s Grade II, $200,000 Charles Whittingham Stakes for three-year-olds and up at 1 ¼ miles on turf, but Ron McAnally says it will make no nevermind for the eight-year-old Chilean-bred horse, who captured the Grade III San Juan Capistrano at about 1 ¾ miles on a yielding course April 10.
“The horse drops back and makes one run,” said Hall of Fame trainer McAnally, 83, and a contemporary of the legendary Whittingham who died at 89 in April 1999.
“That’s his style and we don’t want to change it now.”
The field for the Whittingham, race eight of nine: Blingo, Alex Solis, 8-1; Patentar, Alonso Quinonez, 15-1; A Red Tie Day, Mario Gutierrez, 6-1; Montego Bay, Drayden Van Dyke, 10-1; Bal a Bali, Flavien Prat, 5-2; Royal Albert Hall, Rafael Bejarano, 6-1; Si Sage, Mike Smith, 15-1; Play Hard to Get, Kent Desormeaux, 20-1; Finnegans Wake, Victor Espinoza, 5-1; and Quick Casablanca, Tyler Baze, 4-1.
FINISH LINES: Racing rarity: Jerry Hollendorfer, The Man of a Thousand Horses and winner of more than 7,000 races in his Hall of Fame career, does not have one horse entered on today’s Gold Rush Day card exclusively for California-bred or sired horses at Santa Anita. He does have four entered at a track where he made his bones, Golden Gate Fields in the Bay Area. “I’ll have to try and buy some more Cal-breds,” Hollendorfer said . . . Through 14 racing days, there is a three-way tie in the race for leading jockey between Tyler Baze, Edwin Maldonado and Rafael Bejarano. Each has 14 victories, with Flavien Prat in hot pursuit , one behind at 13 . . . Bob Baffert was pleased with Friday’s four furlong breeze in 47.60 by San Felipe Stakes winner Danzing Candy. It was the son of Twirling Candy‘s first work for Baffert since being transferred to him from trainer Cliff Sise Jr. “It was an easy half,” Baffert said. “I’m just trying to figure him out. I have no plans yet (for a race), but he’s a beautiful horse.” . . . Multiple graded stakes winner Kobe’s Back, prepping for the Grade I Triple Bend Stakes on June 25, worked four furlongs Saturday for Peter Eurton in 47.60 . . . Former jockey Corey Black has taken the book of Jaime Theriot . . . Santa Anita races through this Monday, Memorial Day, which also is Dollar Day. Fans can enjoy draft beers, hot dogs and sodas for just a buck. First post time Memorial Day is 2 p.m. Admission gates open at 11:30 a.m. Santa Anita presents a festive Carnival today through Monday from 12 noon until 7:30 p.m. The entire family can share Carnival rides, games and prizes in additional to exciting Thoroughbred racing . . . Early Pick 3 no secret: Friday’s first three winners were Secret House ($12), Secret Room ($4.20) and Secreto Primero (it means first secret, $11.40), producing a Pick 3 worth $79.40. The “Secret” daily double paid $26.20.
|SANTA ANITA STATISTICS|
|(Current Through Friday, May 27)|
|Drayden Van Dyke||29||3||3||3||10%||31%||$160,205|
|Hector O. Palma||8||3||3||0||38%||75%||$59,490|