- IT’S NEVER TOO SOON FOR DERBY FEVER: SOLIS
- HOLLENDORFER TO ENTER TRIO IN SANTA YSABEL
- POTENTIALLY BIG PAY DAYS LOOM ON BIG ‘CAP DAY
SOLIS HOPES TO FILL IN DERBY VOID WITH METABOSS
Hall of Fame, 5,000 victories, Breeders’ Cup successes. The only thing missing from the
resume of Alex Solis is one every jockey savors: a Kentucky Derby triumph.
The native of Panama has been second the Kentucky Derby three times: on Captain Bodgit in 1997; Victory Gallop in 1998; and Aptitude in 2000. Solis has ridden in the world’s most famous horse race 14 times, but not since 2006 when he finished in a dead-heat for fourth aboard Santa Anita Derby winner Brother Derek.
It’s still two months-plus from the Run for the Roses–light years in horse racing time–but Solis maintains a positive outlook after winning the mile and an eighth El Camino Real Derby by 2 ½ lengths aboard Metaboss last Saturday for trainer Jeff Bonde in a $15.20 upset. The win was worth 10 qualifying points to the May 2 Derby.
“That’s what inspires you to get up every day,” said Solis, who turns 51 on March 25. “Horses like Metaboss make it exciting. You want to be on them. We’re out here every day, but a Derby horse is exactly what we’re looking for. I was very impressed with his race.
“It was the first time I had ridden him, so I studied his form. He was nice and relaxed in the race. They went slow the first part, but when they got to the backside they started marching a little bit early and it helped my horse.
“I had to be patient and wait inside for a while. When I got to the 5/16ths (pole) I got him out in the clear and he finished like a good horse and galloped out strong past the wire, so that’s a good indication, especially going a mile and an eighth this early.”
Said Bonde: “Alex rode a good race. He’ll stay on the horse.”
Next up: the Spiral Stakes on March 27 at Turfway Park, which, like Golden Gate, has a synthetic main track.
HOLLENDORFER HAS THREE FOR THE MONEY IN SANTA YSABEL
Jerry Hollendorfer trains seven of the 21 horses nominated to Saturday’s Grade III, $100,000 Santa Ysabel Stakes for 3-year-old fillies at 1 1/16 miles and plans to enter three of them: Achiever’s Legacy, Glory and Light the City.
“All of them have been running very well,” said the meet’s leading trainer with 21 victories through 35 racing days. True enough. Achiever’s Legacy has two wins from seven starts, with a third last out in the Grade I Las Virgenes Stakes on Jan. 31.
Glory was second by a neck in the California Oaks at Golden Gate Fields on Feb. 7 after breaking her maiden at Santa Anita by two lengths on Jan. 10; and Light the City was a closing second by a half-length in the Las Virgenes.
As for Santa Anita Handicap favorite Shared Belief, Hollendorfer plans to breeze the once-beaten male 2-year-old champion of 2013 Tuesday at Golden Gate as is his wont en route to the $1 million, Grade I Big ‘Cap at 1 ¼ miles on March 7.
Probable for the Santa Ysabel: Achiever’s Legacy, no rider; Curlin’s Fox, Mike Smith; Enchanting Lady, no rider; Glory, no rider; Light the City, Kent Desormeaux; Rattataptap, Rafael Bejarano; and Stellar Wind, Victor Espinoza.
$1 MILLION LATE PICK 4 GUARTANTEE ON BIG ‘CAP DAY
Shared Belief is expected to rule a prohibitive favorite in the $1 million Santa Anita Handicap on March 7, but that won’t prevent fans from trying to land a game-changing score.
There will be huge guaranteed pools that day, including a $1 million Late Pick 4 and a $150,000 Pick 6, in addition to three other graded stakes besides the Big ‘Cap, with Triple Crown hopefuls spotlighted in the Grade II, $400,000 San Felipe Stakes.
Also, there will be a Beerfest and live music in the infield. First post time will be 12 noon; gates open at 10 a.m.
FINISH LINES: Jim Cassidy is still mulling plans on where Tom’s Tribute will stand as a stallion after the retirement Friday of the multiple graded stakes winner due to an ankle injury. “We’re working on it right now,” the trainer said Sunday morning.
Winner of the Grade I Eddie Read at Del Mar last year, Tom’s Tribute won six of 16 starts and earned $634,880 for owner Marilyn Braly . . . On the good news front, Cassidy said unbeaten Delta Jackpot winner Ocho Ocho Ocho is scheduled to work Thursday for the Grade II, $400,000 San Felipe Stakes on March 7 . . . San Felipe candidate Lord Nelson, who held off onrushing Texas Red by a neck to win the San Vicente Stakes, worked six furlongs for Bob Baffert in 1:13.40, while Bolo, also considered for the San Felipe, went five furlongs for Carla Gaines in 59.60 . . . Trainer George Papaprodromou said bargain claim Imperative could make his next start in either the Santa Anita Handicap or the $1.5 million Charles Town Classic, a race he won last April, upsetting odds-on favorite Game On Dude. Claimed for 50,000 on Dec. 21, 2013, Imperative earned a cool $1 million in winning the Classic, which will be run this year on April 18 . . . Big ‘Cap candidate Cool Samurai worked five furlongs for John Shirreffs in 1:00.40 . . . Kalookan Queen winner Harlington’s Rose, ticketed for the Grade III Las Flores Stakes at 6 ½ furlongs on March 8, breezed three furlongs for Steve Knapp in 35.80.
|SANTA ANITA STATISTICS|
|(Current Through Saturday, Feb. 21)|
|Drayden Van Dyke||128||15||15||18||12%||$812,716|
|A. C. Avila||22||6||1||3||27%||$149,974|