- ‘BEST HORSE IN COUNTRY’ IN SANTA ANITA HANDICAP
- MASSIVE EXOTIC POOLS GUARANTEED NEXT SATURDAY
- UNBEATEN DORTMUND TO RUN IN SAN FELIPE STAKES
- WOE TO FOES OF PAIN AND MISERY IN SAN FELIPE?
SHARED BELIEF CARRIES HIGHWEIGHT OF 125 IN BIG ‘CAP
Shared Belief, “the best horse in the country,” will carry his greatest impost ever,
top weight of 125 pounds, in Saturday’s Grade I, $1 million Santa Anita Handicap presented by San Manuel Indian Bingo & Casino.
“I don’t think Jerry had any complaints,” said Jerry Hollendorfer assistant Dan Ward of the 125 assigned to Shared Belief, the once-beaten male 2-year-old champion of 2013 who defeated 2014 Horse of the Year California Chrome in the San Antonio Invitational on Feb. 7.
“The racing secretary told us Shared Belief is the best horse in the country,” Ward said, adding that the disparity in weights from high to low is more significant than the actual weight assigned and carried by the high weight.
In 10 lifetime starts, nine of them victories, Shared Belief has never carried more than 123 pounds, both times in his last two starts, victories, in the San Antonio at a mile and an eighth and the Grade I Malibu at seven furlongs.
Probable starters with assigned weights for the 78th Santa Anita Handicap for 4-year-olds and up at 1 ¼ miles, which goes as race 10 on an 11-race program that starts at 12 noon: Shared Belief, Mike Smith, 125; Bronzo, Tyler Baze, 117; Dynamic Sky, Corey Nakatani, 117; Patrioticandproud, no rider, 116; Hard Aces, Victor Espinoza, 115; Sr. Quisqueyano, Joe Talamo, 115; Catch a Flight, Gary Stevens, 114; Cool Samurai, Aaron Gryder, 114; Crimson Giant, Brandon Boulanger, 114; and Diamond Bachelor, Martin Pedroza, 114.
In other Big ‘Cap news:
Bob Baffert was undecided Sunday morning on whether San Pasqual Stakes winner Hoppertunity would start. Asked at 9 a.m. if the son of Any Given Saturday would run in the race, Baffert said, “Don’t know yet.”
Crimson Giant might be long on odds but he won’t be short on fitness. “Every single day he gallops at a very high clip,” trainer Charlie Stutts said of the 6-year-old gelding, winner of only a maiden race from 66 career starts.
The California-bred son of Formal Gold owned and bred by Bryan Carney has raced six times at this meet alone in a span of nine weeks. His lifetime past performances take up seven inches of space.
Apprentice rider Bryan Boulanger, who celebrates his 21st birthday today, has the mount in the Big ‘Cap.
Santa Anita offers two huge guaranteed pools on Big ‘Cap Day, $1 million on the Late Pick 4 and $250,000 on the Pick 6. There will be a Beerfest and live music in the Infield.
UNDEFEATED DORTMUND SET FOR SAN FELIPE
Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert said Sunday morning that unbeaten Dortmund, a leading Triple Crown contender, would run in Saturday’s Grade II, $400,000 San Felipe Stakes, a major steppingstone to the Grade I, $1 million Santa Anita Derby on April 4.
Dortmund, a grandiose son of 2008 Kentucky Derby winner Big Brown, won his last two races by a head, the Robert B. Lewis Stakes and the Grade I Los Alamitos Futurity.
Winner of all four of his races, Dortmund had been expected to make his next start in the San Anita Derby. The Lewis was run on Feb. 7.
Other probables for the San Felipe, a race Baffert has won four times, include Bolo, Ocho Ocho Ocho, Pain and Misery and Prospect Park.
PAIN AND MISERY: RELIEF MAY COME IN SAN FELIPE
It’s time to test the deep waters for Pain and Misery, a 3-year-old son of Bob and John whose name creates a cringe of angst at its very mention.
The Kentucky-bred gelding tackles heavyweights in Saturday’s San Felipe Stakes, worth 50 Kentucky Derby qualifying points to the winner. In four career starts, it will mark the first beyond 6 ½ furlongs for Pain and Misery.
“The timing is good,” trainer Richard Mandella said in explaining the move. “He’s ready to run and the San Felipe is the race that’s there. We don’t know if he’s good enough for that, but we might as well find out. He trains like he might be.”
Pain and Misery made his debut at Del Mar last Aug. 24, finishing third before moving to Zia Park in New Mexico where he won two straight for trainer Henry Dominguez, including the Governors Cup at six furlongs.
Sent to Mandella, Pain and Misery was beaten a neck in his debut for the Hall of Fame conditioner at 10-1 in the restricted Baffle Stakes at about 6 ½ furlongs on turf Feb. 15.
Mandella wouldn’t be setting a precedent should Pain and Misery win. Mandella captured the San Felipe for owner Burt Bacharach in 1994 and 1995 with Soul of the Matter and Afternoon Deelites.
Mandella is not averse to winning with longshots, either. He saddled male 2-year-old champion of 2003 Action This Day to a 26-1 shocker in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile that year.
FINISH LINES: Agent Tony Matos reports that Corey Nakatani will ride Mr. Z for D. Wayne Lukas in the Louisiana Derby at the Fair Grounds on March 28 . . . Zenyatta offspring Cozmic One had yet another workout in advance of his debut for trainer John Shirreffs, going five furlongs on Santa Anita’s fast main track Sunday morning in 1:00.60 . . . Trainer Barry Abrams celebrates his 61st birthday on Wednesday . . . Condolences to trainer Jerry Fanning, whose son, Hoot Fanning, passed away Feb. 16 at age 56. There will be a “Paddle Out” memorial service on Monday, 3 p.m., at Dana Point Harbor, 24200 Dana Point Drive, Baby Beach/Pier.
|SANTA ANITA STATISTICS|
|(Current Through Saturday, Feb. 28)|
|Drayden Van Dyke||140||15||16||19||11%||$834,806|
|A. C. Avila||24||7||2||3||29%||$203,774|