- SHARED BELIEF A ‘ONCE-IN-A-LIFETIME’ HORSE
- PERFECT DORTMUND EYES SANTA ANITA DERBY
- LOCAL FOURSOME NOMINATED TO HALL OF FAME
- ROUTINE GRADE I CELEBRATION FOR VAN DYKE
NO DUBAI FOR BIG ‘CAP WINNER SHARED BELIEF
The Terminator struck again Saturday.
For the 10th time in 11 starts, Shared Belief set his mind on his task, focused like a laser
on his target–the finish line–and pulled the trigger, rolling to a 4 ¼-length victory in what amounted to a million dollar workout in the Santa Anita Handicap.
Now three for three this meet at distances from seven furlongs to a mile and a quarter in Grade I races, short of Arnold Schwarzenegger in his prime, at the moment there seems nothing out there among equine anti-heroes who can stop Shared Belief.
And there are more worlds to conquer. Which ones, of course, remain to be seen.
“He came out of the race very good,” trainer Jerry Hollendorfer said on a business-as-usual Sunday morning. “We’re very grateful to have a good horse like him.”
As Shared Belief’s regular rider, Mike Smith, indicated before the Big ‘Cap, there was still plenty in the tank for the 4-year-old gelded son of Candy Ride. The needle certainly didn’t hover near empty after yesterday’s unanimously predicted triumph.
That said, some folks wondered aloud if the Dubai World Cup would be considered for Shared Belief’s next race, even though logic would be tossed out the window, since that $10 million race halfway around the globe is a mere three weeks away, on March 28.
“No, we’re not going to Dubai,” Hollendorfer said. “There are lots of races in this country to run in with plenty big enough purses. We just don’t want to make a trip over there.”
In a radio interview on Mike Willman’s “Thoroughbred Los Angeles” Sunday morning on AM 830, KLAA, Hollendorfer said that the Grade II, 1 1/8-mile Oaklawn Handicap on April 11 would likely be next for his stable superstar.
“He’s a once-in-a-lifetime horse,” said Dan Ward, Hollendorfer’s valued assistant. “You won’t see another like him.”
DORTMUND, PROSPECT PARK, BOLO EYE SANTA ANITA DERBY
It’s on to the $1 million Santa Anita Derby on April 4 for undefeated Dortmund, who roared to a front-running, 1 ¼-length victory in the Grade I San Felipe Stakes Saturday.
“It was a walk in the park for him,” trainer Bob Baffert said Sunday morning of the well-chiseled chestnut who is a perfect five for five.
Speaking of parks, runner-up Prospect Park, who was beaten 1 ¼ lengths, is scheduled to re-engage with Dortmund in the Santa Anita Derby, according to trainer Clifford Sise, Jr.
“He came out of the race great,” said Sise. “I talked to Marty (co-owner/breeder Martin Wygod) and he’s very happy with the way he ran. We feel like he’ll run all day and with the trip he had yesterday, we’ve got a pretty fresh horse this morning.”
Ditto for lightly raced third-place finisher Bolo, who finished a half-length behind Prospect Park in his first start on dirt for trainer Carla Gaines.
Although beaten for the first time, eighth-place finisher Ocho Ocho Ocho remains on target for the West Coast’s premier Kentucky Derby prep, according to trainer Jim Cassidy.
“He’s a little cut up,” Cassidy said Sunday morning of the son of Street Sense, who was the $4.30-1 third choice in a field of 10 three-year-olds with Triple Crown aspirations. “Both front legs have some lacerations on them. He had a rough trip.
“It happened from the gate and then at the first turn. Mike (Smith) said, ‘Just throw the race out. I never got a chance.'” Asked if maybe the Santa Anita Derby would be next, Cassidy said, “No maybe about it. If he’s breathing, he’s running.”
Another still under consideration for the Santa Anita Derby is Firing Line, twice a tough-beat head loser to Dortmund. “We could run there or the Sunland Derby (March 22),” trainer Simon Callaghan said after Firing Line worked five furlongs Sunday in 1:00.80 with owner Arnold Zetcher on hand. “We haven’t made up our minds yet. I was very happy with the work.”
Baffert, asked which horse is better, Eclipse Award champion 2-year-old male of 2014 American Pharoah or Dortmund:
“That’s like asking which kid I love more. Come on. They’re two different kinds of horses. They’re really nice horses. We’ll find out if they hopefully make it the (Kentucky) Derby.”
ESPINOZA, NAKATANI AMONG HALL OF FAME NOMINEES
Two jockeys and two horses who earned their spurs in California have been nominated
to the National Museum Racing Hall of Fame–Victor Espinoza and Corey Nakatani, and Kona Gold and Lava Man.
Winners will be announced April 20, with induction ceremonies on Aug. 7 in Saratoga Springs, N.Y., site of the Hall of Fame.
Espinoza, a two-time Kentucky Derby winner and regular rider of Horse of the Year California Chrome, was caught off guard by his nomination.
“Not really,” the 42-year-old native of Mexico City said when asked if he thought this would ever happen. “I never thought about being in the Hall of Fame, but just being nominated is an honor for me after all these years.
“We’ll see what happens. For now, I’ll keep going and try to win more races.”
“A lot of good horses and a lot of talent got me to this point, God willing,” said the 44-year-old Nakatani, a native of Covina, California, who began his career in 1988. “I’m very, very fortunate. Just being nominated is an honor, but obviously, you strive for things like this.
“You set goals for yourself and hopefully you can attain them. Hopefully, the voters will look at my record and they’ll put us in there.”
Retired jockey Craig Perret and the late Chris Antley are also on this year’s Hall of Fame ballot.
FINISH LINES: Up and coming journeyman Drayden Van Dyke, Eclipse Award winner as outstanding apprentice rider of 2014, celebrated his first Grade I victory Saturday aboard Ring Weekend in the Frank E. Kilroe Mile in understated fashion. “I visited with Gary Stevens at his 52nd birthday party last night and did my usual thing,” said Van Dyke, mature beyond his 20 years. “I went to Whole Foods, got some fruit and salmon, and went home.” . . . Victor Espinoza on his pending Dubai trip to ride California Chrome in the $10 million World Cup on March 28: “It’s more important on how the horse handles the trip than the rider. It’s exciting to go there, but it’s a different surface now, traditional dirt, rather than synthetic, so I don’t know how the track will play. Hopefully, we’ll get the money.”. . . Breeders’ Cup Sprint winner Secret Circle, ticketed for the $2 million Golden Shaheen in Dubai on March 28, worked six furlongs Sunday in a bullet 1:12.60 for Bob Baffert . . . Espinoza, Martin Pedroza and Iggy Puglisi have been suspended three racing days (March 13, 14 and 15) for causing interference on their respective mounts, Hauler, Royal F J and Stole a Kiss, in Friday’s races . . . Agent Mike Ciani had Kent Desormeaux booked to ride in 10 of the 11 races Saturday, a record one-day number for him this meet, but the 45-year-old jockey settled for nine when his mount in the second, Inner City, was scratched. Through 43 racing days, the three-time Kentucky Derby winner was tied for second at Santa Anita with 29 wins from 149 mounts, a respectable 19 percent. Desormeaux showed his Hall of Fame prowess with a 10-1 upset on Arethusa for trainer Eoin Harty in the sixth race, patiently winding his way through the stretch to score by a half-length in the 1 1/8-mile turf event . . . Probable for next Saturday’s Grade I Santa Margarita Stakes for older fillies and mares at 1 1/8 miles: Cassatt, Kerwin Clark; Dame Dorothy, Rafael Bejarano; Frivolous, Corey Nakatani; Legacy, no rider; Thegirlinthatsong, Mike Smith; Warren’s Veneda, Tyler Baze; and Yahilwa, no rider . . . Trainer A.C. Avila does not plan to appeal his 60-day suspension and $10,000 fine recently handed out by the California Horse Racing Board. “I haven’t had a vacation since 2008, so I’ll make the most of it,” said Avila, who plans to leave March 24 to spend two weeks in South America, including Brazil and Uruguay, and 25 days in Europe, including France and Italy . . . Saturday marked 59 years since Larry Gilligan‘s monumental upset victory aboard Social Climber for Charlie Whittingham in the1956 FelipeStakes. Social Climber came from 11th in a field of 12 to win by a neck at a $111.20 win payoff. Gilligan, now Santa Anita’s on-track Quick Official, would go onto finish second on Social Climber at 17-1 in an 18-horse field behind Terrang and Bill Shoemaker in the Santa Anita Derby . . . Condolences to the family of long-time Southern California assistant starter, Ron Bolton, who passed away at his home in Lodi, California, on Feb. 25 at the age of 57.
|SANTA ANITA STATISTICS|
|(Current Through Saturday, March 7)|
|Drayden Van Dyke||159||17||18||21||11%||$1,113,956|
|A. C. Avila||25||7||2||3||28%||$208,298|