- RANSOM THE MOON WAS A GOOD BUY FOR D’AMATO
- BAFFERT HAS QUARTET QUED UP FOR BC CLASSIC
- PRAT’S FOUR BAGGER INCLUDES THREE GRADE I’S
- BOLT D’ORO EYES BIG DANCE AFTER FRONTRUNNER
RANSOM THE MOON BREEZES FOR SANTA ANITA SPRINT CHAMPIONSHIP
Ransom the Moon, winner of three of four starts for Phil D’Amato since the Canadian-bred came to California earlier this year after an extended run at Woodbine, is ready for the Grade I, “Win and You’re In” Santa Anita Sprint Championship a week from Saturday, Oct. 7.
Winner of the Grade I Bing Crosby Stakes last out on July 29, Ransom the Moon worked five furlongs Sunday under regular rider Flavien Prat in 1:00.60 in an “easy” move.
“He was a private purchase,” D’Amato said of the five-year-old full horse by Malibu Moon. “He’s a neck away from being undefeated for me and going four for four since I’ve had him, so he’s certainly lived up to expectations.”
Ransom the Moon has won five of 19 starts including the Grade I Bing Crosby on July 29. He has earned $520,829.
Peter Miller said Sunday morning that Bing Crosby runner-up Roy H is on target for the Santa Anita Sprint Championship, but that stablemate Calculator, runner-up in the Grade II Pat O’Brien on Aug. 26, would miss the race due to foot issues. However, Miller still hopes to make the Breeders’ Cup Sprint with the five-year-old Florida-bred son of In Summation.
Also probable for the Sprint Championship are Woody Stephens winner American Anthem, who worked four furlongs for Bob Baffert Sunday in a bullet 46.60, fastest of 99 drills at the distance; Giant Expectations; Mr. Hinx; and Ocho Ocho Ocho.
MUBTAAHIJ GIVES BAFFERT YET ANOTHER CLASSIC CANDIDATE
Bob Baffert added another soldier to his battalion of Breeders’ Cup Classic candidates when Mubtaahij won Saturday’s Win and You’re In Awesome Again Stakes, giving the Hall of Fame trainer an automatic berth into a race he has won three straight years, with Bayern, American Pharoah and Arrogate last year.
“I wasn’t really surprised,” Baffert said of the 3-1 second choice’s 1 ½-length victory in the Awesome Again under Drayden Van Dyke. “The horse had been working really well.”
Cupid, the 6-5 favorite trained by Baffert, finished fourth, beaten just over two lengths.
“I liked Cupid in there,” Baffert said, “but I liked Mubtaahij because he has a lot of back class. He hadn’t run since the Dubai World Cup (on March 25, a span of six months) but he had been working really well, and I think adding blinkers kept him more focused.
“Now this gives us another player, another spot, for the Classic. We’ve got to fill that gate up.”
In addition to Mubtaahij, Baffert could also enter Arrogate, Collected and West Coast in the Nov. 4 Classic. Pacific Classic winner Collected worked five furlongs Sunday in 1:01.60 under Martin Garcia.
PRAT SITTING PRETTY FOR BREEDERS’ CUP
Flavien Prat won four races Saturday, three of them Grade I stakes: the Zenyatta with Paradise Woods; the Chandelier with Moonshine Memories; and the Rodeo Drive with Avenge.
Each gives the winner a fees-paid start in their respective Breeders’ Cup races a month hence, come Nov. 3 and 4.
It’s a far cry from how things were two years ago for the 25-year-old Frenchman, who missed the Breeders’ Cup due to injuries.
“Winning four races and three of them Grade I’s is incredible,” said Prat’s agent, Derek Lawson. “We had only won three Grade I’s the whole year, and then, all of a sudden, we knock off three in one day.
“We’re always trying to improve our statistics from the previous year. Avenge ran huge, Paradise Woods came back to where we know she can be, and we’ve been high on the two-year-old filly (Moonshine Memories) since we started working her at Del Mar.
“Now going into the Breeders’ Cup, Flavien’s ridden five horses that won ‘Win and You’re In’ races, so he’s guaranteed (to ride in) at least five races. We’ve come a long way in two years, and in November, we’ll be starting our fourth year together on this whole adventure.
“I promised him I would do everything to make him the No. One rider around here. I wanted him competing at the highest level, and right now, that’s exactly what we’re doing.”
BOLT D’ORO LOOKING FOR MORE AFTER FRONTRUNNER ROMP
Bolt d’Oro, who posted the largest margin of victory (7 ¾ lengths) of any of the five Breeders’ Cup Win and You’re In victors at Santa Anita on Saturday, was looking for more to do just hours after his dominating triumph.
“He was mad at six o’clock last night,” said Mick Ruis, part owner and trainer of the undefeated son of Medaglia d’Oro, who registered his second straight Grade I victory. “He wanted to eat. He put his head in his (feed) tub and ate his entire dinner and then licked his tub clean today.
“At 4:30 this morning, as soon as we washed his legs, not a pimple on him. He’s the soundest horse I have in my barn, bar none. We’ve always got to knock on wood on that.
“From watching films, I knew the Medaglia d’Oro’s had the cruising speed Bolt d’Oro’s shown, and that’s what we want to build on. We’ll go to Del Mar the day it opens for Breeders’ Cup horses and train there, because we know he loves that track. He’s two for two there, and I was born and raised there (in San Diego), so that’s home for us.”
LOS ANGELES TIMES RACING NEWSLETTER NOW AVAILABLE
Good news from the Los Angeles Times for racing fans: during the Santa Anita meet the publication is presenting its racing newsletter that provides previews of feature races at local tracks and a roundup of happenings around the country.
At the core of its coverage will be entries and results including full charts, which is an expansion of what is available in its print edition. It will arrive to inboxes five times a week, meaning race days and at the end of the race week, so charts will be included, via this link: http://www.latimes.com/newsletters/la-newsletter-racing-signup-page-htmlstory.html.
The newsletter, written by Times Deputy Sports Editor John Cherwa, marks a quick, free and thorough way for horse devotees to start their day.
FINISH LINES: Simon Callaghan reports that unbeaten Moonshine Melodies came out of her authoritative 2 ¾-length triumph in the Chandelier Stakes in good order and will remain at Santa Anita before shipping to Del Mar where she likely will have one breeze before the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies on Nov. 4. “It was nice to see the way she relaxed and sat off horses,” the trainer said. “It’s a dimension we kind of knew she had but it was still nice to see it.” . . . Richard Mandella said both Paradise Woods and Avenge came out of their respective victories in Saturday’s Zenyatta Stakes and Rodeo Drive Stakes in good shape and it’s on to the Breeders’ Cup . . . Champion Stellar Wind, training up to the Breeders’ Cup Distaff, worked five furlongs Sunday in 1:02.40. “It was just an easy, routine work,” trainer John Sadler said. “We’ll get more serious next week.” Sadler added that Shenandoah Queen was scratched from Saturday’s Zenyatta Stakes after “becoming a little colicky, but she’ll be OK.” . . . There were 232 recorded works at Santa Anita Sunday morning, including 14 on the training track . . . Santa Anita will be dark Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday but resume live racing at 1 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 5. Admission gates open at 11 a.m. . . . Fans are encouraged to use Santa Anita’s official ride to the races, Uber, during the Autumn Meet. Riders receive a 50 percent discount (up to $20 total) to and from the track when they use promo code SANTAANITA2017, which is valid through Oct. 29.