- SHARED BELIEF ON TARGET FOR $1 MILLION BIG ‘CAP
- UNDEFEATED DORTMUND WORKS, SAN FELIPE NEXT?
- STEVENS RECALLS SEABISCUIT AND GEORGE WOOLF
- KOBE‘S BACK IS BACK FOR THE SAN CARLOS STAKES
- PURE TACTICS STEPS UP IN GRADE I KILROE MILE
- POTENTIALLY BIG PAY DAYS LOOM ON BIG ‘CAP DAY
- RIDING GREAT JERRY LAMBERT DEAD AT AGE OF 74
SHARED BELIEF WORKS WELL FOR SANTA ANITA HANDICAP
Once-beaten male 2-year-old champion of 2013 Shared Belief worked five furlongs
Tuesday in 1:00.40 at Golden Gate Fields and will have one more major drill over the Tapeta surface at his home base next Tuesday before vanning Wednesday morning to Santa Anita for final preparations for the $1 million Santa Anita Handicap next Saturday, March 7.
“He’ll be checked out after that last work and if everything’s OK, ship early Wednesday and arrive at Santa Anita around noon,” said Dan Ward, Hall of Fame trainer Jerry Hollendorfer’s assistant.
San Pasqual Stakes winner Hoppertunity worked five furlongs Thursday in a minute flat, after which Bob Baffert said he would wait for the Big ‘Cap weights, to be released late this Saturday, before making a final decision on Hoppertunity’s Big ‘Cap status.
DORTMUND COULD RUN IN SAN FELIPE NEXT SATURDAY
Dortmund, unbeaten in four starts and a major player on the Triple Crown trail, worked
seven furlongs on Santa Anita’s main track Thursday morning in 1:25.60 under regular rider Martin Garcia. Dortmund galloped out a mile in 1:38.
Asked if the son of 2008 Kentucky Derby winner Big Brown was possible to start in next Saturday’s Grade II San Felipe Stakes at 1 1/16 miles instead of waiting for the Santa Anita Derby on April 4, trainer Bob Baffert said, “anything’s possible.”
Promising maiden winner Prospect Park, definite at this point for the San Felipe, is scheduled to work shortly for the $400,000 race that offers 50 Kentucky Derby qualifying points to the winner.
“I brought him up from San Luis Rey the day before yesterday,” trainer Cliff Sise Jr. said. “He galloped great here Wednesday, and now we’ve got to determine whether we work tomorrow or Saturday,” depending on the weather. “I’d rather work Saturday, because that’s a week out (from the race), but, you can’t work if the track’s closed.”
Also probable for the San Felipe are unbeaten Delta Jackpot winner Ocho Ocho Ocho and Baffert trainee Lord Nelson, who upset Breeders’ Cup Juvenile winner Texas Red in the San Vicente Stakes on Feb. 1.
Ocho Ocho Ocho worked six furlongs for Jim Cassidy Thursday in a bullet 1:12, while El Camino Real Derby winner Metaboss, scheduled to run in the Spiral at Turfway Park on March 27 for trainer Jeff Bonde, worked five furlongs in 1:02.80.
RATTATAPTAP KNOCKING ON DOOR FOR SANTA YSABEL WIN
Rattataptap suffered her only loss in three starts in the Santa Ynez Stakes on Jan. 3. Whatever chance she had in the Grade III race went out the window at the start, when she hopped and bobbled.
After that, she pretty much did the best she could, eventually finishing some 18 lengths behind victorious Seduire. Aside from that, Rattataptap would be perfect, since she won her two other starts, her last by 4 ¾ lengths at Santa Anita on Jan. 29.
At 1 1/16 miles, the Santa Ysabel is the first start beyond 6 ½ furlongs for the daughter of Tapit, trained by Jeff Bonde for Mark DeDomenico, Jerry Durant and Michael House.
“She’s training really well and her last start, she looked like she had plenty left, as to going a little further,” Bonde said.
The Santa Ysabel: Danette, Fernando Perez, 20-1; Curling’s Fox, Mike Smith, 5-2; Enchanting Lady, Martin Garcia, 3-1; Achiever’s Legacy, Gary Stevens, 15-1; Rainha da Bateria, Tiago Pereira, 10-1; Light the City, Kent Desormeaux, 7-2; Rattataptap, Rafael Bejarano, 4-1; Stella Wind, Victor Espinoza, 12-1; and Glory, Drayden Van Dyke, 6-1.
KOBE‘S BACK RETURNS IN SAN CARLOS STAKES
Kobe isn’t back, but Kobe’s Back is back. A 4-year-old son of Flatter trained by Peter Eurton for owners C R K Stable, Kobe’s Back is named for the sidelined Lakers’ superstar Kobe Bryant.
After a seven-month absence, Kobe’s Back is scheduled to make his return to the races in next Saturday’s Grade II San Carlos Stakes for 4-year-olds and up at seven furlongs. The gray colt has been working forwardly under Gary Stevens, who rides in the San Carlos.
“He’s been working really well,” Eurton said, “and Gary and I both love the seven-eighths. Eventually, Gary even thinks he’ll go a lot further, which is something he’s never been able to do, although he did try twice (clipping heels in the CashCall Futurity at 1 1/16 miles in December 2013 and finishing an eventful seventh in the Grade II Rebel on a wet/fast track at 1 1/16 miles last March).
“But the San Carlos is the plan for now. If he does well there, we’ll just kind of take one race at a time. But he is training very well. He loves this race track. He’s doing well here.
“He missed all that time because of minor knee surgery. They took a little flake out, then they brought him back a couple months later.”
OWNERS ‘NITA WINNER’ IN GRADE I KILROE MILE
Pure Tactics jumps from a victory in the restricted Clockers’ Corner Stakes at about 6 ½ furlongs on turf to the grassy Grade I Frank E. Kilroe Mile next Saturday, but Doug O’Neill is optimistic about the chances of the Texas-bred horse, who has nine wins from 21 career starts.
“He’s very versatile,” the trainer said. “We do think his best distance is eight furlongs. Obviously, the Kilroe is a big step up from the restricted stakes he just won, but he’s doing well and it’s in our own back yard.
“The owners are great people, super-patient, Doug and Anita Cole, from the Midwest. They own a bunch of spas that are like the Burk Williams spas in California. His wife’s name is Nita, so Doug made a play on words by calling the ownership ‘Nita Winner’ LLC.”
SANTA ANITA HOSTS SEABISCUIT SCREENING SATURDAY, STEVENS AVAILABLE
In celebration of the 75th anniversary of the mighty Seabiscuit’s win in the 1940 Santa Anita Handicap, Santa Anita Park will host a post race screening of the 2003 blockbuster hit movie “Seabiscuit” following the races this Saturday.
The film, which was nominated for seven Academy Awards, including Best Picture, starred Tobey Maguire, Jeff Bridges, Chris Cooper, Elizabeth Banks, William H. Macy and active Hall of Fame jockey Gary Stevens. It is regarded by many as perhaps the greatest racetrack-themed film of all time. (Stevens, who played the legendary George Woolf in the film, will be available to media prior to the screening in the Paddock Area).
“Seabiscuit is a great part of Santa Anita history, thanks to his storied win in the Big ‘Cap, followed by the book and the movie, in which I was able to portray George Woolf,” Stevens said Thursday morning. “That was a great honor for me.
“It’s been 12 years since the movie, but it doesn’t seem like it. It seems like only yesterday. Seabiscuit is a great piece of history, along with Santa Anita.”
Admission to the Seabiscuit movie screening will begin at 6:30 p.m. and is free to fans attending the races ($5 General Admission). For those arriving after 5 p.m., admission is $10.
Along with being nominated for Best Picture, Seabiscuit, which was directed by Gary Ross, also received Academy Award nominations for: Best Writing; Adapted Screenplay; Best Cinematography; Best Film Editing; Best Art Direction/Set Decoration; Best Costume Design; and Best Sound Mixing.
“Seabiscuit” will be shown on a giant 60-foot screen in Santa Anita’s Paddock Gardens area and the track will also provide several Food Trucks and Dessert options as well as music for fans to enjoy in conjunction with the screening.
The Seabiscuit event will serve as a prelude to the 78th running of the Grade I, $1 million Santa Anita Handicap a week from Saturday, March 7.
For more information on the Seabiscuit screening and to make reservations for the Santa Anita Handicap, please visit santaanita.com or call (626) 574-RACE.
$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.
RACING MOURNS PASSING OF TOP RIDER JERRY LAMBERT
Jerry Lambert, one of California’s leading jockeys through the 1960s and ’70s was found dead Monday morning at his place of employment, Magali Farms in Santa Ynez, Calif., by his daughter, Lacey, who is also employed at the farm.
Born in Clyde, Kansas, on Dec. 27, 1940, Lambert, 74, was best known as the regular rider of the jet-black Hall of Fame gelding Native Diver, with whom Lambert won three consecutive Hollywood Gold Cups in 1965, ’66 and ’67. “The Black Horse” as Lambert often referred to him, had a keen temperament and front-running style that was perfectly complemented by Lambert’s deft touch.
“He was a great rider,” said retired Hall of Fame jockey Donald Pierce. “I rode with him from the time he came to California in 1961 until I retired (early 1984). Anytime he was in a race, you had to deal with him because he didn’t make mistakes. He was very quiet, very low key and he’d come and beat you when you’d least expect it. He was a lot like Shoe. He was very quiet to be around and to ride with.”
Santa Anita’s leading Winter/Spring Meet rider in 1967-’68 with 77 winners in 72 days of racing, “Clyde” as he was known to his contemporaries, was also leading rider at Santa Anita’s Oak Tree Meeting in 1972 with 30 winners. Known as a great judge of pace and blessed with light hands and a cool demeanor, Lambert’s career was often stymied by his love of the outdoors, which resulted in a number of protracted absences from the saddle.
“I think maybe the best indication of how good he was, was that every time he came back, he had a lot of business,” said Pierce. “Buster Millerick (trainer of Native Diver) loved him and whenever Jerry would come back to ride, Buster put him on horses which was very unusual then, ’cause those older guys didn’t like it when you took off and were gone for a while. Most of the time, when you took off, those horses went to other jocks and that’s the way it was.”
Lambert, who was also Del Mar’s leading rider in 1967, was an integral part of one of American Racing’s all-time greatest match races, which pitted trainer A.T. “Tommy” Doyle’s Typecast against trainer Willard Proctor’s Convenience at a mile and one eighth on June 17, 1972 at Hollywood Park.
Typecast, who was ridden by Bill Shoemaker, was favored over Convenience, but Lambert, in the opinion of many observers, rode a race for the ages, enabling Convenience to prevail by a head in a $250,000 winner-take-all thriller witnessed by an on-track crowd of 53,575.
“Not too many people out-rode Shoemaker, but Jerry had him in his hip pocket that day,” said trainer Tom Proctor, who was a 16-year-old groom at the time. “He had Shoe in a bad spot going into the first turn and again when they turned for home. He had Shoe where he wanted him and he drifted out, so Shoe had to come inside. I never saw my dad get nervous, but he was that day. There were 53,000 ‘paid’ there and from the time the horses came into the old paddock in front of the grandstand, I don’t think anyone sat down. Jerry was a horse-backer and that was a big win for Glen Hill Farm.”
Lambert enjoyed a career resurgence in 1987, riding at Bay Meadows and Golden Gate Fields for trainers such as Jack Arterburn and Jerry Dutton, but his roll was derailed when he sustained a life-threatening spill going into the far turn at Pleasanton in July, ’87, which resulted in a broken cheekbone, broken ankle and collapsed lung.
Commenting on the incident in a Los Angeles Times article on Feb. 1, 1988, veteran turf writer and handicapper Gordon Jones said, “Too bad. Jerry Lambert was riding as well as I’ve ever seen him ride, and then for that to happen . . . ”
Lambert was a winner of the 1995 Darley Award, given annually to America’s top Arabian-bred jockey and he finished up his riding career at Los Alamitos, where he dominated the track’s Arabian-bred standings from 1994-1998.
“Jerry may’ve had the best set of hands I’ve ever seen,” said Los Al track announcer, Ed Burgart. “He sat a horse perfect and he never abused his mounts. They ran out of their minds for Jerry; he just had that magic touch.”
A winner of Santa Anita’s George Woolf Memorial Jockey Award in 1971, Lambert, who broke his maiden on a half-mile bullring in Shelby, Montana, in 1958, won 2,535 Thoroughbred races and retired with 42 stakes wins at Santa Anita, 54 at Hollywood Park and 30 stakes triumphs at Del Mar.
According to Lacey Lambert, her father, who had been in poor health, died of natural causes. Funeral services are pending.
FINISH LINES: Winning Prize, scratched from Sunday’s Joe Hernandez Stakes when the race was moved from turf to dirt, worked seven furlongs on turf Thursday in 1:30 for the Kilroe under the tutelage of Neil Drysdale . . . Tom Quigley‘s guest handicappers in the East Paddock Gardens this weekend at 11:20 a.m. will be Steve Unite, Horseplayer and 2007 Jeopardy Tournament of Champions quarterfinalist on Saturday, and jockey Aaron Gryder on Sunday . . . Popular Santa Anita horn blower Jay Cohen will host the show at Pasadena’s Ice House on Wednesday, March 4, 7:30 p.m.
|SANTA ANITA STATISTICS|
|(Current Through Sunday, Feb. 22)|
|Drayden Van Dyke||132||15||15||18||11%||$817,156|
|A. C. Avila||22||6||1||3||27%||$149,974|