- JERRY MOSS REMEMBERS ROCK ICON JOE COCKER
- BAFFERT SPEEDSTERS TAKE ON SHARED BELIEF
- RED OUTLAW STRETCHES OUT IN MATHIS MILE
- BAYERN, CHROME ‘ECLIPSED’ ALL, BAFFERT SAYS
ENTERTAINMENT GIANT JERRY MOSS REMEMBERS JOE COCKER
Owner/breeder and entertainment titan Jerry Moss was reached by phone Tuesday morning and reacted with sorrow to the passing on Monday of legendary rock singer Joe Cocker, 70, who was featured on Moss’s A & M Records mega hit album “Mad Dogs and Englishmen” in 1970.
“It’s just very sad,” said Moss, who along with his wife Ann own superstar retired mare Zenyatta. “I saw him three years ago and he was doing well. He was one of the greatest artists I’ve ever worked with and I’ve worked with a lot of them. I was actually beside the stage when Joe was performing at Woodstock (1969) and it was one of the biggest thrills of my life.
“He was an amazing talent. There was nobody like him and he will be missed.
“We (Moss and his good friend and business partner Herb Alpert) knew the album was going to be important because the tour was so important. He went out on the road with a menagerie of people including some of the greatest players there were. People like Leon Russell and Chris Stainton . . . Just amazing people on the road. Roberta Flack joined them at some point. We filmed the tour (Mad Dogs and Englishmen) in two different locations, the Filllmore East (in New York City) and the Santa Monica Civic and we did pretty good with it.
“In the meantime, we got the soundtrack and distributed it throughout the world and it really made a very important artist out of Joe. It made him a real interpreter of music. He later came up with ‘You Are So Beautiful’ for us . . . It was great stuff.”
Moss also noted that 2010 Horse of the Year Zenyatta “Is doing very well. We didn’t breed her this year because she had gotten very heavy. She’s lost a lot of that weight, which she needed to do . . . Sometimes that weight can be hard on the legs and she’s such a big girl. We saw her just a week ago and she’s looking great.
“She’s going to be bred to War Front in the spring and Cozmic One (first foal, a 2-year-old colt by Bernardini trained by John Shirreffs) will run here at Santa Anita in a matter of days. Victor (Espinoza) worked him the other day and he’s ready.”
Moss also lamented the passing of Zenyatta’s weanling filly by War Front, who was euthanized following a paddock accident this past fall. “We suffered a great tragedy, but we’ve got Cozmic One and her second foal, Ziconic (by Tapit) is in training in Florida right now and we’re feeling pretty good about the prospects of those two.”
BAFFERT HAS FOUR ENTERED VS. SHARED BELIEF
Bob Baffert has four of the 10 horses entered in the Grade I Malibu Stakes at seven furlongs on opening day, Friday, in which 2013 male 2-year-old champion Shared Belief is the 4-5 morning line favorite.
Baffert has already felt the sting of Shared Belief, in the Grade I Awesome Again Stakes Sept. 27, when the Candy Ride gelding trained by Jerry Hollendorfer hung a neck defeat on the Baffert-trained Fed Biz despite being carried wide by another Baffert runner, Sky Kingdom.
Baffert gained major revenge when his Bayern won the Breeders’ Cup Classic, in which Shared Belief lost any reasonable chance of winning when he was roughed at the start.
Asked what advice he would give to his quartet of riders in the Malibu, Baffert said: “I don’t tell them anything. They’re all speed horses, though. I’m glad I didn’t draw next to Shared Belief. I wouldn’t want to bother him.”
Patrick Biancone, who sends out 20-1 morning line chance Diamond Bachelor in the Malibu, is hoping the French Connection produces winning karma.
“He’s training well,” said Biancone, like Diamond Bachelor’s rider, Flavian Prat, a native of France. “Flavian did well when he rode here in the past. We’re looking for a good showing.”
The field for the Malibu: Conquest Two Step, Joe Talamo, 15-1; Chitu, Joel Rosario, 4-1; Indianapolis, Gary Stevens, 6-1; Rprettyboyfloyd, Tyler Baze, 30-1; Pimpernel, Martin Garcia, 10-1; Midnight Hawk, Victor Espinoza, 6-1; Tamarando, Julien Leparoux, 12-1; Shared Belief, Mike Smith, 4-5; Diamond Bachelor, Flavian Prat, 20-1; and Frensham, Mario Gutierrez, 30-1.
RED OUTLAW OUT TO MAKE AMENDS IN MATHIS BROTHERS MILE
Red Outlaw, who suffered his first defeat in the Cary Grant on Polytrack at Del Mar after six straight victories, seeks to make amends in Friday’s Grade II, $200,000 Mathis Brothers Mile on turf for 3-year-olds.
Trained by Peter Miller, the California-bred son of the late Tribal Rule never made the lead in the Grant as is his wont but was beaten only 2 ½ lengths while finishing fourth under Edwin Maldonado, who has ridden him five times, the last four in a row.
“He’s a pro,” Maldonado said. “I believe he’s even better going a distance. He can do it all, and he completely missed the break in his last race. If he hadn’t, there’s no doubt in my mind he would have won. He just missed the break and I was heartbroken when he did.
“The other speed horse in the Mathis is Heart to Heart, but Red Outlaw’s game is speed. He’ll be on the lead.”
The Mathis Brothers field: Patriots Rule, Fernando Perez, 15-1; Red Outlaw, Edwin Maldonado, 6-1; Ashleylovessugar, Elvis Trujillo, 15-1; Alert Bay, Tyler Baze, 6-1; Sawyer’s Hill, Martin Garcia, 12-1; Tonito M., Rafael Bejarano, 10-1; Heart to Heart, Julien Leparoux, 5-2; Louisiana Flyboy, Aaron Gryder, 30-1; Home Run Kitten, Joe Talamo, 6-1; Long On Value, Mike Smith, 5-1; Awesome Return, Kent Desormeaux, 10-1; Talco, Drayden Van Dyke, 10-1; and also-eligibles Cool Samurai, Victor Espinoza, 12-1; and Play Hard to Get, Corey Nakatani, 20-1.
BAFFERT: BAYERN, CHROME DESERVE ECLIPSE HONORS
You have to walk the walk, talk the talk and dance all the dances to win an Eclipse Award. So says Bob Baffert, who has won his share, capped in 2001, when Point Given was named Horse of the Year.
The Eclipse winners and Horse of the Year for 2014 will be announced Jan. 17. Bayern, winner of the Breeders’ Cup Classic by a nose after favored Shared Belief was roughed at the start and finished fourth, has enough on his resume to be worthy of Horse of the Year, in the opinion of Baffert, who has a vested interest, since he trains the speedy 3-year-old.
“I really feel that horses like California Chrome and Bayern need to be rewarded for their overall excellence on the year,” Baffert said. “Chrome should be 3-year-old champion and Bayern Horse of the Year.
“They’re both deserving horses. They ran a lot, and they left the state. When you get on an airplane, it makes a big difference. Shared Belief stayed in his comfort level, and that was good, because Jerry (Hollendorfer) knows his horse and he didn’t want to take that chance with him.” Each of Shared Belief’s eight career starts to date have been in California.
“Horses that have big years deserve more consideration,” Baffert said. “California
Chrome had a big year, especially at the start, and through the Preakness. He tailed off at the end, but things change, horses mature and all that. His best race was the Breeders’ Cup Classic, but he still got beat.
“Bayern had a big year, too. His time for the Woody Stephens was off the chart. The Haskell was awesome; he destroyed a 40-year-old track record in Philadelphia; he won the Derby Trial but got DQ’d. He finished first six times in nine starts.
“Chrome and Bayern are both deserving horses, and they ran a lot and they left the state. When you travel like Chrome and Bayern did, you don’t know what’s going to happen. If voters really put some thought into it and look at the record, it shows that when Chrome got blocked and didn’t get his trips in the Belmont and the Pennsylvania Derby, he didn’t run well.
“And you know what? We found out when Shared Belief gets blocked, he doesn’t run well, either. Every horse has to have its comfort level, whether it’s on the lead, second, third, in the clear, whatever.
“But there’s little talk about that because some people are so upset about Bayern not being disqualified in the Classic. The break was not that bad. Shared Belief did not break well. He broke a little slow and Bayern broke like a shot. When he came in, he (jockey Martin Garcia) straightened him out, but Shared Belief was bothered by horses coming down on the outside.
“They’re the ones that blocked him. I didn’t block him, but I got the blame for blocking him. It just doesn’t make sense.”
FREE WEEKEND INFIELD ADMISSION AND PARKING AT SANTA ANITA
Santa Anita Park will again offer fans free weekend Infield admission and parking, beginning opening day, Friday. With sunny skies forecast, the spacious Infield figures to be a popular destination for many families and youthful race goers who enjoy a wide variety of entertainment options, a Family Fun Zone, pony rides, face painting, inflatable jumpers and much more.
Those who wish to take home Santa Anita’s traditional opening day wall calendar can purchase a General Admission ticket for $5.
“We initiated free admission to the Infield back in April and it’s been very well received by our fans,” said Santa Anita President, Tom Ludt. “The Infield has traditionally been a popular destination for young people, families and groups and there’s a great atmosphere out there. The idea is to get new and casual fans excited about racing and about coming to Santa Anita and with the expectation of good weather, we want people to know they are welcome to bring beach chairs, coolers with picnic items and non-alcoholic beverages.”
Santa Anita’s Infield Area is most easily accessed through Gate 6 on Colorado Place, which is on the track’s northern perimeter. Anyone choosing to cross over from the Infield to the Grandstand may do so by purchasing General Admission. (Santa Anita Thoroughbreds Club members can purchase General Admission for just $3). The Thoroughbreds reward program is free to join and fans may do so any race day, on-track.
FINISH LINES: Secret Circle, the 2013 Breeders’ Cup Sprint winner, worked four furlongs in 48.40 under Martin Garcia Tuesday in his final prep for Saturday’s Grade III Midnight Lute Stakes at 6 ½ furlongs. “He worked super,” Bob Baffert assistant Jim Barnes said, adding that Indianapolis is entered in both the Malibu and Sunday’s Grade III Daytona Stakes at about 6 ½ furlongs on turf because “Bob wanted to take a look at both races” before deciding where to run . . . Winning Rhythm, a consistent daughter of Giant’s Causeway, seeks her first stakes win in Saturday’s Grade III Robert J. Frankel Stakes for fillies and mares, 3 and up, at nine furlongs on turf. “She’s a nice filly,” trainer Paddy Gallagher said of the 4-year-old chestnut owned and bred by Frank Stronach. Asked if he had any Bobby Frankel stories, since the race is named in memory of the late Hall of Fame conditioner, the native of Ireland put on a leprechaun-like smile and quipped, “You can’t print the ones I know.” . . . Baffert said unbeaten Dortmund came out of his head victory in the Los Alamitos Futurity in good order. “He ran a good race, but I think he ran better the time before,” Baffert said of the son of Big Brown, who won by nearly eight lengths prior to the Futurity. “I shipped him back and forth from three different tracks (Santa Anita, Churchill Downs and Los Alamitos), but he still got the win. He’s a good horse. He got some schooling (in the Futurity). He got behind horses and did everything we wanted him to do.” . . . Under sunny skies, warming temperatures and a fast track, 83 horses recorded works on Santa Anita’s main track Tuesday, a far cry from the previous three days combined when 715 were recorded, 219 on Saturday, 291 on Sunday and 205 on Monday . . . Trivia question: Excluding Q, U and X, what letter does not start with the last name of a trainer stabled at Santa Anita this meet? . . . Santa Anita offers a $500,000 guaranteed pool on the Late Pick 4 on opening day. Also fans on track opening day will receive a 2015 Santa Anita Wall calendar and a contest entry for the first round of the $10,000 Handicapping Contest and Mathis Brothers’ Furniture Drawing. The calendar theme is “Classic 3-Year-Olds at The Great Race Place.” . . . Los Alamitos Publicity Director and ace handicapper Bob Mieszerski offers this football hunch parlay for Sunday: Indianapolis in the eighth race to A Colt in the ninth . . . “Jeopardy” answer Monday night: “June: Horse Racing.” The correct question, of course, was:”Belmont Stakes.” One contestant got it . . . Trivia answer: R. From Abrams to Zucker, there are no trainers whose last names start with Q, U, X or R . . . In the aftermath of Sunday’s Row at Los Al in which trainer Richard Baltas and jockey Martin Pedroza came to blows, Pedroza cutting Baltas’ nose when he hit him with his helmet, Jim Cassidy, President of the California Thoroughbred Trainers, says he’s going to recommend “trainers now wear face masks.”