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STABLE NOTES BY ED GOLDEN
• BAFFERT HITS A TRIPLE EN ROUTE TO KENTUCKY DERBY
• UNCLE MO STILL ON KENTUCKY DERBY TRAIL ACCORDING TO PLETCHER
• THE FACTOR, GAME ON DUDE PROMINENT ON BUSY WORK TAB
SANTA ANITA DERBY WINNER GIVES BAFFERT THREE FOR THE MONEY
With Uncle Mo running like Grandma Moses in the final sixteenth, favorites in major stakes races from coast to coast went down in flames Saturday, led by the former favorite for the Kentucky Derby on May 7.
Uncle Mo finished third as the 1-10 favorite in the Wood Memorial; Watch Me Go finished sixth at 2-1 in the Illinois Derby; Unzip Me ran second under 127 pounds at 3-5 in the Las Cienegas Handicap; Caracortado was fifth at 4-5 in the Arcadia Stakes; Kathmanblu was third at 2-1 in the Ashland; Misremembered was second at 2-5 in the Oaklawn Handicap; Ava K. third at 7-5 in the Comely; Apriority second at 7-5 in the Carter, and Silver Medallion, fourth at 5-2 in the Santa Anita Derby.
Emerging unscathed from the freefall of favorites was Cambina, who won the Providencia Stakes as the 11-10 choice, and leaping into the now-muddled Run for the Roses mix was overnight sensation Midnight Interlude, who went from a maiden winner to a Grade I winner of $600,000 for Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert by capturing the Santa Anita Derby.
“We’ve got two more preps,” Baffert said on a frenetic Sunday morning where he worked Derby hopeful The Factor and Santa Anita Handicap winner Game on Dude among others before hopping a plane for the Keeneland 2-year-old in training sale that starts tomorrow.
The Factor runs in Saturday’s Arkansas Derby and Jaycito is scheduled to go in the Coolmore Lexington at Keeneland on April 23.
“Lots can happen between now and then (May 7),” Baffert said. “I just worry about my own horses. Midnight Interlude came out of his race well, The Factor worked this morning and we’re working on Jaycito’s (bruised right front) foot. He’s not favoring it today so that’s a good sign.
“Midnight Interlude was a big surprise yesterday. I was hoping he would show me something, but you never know. You hold your breath and you’re sitting on pins and needles.”
It was a record sixth Santa Anita Derby win for Baffert, who became the first trainer since the late H.A. (Jimmy) Jones to win both the Santa Anita Handicap and the Santa Anita Derby in the same year. Jones did it in 1953 with Chanlea (Derby) and Mark-Ye-Well (Handicap). Both horses were ridden by Eddie Arcaro for Calumet Farm.
In other post-Santa Anita Derby news, trainer Steve Asmussen said he was “pleased with how Silver Medallion came out of the race. He goes to Churchill with the bulk of the barn on the 14th (of April) as previously scheduled. I haven’t spoken with (owners) Mr. Marshall or Mr. Ryan yet this morning about what we’re going to point him towards.”
As for how this meet went, Asmussen said: “We’re extremely pleased. I think we were very fortunate to have some nice horses, and I think we can do better.”
UNCLE MO REMAINS ON KENTUCKY DERBY TRAIL FOLLOWING FIRST LOSS
Addressing rumors that Uncle Mo would not run in the Kentucky Derby following his third-place finish in Saturday’s Wood Memorial, the following statement was issued Sunday by trainer Todd Pletcher and owner Mike Repole:
Todd Pletcher: “Uncle Mo is physically sound today. He walked the shed row this morning. He did grab his quarter at the start of the race but it is very minor and insignificant. We plan on pulling blood work on Tuesday after giving him a couple of days after the race, which is our standard when we have a horse that doesn’t perform to our expectations. We are shipping Uncle Mo to Churchill Downs on April 18 to continue his preparations for the Kentucky Derby.”
Mike Repole: “With 27 days to the Derby, I have total faith in Todd and total confidence in Uncle Mo. Although I would have loved to have won the Wood Memorial, the number one goal has always been May 7. If I ever have the favorite in the Wood Memorial again I will never watch Secretariat the night before.”
RENE HENRIQUEZ WINS SANTA ANITA EMPLOYEES 5K RUN
Assistant gate starter Rene Henriquez won the men's bracket of the Santa Anita Employees division of the Santa Anita Derby Day 5K Run and Walk yesterday with a time of 24:01. He was 232nd from the 1,986 who ran in the Open race. Steward Scott Chaney, a heavy favorite, was a late scratch.
After a number of place and show finishes over the years, Sandy Hoar of Hospitality (who runs a stand kitchen on the Mezzanine) finally captured the gold on the women's side, running 26:39, which placed her 196th overall in the field of 940 people who ran the Masters (over 40) race.
Jockeys David Flores and Chantal Sutherland both ran in the Open race. David ran in 21:29, good for 132nd overall. Chantal's time was 24:29, placing her 257th overall. Additional 5K results can be found online at www.kinaneevents.com.
The race benefited Arcadia High School Athletic Boosters programs, the Arcadia Historical Museum and CARMA.
FINISH LINES: San Vicente and Rebel Stakes winner The Factor worked six furlongs on Santa Anita’s main track Sunday in 1:12.20 under regular rider Martin Garcia, who will be at Oaklawn Park Saturday to ride the Kentucky Derby contender in the Arkansas Derby for Bob Baffert. Santa Anita Handicap winner Game on Dude worked six furlongs in company with Mythical Power. Each was clocked in a bullet 1:12 flat. Average time for six furlongs of 39 recorded drills at the distance Sunday was 1:13.72. There were a total of 236 recorded workouts Sunday, including 13 on turf . . . Eclipse Award winner Blind Luck worked five furlongs on the dirt training track in a bullet 1:00.60 for Jerry Hollendorfer, who said Garrett Gomez rides her in the Apple Blossom on Friday “if she runs.” . . . Santa Anita Handicap runner-up Setsuko, prepping for the $1 million Charles Town Classic, worked five furlongs in a bullet :59.20. “He couldn’t be better,” Hall of Fame trainer Richard Mandella said . . . Agent Tom Knust reports that Patrick Valenzuela leaves Friday to ride Sway Away for Jeff Bonde in Saturday’s Arkansas Derby and thus will miss both days at Santa Anita, while agent Tommy Ball said Corey Nakatani also will ride out of town next weekend, including Nehro for Steve Asmussen in the Arkansas Derby . . . Mike Machowsky said Caracortado came back well from his disappointing fifth in the Arcadia but is undecided on the gelding’s next race. “The Woodford (Reserve) is possible, but we’ll see how he does and play it by ear,” Machowsky said. “He looked pretty good today.” . . . Bob Bean has only two wins from 30 starters this meet, but the 68-year-old trainer has the best return on investment results from a $2 win bet. Ellie L. won Friday’s fourth race at a $119 return, while Golden Augusto won the third race on Feb. 27, paying $131.20. Each horse was ridden by Kayla Stra. A $2 win bet on all of Bean’s starters would have cost $60, but reaped a profit of nearly $190. Call him “C Note Bob” . . . Scott Chaney, the odds-on favorite to win yesterday’s 5K Santa Anita Derby Day run, did not compete. “I went for a 23 ½-mile run Friday night and I wasn’t up to it Saturday morning,” the California Horse Racing Board steward said. “Besides, 5K is too short for me. I’m planning to run in the Boston Marathon on April 18 for the second time. I finished in the top 500 the first time. It may not sound like much, but there were about 20,000 runners.” . . . Former agent Ray Kravagna was a Santa Anita visitor Saturday, on hand from Washington to visit family. “I figured I’d come over to see my old jocks Eddie D. and Gary Stevens,” said Kravagna, who expressed regret that Myung Kwon Cho missed the Santa Anita Derby with favored Premier Pegasus. But it reminded him of this story. “I had Stevens’ book when Mr. Cho asked Gary to work Video Ranger (who would run fourth in the 1990 Kentucky Derby). I said, ‘Mr. Cho, I can’t do that. I ride the favorite in the race for Laz Barrera (Mister Frisky, who would finish eighth).’ He said, ‘I’ll give you a thousand dollars.’ I said, ‘What time do you want me there?’ So I told Gary we had to work a horse at Hollywood Park the next morning and he said, ‘We can’t do that.’ I said, ‘Mr. Cho’s giving us a thousand dollars.’ Gary said, ‘Pick me up early.’’