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STABLE NOTES BY ED GOLDEN
• GRADE I GOODWOOD ONLY OPTION FOR GOLDEN ITIZ
• TALAMO OPTIMISTIC ABOUT LADY’S SECRET STAKES
• CALLAGHAN BUSY IN YELLOW RIBBON PRESENTED BY EMIRATES AIRLINE
• LOUKAS MAKES U.S. DEBUT IN NORFOLK STAKES
• SILENT SAGA COULD MAKE NOISE IN GRADE I OAK LEAF SUNDAY
WAKE UP CALL FOR GOLDEN ITIZ IN GRADE I GOODWOOD STAKESGolden Itiz makes his first start in two months in Saturday’s Grade I Goodwood Stakes. Trainer Ron Ellis might have considered a less-challenging race for the winner of the Grade III Affirmed Handicap last June, but his options were limited. He worked the son of Tiznow five furlongs from the gate in :59 1/5 at Hollywood Park on Sept. 25.
Golden Itiz hasn’t run since finishing seventh in the Grade II San Diego Handicap at Del Mar on July 30.
“I wanted to wake him up,” Ellis said in explaining the gate move. “He didn’t really like Del Mar, and we just don’t have any options here in California for a horse out of his conditions. This is the only spot there is to run the horse, so we’re just running him to see how he likes the dirt. It’s his first start on dirt.
“He’s capable of some good races, but it’s basically a lack of options.”
Of eight career starts, one has been on grass and seven on synthetic surfaces. The 4-year-old colt owned by the Jay Em Ess Stable has won four races and earned $160,480.
The field for the Goodwood, which goes as race seven: Acclamation, Patrick Valenzuela, 124, 2-1; Coil, Martin Garcia, 121, 4-1; Tres Borrachos, Joel Rosario, 119, 10-1; Preamble, Victor Espinoza, 119, 8-1; Golden Itiz, Joe Talamo, 119, 15-1; Miss Match, Garrett Gomez, 118, 20-1; Awesome Gem, David Flores, 119, 3-1; Game on Dude, Chantal Sutherland, 121, 5-2; and Nijinsky’s Song, Jose Valdivia Jr., 116, 30-1.
TALAMO HOPES TO TOAST ‘CHAMPAGNE’ IN GRADE I LADY’S SECRET
Joe Talamo finished fourth after setting the pace in his only ride on Champagne d’Oro. That was in the Grade II El Encino Stakes last Jan. 16. The 21-year-old rider, fresh from a strong second-place finish in the Del Mar jockey standings, is hoping for a better showing in Saturday’s Grade I Lady’s Secret Stakes on the 4-year-old daughter of Medaglia d’Oro.
“They told me to send and she got in a speed duel with Always a Princess (in the El Encino), but it looks like she can sit right off (the pace) in the Lady’s Secret, though Ask the Moon looks like a pretty nice mare,” Talamo said.
Talamo and his agent Scott McClellan had an exemplary Del Mar campaign, giving Joel Rosario a run for the money before finishing in the runner-up spot, 49-42.
“I was happy with Del Mar,” Talamo said. “That was the best meet we’ve had so far. It was real good. We had a lot of business there and we’re looking to continue at Santa Anita.”
The field for the Lady’s Secret: Blind Luck, Garrett Gomez, 124, 6-5; Champagne d’Oro, Joe Talamo, 119, 15-1; Ask the Moon, Martin Garcia, 124, 3-1; Love Theway Youare, Christian Santiago Reyes, 116, 20-1; Great Hot, Chantal Sutherland, 116, 12-1; Ultra Blend, David Flores, 124, 4-1; and Zazu, Joel Rosario, 118, 4-1.
TURNING TOP SEEKS GRADE I STATUS IN YELLOW RIBBON STAKES
On paper, Dubawi Heights has the better resume than stablemate Turning Top for Saturday’s Grade I Yellow Ribbon Stakes presented by Emirates Airline, but Simon Callaghan cautions not to overlook Turning Top in the 1 ¼-mile turf race.
“It’s her last chance to run in a Grade I,” said Callaghan, who has 15 head at Santa Anita and is expecting five more shortly from overseas. “Turning Top was second in the Yellow Ribbon last year, she’s in good form and she’s kind of telling us that she needs to run. It’s a very tough race and probably Dubawi Heights is our main chance, but I’m sure Turning Top will run a good race.”
The field for the Yellow Ribbon, which goes as the 10th race: Turning Top, David Flores, 119, 20-1; Cozi Rosie, Garrett Gomez, 121, 4-1; Dubawi Heights, Joel Rosario, 124, 5-2; Malibu Pier, Brice Blanc, 121, 4-1; City to City, Mike Smith, 119, 8-1; Private Affair, Hector Berrios, 119, 15-1; Harmonious, Martin Garcia, 121, 7-2; Cambina, Patrick Valenzuela, 121, 12-1; and Medaglia d’Amour, Joe Talamo, 119, 10-1.
VIENNA SAYS LOUKAS NOT ON WANE FOR NORFOLK STAKES
Darrell Vienna is not one to roll the dice with abandon, but he feels he has a longshot chance to win Saturday’s Grade I Norfolk Stakes with an Irish-bred 2-year-old colt named Loukas, who will be making only his third start and his first in the United States.
“It’s very ambitious, there’s no question about that,” the trainer said. “(But) the field doesn’t have the depth that you would expect in the Norfolk. Of the five horses, three are certainly established, high-quality horses. They would be Drill, Creative Cause and the maiden of Doug O’Neill’s(Basmati).
“I think they’ve demonstrated a quality that stands above the rest of the babies out here.
“Two are horses that you would expect to be in non-winners-other-than. One broke his maiden at Pomona (in a $32,000 maiden claimer, Super Candy) and the other horse (Ruler of Dubai) doesn’t look like at first blush you’d run away from, so I think we fit with probably half the field.
“We have to see how good he is. He’s a very composed horse. He’s done everything right here, but what we don’t know is how good he is.”
The field for the Norfolk, which is the fifth race: Super Candy, Hector Berrios, 50-1; Loukas, Patrick Valenzuela, 15-1; Ruler of Dubai, Mike Smith, 8-1; Creative Cause, Joel Rosario, 6-5; Drill, Martin Garcia, 1-1; and Basmati, Joe Talamo, 6-1.
ESPINOZA EXPECTS IMPROVEMENT FROM SILENT SAGA IN OAK LEAF
Silent Saga was beaten 3 ½ lengths by victorious Weemissfrankie in the Grade I Del Mar Debutante on Sept. 3, but Victor Espinoza, who has ridden the 2-year-old filly in each of her three starts and who rides again in Sunday’s Grade I Oak Leaf Stakes, expects her to rebound.
“She was a little bit flat in the Debutante,” Espinoza said. “Still, she didn’t run too bad, but I expected her to run better than she did. I don’t know what happened. Maybe it was a little too soon between races (Silent Saga broke her maiden by 3 ¼ lengths less than three weeks earlier, on Aug. 14). Plus, she’s a filly, and most of the time fillies are a little bit sensitive at that point.
“But now I think she’s had plenty of time (between races) and I also think she’ll like the distance. I think she’ll run well.”
Owned, bred and trained by Myung Kwon Cho, Silent Saga is a bay daughter of Silent Name who breaks from the rail against nine other rivals in the Oak Leaf, which will be decided at 1 1/16 miles.
The Oak Leaf field: Silent Saga, Victor Espinoza; Self Preservation, Patrick Valenzuela; Killer Graces, Joe Talamo; Candrea, Martin Garcia; My Gi Gi, Chantal Sutherland; Wild Truffles, Alonso Quinonez; Regal Betty, Joel Rosario; Weemissfrankie, Rafael Bejarano; Dreamcaster, Martin Pedroza; and Charm the Maker, Garrett Gomez.
ROSARIO EXPECTS TO BE OFF AND RUNNING AT SANTA ANITA
Joel Rosario hopes to add another riding title to his growing resume when Santa Anita’s Autumn Meet starts today. The 26-year-old Dominican Republic native is fresh from outlasting Joe Talamo to win the Del Mar crown and will focus on the 24-day Santa Anita session, save for lucrative out-of-town opportunities.
“We leave on Oct. 8 for Keeneland to ride Sidney’s Candy (in the Shadwell Turf Mile), and that’s the only day we’re lined up to leave right now, but there could be another one or two days,” agent Ron Ebanks said. “If an opportunity comes up to ride Breeders’ Cup horses, we’ll look at that.
“Things are going well. We had a great summer at Del Mar after a really slow start. Things were really tangled up the first couple weeks, but we got it together and ended up strong and had a great meet. I’m really happy about that.
“Joel just had a two-week break with his mother and his family in the Dominican Republic. Now he’s back and freshened up and ready for Santa Anita.”
POPULAR FOOD TRUCK FESTIVAL, LIVE BANDS AT SANTA ANITA TOMORROW
Santa Anita hosts another of its popular Food Truck Festivals Saturday in its infield. Approximately 70 gourmet food trucks will have a variety of food options available.
Admission to the festival is free with paid admission to the races. The trucks will be staged throughout the Infield.
In addition to the food trucks, there will also be two Gastropubs serving popular craft beers. Two live bands will perform between races beginning at 1 p.m. The Polyester Players will perform on the East End stage and the M 80’s will perform between races near the small tunnel.
FINISH LINES: Smashing Del Mar maiden winner Sister Moon, who was nominated for but not entered in Sunday’s Oak Leaf Stakes, will be pointed to the $65,000 Anoakia Stakes for 2-year-old fillies at six furlongs on Oct. 22, trainer John Sadler said.