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STABLE NOTES BY ED GOLDEN
• ODDSMAKERS JUMP ON CALIFORNIA CHROME BANDWAGON
• SEGWAY MAKES MAIN TRACK DEBUT IN MARATHON TOKYO CITY
• BEHOLDER FIRES BULLET AS CHAMP NEARS HER COMEBACK
‘CHROME’ 5-1 FUTURE BOOK CHOICE TO WIN DERBY
California Chrome’s Kentucky Derby Express continued to gain steam when the California-bred son of Lucky pulpit was listed as the 5-1 morning line favorite in Churchill Downs’ fourth and final Kentucky Derby Future Wager pool that opened at 9 a.m. today and runs until 3 p.m. Saturday Pacific Time.
“I don’t know how they figure that out,” trainer Art Sherman said of the odds, a precipitous plunge from California Chrome’s opening number. “There are a lot of races still to go before the Derby. I had to laugh; he opened up at 300-1, now he’s 5-1.
“I said, ‘Well, Jiminey Cricket, that’s a big difference.’ I hope they’re right. But the horse is doing well. He’ll have his final half-mile work Saturday and come to Santa Anita Tuesday.”
That would be for the $1 million, Grade I Santa Anita Derby at 1 1/8 miles nine days hence, on Saturday, April 5, just shy of a month before the 140th Run for the Roses on May 3.
California Chrome would be the first California-bred to win the Kentucky Derby in more than half a century, since Decidedly captured the mile and a quarter classic in 1962.
Sherman, 77, meanwhile, is doing his best to enjoy the ride as he sits in the eye of a media hurricane, tending to the needs of the horse and those of an increasingly frenzied horde of ink-stained wretches who have requests for interviews on the colt’s underdog storylines.
“I’m doing HRTV at 12:30 on Friday and Bill Dwyre of the Los Angeles Times wants to do a story on him,” Sherman said. “Mike Willman wants me on his (radio) show Sunday. It’s been a wild time.”
And bound to get wilder.
In other Santa Anita Derby news:
Victor Espinoza, who won the Kentucky Derby in 2002 and who is the regular rider of California Chrome, throws out the ceremonial first pitch at tonight’s Freeway Series game between the Dodgers and the Angels at Dodger Stadium.
“I never played baseball,” said the 41-year-old veteran, who hopes to reach the catcher 60 feet, six inches away without a bounce. Not to worry, Victor. No baseball player has ever ridden a Kentucky Derby winner.
Bob Baffert named Bayern, Hoppertunity and The Admiral as possible for the race, adding that Bayern also is being considered for the Arkansas Derby on April 12.
Trainer John Sadler has Robert B. Lewis Stakes winner Candy Boy scheduled for his final pre-Santa Anita Derby work on Saturday, but had no plans for San Vicente winner Kobe’s Back, who worked four furlongs Tuesday in a bullet 47 seconds following his disappointing showing in the Risen Star Stakes.
Nearly $2 million in stakes purses will be offered on Santa Anita Derby Day. In addition, Santa Anita will have a $500,000 guaranteed Late Pick 4, present free Derby Day T-shirts with paid admission at Santa Anita, while supplies last, and have more than 30 premium local food trucks throughout the infield.
But wait. There’s more. The annual Santa Anita Derby Day 5K run will take place, and the track’s spacious infield will be rocking with popular local breweries and epic cover tunes from Super Diamond, in addition to live world-class horse racing.
Special packages are available at santaanita.com/events. Use promo code DERBY for 50 percent discounts.
SEGWAY MAKES MAIN TRACK DEBUT IN TOKYO CITY CUP
When it comes to training, Richard Mandella isn’t the kind of guy who flies by the seat of his pants. Usually, that is. But you don’t win four Breeders’ Cup races in one day and gain entrance to racing’s Hall of Fame by being married to an inflexible ideology.
That in mind, Mandella will send out Segway in a main track foray for the first time Saturday when the gelded son of Giant’s Causeway runs in the Grade III, $100,000 Tokyo City Cup for older horses at a mile and a half on dirt, the first time in his seven-race career he has raced on a surface other than grass.
Segway achieved a fourth-place finish after setting the pace in the Grade II San Marcos Stakes at 1 ¼ miles on turf last out, Feb. 8, and a third in the Grade II Hollywood Turf Cup on Dec. 14, again leading into the stretch in the mile and a half event.
“He’s working well on the dirt and the Tokyo City is a mile and a half, so it would be interesting to see if he could do it. He trains like he wants to,” Mandella said.
The Tokyo City Cup field: Tiz Dynamic, Rafael Bejarano, 4-1; Ever Rider, Victor Espinoza, 6-1; American Blend, Joe Talamo, 4-1; Segway, Gary Stevens, 4-1; Toccetive, Fernando Perez, 30-1; Blueskiesnrainbows, Corey Nakatani, 5-2; Niagara Falls, Aaron Gryder, 12-1; and Majestic Harbor, Tyler Baze, 7-2.
Segway worked five furlongs on the main track Monday in 1:02.40.
In conjunction with the Tokyo City Cup, Santa Anita will present Japan Family Day Saturday, featuring the Ramen Yokocho Festival in the infield. First post time is 12:30 p.m.
FINISH LINES: FINISH LINES: Two-time Eclipse Award winner Beholder worked six furlongs in company on Santa Anita’s main track Thursday with Gary Stevens up in a bullet 1:12.20. “She’s doing great,” said trainer Richard Mandella, who mentioned no specific race for her 4-year-old debut. “She broke off a couple (lengths) behind (her workmate) and finished a couple in front. As for a race, we’re still shopping.” . . . Santa Anita Derby and Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile winner Goldencents worked five furlongs under Rafael Bejarano in 59.40. “It was the best he’s worked since he came back,” said Doug O’Neill assistant Steve Rothblum . . . She’s a Tiger, 2-year-old filly champion of 2013, worked five furlongs for Jeff Bonde in 1:00.40 . . . Running about every two weeks, Crimson Giant makes his eighth start this meet since last Dec. 28 in today’s sixth race for owner/breeder Bryan Carney and trainer Charlie Stutts. A 5-year-old California-bred gelding by Formal Gold, Crimson Giant has banked $25,778 at the current meet. He seeks his second win in his 50th career start, but has 10 third-place finishes . . . Trainer Mike Mitchell has retained the services of regular rider Martin Garcia for Grade I winner Egg Drop when the Matriarch winner runs in the Grade I Jenny Wiley at Keeneland on April 12 . . . Tom Quigley’s weekend guests in the East Paddock Gardens at 11:20 a.m. will be Andy Harrington, clocker for NationalTurf.com, on Saturday, and Ed Golden, author of Santa Anita’s Stable Notes, on Sunday.