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STABLE NOTES BY ED GOLDEN
• SANTA ANITA HORSEMEN RALLY AROUND ‘CHROME’
• EVERYONE IS NOT IN THE ‘VANNGUARD’ FOR DERBY
• SANTA ANITA IN DERBY SPIRIT FRIDAY & SATURDAY
DERBY BREAK CRUCIAL FOR CHROME, BAILEY SAYS
Victory in the Kentucky Derby could well depend on the breaks, or, more specifically, the break, when it comes to California’s pride and joy, Santa Anita Derby winner California Chrome.
So says retired Hall of Fame riding great Jerry Bailey, who took time from his intensely busy schedule as analyst on Saturday’s NBC Sports telecast of the 140th Run for the Roses to render this preview.
“I think the draw (the No. 1 post position) probably hurt Vicar’s In Trouble the most,” Bailey said. “He’s a speed horse on the inside, and that forces his hand with so much other speed in the race. That probably spells a lot of trouble for Vicar’s In Trouble.
“On the other end of the spectrum, Wicked Strong drew (post position) 20 and he could work out a trip. But he needs a lot of luck going into the first turn, which he may get, because with so much pace, the race spreads out pretty well, and it’s easier for a rider working from outside in, like Wicked Strong and Candy Boy (post position 18). Those horses can kind of get in and get a comfortable trip, not going too wide.
“I don’t think California Chrome’s post position (five) matters so much. The important thing for him is how he breaks. He has broken poorly in the past. That’s what cost him the race at Santa Anita in November.”
Bailey was referring to the Golden State Juvenile on Nov. 1, when breaking from the No. 1 post position in the one mile race, California Chrome “hopped at the start and was off slow,” eventually finishing sixth, beaten three lengths under Alberto Delgado.
Since then, Victor Espinoza has been the colt’s regular rider, going unbeaten in four starts, winning by a combined margin of 24 1/4 lengths.
“The start caused him to drop back,” Bailey said of Golden State Juvenile, “and he caught the dirt; his success (in the Derby) depends on how well he breaks.”
INTANGIBLES COUNT IN ANALYZING KENTUCKY DERBY
California Chrome has a world of support in his bid to capture Saturday’s Kentucky Derby, but whether Southern California-based horsemen are leading with their hearts instead of logic will only be determined after the race.
In a random sampling, most trainers at Santa Anita were in support of California Chrome, including Vann Belvoir, who had opted for Santa Anita Derby runner-up Hoppertunity before the Bob Baffert trainee was scratched Thursday morning due to an issue with his left front foot.
“I do like the fact that Victor (Espinoza) is on California Chrome,” Belvoir said. “He won the Derby (in 2002 on War Emblem). I think a jockey who’s won it before is going to win it this year. Their experience makes a big difference in a big race like this.
“Everyone thinks California Chrome has to be on the lead or close, but I think he can come from off it. I’ve got to go with California Chrome, with Ride On Curlin as my longshot.
“In the Derby, you’ve got to run more than one race; you’ve got to run to get position; you’ve got to run to hold your position, because everybody’s going to be making moves mid-race; and then you’ve got to make that final run, which can be a staggering last eighth of a mile.
“There’s all that noise from the crowd, the jockeys are exhausted, and the horses are exhausted. There are a lot of intangibles.”
Other trainers’ thoughts on a warm Thursday morning at Clockers’ Corner:
Barry Abrams: “California Chrome with Danza as a longshot.”
A.C. Avila: “California Chrome. He’s the best horse so far.”
David Bernstein: “I’m rooting for California Chrome, with Wicked Story from the outside as a longshot.”
Julio Canani: “California Chrome. We need him.”
Ben Cecil: “I’d love to see California Chrome win. He looks like the best horse in the race. A Cal-bred winning would be a boost we need. Medal Count would be my longshot.”
Caesar Dominguez: “California Chrome, Candy Boy and Wicked Strong.”
Jerry Fanning: “It would be nice to see a Cal-bred win. It’s been quite a while (Decidedly in 1962). I like Danza as a longshot.”
Bruce Headley: “I like California Chrome, the way he won the Santa Anita Derby. Art Sherman has served his time and learned from one of the greatest trainers in Mesh Tenney. He got a quarter horse to go a mile and three-quarters and win (Olden Times in the 1962 San Juan Capistrano Handicap).”
Ron McAnally: “California Chrome stands out. They won’t beat him.”
Mike McCarthy, who was an assistant to Todd Pletcher for nearly 12 years: “I always like to see someone I’ve been involved with do well, so I like Danza and Intense Holiday (trained by Pletcher). But California Chrome deserves support, too. It could come down to whoever is luckiest on the day.”
Tim Yakteen: “This is not Art’s first rodeo (referring to 77-year-old Art Sherman, trainer of California Chrome). He’s got ice water in his veins. His horse is primed and ready.”
Perhaps this anonymous endorsement for California Chrome summed it up best: “We need a hero in California, especially one with that name.”
BIG OAKS, DERBY DOINGS AT SANTA ANITA FRIDAY & SATURDAY
Santa Anita will offer exciting live racing to supplement simulcasts from Churchill Downs of both the Kentucky Oaks and Kentucky Derby Day programs Friday and Saturday.
First live race post time at Santa Anita on Oaks Day tomorrow is 12:30 p.m. First live race post time on Derby Day, Saturday, is 11:30 a.m. Santa Anita admission gates will open both Friday and Saturday at 7:15 a.m.
The Great Race Place will host the biggest Derby party west of Kentucky. A Derby Hat Contest will be held offering more than $1,000 in cash prizes; and a Bluegrass Party will have live music, craft beers and a variety of popular food trucks in the Infield.
In addition, the Chrome Zone package is available on line at santaanita.com. A $10 ticket includes General Admission and trackside seating in the Chrome Zone (on the track apron); a track program, a California Chrome T-shirt and a tip sheet. Contrary to previous reports, Santa Anita is NOT guaranteeing the Late Pick 4 at $500,000.
Special packages are available on line at santaanita.com/events. Use promo code INFIELD for a 50 percent discount.
POWELL GIVES HIS FILLY ANOTHER ‘MACHANCE’ IN HONEYMOON
Trainer Leonard Powell expects an improved result from Margot Machance in Sunday’s Grade II, $200,000 Honeymoon Stakes for 3-year-old fillies at 1 1/8 miles on turf, and not just because she bobbled and jumped at the start when she finished fourth by less than four lengths in the Grade III Providencia Stakes on April 5.
“The bobble didn’t affect her that much,” Powell said of the English-bred filly owned by Alfred Pais of Santa Monica. “But the fact that it was a very slow pace, 48 and two, one-thirteen, and we were a bit too far back, that affected us.
“Nashoba’s Gold (the Providencia winner) got the jump on us; Diversy Harbor (the runner-up) cut the corner and we were shifted wide and that cost us at least a couple of lengths.”
Powell has a new pilot for the Honeymoon in Corey Nakatani, who rides the turf as well as anyone. “He’s worked her on turf, he knows her and he likes her,” Powell said.
The field for the Honeymoon, race four of eight: Nashoba’s Gold, Joe Talamo; Sweet Bliss, Aaron Gryder; One More, Mario Gutierrez; Honey Ride, Tyler Baze; Diversy Harbor, Gary Stevens; Margot Machance, Corey Nakatani; and Arethusa, Rafael Bejarano.
THOROUGHBREDS MEMBER CASHES $10,000 MYSTERY TICKET
Karla Kratz-Terrey picked up her mail at home in Hemet late last month and she was glad she did, as she and her husband cashed a Mystery Mutuel voucher on Sunday at Santa Anita for $10,000.
A Santa Anita Thoroughbreds Club member “for more than 20 years,” Kratz-Terrey, 64, has been coming to the races at Santa Anita for more than 30 years with her husband, Randy Terrey, who accompanied her Sunday.
“We got the mailer about a month ago,” said Kratz-Terrey. “My husband put my name on the ticket and when he took it to a self-service machine here in the Club House, the display said ‘Call attendant.’ We eventually ended up at an Information window where we were directed to the IRS window. The guy there said ‘That’s a big one!’ And then we found out it was for $10,000.”
When asked what they planned to do with their winnings, Kratz-Terrey joked that she was considering “buying a $2,000 trailer and claiming a horse for $8,000.”
Her husband had more realistic designs on the cash.
“We’ll do some traveling,” said Randy Terrey. “I’m a retired contractor and we lived in the South Bay for many years before I retired and we moved to Hemet five years ago. We come here as often as we can and this is the first time we’ve won more than five dollars on a Mystery Voucher. We love it out here.”
FINISH LINES: Dan Hendricks likes the breeding on Belle of the Fleet, a Kentucky-bred filly he runs in Friday’s $75,000 Ultrafleet Stakes for 3-year-old fillies at about 6 ½ furlongs on turf. Her sire is Northern Afleet, who also sired 2011 Breeders’ Cup Sprint champion Amazombie. “Northern Afleet is a very solid, consistent sire,” Hendricks said. “I really like him.” . . . Condolences to the family and friends of long-time Santa Anita usher Don Liddiard, who died suddenly Tuesday at the age of 73. A former jockey agent who reportedly rode in Canada in his youth, the diminutive Liddiard served at other Southern California tracks in addition to Santa Anita. “He was a good guy,” said retired Hall of Fame jockey Eddie Delahoussaye, whose box in the mezzanine area was in Liddiard’s domain. “He was kind of a loner and hard to get to know,” Delahoussaye said. “We lived close to each other and I would invite him over to eat, but he always said no. The last few weeks he didn’t look well and I asked him if he was OK, and he’d say, ‘I’m fine, I’m fine.’” Services are pending . . . Tom Quigley’s handicapping guests in the East Paddock Gardens will be professional player Duke Matties, 10:20 a.m. Saturday, and George Papaprodromou, trainer of $1.5 million Charles Town Classic winner Imperative, 11:50 a.m. Sunday. Last Sunday’s guest handicapper, the Ragozin Sheets’ Jon Hardoon, gave out a $1,681 Pick 5 on a $16 ticket . . . Drysdale, a 3-year-old Smart Strike colt that finished sixth in his debut in Sunday’s second race for trainer Julio Canani, is named for the former Los Angeles Dodgers Hall of Fame pitching great, Don Drysdale, not Hall of Fame trainer Neil Drysdale.