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STABLE NOTES BY ED GOLDEN
• WHITE LIKES DANCE WITH FATE TO WIN KENTUCKY DERBY
• DERBY SPIRIT PREVAILS AT SANTA ANITA ON SATURDAY
• MALDONADO, MAJESTIC CITY SET TO FLY IN PRECISIONIST
• TALAMO ON ‘HONEYMOON’ WITH NASHOBA’S GOLD
DANCE WITH FATE WHITE’S KENTUCKY DERBY PICK
Dance With Fate, the Santa Anita-based winner of this year’s Grade I Blue Grass Stakes at Keeneland for trainer Peter Eurton, is the choice of Santa Anita oddsmaker Jon White to win Saturday’s Kentucky Derby.
“I have the utmost respect for California Chrome, but I’m picking Dance With Fate to win this year’s Derby,” White said. “Dance With Fate is the only horse in the field to already beat California Chrome. In last year’s Del Mar Futurity, when Dance With Fate finished a fast-closing second, he blew by California Chrome in the stretch. California Chrome finished sixth.
“Of course, California Chrome has improved by leaps and bounds since then, but I think Dance With Fate’s Blue Grass shows that he also has improved quite a bit since the Del Mar Futurity.
“Yes, the Del Mar Futurity and the Blue Grass were on Polytrack. But I believe Dance With Fate’s two dirt races last year were better than most people think. He ran second in the Grade I FrontRunner on dirt, and while that wasn’t the strongest Grade I field you’ll ever see, it nevertheless was a Grade I race on dirt.
“And in the Grade I Breeders’ Cup Juvenile on dirt, Dance With Fate got annihilated leaving the gate, much like Secretariat did in his career debut. Dance With Fate then made a move all the way down the backstretch and on the far turn. He nearly reached even terms with the eventual winner, New Year’s Day, on the far turn. It was understandable that Dance With Fate ran out of steam in the stretch after beginning his rally so early in the race.
“Dance With Fate had a terrific work (four furlongs in 47 flat) here last Saturday. And if the pace in the Kentucky Derby is as fast as it looks like it will be, that will be another plus for Dance With Fate with his come-from-behind style.”
“As for California Chrome, he certainly was impressive when he won the Santa Anita Derby. He actually has been quite impressive in his last four races. Jeremy Plonk writes Countdown to the Crown. He has come up with a very interesting stat illustrating California Chrome’s dominance in his last four starts.
“Jeremy told me that he has Kentucky Derby past performances going all the way back to 1906. Plonk said that when he checked all of those Derby past performances going back to 1906, California Chrome is the only horse to go into the Kentucky Derby with four straight wins by five lengths or more. Think of that. Not even such all-time greats as Count Fleet, Citation, Native Dancer, Swaps, Secretariat, Seattle Slew or Spectacular Bid had done that.”
2014 KENTUCKY DERBY FIELD
Ranked in order of preference by Santa Anita Oddsmaker Jon White
Horse . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . ML . . . . Comment
Dance With Fate . . . . . . . . . . . .20-1 . . .Might be better on dirt than a lot of people think.
California Chrome . . . . . . . . . . .5-2 . . . . Deserving favorite after 4 straight decisive wins.
Wicked Strong . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6-1 . . . . .Disappointed in Florida before Wood triumph.
Medal Count . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 20-1 . . . .Blue Grass runner-up should like 1 ¼-mile trip.
Candy Boy . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 15-1 . . . .Important race + Gary Stevens = watch out.
Intense Holiday . . . . . . . . . . . . 8-1 . . . . . Finished second as chalk in Louisiana Derby.
Samraat . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .15-1 . . . . Wood runner-up has never been out of exacta.
Danza . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .8-1 . . . . .Registered $84.60 shocker in Arkansas Derby.
Tapiture . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .12-1 . . . . Won Grade II race at Churchill Downs at 2.
Wildcat Red . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 15-1 . . . A head and a neck shy of having 7-for-7 record.
Ride On Curlin . . . . . . . . . . . . . 15-1 . . . .Can Borel work his Derby magic from post 18?
General a Rod . . . . . . . . . . . . . 15-1 . . . . Rosario won the Roses last year aboard Orb.
Vicar’s In Trouble . . . . . . . . . . . 20-1 . . . .Louisiana Derby hero drew dreaded inside post.
Vinceremos . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 30-1 . . . .No factor in Blue Grass but has run well on dirt.
Uncle Sigh . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .30-1 . . . .Now adds blinkers after finishing fifth in Wood.
Chitu . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .20-1 . . . .Ends up lone representative from Baffert barn.
Harry’s Holiday . . . . . . . . . . . . . 50-1 . . . Has won at Churchill but in maiden claimer.
We Miss Artie . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 50-1 . . . .Dam by 2000 Derby winner Fusaichi Pegasus.
Commanding Curve . . . . . . . . . 50-1 . . . .Tall order but minor award not out of question.
Pablo Del Monte . . . . . . . . . . . .50-1 . . . . Got into race via defection of Hoppertunity.
VERSATILE MAJESTIC CITY ON COURSE FOR PRECISIONIST
Edwin Maldonado has ridden Majestic City three times, winning once, and will be back aboard the 5-year-old City Zip horse Saturday in the Grade III, $100,000 Precisionist Stakes for 3-year-olds and up at 1 1/16 miles. Expect to find them in front or close to it.
“He’s better at distances and he’s better on the lead,” said Maldonado, who rode Majestic City to a front-running win in the Big Bear Stakes at one mile last Oct. 31. Maldonado was fourth on Majestic City in the Grade II San Pasqual Stakes on Jan. 11 and fifth in the Grade II Pat O’Brien at Del Mar last August.
Being on the lead might not be easy for Majestic City with favored Fury Kapcori in the race. The son of Tiznow has a penchant for speed and is coming off three straight victories, including the Santana Mile on March 30.
Trained by Ron Ellis for Jeff Bloom, Majestic City is a versatile sort, having raced in sprints, routes, on synthetic, turf and dirt. He is coming off a second-place finish in the Grade III Razorback Handicap at Oaklawn Park on March 15.
The field for the Precisionist, race 10 on Santa Anita’s 11-race live program Saturday: Secretsatmidnight, Joe Talamo, 9-2; American Blend, Aaron Gryder, 8-1; Handsome Mike, Mario Gutierrez, 15-1; Majestic City, Edwin Maldonado, 4-1; Batti Man, Brice Blanc, 10-1; and Fury Kapcori, Rafael Bejarano, 3-5. Zeewat was scratched.
TALAMO, NASHOBA’S GOLD NEAR-PERFECT FIT IN HONEYMOON
Joe Talamo is excited to be back on Nashoba’s Gold in Sunday’s Grade II, $200,000 Honeymoon Stakes for 3-year-old fillies at 1 1/8 miles on turf, and who can blame him?
Talamo has ridden the gray daughter of Smart Strike in each of her three starts, winning two, including the Grade III Providencia Stakes at 1 1/8 miles on grass April 5.
“She’s two for two going the distance and she’s a very, very smart filly,” Talamo said of Nashoba’s Gold, trained by Carla Gaines for owner/breeder Warren Williamson. “I don’t like the fact that we drew the one post position, but that’s part of the game, so we’ll just try and work out a good trip and go from there.”
The field for the Honeymoon, the fourth of eight races: Nashoba’s Gold, Joe Talamo, 9-5; Sweet Bliss, Aaron Gryder, 8-1; One More, Mario Gutierrez, 8-1; Honey Ride, Tyler Baze, 6-1; Diversy Harbor, Gary Stevens, 8-5; Margot Machance, Corey Nakatani, 6-1; and Arethusa, Rafael Bejarano, 8-1.
LIVE RACING AT SANTA ANITA STARTS 11:30 A.M. ON DERBY DAY
Santa Anita presents exciting live racing to supplement simulcasts from Churchill Downs of today’s Kentucky Oaks and tomorrow’s Kentucky Derby Day programs.
First live race post time Saturday is 11:30 a.m. Santa Anita admission gates will open 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.
Special packages are available on line at santaanita.com/events. Use promo code INFIELD for a 50 percent discount.
TOP CALIFORNIA SIRE TRIBAL RULE DEAD AT 18
California lost one of its leading sires Thursday when Tribal Rule died of a heart attack at the age of 18 while covering a mare at Ballena Vista Farm in Ramona, CA.
According to a press release, the son of Storm Cat led California’s general sire list with 2014 progeny earnings of more than $1.6 million.
“It’s a very sad day for the Thoroughbred industry and more regionally here in California as Tribal Rule has ranked at the top of the sire lists year after year and he will continue to be a force in California for many years to come,” stated Ballena Vista Farm owner Donald Cohn.
“My heart goes out to all that were around this magnificent horse. He was a popular sire and I wish to thank the breeders whose continued support contributed to his success at stud. He will be buried at Ballena Vista Farm.”
With eight crops to the races numbering 568 foals, Tribal Rule has sired 36 stakes winners and earners of $21,277,152 including graded winners Georgie Boy, Ciao Bella Luna, Ethnic Dance, Alphie’s Bet and recent Las Cienegas winner Tribal Spy. Tribal Rule raced for his breeders, Pam and Marty Wygod and was trained by Julio Canani.
“He’s been a solid sire for the state,” said trainer Mike Machowsky, a proponent and participant in California-bred races. “He got nice horses all through the years. They could do anything. It’s a shame to see him go.”
FINISH LINES: George Papaprodromou still has both feet on the ground two weeks after his $50,000 claim, Imperative, won $1 million by posting a 26-1 upset in the $1.5 million Charles Town Classic on April 19. Next up: the Grade I, $500,000 Gold Cup at Santa Anita on June 28. “I wasn’t surprised that he won,” the trainer said. “I always believed in my horse. I knew he was a good one. We flew him across the country and we proved it. It was a big race, but I was right about it, I guess.” . . . First-time starter Wake Up Nick broke a 42-year-old track record when he won Thursday’s first race by 9 1/4 lengths under Mario Gutierrez. A 2-year-old California-bred Cindago colt owned by J. Paul Reddam and Dennis O’Neill and trained by Doug O’Neill, Wake Up Nick ran 4 ½ furlongs in 51.22, breaking the mark of 51.40 set by Willy Float on March 23, 1972 . . . Edwin Maldonado has been suspended three racing days (May 10, 15 and 16) for causing interference on Cleverly Beverly in the ninth race April 27.