Santa Anita Stable Notes Friday, February 10, 2023
STABLE NOTES BY VICTOR RYAN
FRIDAY, FEB. 10, 2023
• MALDONADO IS MAKING HIS MARK IN DEEP JOCKEY COLONY • NEWGATE IS OFF THE DERBY TRAIL WITH MINOR INJURY • MURRAY, SPIRIT OF MAKENA RETURN IN TESTY ALLOWANCE • RUSH HOUR: COAST-TO-COAST PICK 5 IN 60 MINUTES ON SATURDAY • EARLY FIRST POST OF 11 A.M. ON SUPER BOWL SUNDAY • SANTA ANITA ADDS RACE CARD FOR FRIDAY, FEB. 24
MALDONADO IS MAKING HIS MARK IN DEEPJOCKEY COLONY
Amid a Santa Anita jockey colony featuring multiple Hall of Famers, two winners of the Triple Crown and several Eclipse Award winners, Edwin Maldonado has quietly emerged as the second-leading rider at the Classic Meet.
Entering Friday’s action, Maldonado had booted home 12 winners from 74 mounts (16 percent) to rank second in the jockey’s standings behind only runaway leader Juan Hernandez, who has lapped the field with 33 wins. Maldonado will look to keep the good times rolling this week with 15 rides over the next three days.
“It’s going great. I love this place,” said the 40-year-old reinsman. “I’m just very happy with the position I’m in. I’ve been here 12 years and this is probably the toughest meet of them all with so many good riders here this winter. I’m very proud. It’s hard work and not quitting.”
During last year’s marathon Winter-Spring Meet at Santa Anita, Maldonado ranked 14th in the standings with 25 wins from 190 mounts. He has nearly halved that total through just 18 days of the current Classic Meet.
“Edwin is a great rider,” said Tom Knust, Maldonado’s agent. “He’s just working really hard. Out here early in the morning, working on his craft. He’s been around a long time, but he’s come into his own the past couple of years.”
During last year’s fall meet at Santa Anita, Maldonado reached a career milestone when winning his first Grade I aboard Defunded in the Awesome Again Stakes for Bob Baffert. According to Equibase, it came 20 years after Maldonado won his first career race at Assiniboia Downs in Winnipeg, Canada on Aug. 13, 2002.
“It was a longtime coming,” said Maldonado, who was born in Ohio and raised in Puerto Rico where his grandfather was a jockey. “That one was very special, especially to be for Bob. When I first came to California in 2001, I remember saying ‘If I can only win a race for Bob. I don’t care if it’s a claimer or what.’ That was one of my dreams.” Maldonado is now looking to take things to the next level. While he’s yet to ride in a Kentucky Derby, Knust noted that is a leading goal for this year.
“We’re excited about the future and would certainly like to pick up some type of a Derby horse,” Knust said. “If we could do that and finish in the top three in the standings for the meet, we would be happy.”
Among Maldonado’s mounts this week are Satin Doll in Saturday’s Sweet Life Stakes and Broadway Girls in Sunday’s Lady of Shamrock Stakes, both for trainer Doug O’Neill.
“While I don’t like to share my goals, I have a lot and I’m getting closer to them every day. I can see them coming,” Maldonado said. “I know I’m going to achieve them. It’s only a matter of time.”
BAFFERT’S NEWGATE IS OFF THE DERBY TRAIL WITH MINOR HOCK INJURY
Newgate, winner of last Saturday’s Grade III Robert B. Lewis Stakes, will be out of training for at least the next 60 days after being diagnosed with a “minor hock issue.” The son of Into Mischief was considered a top prospect for this year’s Grade I Santa Anita Derby and Kentucky Derby.
Tom Ryan of SF Racing, who serves as managing partner of the colt’s extensive ownership group, announced the setback in a social media post on Friday.
“Newgate has been diagnosed with a minor hock issue. Our vets have recommended 60 (to) 90 days before resuming training,” Ryan wrote on Twitter. “His prognosis to return is excellent. We look forward to seeing him back this summer.”
Newgate won the Lewis by a neck under Frankie Dettori when completing 1 1/16 miles in a sharp 1:43.11. The effort earned a 100 Beyer Speed Figure for both Newgate and runner-up Hard to Figure, which is the highest registered by a 3-year-old this season.
In two starts prior to the Lewis, Newgate was second in both the Grade III Sham going a mile at Santa Anita on Jan. 8 and the Grade III Bob Hope going seven furlongs at Del Mar on Nov. 20.
The setback for Newgate is also a blow to Dettori, who is retiring from the saddle at the conclusion of this year’s Breeders’ Cup. He has stated one of the reasons he came to Santa Anita to ride this winter was to boost his chances at picking up a Kentucky Derby mount. The international superstar’s only ride in the 1 ¼-mile classic came in 2000 when he finished sixth aboard China Visit for Godolphin.
__MURRAY, SPIRIT OF MAKENA AMONG COMEBACKERS IN TESTY ALLOWANCE __
Boosting Saturday’s program is a contentious first-level allowance going six furlongs on dirt that includes three well-regarded comebackers: Grade I-placed Letsgetlucky, the lukewarm 3-1 favorite for trainer Brian Koriner; and co-second choices Murray and Spirit of Makena.
Letsgetlucky was third in last summer’s Grade I Bing Crosby at Del Mar and has been sidelined since a runner-up finish in an Aug. 27 allowance at Del Mar. The 5-year-old Munnings gelding has never missed the board in 12 career starts. Murray was a well-regarded 2-year-old for Bob Baffert in 2021 but made only one start last year, a second in an allowance sprint at Del Mar in July. Murray returned to the work tab Dec. 15 and shows six drills for his comeback including a pair of bullet five-furlong moves.
As for Spirit of Makena, he was a debut winner at Del Mar in August for trainer George Papaprodromou and then returned to pop a 94 Beyer Speed Figure when sent long in a first-level allowance a month later. Papaprodromou noted the now 5-year-old Ghostzapper horse was subsequently scratched at the gate during the Del Mar fall meet, which led to the layoff.
“We gave him time to make sure everything was ok. But everything is good now.,” the trainer said. “He’s been training well and should be good to go.”
RUSH HOUR: COAST-TO-COAST PICK 5 IN 60 MINUTES ON SATURDAY
The action will come fast and furious in Saturday’s Coast-to-Coast Pick 5. The sequence, which combines races from Santa Anita and Gulfstream Park, kicks off at 1:07 PT with the ninth race from Gulfstream Park and concludes 59 minutes later with the 11th race from Gulfstream.
The Coast-To-Coast Pick 5 is a $1 minimum wager with a player-friendly 15 percent takeout. The other three legs on Saturday are the third race from Santa Anita, 10th race from Gulfstream and fourth race from Santa Anita. Field sizes average 8.8 starters per race.
The Coast-to-Coast Pick 5 is offered every Saturday and Sunday during the Santa Anita and Gulfstream meets. Last Sunday’s wager returned $2,634.90 for 73 winning tickets.
Finish Lines: Sunday will have a special first post of 11 a.m. to accommodate those with plans to watch the Super Bowl…Santa Anita will conduct live racing on Friday, Feb. 24, which was originally scheduled to be a dark day. First post time will be at 12:30 p.m. The card has been added as a makeup for weather-related cancellations earlier in the Classic Meet…Every Friday during the Classic Meet on-track patrons will receive free admission, free parking and drink specials that include $3 beers and $5 margaritas… Entering Friday’s action, favorites have won at 29.27 percent clip at the Classic meet.