Santa Anita Stable Notes Friday, February 9, 2024
STABLE NOTES BY VICTOR RYAN __FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 9, 2024 __
• PLANETARIO, BALLADEER MEET AGAIN IN GIII SAN MARCOS • PROMISING MAYMUN MAKES ENCORE SUNDAY FOR BAFFERT • $1 COAST-TO-COAST PICK 5 RETURNS SATURDAY • FULL TRAINING RESUMES AT SANTA ANITA AFTER HEAVY RAIN • EARLY 11 A.M. FIRST POST ON SUPER BOWL SUNDAY • POPULAR HANDICAPPER JERRY ANTONUCCI PASSES AT 77 • BUGLER JAY COHEN RETURNS SATURDAY AFTER BACK SURGERY
PLANETARIO, BALLADEER MEET AGAIN IN GIII SAN MARCOS Two of the key principals in Saturday’s GIII San Marcos are veteran graded-stakes winners Planetario and Balladeer, who will each be making their seasonal bows in the 1 ¼-mile turf test.
This is the third matchup between Planetario and Balladeer in a little over three months. The pair split their previous two meetings.
In the 1 ¼-mile GII John Henry Turf Championship here Oct. 1, Balladeer took his customary spot on the lead, set a moderate pace under Victor Espinoza and was never headed to earn his first graded stakes win for trainer George Papaprodromou. The tepid tempo left little chance for closers such as Planetario, who checked in fourth for trainer Richard Mandella.
Fast forward to the GII Hollywood Gold Cup Nov. 24. This time tasked to go the marathon distance of 1 ½ miles, Balladeer and Espinoza led again at every call until the eighth pole when Balladeer began to tire.
Planetario, under regular rider Hector Berrios, capitalized by stormy through the lane and edging favorite Francesco Clemente by a neck on the wire. The win was flattered when Francesco Clemente returned to win the GIII William L. McKnight Jan. 27 on Pegasus World Cup Day at Gulfstream Park.
In the San Marcos, Planetario is 5-2 on the morning line with Balladeer installed at 3-1. They both will have to deal with Missed the Cut, the 2-1 favorite for John Sadler who is exiting a runner-up finish in the GII San Gabriel at 1 1/8 miles here Dec. 26.
As for Balladeer, Papaprodromou is banking on the cutback to 1 ¼ miles and return to Santa Anita to do the trick on Saturday.
“I think he’s better on this course than Del Mar,” Papaprodromou said. Balladeer was given a freshening after the Gold Cup and has worked three times for his 5-year-old bow. By contrast, Planetario has worked eight times since the Gold Cup for his 6-year-old unveiling.
“Hopefully it’s enough,” Papaprodromou said of Balladeer’s slim work tab.
As for Planetario, who won the about 1 ¾-mile GIII San Juan Capistrano here last June, Mandella on Friday expressed confidence in his chances.
“He’s training as good as he ever has. We’re hoping for a good effort,” said the 73-year-old Hall of Fame trainer.
The San Marcos goes as the eighth race on a 10-race card set for Saturday. Post time is approximately 4 p.m. PT. The field in post position order: Missed the Cut, Joel Rosario (2-1); Irish Prophet, Juan Hernandez (4-1); Balladeer, Victor Espinoza (3-1); Eastern Ocean, Antonio Fresu (5-1); Planetario, Hector Berrios (5-2); Shortman, Tiago Pereira (15-1).
PROMISING MAYMUN MAKES ENCORE SUNDAY FOR BAFFERT Maymun, a dazzling debut winner going six furlongs here Jan. 20 for Bob Baffert, returns Sunday and stretches out to a mile in a first-level allowance heat. Post time is approximately 1:30 p.m. PT.
Owned by Zedan Racing Stables, Maymun romped by 7 ½ lengths in his unveiling under Juan Hernandez. His winning time of 1:15.59 earned a 93 Beyer Speed Figure, which ranks among the highest recorded by a 3-year-old this year.
Maymun is by Frosted out of the Indian Charlie mare Handwoven. Zedan purchased the colt for $900,000 at last year’s OBS April 2-Year-Olds in Training Sale.
Also in the field for Baffert is Imagination, a son of Into Mischief who commanded $1.05 million at the 2022 Keeneland September Yearling Sale. Imagination exits a one-mile maiden win here Jan. 1 in his third career start.
Adding further intrigue to the field is Revised Statute, an unraced maiden for trainer Richard Mandella. By Constitution, Revised Statue sold for $1.8 million at the 2022 Keeneland September Yearling Sale. He is campaigned by Pin Oak Stud. Revised Statute has worked eight times for his unveiling.
COAST-TO-COAST PICK 5 RETURNS SATURDAY FROM SANTA ANITA, GULFSTREAM Saturday’s $1 Coast-To-Coast Pick 5 includes two races from Gulfstream Park and three races from Santa Anita beginning at 1:06 p.m. PT.
The Coast-to-Coast Pick 5 starts with the ninth race from Gulfstream, which is the $125,000 Gulfstream Park Turf Sprint. A field of seven is signed on led by 7-5 morning-line favorite Carotari for trainer Brian Lynch. The 11th race at Gulfstream, an allowance/optional claimer at 7 ½ furlongs on turf, is also part of the sequence.
The offerings from Santa Anita are races three, six and seven. The third is an allowance/optional claimer at one mile on dirt led by 9-5 morning-line favorite Kerry Gold for trainer Peter Miller. The sixth, a $32,000 claimer at six furlongs on turf, includes 2-1 favorite Exultation for trainer Peter Eurton. The seventh is an allowance/optional claimer at six furlongs on dirt led by 5-2 program favorite Bag’s Gold for trainer Bob Hess Jr.
Saturday’s sequence averages 8.6 starters per race before scratches.
The Coast-To-Coast Pick 5 features a player-friendly 15 percent takeout rate and is offered every Saturday and Sunday through the end of Santa Anita’s Classic Meet April 7.
POPULAR HANDICAPPER & TURF WRITER JERRY ANTONUCCI PASSES AT 77 A press box fixture at Santa Anita, Hollywood Park and the LA County Fair at Fairplex Park dating back to the early 1970s, popular handicapper and turf writer Jerry Antonucci succumbed to the effects of multiple brain tumors this past Tuesday at 77, according to his wife Bonnie.
Part of a dynamic one-two print punch along with Professor Gordon Jones in the LA Herald Examiner in the 1970s and into the mid-1980s, “Antonuuch” picked winners with regularity and often followed up on his prognostications as a regular pari-mutuel patron.
In the glory days of the Herald Examiner, which went out of business in April of 1989, Jones would submit a brief summation of each prospective race and Antonucci would provide a full graded handicap, with a comment and his morning line, of the entire race card on a regular five-day-a-week basis.
Well known to thousands by virtue of his print contributions, Antonucci also for many years hosted a popular handicapping seminar, sponsored by Today’s Racing Digest, in Santa Anita’s East Paddock Gardens area.
A Los Angeles native, Antonucci moved his handicapping talents to the Orange County Register following the demise of the Herald Examiner and retired
A memorial service for Jerry Antonucci will be held at Santa Anita in the coming weeks.
FINISH LINES: Jay Cohen, the bugler at Santa Anita since 1987, returns Saturday after missing the Autumn Meet and undergoing back surgery in November. “I got so many nice letters in the mail, cards...they were all like, ‘Come on, get back here,” Cohen, 67, told Art Wilson of the Southern California Newspaper Group…Full training resumed Friday morning following a historic rainstorm that had closed the track entirely for four days…First post Sunday is 11 a.m. due to the Super Bowl…Sunday’s Sweet Life Stakes on the hillside turf course attracted a competitive field of 11 3-year-old fillies including stakes winner Julias Dream for trainer Michael McCarthy and Zona Verde for trainer Phil D’Amato… Retired jockey Iggy Puglisi will be host Tom Quigley’s handicapping guest Saturday on the Santa Anita simulcast feed beginning at 11:20 a.m. PT… Santa Anita will host a special Presidents’ Day card Monday, Feb. 19.