Santa Anita Stable Notes Friday, March 3, 2023
STABLE NOTES BY VICTOR RYAN
FRIDAY, MARCH 3, 2023
__• MOGER’S CHASE THE CHAOS, STILLETO BOY LOOK TO SHINE __ • UNWRITTEN CODE SHOOTS FOR 4TH WIN AT CLASSIC MEET • 1/ST RACING TOUR RETURNS SATURDAY ON CNBC • MANDATORY PAYOUT OF RAINBOW 6 ON SATURDAY • LIVE RACING THIS THURSDAY WITH FIRST POST AT 12:30 P.M. • FRIDAY’S TURF RACES MOVED TO DIRT
__MOGER’S CHASE THE CHAOS, STILLETO BOY LOOK TO SHINE SATURDAY __
At about noon Thursday, trainer Ed Moger Jr. was behind the wheel of a horse van on the 210 freeway making his way to Santa Anita from Golden Gate. In tow for the eight-hour trip south were Chase the Chaos, winner of last month’s El Camino Real Derby at Golden Gate, and millionaire Stilleto Boy for their respective stakes engagements Saturday at Santa Anita.
“We’re coming and ready to go,” Moger said. Also onboard the van was Tarantino, who will run in a second-level allowance on turf here Saturday.
Stilleto Boy returns to The Great Race Place for another crack at the Grade I Santa Anita Handicap presented by Yaamava’ Resort and Casino. Chase the Chaos, who earned his first stakes win in the Feb. 11 El Camino Real over Golden Gate’s synthetic main track, will get tested on dirt in the Grade II San Felipe for 3-year-olds.
Chase the Chaos enters the 1 1/16-mile San Felipe having won two straight Races. In the El Camino Real going 1 1/16 miles, the Pennsylvania-bred by Astute uncorked a winning rally under Armando Ayuso to score by 1 ½ lengths over the heavy favorite Gilmore trained by Bob Baffert.
Following the El Camino Real Derby, which provided an automatic berth in the Preakness Stakes, Moger initially indicated the colt’s next start would likely be either the Grade I Santa Anita Derby on April 8 or the Grade III Jeff Ruby Steaks at Turfway Park on March 25, which is also run on a synthetic track. But after watching two follow-up works at Golden Gate from Chase the Chaos, Moger zeroed in on the San Felipe, which is a point-paying prep for the Kentucky Derby.
“We could have waited for the Santa Anita Derby or Jeff Ruby, but the horse came out in such great shape there was really no reason to wait,” Moger said.
Chase the Chaos drew the rail for the San Felipe and is 12-1 on the morning line. Ayuso will again be in the irons. He will be trying dirt for the first time since his debut at Canterbury Park on Aug. 28 for former trainer Robertino Diodoro. Catching a muddy track on a race taken off the turf that day, Chase the Chaos finished second as the 5-2 favorite.
“From what I’ve seen, I think he’ll run on anything,” Moger said. “In his debut he was between horses with mud flying everywhere and finished second. Then he broke his maiden on turf and has won twice for us on synthetic. This horse has run good every single race. I’m not worried about the surface.”
Owned by Adam Ference and Bill Dory, Chase the Chaos has a record of 3-2-1 in six starts. He made his first two starts at Canterbury for Diodoro before being transferred. At Golden Gate, prior to his two-race win streak, Chase the Chaos was third in the six-furlong Golden Nugget Stakes and second in the Gold Rush Stakes going a two-turn mile.
“This horse was in great shape when he got to my barn and has continued to improve,” said Moger, who is hoping Chase the Chaos becomes his first starter in a Triple Crown race. “I really liked him right off the bat. Then after seeing him train for a little bit I thought, ‘Wow, this is a nice horse.”
After the San Felipe goes as Saturday’s sixth race on a 12-race card, Moger will be back for the nightcap to saddle Stilleto Boy in the 1 ¼-mile Santa Anita Handicap. Last year, Stilleto Boy was third in the Big Cap behind winner Express Train and Warrant, the latter of whom is also back this year.
Most recently, Stilleto Boy finished a solid third after setting the pace in the Grade I Pegasus World Cup on Jan. 28 at Gulfstream Park.
“I thought he ran great in the Pegasus. The 11 hole is a tough post there. You go right into the first turn going a mile-and-an-eighth,” Moger noted. "I think if we had an inside post, we might have had a chance to win.”
Stilleto Boy is owned by Moger’s brother Steve Moger. The 5-year-old Shackleford gelding has banked $1,411,675 in his career with a record of 3-4-8 in 20 starts. While his only graded stakes win came in last year’s Grade II Californian at Santa Anita, Stilleto Boy has competed in eight Grade Is and hit the board in five of those efforts.
“He’s been a blast,” Ed Moger said of the highest-earning horse he’s ever trained. “We ran in the Breeders’ Cup Classic, the Pegasus twice. He’s a talented horse. Just not quite good enough to beat the likes of a Flightline, Country Grammar or Life Is Good.”
Stilleto Boy will be ridden in the Big Cap by Hall of Famer Kent Desormeaux, who in 2021 was aboard for multiple starts including the Breeders’ Cup Classic. Stilleto Boy is the 5-1 fourth choice in a field of 11.
“He’s been doing really, really good since the Pegasus,” Moger said. “He couldn’t be better.”
The San Felipe is scheduled for 2:27 p.m. with the Big Cap set to go at 5:31 p.m. PT.
The fields in post position order:
San Felipe: Chase the Chaos, Armando Ayuso (12-1); national Treasure, John Velazquez (3-1); Practical Move, Ramon Vaquez (4-1); Bluegrass Go Go, Edwin Maldonado (50-1); Genius Jimmy, Kazushi Kimura (20-1); Hejazi, Mike Smith (7-2); Geaux Rocket Ride, Flavien Prat (5-1); Fort Bragg, Juan Hernandez (8-1); Skinner, Victor Espinoza (5-1); Mr Fisk, Frankie Dettori (15-1).
Santa Anita Handicap: There Goes Harvard, Kazushi Kimura (12-1); Parnelli, Victor Espinoza (20-1); Newgrange, Frankie Dettori (6-1); Stilleto Boy, Kent Desormeaux (5-1); Defunded, Juan Hernandez (7-2); Warrant, Flavien Prat (4-1); Heywoods Beach, Ramon Vazquez (20-1); Hopper, Mike Smith (8-1); Scarlet Fusion, Edwin Maldonado (12-1); Tisquantum, Hector Berrios (30-1); Proxy, John Velazquez, (4-1).
STREAKING UNWRITTEN CODE SHOOTS FOR 4TH WIN AT THE CLASSIC MEET
The career of Unwritten Code started off well enough last winter when she won a state-bred maiden special weight on dirt here in January. But soon after, things would go sideways for the Desert Code filly.
Unwritten Code was not competitive in her next two starts, precipitating a trip to the farm for the high-strung filly to regroup. It would prove a wise decision by trainer Jorge Periban and owner Javier C. Perez. Following a pair of dull efforts on turf upon her return, Unwritten Code was dropped into a $12,500 claimer for non-winners of two at Los Alamitos and went gate-to-wire. She hasn’t been beaten since while climbing the class ladder.
On Saturday, Unwritten Code will vie for her fifth straight victory and fourth at the Classic Meet in the second race, a starter allowance going 6 ½ furlongs on dirt. She is the 3-1 co-second choice to keep the good times going.
“She was always wild. Not crazy, just too much energy,” Periban explained of Unwritten Code’s troubles last year. “Then she hurt her knee. It wasn’t bad, but we sent her home. That helped a lot. Since she’s been back, she’s changed a lot and been a completely different filly.”
Following her win at Los Alamitos, Unwritten Code won a $20,000 claimer for non-winners of three on dirt here Jan. 6 followed by an open $25,0000 claimer on turf 14 days later. Then on Feb. 10 at Santa Anita, she cleared her first-level state-bred allowance when going 6 ½ furlongs on dirt. Jockey Tiago Pereira, who has been aboard for the entirety of the win streak, will again be in the saddle on Saturday.
“I started her for just $12,500 because she needed to gain more confidence,” Periban said. “But I certainly never expected to start her for $12,500 and then go to $20,000, $25,000. She’s been full of surprises.”
Unwritten Code was purchased by Perez for $30,000 at the 2021 Fasig-Tipton Santa Anita Two-Year-Old in Training Sale. She has since banked a cool $153,940 with a record of 5-2-0 in 12 starts.
1/ST RACING TOUR RETURNS SATURDAY ON CNBC
The 1/ST Racing Tour continues Saturday with blockbuster cards from Santa Anita and Gulfstream Park and national television coverage on CNBC.
Led by the Grade I Santa Anita Handicap and a pair of Triple Crown prep races (Grade II San Felipe at Santa Anita, Grade II Fountain of Youth at Gulfstream), a combined 13 graded stakes will be contested at the two tracks. CNBC will provide two hours of coverage starting at 1 p.m. PT.
As part of a 12-race program at Santa Anita, the featured Big Cap and San Felipe are supported by the Grade I Frank E. Kilroe Mile and Grade II Buena Vista, both on turf. In addition, Santa Anita will have a mandatory payout of the Rainbow 6 that beginning with the seventh race.
First post Saturday at Santa Anita is 12 p.m. PT while the action at Gulfstream kicks off at 8 a.m. PT. At Santa Anita, on-track fans will be offered a variety of promotions. They include a Big Cap hat giveaway, craft beer & cider festival and Family Fun Zone & Fiesta de Santa Anita in the infield.
MANDATORY PAYOUT, LIKELY $3 MILLION POOL IN SATURDAY’S RAINBOW 6
With a mandatory payout in place, Santa Anita officials project Saturday’s 20 cent Rainbow Pick Six Jackpot pool should approach $3 million by seventh race post time Saturday at Santa Anita, providing there is no single ticket winner Friday.
The Rainbow Six is a 20-cent minimum wager where bettors are tasked with selecting the winner of six straight races. The bet begins at approximately 3:05 p.m. with the seventh race on a stakes laden 12-race card.
Before scratches, the average field size for the sequence is 9.8 starters per race. It consists of two allowance races on turf, a $40,000 maiden claimer for dirt sprinters, a starter allowance on dirt, and both the Grade I Frank E. Kilroe Mile (turf) and Grade I Santa Anita Handicap presented by Yaamava’ Resort & Casino.
Entering Friday’s card, the Rainbow 6 has a carryover of $214,356.
FINISH LINES: Fans are advised that Santa Anita will be open for live racing next Thursday, March 9, with first post time at 12:30 p.m. As is also the case each Friday, on-track patrons on Thursday will receive free admission and parking, as well as $3 beers and $5 margaritas…Both the main track and training track were open for workouts on Friday … Due to the recent winter storms, all three turf races scheduled for Friday have been moved to the dirt… Daily Racing Form handicapper Brad Free will be Tom Quigley’s featured handicapping guest Saturday on the Santa Anita simulcast feed starting at 10:50…Santa Anita announced that Admission Passes and Mystery Mutuel Vouchers, originally __redeemable on Feb. 25 & 26, will be good Friday, Saturday and Sunday. __