Santa Anita Stable Notes Friday, May 26, 2023
STABLE NOTES BY VICTOR RYAN
FRIDAY, MAY 26, 2023
- __• BRICKYARD RIDE, THE CHOSEN VRON CLASH IN THOR’S ECHO __
- • WHATMAKESSAMMYRUN FAVORED IN SATURDAY’S GIII DAYTONA
- • GEAUX ROCKET RIDE WORKS STIFF 7F FOR GIII AFFIRMED
- • RAINBOW 6 MANDATORY PAYOUT SET FOR MEMORIAL DAY
- • LONGTIME NOTES WRITER ED GOLDEN WILL BE HONORED SUNDAY
- • TALL MAN JOCK BOBBY JENNINGS PASSES AT 79
- • KIMURA RETURNS TO SANTA ANITA FOR MEMORIAL DAY CARD
BRICKYARD RIDE, THE CHOSEN VRON CLASH FOR 1ST TIME IN THOR’S ECHO Since 2019, the revered California-breds Brickyard Yard and The Chosen Vron have combined to win 18 stakes, 24 races overall and bank more than $1.5 million on the Southern California circuit.
Both have won sprinting or routing, either on dirt or turf. Yet in four-plus seasons, Brickyard Ride and The Chosen Vron have never met. That changes Sunday at Santa Anita. Both will go in the six-furlong Thor’s Echo for statebreds on the main track.
The Chosen Vron, who has won six straight races all in stakes, was cross-entered in both the Thor’s Echo and the Crystal Water going a mile on turf, which is also part of Sunday’s “Gold Rush” program at Santa Anita. On Friday morning, trainer Eric Kruljac reported The Chosen Vron would compete in the Thor’s Echo.
While Kruljac noted “it will be a very tall task” to take on Brickyard Ride, he was more concerned with the potential trip The Chosen Vron would receive in the Crystal Water, where he drew post seven on the far outside.
“The last few times the opposition didn’t allow us to get good trips. He has a target on his back in these races,” Kruljac said. “At a mile on turf, the first turn comes up quick. I didn’t want to see him getting parked way outside. I think in the Thor’s Echo he should get a much better trip with the long run down the backside.”
In the Thor’s Echo, The Chosen Vron is the more favorably drawn in a six-horse field. He will start in post five outside of Brickyard Ride, who drew post 3.
“I’d rather trade posts, but they’re not going to let me do that,” Brickyard Ride’s trainer Craig Lewis quipped Friday morning. “But it should be a hell of a race. As a fan I would love to see it. As a trainer, I’d rather it be a little easier. That horse (The Chosen Vron) is really good.”
The Chosen Vron will be ridden in the Thor’s Echo by regular rider Hector Berrios. Morning-line maker Jon White has tabbed The Chosen Vron as the slight even-money favorite. Brickyard Ride, who will again have Santa Anita leading rider Juan Hernandez in the irons, is 6-5.
Brickyard Ride is a 6-year-old homebred for Alfred A. Pais. He has banked $816,977 with a record of 13-1-3 in 25 starts, which includes three graded stakes scores and eight stakes wins overall. The full horse by Clubhouse Ride enters off a win in the GIII Kona Gold going 6 ½ furlongs on the main track here April 22. It was his second start after more than a nine-month layoff.
Brickyard Ride previously won the Thor’s Echo in 2021. Since the Kona Gold, he has a pair of five-furlong works including a bullet move in 59.00 seconds here May 8.
“I got him where I want him. But this will be a challenge,” Lewis noted.
The Chosen Vron’s six-race winning streak began with the E.B. Johnston at Los Alamitos last September. In three starts this year, all in the statebred ranks Santa Anita, the 5-year-old Vronsky gelding won the Don Valpredo California Cup Sprint on Jan.7, one-mile Tiznow Stakes at a mile on dirt Feb. 20 and the Sensational Star by a nose on the hillside turf course March 19.
Owned by Kruljac, Sondereker Racing, Robert S. Fetkin and Richard Thormburgh, The Chosen Vron has a sparkling record of 11-1-2 in 15 starts with $732,678 in earnings.
“We’re the prince and he’s the king,” Kruljac said of the two rivals. “I would have liked to have waited until later in the year to have to face Brickyard Ride. But it was inevitable. They were going to meet at some point. We’re taking a shot.”
The Thor’s Echo goes as the ninth race on Sunday’s 10-race Gold Rush program. Post time is scheduled for approximately 5 p.m. PT. The field in post position order: None Above the Law, Ramon Vazquez (SCR); Tigre Di Slugo, Jose Valdivia Jr. (12-1); Brickyard Ride, Juan Hernandez (6-5); Positivity, Tiago Pereira (10-1); The Chosen Vron, Hector Berrios (Even); Sunrise Journey, Edwin Maldonado (6-1).
WHATMAKESSAMMYRUN FAVORED FOR A 3RD STAKES WIN IN GIII DAYTONA Santa Anita’s wet winter wasn’t particularly kind for Whatmakesammyrun, a hillside turf course specialist who trainer Mark Glatt has said prefers a truly “firm” turf course.
He missed the board on a “good” course in the GII Joe Hernandez down the hill Dec. 31, and then again in the GIII San Simeon here March 5. But in the Siren Lure down the hill April 23, Whatmakesammyrun finally got his preferred footing and responded with a head victory under Joe Bravo.
In Saturday’s GIII Daytona on the hillside turf course, Whatmakesammyrun is the 9-5 program favorite to win his third career stakes down the hill for trainer Mark Glatt.
“There was moisture on the turf course earlier this year. It was more to his liking last time and that really helped him,” Glatt said. “Hopefully it will be similar Saturday.”
Whatmakessammyrun will take on six rivals in the Daytona. The co-second choices at 5-2 are Fast Buck, who will likely be the pacesetter for trainer Cesar DeAlba following a gate-to-wire allowance win going six furlongs on turf here May 7; and Burnin Turf, who was beaten three lengths by Whatmakessammyrun when fourth in the Siren Lure.
The new face in the field is European import Prince Lancelot, a 5-year-old full horse by Sir Prancelot. Trained by George Papaprodromou, Prince Lancelot was a five-time winner in France and competed in multiple Group 3 stakes with limited success for trainer Fabrice Chappet.
Prince Lancelot has been at Santa Anita “for a couple months,” Paparodromou said. He has worked three times since May 8. Papaprodromou indicated Prince Lancelot, who last raced Oct. 30 at Chantilly in France, likely will need a race. “We’re just giving him one to see what we got,” he added.
The Daytona goes as the seventh race on Saturday’s nine-race card, which also includes the GII Triple Bend at six furlongs on the main track. Post time for the Daytona is scheduled for 4:14 p.m. The field in post position order: Indian Peak, Juan Hernandez (5-1); Lovesick Blues, Umberto Rispoli (6-1); Fast Buck, Hector Berrios (5-2); Restrainedvengence, Abel Cedillo (12-1); Whatmakessammyrun, Joe Bravo (9-5); Prince Lancelot, Diego Herrera (8-1); Burnin Turf, Drayden Van Dyke (5-2).
MANDELLA’S GEAUX ROCKET RIDE WORKS A STIFF 7F FOR GIII AFFIRMED Geaux Rocket Ride, who was scratched from the GI Santa Anita Derby April 8 due to an elevated temperature, continued preparations for his return with a stiff seven-furlong work Friday for Hall of Fame trainer Richard Mandella.
On an overcast morning at Santa Anita, Geaux Rocket Ride completed the move in 1:26.40. It was the only seven-furlong work on the day.
A 3-year-old Candy Ride colt, Geaux Rocket is targeting Santa Anita’s GIII Affirmed at 1 1/16 miles a week from Sunday. He was a smashing debut winner here going six furlongs on Jan. 29 and returned to be a good second in the GII San Felipe behind eventual Santa Anita Derby winner Practical Move.
Owned by Pin Oak Stud, Geaux Rocket Ride was the 3-1 second choice on the morning line for the Santa Anita Derby when he had to be scratched. He returned to the work tab about three weeks later. Prior to Friday’s move, Geaux Rocket Ride worked six furlongs in 1:13.20 on May 15.
Also being considered for the Affirmed is Skinner, who was third in the Santa Anita Derby for trainer John Shirreffs. Skinner was entered to compete in the May 6 Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs, but he was also scratched due to an elevated temperature. The Curlin colt has returned with two works since his trip to Kentucky, which includes a five-furlong drill in 1:01.00 this past Sunday.
RAINBOW 6 MANDATORY PAYOUT IS SCHEDULED FOR MONDAY As part of a blockbuster Memorial Day program, Santa Anita will have a mandatory payout of the Rainbow 6 Jackpot on Monday. Additionally, Santa Anita is guaranteeing a $1 million payout on both Saturday and *Sunday if there is a single-ticket winner.
*In the event there is a $1 million payout to a single ticket winner on Saturday, there is no such guarantee in place for Sunday.
The Rainbow 6 is a 20-cent minimum wager. If there are no single-ticket winners on Friday, Saturday or Sunday, track officials estimate Monday’s pool will approach $3 million.
Entries for Santa Anita’s Memorial Day program, which features three Grade Is, will be taken on Friday. The featured stakes are the GI Shoemaker Mile on turf, GI Hollywood Gold Cup at 1 1/4 miles on the main track and GI Gamely for fillies and mares going 1 1/8 miles on turf.
Entering Friday, the Rainbow 6 carryover stands at $201,326.24.
SANTA ANITA TO HONOR LONGTIME NOTES WRITER ED GOLDEN ON SUNDAY Ed Golden, who retired this past December following a 30-year run as the architect of Santa Anita’s popular Stable Notes, will have a race named in his honor and be feted in a Winner’s Circle ceremony following Sunday’s second race.
A Philadelphia native and Philadelphian to his core (see Eagles, Flyers & Phillies), Golden hung up his keyboard on Dec. 5 and although he is now officially retired, his work on behalf of Santa Anita and the greater Thoroughbred industry will not soon be forgotten. Indefatigable in his love of the game and pursuit of a good gamble, Golden cultivated sources, jockeys, agents, trainers, owners, media members, officials and celebrities over the years that bore ample fruit for his readers and produced reams of good will for those that employed him.
“Hey Ed, Happy New Year. Still enjoy reading your Notes, lots of pressure to keep them consistently informative and fresh, but you do it…”—Vince Bruun, Director of Media Relations, Emerald Downs, Feb. 12, 2014
“Wow. These Notes are supposed to be dry, boring stuff. Not Ed Golden’s. Sensational reporting and writing. I hope the rest of the Santa Anita media recognizes and appreciates what we have. Sorry if I am starting to sound like some groupie, but I know writing and reporting and I know what I’d be thinking if I still was the guy hiring in Times Sports.”—Bill Dwyre, longtime LA Times Sports Editor and columnist, June 8, 2015
How about this anecdote from an interview Golden did with an oft-prickly Hall of Fame trainer? “If you caught Bobby Frankel at a propitious moment and put your recording device on start, you could reap a profound interview not only on racing, but sports, politics, the state of the world in general and even unmentionables,” recalled Golden.
“But the late, great trainer’s reputation as having an irascible vein was not without merit. Gathering news at his Santa Anita barn one morning, I asked about a Kentucky Derby prospect he had recently received. Delighted I got what I sought with barely a frown, I had a foot out the tack room door when I turned and asked him one more question—the name of the owner.
“Patience begone, Frankel exploded and barked out ‘Gann!!’ (Edmund Gann).”
And so it was, Ed Golden, husband, father, grandfather and U.S. Army veteran, was in his element, cajoling, bobbing, weaving and in the end—gathering information that made his, The Best Damn Stable Notes in America. --Mike Willman
SIX-FOOT JOCKEY BOBBY JENNINGS PASSES AT 79 Bobby Jennings, a successful California-based jockey who won more than 1,100 races but was best known for being a racing anomaly as a six-foot rider, passed away at a care facility in Sacramento on Tuesday following a lengthy illness at age 79. A two-time winner of the prestigious Longacres Mile, in 1965 with Siempre and in 1966 with the Melvin Stute-trained Aurelious II, Jennings, whose nickname was “Skinny,” won stakes at both Hollywood Park and Del Mar but spent nearly his entire career as a regular at Northern California tracks such as Bay Meadows, Golden Gate Fields and the Northern fairs.
“I’ve never seen a rider that was that tall and was as good a rider as Skinny,” said Arizona-based trainer Clay Brinson, who rode with Jennings in California in the 1960s. “There was a jock named Eldon Hall that was a little taller than Bobby, but he was probably the second-tallest jock I ever knew.
“He was a good horseman and a helluva rider. He won a ton of races up north for R.L. Martin (former perennial leading trainer in the Bay Area). At one time, they were rolling big up there. After he quit riding, he trained for nine or 10 years. He had a good time, Skinny ran hard.”
Following his time as a licensed trainer, Jennings worked as an assistant starter, primarily in Northern California, but also at Fairplex Park.
“My dad was a racing official and I was a kid when Bobby was winding up his career as a jock, back in the early 70s,” recalled trainer Dean Pederson at Clockers’ Corner on Wednesday. “We had more characters back then. People didn’t take themselves quite as serious and enjoyed life a little bit more…
“Bobby was a lifetime racetracker. He was a very talented rider, a good hand with 2-year-olds and he was a big, tall guy. He was talented at a lot of different things, which I’m sure helped him later on when he trained.”
According to the American Racing Manual, Jennings won his first race in 1960 at age 16 and his final race in 1972, ending up with 1,122 wins. His career-high in terms of races won, came in 1965, when he booted home 177 winners, including a win in the Del Mar Derby aboard the Richard Chew-conditioned Hasty Trip. From 1962 through 1968, Jennings won 97, 121, 149, 177, 151, 170 and 129 races respectively.
FINISH LINES: Jockey Kazushi Kimura will return to Santa Anita to ride Gold Phoenix for trainer Phil D’Amato in Monday’s GI Shoemaker Mile according to agent Brandon O’Bryan. After spending the winter at Santa Anita, Kimura moved his tack back to his home base at Woodbine where he’s off to a fast start and atop the rider standings… Every Friday on-track fans will receive free parking and admission plus $3 beers and $5 margaritas…Memorial Day weekend festivities at Santa Anita will include an infield carnival, plus a beer festival, cornhole derby on Saturday and SoCal Corgi Nationals on Sunday. ON MONDYA, MEMORIAL DAY, ON-TRACK FANS WILL RECEIVE $1 BEERS, SODAS AND $2 HOT DOGS.