Santa Anita Stable Notes Friday, November 3, 2023
STABLE NOTES BY VICTOR RYAN
FRIDAY, NOV. 3, 2023
• 13-HORSE SCRAMBLE SET FOR SATURDAY’S GII TWILIGHT DERBY • GODOLPHIN’S SISKANY FAVORED IN MARATHON TAA STAKES • POPULAR JOCKEY SANDY HAWLEY IN TOWN FOR BREEDERS’ CUP • SINGLE WINNING P6 TICKET FRIDAY RETURNS $51,732 • GLATT, D’AMATO TIED FOR AUTUMN MEET TRAINERS’ TITLE
13-HORSE SCRAMBLE SET FOR SATURDAY’S GII TWILIGHT DERBY
Handicappers have no shortage of viable options when it comes to Saturday’s GII Twilight Derby, a 1 1/8-mile turf test which drew a deep field of 13 three-year-olds.
Installed as the 3-1 morning-line favorite on Jon White’s morning line is Webslinger for trainer Mark Casse. He is among a quartet of eastern invaders in the lineup.
A gelding by Constitution, Webslinger this year has three wins with three other board hits in seven starts. His victories include the GII American Turf at Churchill Downs May 6 on the Kentucky Derby undercard followed a month later by the 1 1/8 miles Audubon Stakes, also at Churchill Downs. Most recently, Webslinger led inside the final furlongs of the 1 3/16 miles GI Saratoga Derby Aug.5 but was nipped late by Program Trading to lose by a head.
Javier Castellano has been aboard for all seven of Webslinger’s starts this year and will again be in the irons Saturday. They will break from post six.
The leading local hopes include Panic Alarm for John Sadler and Seal Team for Richard Mandella, both 6-1 on the morning line, and Maltese Falcon (8-1) for trainer Leonard Powell.
Panic Alarm was imported from Europe earlier this year and has made two starts domestically. In his stateside debut, Panic Alarm rallied to be beaten just a length by winner Maltese Falcon in the GIII La Jolla Handicap at Del Mar going 1 1/16 miles on turf Aug. 6. Next in the GII Del Mar Derby at 1 1/8 miles, Panic Alarm again finished behind runner-up Maltese Falcon when fourth beaten 1 ¼ lengths.
“I thought those were two really strong efforts, we were very pleased,” Sadler said. “In the Del Mar Derby he didn’t get quite as good a trip and still managed to be beaten only about a length.”
Panic Alarm will break from post five. Star jockey Frankie Dettori will be in the irons for the first time.
“This is a tough field, but he’s a nice horse and we got a great rider,” Sadler said.
Maltese Falcon finished just a head back of winner Conclude in the Del Mar Derby. Unlike Panic Alarm, he has raced since that effort. On Oct. 8 at Santa Antia, Maltese Falcon disappointed as the 2-1 favorite in a 1 1/8 miles allowance on turf for 3-year-olds and up. The winner of the race was Seal Team.
“The track was very speed favoring that day and it was hard to make up any ground,” Powell noted. “He got caught in the pocket and didn’t really get a chance.”
An Irish-bred gelding by Caravaggio, Maltese Falcon will break from post 10 under Santa Anita’s top jockey Juan Hernandez.
“This is a deep field, but he very much fits with these,” Powell said. Seal Team will be making his stakes debut under regular rider Umberto Rispoli. By War Front, Seal Team is a perfect 2-for-2 at 1 1/8 miles on turf. Including the aforementioned allowance win.
The Twilight Derby goes as Saturday’s second race with a scheduled post time of 10:50 a.m. PT. The field in post position order: Requist, Ramon Vazquez (20-1); Be Your Best, Irad Ortiz Jr. (12-1); Reincarnate, Luis Saez (8-1); Packs a Wahlop, Hector Berrios (30-1); Panic Alarm, Frankie Dettori (6-1); Webslinger, Javier Castellano (3-1); Seal Team, Umberto Rispoli (6-1); Almendares, Antonio Fresu (8-1); California Bay, Tiago Pereira (30-1); Maltese Falcon, Juan Hernandez (8-1); Mondego, Joel Rosario (10-1); Silver Knott, William Buick (5-1); Watsonville, Flavien Prat (15-1).
GODOLPHIN’S SISKANY FAVORED IN MARATHON TAA STAKES Kicking off Saturday’s blockbuster 11-race Breeders’ Cup card is the GII Thoroughbred Aftercare Alliance Stakes at the marathon distance of 1 5/8 miles.
Listed as the 8-5 morning-line favorite is Siskany for international powerhouse Godolphin and trainer Charlie Appleby. This will be his first-time racing on dirt.
A 5-year-old Dubawi gelding, Siskany was a Group 3 winner on turf overseas this year. His first trip to the U.S. came this summer when he won the GII Belmont Gold Cup going two miles on turf at Belmont Park June 9. Subsequently sent back to Europe, his one start since the Belmont Gold Cup was a solid third-place effort in the GI Preis von Europa in Germany on Sept. 24.
Siskany will be ridden by regular rider William Buick. They will break from post three in a six-horse field set for the TAA.
The leading local hopes include Salesman for trainer Richard Mandella, the 5-2 second choice on the morning line, and Kiss Today Goodbye (5-1) for trainer Eric Kruljac.
Salesman is a 6-year-old Irish-bred gelding by Dubawi who started his career overseas with Andre Fabre. He’s made three starts in the U.S. this year. Salesman was off the board in both the GI Shoemaker Mile and Wicker Stakes at a flat mile on turf. Switched to dirt for the 1 1/16-mile Los Alamitos Special Sept. 17, he ran an even third under Tiago Periera.
On Saturday, Salesman will have top rider Flavien Prat in the irons for the first time. They will break from post five.
Kiss Today Goodbye, a hard-knocking 6-year-old full horse by Cairo Prince, exits a second-place effort in the GIII Tokyo City here at 1 ½ miles on dirt. The winner that day, Missed the Cut, is entered in Saturday’s $6 million Breeders’ Cup Classic.
“He’s a hard horse to train and a hard horse to ride,” said Kruljac, who will also start The Chosen Vron in Saturday’s $2 million Breeders’ Cup Sprint. "Just one of the oddest horses I’ve been around. But his last race was his best. The Godolphin horse, there is a question about the dirt, though I imagine they wouldn’t have brought him over unless they thought he could handle it.”
Kiss Today Goodbye will have a new rider in the TAA as Hall of Famer Victor Espinoza replaces Hector Berrios.
“He’s a horse you have to ride the entire way around,” Krujac said. “I wanted to give Hector a break so he would be at his best on The Chosen Vron.”
Post time for the Thoroughbred Aftercare Alliance is 10:10 a.m. The field in post position order: Time for Trouble, Javier Castellano (4-1); Serifos, Florent Geroux (6-1); Siskany, William Buick (8-5); Win the Day, Antonio Fresu (8-1); Salesman, Flavien Prat (5-2); Kiss Today Goodbye, Victor Espinoza (5-1).
POPULAR RETIRED JOCKEY SANDY HAWLEY IN TOWN FOR BREEDERS’ CUP Hall of Fame jockey Sandy Hawley, Santa Anita’s leading Winter Meet rider with 129 wins in 1975-76, was a Clockers’ Corner visitor Wednesday morning. The affable Canadian native was in good spirits, reconnecting with racing media, trainers and jockeys as horses and their connections await the two-day Breeders’ Cup World Championships at Santa Anita on Friday and Saturday.
A winner of 6,450 career races and 22nd on Santa Anita all-time stakes-won list with 49 added money victories, Hawley was a fan favorite—so much so that from the mid-1970s through the early 80s, many scribes dubbed prestigious Hollywood Park as simply “Hawley Park,” owing to his voluminous strike rate there. A passionate devotee of Canada’s national game, ice hockey, Hawley’s “side hustle” for many years placed him rink-side at Inglewood’s Fabulous Forum, overseeing the penalty box as a part-time employee of the LA Kings. Retired from the saddle on July 1, 1998, Hawley, 74, was accompanied Wednesday by his wife, former jockey Kaoru Tsuchiya, whom he met when they were both riding at Keeneland in 1987.
Born April 16, 1949 about 37 miles south of downtown Toronto, Hawley amassed 18 Woodbine Racetrack riding titles throughout his incredible career and took Canada’s Sovereign Award as the nation’s champion jockey in 1978 and 1988. North America’s Eclipse-winning Apprentice Jockey in 1969, he was voted Eclipse Champion Jockey in 1976 and was inducted into the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame in 1992.
Although he had been formally retired for 10 years, Hawley won his final race here at Santa Anita on Oct. 18, 2008 in a promotional event called The Living Legends Race, aboard California-bred Tribal Chief for John Sadler and owners Herb Alpert of Tijuana Brass fame and his brother David. As the race was part of the pari-mutuel menu, it counted officially as Hawley’s win number 6,450. In looking back on his golden years at Santa Anita, Hollywood Park and Del Mar, Hawley had fond memories Wednesday morning.
“Well, you know, it was always tremendous here,” said Hawley. “I remember when I first came, and riding against Laffit Pincay, but the great Bill Shoemaker, his name, it was like meeting him was like meeting a movie star. What I didn’t realize was he was the biggest prankster in the jocks’ room.
“I said, ‘Mr. Shoemaker, it’s so nice to meet you. I’m looking forward to riding with you here in California.’ He said ‘Well just call me Shoe,’ and he said ‘I want to wish you good luck.’ And then he’d fill my jacket pockets with shaving cream…He was the biggest character in the jocks’ room.” And what about Laffit?
“Riding against Laffit…I had heard a lot about him. He was so strong and so powerful. And I remember seeing him with his shirt off, getting ready to ride. His upper body, he looked like a miniature Arnold Schwarzenegger. I said
‘Laffit, do you lift weights to get like that?’ And he said ‘No, I try to lose weight.’ His strength was all natural. He was a tremendous, tremendous athlete.”
And so what made horses run for Sandy Hawley?
“Well, I used to holler, I used to scream. I used to whistle and use the stick a few times, too. I remember one time, we were coming down the stretch here at Santa Anita and I was whistling and hollering and Laffit told me after the race,
‘Man, you were making so much noise, I looked back because I thought maybe someone had fallen off back there.’
“And he said, ‘When I looked back, you were going by me, so I never look back anymore!’”
And neither do Sandy Hawley and his wife Kaoru, as they and the rest of the racing world look forward to the 40th annual Breeders’ Cup World Championships. --Mike Willman
FINISH LINES: First post for Saturday’s 12-race card is 10:10 a.m. PT. Admission gates open at 8 a.m…The first Breeders’ Cup race is the third, the $1 million Dirt Mile, which goes at approximately 11:30 a.m. PT…Pete Aiello, the voice of Gulfstream Park for the past decade, will call Friday’s Senator Ken Maddy Stakes on the hillside turf course. It goes as the third race at approximately 12:40 p.m. PT…Jockey Antonio Fresu won three races Thursday to move into a tie for second in the jockeys’ standings with Umberto Rispoli. Both Fresu and Rispoli have 18 wins at the stand, four fewer than top rider Juan Hernandez…Entering the final three days of the Santa Anita Autumn Meet, Mark Glatt and Phil D’Amato are tied atop the trainer’s standings with 11 wins apiece. Glatt has nine horses entered through Sunday. D’Amato, who won Thursday’s fifth race with Tio Magico ($8.20) to pull into a tie, has 17 horses entered…Thursday’s $1 Pick 6 at Santa Anita returned $51,732.50 to a single winning ticket…Closing day of the Santa Anita Autumn meet is Sunday. First post 12 p.m. PT.