Santa Anita Stable Notes Friday, October 6, 2023
STABLE NOTES BY VICTOR RYAN
FRIDAY, OCT. 6, 2023
Photo: Ernie Belmonte
• BREEDERS’ CUP: ECHO ZULU LEADS ASMUSSEN WORKERS • GII CHANDELIER FAVE LAURENT ADDS BLINKERS FOR EURTON • SPEAKEASY FAVORITE SLIDER GETS TURF TEST FOR SADLER • SANTA ANITA, KEENELAND TEAM FOR BC CHALLENGE PICK 6 • SANTA ANITA HOSTS SPECIAL HOLIDAY PROGRAM MONDAY
BREEDERS’ CUP: CHAMPION ECHO ZULU LEADS ASMUSSEN WORKERS
A trio of Breeders’ Cup-bound horses trained by Hall of Famer Steve Asmussen had their first works at Santa Anita Friday.
Drilling easy half miles under the watchful eye of assistant Scott Blasi were Echo Zulu, who went the distance in 50.80 seconds; and Society, who completed her move in 50.20 seconds.
Also working for Asmussen was Private Creed, who was officially clocked going three furlongs in 37.40 seconds.
“This was their first work on the racetrack so we didn’t want to do a whole lot,” Blasi said. “It was just a maintenance breeze to get them used to the surface.”
Echo Zulu, the champion 2-year-old filly of 2021, is a perfect 3-for-3 this campaign including a win in the GI Ballerina most recently on Aug. 26 at Saratoga. She is being pointed to either the Breeders’ Cup Sprint going six furlongs against males or the Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Sprint at seven furlongs. Both races are slated for Nov. 4 at Santa Anita.
Society is headed to the Breeders’ Cup Distaff at 1 1/8 miles the same day at Santa Anita. In her two most recent starts, the 4-year-old Gun Runner filly won the GIII Chicago Stakes at Ellis Park June 24 and the Misty Bennett Pink Ribbon Stakes at Charles Town on Aug. 25.
Private Creed is targeting the five-furlong Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint on Nov. 4. The 3-year-old Jimmy Creed colt is exiting his first graded-stakes win in the GII Franklin-Simpson Stakes going 6 ½ furlongs on turf Sept. 9.
Asmussen and Blasi plan to work two more Breeders’ Cup hopefuls on Saturday at Santa Anita: Clairiere, who will also go in the Breeders’ Cup Distaff; and Gunite, who is possible for either the Sprint or Dirt Mile, both also on Nov. 4.
In other Breeders’ Cup news, top-rated Classic contender Arcangelo walked the shedrow and appeared to be doing well the morning after having his first work at Santa Anita. On Thursday, the Belmont Stakes and GI Travers winner drilled five furlongs in 1:02.20 for trainer Jena Antonucci.
GII CHANDELIER FAVORITE LAURENT ADDS BLINKERS FOR EURTON
Trainer Peter Eurton could be poised for a big weekend at Santa Anita.
On Saturday, Eurton will saddle morning-line favorite Laurent in the GII Chandelier for 2-year-old fillies and also Dark Vintage, the 4-1 second choice on the morning line in the Speakeasy Stakes for 2-year-old going five furlongs on turf. On Sunday, Eurton will start Del Mar Juvenile Fillies Turf winner Flattery, a top contender in the GIII Surfer Girl for 2-year-old fillies at a mile on turf.
“Everyone seems to be doing well and hopefully we’ll get lucky,” Eurton said of the weekend ahead.
Like most in the 1 1/16-mile Chandelier, which attracted a competitive field of 10, Laurent will be trying two turns for the first time on Saturday. Laurent debuted going 5 ½ furlongs at Del Mar Aug. 13 and won by a nose when mounting a furious last-to-first rally under Juan Hernandez. The Practical Joke filly returned in the GI Del Mar Debutante going seven furlongs Sept. 5. She again was near the back of the pack early before rallying to be a distant second behind budding star Tamara.
Laurent, a $185,000 auction purchase as a yearling, is out of the two-time winner She Rocks the Look, herself a daughter of Grade II-winning sprinter Trappe Shot.
“She acts like a filly that may desire two turns, but you really don’t know,” Eurton said. “People often think that about a late-closings sprinter. Our thoughts are she’ll take to it as long as she gets in a nice rhythm and doesn’t have to do too much early. Just like any horse.”
Eurton has also decided to add blinkers for Laurent’s two-turn bow.
“I think there’s still a lot of maturing that needs to still continue,” Eurton said. “She’s still a little green, that’s why we’re putting the blinkers on her. I can’t afford to go five wide on both turns. Hopefully she’ll show a little more speed and get the right trip.”
Laurent’s chief rivals in the Chandelier appear to be Dua, the 3-1 second choice on the morning line for Bob Baffert; Chatalas (4-1) for trainer Mark Glatt and Gate to Paradise (5-1) for trainer John Shirreffs.
Dua won her bow going five furlongs at Del Mar July 23 then was a distant third in the GIII Sorrento going six furlongs at Del Mar Aug. 12. The daughter of Arrogate, a $400,000 auction buy earlier this year for Zedan Racing, worked a bullet six furlongs in 1:12 for her two-turn bow on Monday.
Chatalas won her debut going 5 ½ furlongs at Del Mar July 30 then was a well-beaten fourth in the GI Del Mar Debutante. By Gun Runner out of the Indian Charlie mare Indian Safari, Chatalas could move forward with added distance. The same can be said for Gate to Paradise, a $950,000 daughter of Arrogate. She was third in her bow going 5 ½ furlongs at Del Mar and was third again in the Del Mar Debutante.
The Chandelier goes as Saturday’s third race on a 10-race card with post time scheduled for 2:03 p.m. Pacific. The field in post position order: Chatalas, Antonio Fresu (4-1); Scalable, Mike Smith (5-1); Pacific Rose, Ramon Vazquez (20-1); Pink Whitney, Tiago Pereira (20-1); Autumn Chill, Hector Berrios (8-1); Gate to Paradise, Kent Desormeaux (5-1); Dua, Juan Hernandez (3-1); Laurent, Edwin Maldonado (5-2); Motet, Edgar Payeras (50-1); Next Right Thing, Emily Ellingwood (30-1).
SPEAKEASY FAVORITE SLIDER GETS TURF TEST FOR SADLER
After a solid second in his bow going 5 ½ furlongs on dirt at Del Mar July 29, trainer John Sadler tried to run Slider in the GIII Del Mar Juvenile Turf going a mile on Sept. 8. Slider was relegated to the also-eligible list and did not run.
Instead, a day later Slider again took on maidens going 5 ½ furlongs on dirt. He responded with an impressive three-length victory under Hector Berrios.
Now Slider gets his chance on the grass. He is the 5-2 morning line favorite in Saturday’s Speakeasy going five furlongs on turf.
“When we didn’t get in the stakes, we ran him back on dirt and he won impressively,” Sadler said. “We really think he’ll like the grass as well. We want to give him a chance to run here and then hopefully the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf Sprint.”
The Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint at five furlongs is scheduled for Nov. 3 at Santa Anita.
Slider will take on nine rivals in the Speakeasy including Dark Vintage, the 4-1 second choice on the morning line for trainer Peter Eurton and Mysticism (5-1), a filly, for Hall of Fame trainer Richard Mandella.
Dark Vintage will be making his first start for Eurton. The Irish-bred by Dark Angel made his first two starts for trainer Wesley Ward, which included a maiden-breaking score at Del Mar going five furlongs on turf Aug. 3.
Following his graduation win, Dark Vintage was entered in the Fasig-Tipton August Digital Select Sale where he was purchased for $150,000 and transferred to Eurton. Dark Vintage is now owned by M Bar O LLC.
“I really like what I have seen,” Eurton said. “He’s a colt that’s got a great way about him. He never gets to upset about anything. He’s training well.”
Dark Vintage’s works for Eurton include a sharp four-furlong move in 47.60 seconds on the main track here last Saturday.
“It was a lovely work he had the other day,” Eurton said. “He did it exceptionally easy.”
Mysticism debuted against maiden fillies going 5 ½ furlongs on turf and scored a front-running win on Aug. 4 at Del Mar. Mandella has opted to take on males in the Speakeasy rather than send her a mile in Sunday’s GIII Surfer Girl for 2-year-old fillies. Mysticism is by War Front out of the Arch mare Clairvoyance.
“I don’t think she wants to go long yet,” Mandella said. “This is probably best for her at this point.”
The Speakeasy goes as the fourth race on Saturday’s 10-race card. The field in post position order: Dark Vintage, Juan Hernandez (4-1); Slider, Hector Berrios (5-2); Change for Gold, Ricardo Gonzalez (15-1); Tranche, Edwin Maldonado (6-1); Des Doigits, Efrain Hernandez (30-1); Mysticism, Ramon Vazquez (5-1); Bear River, Abel Cedillo (12-1); Always On Cay, Mike Smith (15-1); Lord Prancealot, Kent Desormeaux (6-1); April Vintage, Antonio Fresu (6-1).
SANTA ANITA, KEENELAND TEAM FOR BREEDERS’ CUP CHALLENGE PICK 6
Keeneland and Santa Anita will combine forces to offer an all-stakes Breeders’ Cup Challenge Pick 6 Saturday featuring a player-friendly 15 percent takeout rate. It is a minimum $1 wager.
The sequence kicks off at 1:12 p.m. Pacific from Keeneland with the GII Thoroughbred Club of America going seven furlongs on dirt. It continues with the GII Chandelier for 2-year-old fillies at Santa Anita, then returns to Keeneland for the GI Breeders’ Futurity and GI Coolmore Turf Mile. The sequence concludes at Santa Anita with the GII Rodeo Drive for fillies and mares on turf and GI American Pharoah for 2-year-olds on the main track.
All six races are part of the Breeders’ Cup Challenge Series, which provides the winners with automatic berths in the Breeders’ Cup on Nov. 3-4 at Santa Anita.
WEEKEND FOOTBALL FORECAST LEANS HEAVILY TO 49ERS
Random football selections, college and pro for this weekend: Jason Egan, UCLA-3 ½; Ami Atkinson, Kentucky+14 ½; Dan & Christina Blacker, USC-21 ½; Jeff Bonde, 49ers -3 ½; Vladimir Cerin, Univ. of Texas-5 ½; Craig Dollase, Raiders-1; Peter Eurton, Chiefs -3 ½; Mark Glatt, 49ers-3 ½; Bob Hess, Jr., 49ers-3 ½; David Hofmans, 49ers-3 ½; Kurt Hoover, Oregon State-7 ½; Marty Jones, 49ers-3 ½; Craig Lewis, 49ers-3 ½; Alfredo Marquez, Nebraska+3 ½ and Bob Moreno, Cowboys+3 ½.
FINISH LINES: Top eastern-based trainers Todd Pletcher and Brad Cox will be represented in Santa Anita stakes this weekend. Pletcher, an eight-time Eclipse Award winner as outstanding trainer, has the 4-year-old filly Juncture (8-1) entered in Saturday’s GII Rodeo Drive at 1 ¼ miles on turf. Cox, a two-time Eclipse Award winner, will run one-start maiden Scalable (5-1) in the GII Chandelier and the maiden Be You (4-1) in the GI American Pharoah. Be You most recently was fourth in the GI Hopeful at Saratoga…Eastern-based jockey Vincent Cheminaud will be in town to ride Saturday’s card at Santa Anita. He has three mounts including Didia, an eastern invader and 9-5 morning line favorite in the GII Rodeo Drive for trainer Ignacio Correas…Sunday’s card includes the GIII Zuma Beach for 2-year-olds and GIII Surfer Girl for 2-year-old fillies, both on turf, while Monday’s card features the Swingtime Stakes for 3-year-old fillies at a mile on turf…On-track fans for Monday’s holiday card will receive $1 beers and sodas and $2 hot dogs at select locations…Golden Gate track announcer Matt Dinerman will be host Tom Quigley’s handicapping guest Saturday on the Santa Anita simulcast feed starting at 11:50 a.m. Pacific.