Santa Anita Stable Notes Friday, September 29, 2023
STABLE NOTES BY VICTOR RYAN
FRIDAY, SEPT. 29, 2023
Photo: Ernie Belmonte
• PREAKNESS HERO NATIONAL TREASURE A GO IN GI AWESOME AGAIN • DR. SCHIVEL TAKES ON BAFFERT TRIO IN GII SANTA ANITA SPRINT • BREEDERS’ CUP HORSES GET FIRST FEEL OF SANTA ANITA STRIP • ARABIAN KNIGHT WORKS A HALF MILE TOWARDS BC CLASSIC • INAUGURAL FRIDAY FOOTBALL FORECAST IN PLAY THIS WEEKEND
PREAKNESS HERO NATIONAL TREASURE A GO IN GI AWESOME AGAIN
After a disappointing effort in last month’s GI Travers at Saratoga, Bob Baffert was not initially planning to run National Treasure back in Saturday’s GI Awesome Again in what will be his first race against older horses.
Things changed once Baffert saw National Treasure produce two encouraging works once back at Santa Anita.
“If they’re training well, I enter them,” Baffert said Friday morning.
National Treasure will be joined in the starting gate by stablemate Defunded, winner of last year’s Awesome Again for Baffert and the 2-1 morning-line favorite.
In the 1 ¼-mile Travers Aug. 26, National Treasure raced without the blinkers he had worn in most previous races including the Preakness. Catching a muddy track at Saratoga, National Treasure was forwardly placed for a half mile but then quickly retreated to finish last of five. Baffert had no answers for the lackluster effort.
“The Travers was a puzzling race. Not once was he in the bridle,” Baffert said. “You can draw a line through that one.”
Following his return to Santa Anita, National Treasure worked three furlongs in 36.80 on Sept. 18 and four furlongs in 48.20 on Monday. He will be re-fitted in blinkers for the Awesome Again.
“I think they give him more focus,” said Baffert, who has won the previous three Awesome Again’s and eight overall.
Defunded, winner of the GI Hollywood Gold Cup here May 29, enters off two disappointing efforts at Del Mar in the GII San Diego Handicap July 29 and GI Pacific Classic on Sept. 2.
“He just doesn’t seem to like it down there, but he’s come back and trained well,” Baffert said.
Defunded’s recent works includes a bullet four-furlong drill in 47.0 seconds here on Sunday.
While Defunded has been ridden by Juan Hernandez for his previous five starts, including the Hollywood Gold Cup, Santa Anita’s leading rider on Saturday will instead ride National Treasure for the first time. Edwin Maldonado has the call on Defunded.
There are plenty of familiar faces in the Awesome Again, but one newcomer to the California stakes ranks is Celestial Moon for Mark Glatt. Celestial Moon made his first six starts in New York where he was an allowance winner for Hall of Fame trainer Bill Mott. Celestial Moon made his way to the Glatt barn after Edge Racing purchased the 4-year-old Malibu Moon colt for $145,000 at the Fasig-Tipton July Horses of Racing Age Sale.
In his first start for Glatt, a second-level allowance going a mile at Del Mar Sept. 23, Celestial Moon was a sharp 1 ¾-length winner under Maldonado. On Saturday, Antonio Fresu takes over in the irons.
“He’s a horse that seems to be on the improve,” Glatt said. “We thought he ran exceptionally well first time we ran him. He’s certainly facing a much different class of horse. But maybe it’s fair to say that some of the horses going in there aren’t in the best of form. If you’re not in it you can’t win it.”
The Awesome Again goes as the eighth race on Saturday’s 10-race card. Post time is scheduled for 4:41 p.m. Pacific. The field in post position order: Senor Buscador, Geovanni Franco (5-1); Defunded, Edwin Maldonado (2-1); Slow Down Andy, Mario Gutierrez (5-2); Skinner, Mike Smith (8-1); Bye Bye Bobby, Drayden Van Dyke (15-1); Celestial Moon, Antonio Fresu (30-1); National Treasure, Juan Hernandez (4-1); Piroli, Umberto Rispoli (12-1); Stilleto Boy, Kent Desormeaux (6-1).
DR. SCHIVEL TAKES ON BAFFERT TRIO IN GII SANTA ANITA SPRINT
Grade I winner Dr. Schivel will look to get back on the beam Saturday as the 9-5 morning-line favorite in an intriguing edition of the GII Santa Anita Sprint Championship going six furlongs.
Trained by Mark Glatt, Dr. Schivel exits a neck loss in the GI Bing Crosby won by The Chosen Vron at Del Mar on July 29. In the six-furlong Bing Crosby, Dr. Schivel was forced to rally wide when entering the stretch. Glatt believes the overland route probably cost Dr. Schivel the race.
“He had to loop around. He was extremely wide from the three-eighths pole and gave up a lot of ground,” Glatt said. “I think it was the difference in him winning and losing.”
In the Santa Anita Sprint, which attracted a field of nine, Dr. Schivel will break from post two under Santa Anita leading rider Juan Hernandez.
Among those set to take on Dr. Schivel are a trio of 3-year-olds trained by Bob Baffert: Arabian Lion (5-2), Fort Bragg (6-1) and the comebacking Speed Boat Beach (12-1).
Arabian Lion and Fort Bragg both exit the GI H. Allen Jerkens Memorial going seven furlongs at Saratoga on Travers day. Contested on a muddy track, Arabian Lion dueled early before losing steam late and finishing third. Fort Bragg never threatened and checked in fourth.
Baffert noted the sharp pace of the Jerkens, which included an opening half mile in 44.40 seconds.
“They were going fast,” he said.
Arabian Lion and Fort Bragg have each won graded stakes at a mile or farther. Both were also nominated for Saturday’s GII Awesome Again at 1 1/8 miles. Although six furlongs isn’t deal, Baffert elected to run them short.
“I think Arabian Lion and Fort Bragg are really more milers, they’re not sprinters,” Baffert said. “But I didn’t want to run them a mile and an eighth. They are fast horses for sure, but this isn’t their ideal distance.”
Speed Boat Beach will be making his first start since last December when he won the GIII Cecil B. DeMille at a mile on turf at Del Mar. The Bayern colt has worked eight times since Aug. 1 for his comeback.
“He’s doing really, really well,” Baffert said. “He was one of my best 2-year-olds. We gave him a lot of time off, freshened him up.
Speed Boat Beach will break from post eight under Victor Espinoza.
“I like the way he drew,” Baffert said. “If he runs well it will give him a shot at the Breeders’ Cup.”
The Santa Anita Sprint Championship goes as the sixth race on Saturday’s 10-race card. Post time is scheduled for 3:37 p.m. Pacific. The field in post position order: American Theorem, Umberto Rispoli (10-1); Dr. Schivel, Juan Hernandez (9-5); Arabian Lion, Edwin Maldonado (5-2); Fort Bragg, Ramon Vazquez (6-1); Visitant, Antonio Fresu (8-1); C Z Rocket, Geovanni Franco (12-1); Sir Atticus, Mike Smith (6-1); Speed Boat Beach, Victor Espinoza (12-1); Spirit of Makena, Joe Bravo (6-1).
BREEDERS’ CUP CONTENDERS GET FIRST FEEL OF SANTA ANITA STRIP
A quartet of Breeders’ Cup contenders trained by Steve Asmussen – Echo Zulu, Clairiere, Gunite, and Society – plus top-rated Classic contender Arcangelo – all took their first spins around the Santa Anita main track Friday.
Each of the Asmussen horses jogged a mile.
“Everyone is doing well,” reported assistant trainer Scott Blasi.
Arcangelo, who arrived Wednesday evening from Saratoga for trainer Jena Antonucci, galloped 1 ¼ miles under exercise rider Robert Mallari.
“He loved it,” Mallari said. “He’s just a good-feeling horse who loves to train.”
White Abarrio, also pointed to the Classic for trainer Richard Dutrow Jr., jogged on Friday according to assistant Chip Dutrow.
“It was a good day. He’s moving forward,” said Chip Dutrow. He added his brother Richard was set to arrive at Santa Anita later this afternoon.
INAUGURAL FRIDAY FOOTBALL FORECAST IN PLAY THIS WEEKEND
As part of our ongoing effort to stay in touch with the betting pulse of the overall sports world, today marks the first edition of the Friday Football Forecast, an informal collection of pigskin opinions, college and pro, for the upcoming weekend. Listed below are an assortment of selections from several trainers and jockey agents.
Gary Stute, USC -21; Michael McCarthy, Browns – 2 ½; Craig O’Bryan, USC -21; Ron Freitas, Raiders +5 ½; Paddy Gallagher, Chiefs -9 ½; Craig Lewis, USC -21; Bob Hess, Jr., Chargers -5 ½; Mark Glatt, Colorado +21; Doug O’Neill, Notre Dame- 5 ½; Tom Knust, USC -21; Brian Beach, Broncos -3 ½; Brad Pegram, 49ers -14; Steve Miyadi, 49ers -14; Kristin Mulhall, Dolphins +3; Mike Puype, USC over 72½ and Dean Pederson, 49ers -14.
FINISH LINES: GI Pacific Classic winner Arabian Knight worked four furlongs in 48.40 seconds Friday. He is training up to the Breeders’ Cup Classic for Bob Baffert on Nov. 4 at Santa Anita… The Autumn Meet marks the return of the traditional Pick 6 at Santa Anita with a $1 minimum. Friday’s sequence begins with the fourth race at approximately 2:36 p.m. Pacific…First post for Saturday’s blockbuster 10-race card is 1 p.m. Admission gates open at 11 a.m…Santa Anita track announcer Frank Mirahmadi will be host Tom Quigley’s seminar guest Friday on the Santa Anita simulcast feed starting at 11:50 a.m. On Saturday, Daily Racing Form correspondent Brad Free will be Quigley’s guest…During the Autumn Meet, XB Rewards members who wager at least $100 on-track on Santa Anita races through 1/ST BET or Xpressbet will receive a free Santa Anita hooded sweatshirt.