Santa Anita Stable Notes Thursday, January 11, 2024
STABLE NOTES BY VICTOR RYAN THURSDAY, JANUARY 11, 2024
• CAL CUP SPRINT: THE CHOSEN VRON, BRICKYARD RIDE REMATCH • F&M TURF SPRINT: ROSE MADDOX GETS CLASS RELIEF FOR MIYADI • COAST-TO-COAST PICK 5 RETURNS SATURDAY AT 1:35 P.M. PT • D’AMATO, MANDELLA CLIMB TRAINER’S STANDINGS WITH BIG SUNDAY • SPECIAL HOLIDAY CARD MONDAY INCLUDES $1 BEER AND SODA
CAL CUP SPRINT: THE CHOSEN VRON, BRICKYARD RIDE REMATCH While the Chosen Vron and Brickyard Ride have combined to win the last three editions of the Don Valpredo California Cup Sprint, they have never met in Santa Anita’s six-furlong stakes for statebreds. That changes Saturday.
For just the second time overall in their distinguished careers, The Chosen Vron (2-5) and Brickyard Ride (5-2) will go head-to-head as part of a five-horse field set for this year’s California Cup Sprint.
Brickyard Ride, an eight-time stakes winner and earner of $895,477, will be making his 7-year-old debut for trainer Craig Lewis. He won the Cal Cup Sprint in both 2021 and 2022.
Last year, with Brickyard Ride bypassing the race, it was The Chosen Vron’s turn for trainer Eric Kruljac. The now 6-year-old Vronsky gelding prevailed by a neck over multiple stakes winner Big City Lights.
“These are two of the best Cal-breds we’ve seen in a long time. It should be fun,” Kruljac said Thursday morning. In their only previous matchup, The Chosen Vron romped to a 5 ½ -length win in the Thor’s Echo going six furlongs on dirt here May 28. Brickyard Ride that day dueled on the lead before fading in the stretch and checking in third.
On Thursday morning, Lewis acknowledged it will be tough for Brickyard Ride to turn the tables on Saturday.
“The Chosen Vron is a beast. He is going to be difficult to beat,” Lewis said. “Brickyard Ride is probably not as good as when he was younger. But he’s still a moneymaker that loves what’s he’s doing. We’ll see how it goes.” Brickyard Ride will break from the far outside in post five under Juan Hernandez, while The Chosen Vron drew post two and will have regular rider Hector Berrios in the irons. In their first matchup in the Thor’s Echo, it was Brickyard Ride breaking from the inside.
“I’m really happy where he drew this time,” Lewis said. “Juan will have more maneuverability.”
The Chosen Vron closed out 2023 with a fifth-place effort in the Breeders’ Cup Sprint here Nov. 4 followed two weeks later by a dominant win in the seven-furlong Cary Grant for statebreds at Del Mar Nov. 18. Of the quick turnaround, Kruljac noted “I don’t think I’ve ever done that with any horse.
“He was just on fire after the Breeders’ Cup. I think I errored not giving him a race between the Bing Crosby in late July and the Breeders’ Cup,” Kruljac said. “He sold himself on running back that quickly. It was like the Breeders’ Cup was a workout for him. I felt a lot of pressure doing that, but it worked out.”
As for Brickyard Ride, he’ll be cutting back to six furlongs after a solid third-place effort the GII San Antonio going 1 1/16 miles here on opening day Dec. 26. He signaled his readiness for Saturday with a bullet five-furlong work in 59.40 seconds here last Friday.
The Chosen Vron also has a bullet work on the tab for Saturday’s matchup.
“My horse has been training up a storm and it looks like Brickyard Ride has also been training up a storm,” Kruljac said. “If they both run to their works, we should have an exciting horse race in store.”
The California Cup Sprint goes as the eighth race on Saturday’s nine-race card. Post time is approximately 4 p.m. PT. The field in post position order: Geezer, Tiago Pereira (15-1); The Chosen Vron, Hector Berrios (2-5); Principe Carlo, Kyle Frey (12-1); Moose Mitchell, Mario Gutierrez (6-1); Brickyard Ride, Juan Hernandez (5-2).
F&M TURF SPRINT: ROSE MADDOX GETS CLASS RELIEF FOR MIYADI Two starts back on Oct. 14, Rose Maddox won the second stakes of her career when taking the California Distaff for statebreds on the hillside turf course. On Saturday, she’ll look to equal that feat in the Sunshine Millions Filly & Mare Turf for statebreds down the hillside.
Trained by Steve Miyadi, Rose Maddox’s win in the California Distaff came over a trio of rivals she’ll meet again on Saturday: Madiha, who was second for trainer Craig Dollase; third-place finisher Chismosa for trainer Rafael DeLeon and fourth-place finisher Rose Dawson for trainer Phil D’Amato. Chismosa on New Year’s Day at Santa Anita would return to win the GIII Las Flores going six furlongs on dirt.
Rose Maddox is the 3-1 second choice on the morning line behind 5-2 favorite Stay and Scam for trainer Doug O’Neill and she’ll have top rider Flavien Prat in the irons for the first time. Following her win in the California Distaff, Rose Maddox tried open company in the listed Sen. Ken Maddy down the hill Nov. 3 and was a solid fourth.
“I thought she ran well that day,” Miyadi said of the Sen. Ken Maddy. “She gets a little class relief Saturday and faces some fillies she has beaten. But I’m worried about the Golden Gate filly.”
The “Golden Gate filly” is Chancery Way (4-1) for trainer Jamey Thomas. A 5-year-old mare by Mr. Big, Chancery Way is a four-time stakes winner on dirt and synthetic. In her two most recent starts she won both the seven-furlong Betty Grable on dirt at Del Mar Nov. 12 and six-furlong Bear Fan on synthetic at Golden Gate Dec. 9.
“Jamey Thomas always shows up on big days,” Miyadi said.
The Sunshine Millions Filly& Mare Turf Sprint is the seventh race on Saturday’s nine-race card. Post time is approximately 3:30 p.m. The field in post position order: Madiha, Victor Espinoza (6-1); Rose Maddox, Flavien Prat (3-1); Rose Dawson, Juan Hernandez (6-1); Unwritten Code, Tiago Pereira (15-1); Chismosa, Kyle Frey (6-1); Stay and Scam, Mario Gutierrez (5-2); Tam’s Little Angel, Joel Rosario (12-1); Chancery Way, Antonio Fresu (4-1).
COAST-TO-COAST PICK 5 RETURNS SATURDAY FROM SANTA ANITA, GULFSTREAM The $1 Coast-to-Coast Pick 5 with player-friendly 15 percent takeout returns this Saturday. The wager, which combines races from Santa Anita and Gulfstream Park, kicks off at 1:35 p.m. PT with the 10th race from Gulfstream.
Saturday’s sequence averages 8.8 starters per race before scratches. The opener from Gulfstream is a 6 ½-furlong allowance/optional claimer on dirt with seven entered. It is followed by the 11th race at Gulfstream, an allowance/optional claimer going five furlongs on turf which attracted a full field of 12 with one also eligible.
Santa Anita joins the party with its fifth race, the California Cup Oaks at a mile on turf. It has a field of nine entered led by 5-2 morning line favorite Grand Slam Smile for trainer Steve Specht. The sequence finishes with the sixth race from Santa Anita, an allowance/optional claimer at 6 ½ furlongs on dirt, and the Sunshine Millions Filly & Mare Turf Sprint, which goes as the seventh at 3:30 p.m. PT.
The Coast-to-Coast Pick 5 is offered every Saturday and Sunday through the end of the Santa Anita Classic Meet April 7.
FINISH LINES: First post moves to 12:30 p.m. PT beginning with Friday’s card…After a relatively slow start to the Classic Meet, five-time Santa Anita leading trainer Phil D’Amato broke out with three wins Sunday. He now has six wins at the stand to move into a four-way tie atop the trainer’s standings with Mark Glatt, Bob Baffert and Richard Mandella…Mandella had two wins of his own Sunday, including a meet-leading third stakes victory with budding star Kopion ($2.40) in the GIII Santa Ynez…Santa Anita will host a special Martin Luther King Jr. holiday card Monday. On-track fans will receive $1 beers and sodas and $2 hot dogs.