Santa Anita Stable Notes Thursday, March 16, 2023
STABLE NOTES BY VICTOR RYAN
THURSDAY, MARCH 16, 2023
• BALLET DANCING EYES BIGGER PRIZES AFTER GIII SANTA ANA WIN • PIROLI FAVORED IN ALLOWANCE TEST FOLLOWING 9 1/2-LENGTH ROUT • CASTELLANO TO BE HONORED WITH WOOLF AWARD SUNDAY • COAST-TO-COAST PICK 5 RETURNS THIS WEEKEND • 11 RACES SATURDAY WITH 12:30 P.M. FIRST POST •SANTA ANITA JOCKEY COLONY PRINT SIGNING SATURDAY
BALLET DANCING EYES BIGGER PRIZES AFTER GIII SANTA ANA WIN Trainer Simon Callaghan appears to have a prospect for this year’s Breeders’ Cup at Santa Anita following Ballet Dancing’s comprehensive 3 ½-length victory in the Grade III Santa Ana going 1 ¼ miles at Santa Anita on Sunday.
On Thursday, Callaghan said Ballet Dancing emerged from her first stakes win in fine fashion while adding, “I think this filly has a lot of good days ahead of her.”
Owned by the powerhouse Coolmore operation, 4-year-old Ballet Dancing was making her first start beyond a mile-and-an-eighth in the Santa Ana. With Flavien Prat in the irons, Ballet Dancing tracked longshot pacemaker Annaghlasa while second until about the quarter pole. When given her cue by Prat, Ballet Dancing swept past the leader and won going away over a course listed as “good.” The effort earned a 92 Beyer Speed Figure.
In two previous graded stakes tries last year, both at 1 1/8 miles, Ballet Dancing rallied to be second in the Grade III Honeymoon at Santa Anita and was fifth in the Grade I Del Mar Oaks last August. Callaghan said Ballet Dancing’s camp had been eager to run her at longer distances. She showed why on Sunday.
“Her pedigree and size, she’s such a big filly, we felt the longer the better,” Callaghan explained. “With those mile, mile-and-an-eighth races, she’s just getting going really. It was always going to be a mile-and-a-quarter, a mile-and-a-half even that wouldn’t be a problem.”
Ballet Dancing is by Medaglia d’Oro out of graded stakes placed Fully Living, by Unbridled’s Song. She commanded $800,000 when sold at auction as a yearling.
Callaghan said he is looking at two options for Ballet Dancing’s next start, both at 1 ½ miles: the Grade II, $350,000 Elkhorn Stakes at Keeneland on April 22 or the Grade III, $100,000 Santa Barbara on April 30 at Santa Anita.
“We’ll nominate for the race at Keeneland, but most likely we’ll stay here and run in the Santa Barbara,” Callaghan said.
Looking further ahead, Callaghan said the major early summer goal for Ballet Dancing is the Grade I New York Stakes going 1 ¼ miles at Belmont Park on the Belmont Stakes undercard June 9.
“You hope she can be a Breeders’ Cup filly, but she’s got to move up a little bit,” Callaghan said. “The 92 Beyer (in the Santa Ana) was a good jump up. But she needs to win one of those major races and then we’ll consider her a Breeders’ Cup filly.”
This year’s Breeders’ Cup is scheduled for Nov. 4-5 at Santa Anita. The Filly & Mare Turf is contested over 1 ¼ miles.
PIROLI FAVORED IN FRIDAY ALLOWANCE FOLLOWING 9 ½-LENGTH ROUT While Friday’s St. Patrick’s Day card is highlighted by the $100,000 Irish O’Brien Stakes on the hillside turf course, the 10-race program also features a solid first-level allowance on dirt that goes as the ninth race.
A field of seven older horses are signed on to go a mile including the high-priced Bletchley Park for Bob Baffert and Piroli, a winner of two straight who most recently romped by 9 ½ lengths under Frankie Dettori in a $50,000 starter allowance here Feb. 18. Trained by Michael McCarthy, Piroli is the tepid 5-2 favorite on the morning line.
Piroli is a 4-year-old Battle of Midway gelding owned and bred by Don Alberto Stable. While it took nine starts and a trip to Golden Gate to earn his diploma, he looks to be a runner on the rise. His win last out earned an 86 Beyer Speed Figure, which was easily a career top.
“The horse is training well, he caught kind of the right group the other day,” McCarthy said. “It was a pretty solid performance, though I’m not sure really what was behind him. This is a step up in class and I’m slightly concerned about the abbreviated training scheduled the last few weeks, but this looks like a good spot.”
Piroli has had two four-furlong works since his last race, which includes a drill in 47.80 seconds on Sunday.
Friday’s ninth race has a scheduled post time of 5:12 p.m. The field in post position order: 1. Street Ruckus, Kent Desormeaux (3-1); Finneus, Juan Hernandez (6-1); Bletchley Park, Ramon Vazquez (4-1); Show Time, Mike Smith (10-1); Piroli, Frankie Dettori (5-2); Got Thunder, Luis Contreras (12-1); Mobou, Edwin Maldonado, (3-1).
JAVIER CASTELLANO TO BE HONORED WITH WOOLF AWARD SUNDAY Javier Castellano, a four-time Eclipse Award winning jockey and member of racing’s Hall of Fame, will be accompanied by friends, family members and a number of fellow riders this Sunday at Santa Anita, as he accepts the prestigious George Woolf Memorial Jockey Award Trophy in a Runhappy Winner’s Circle ceremony. FanDuel TV’s Kurt Hoover will serve as emcee.
The Woolf Award has been presented annually by Santa Anita since 1950. The winner is determined by a vote of jockey’s nationwide and is named for the greatest big money rider of his era. Other finalists this year were jockeys Daniel Centeno, Terry Houghton, Edwin Maldonado and Willie Martinez.
Entering Thursday, the 45-year-old Castellano had ridden 5,624 winners and banked more than $378 million in purse earnings, which is second all time behind only John Velazquez ($463 million).
The timing of Sunday’s ceremony will be announced later Thursday after Sunday’s card has been drawn.
COAST-TO-COAST PICK 5 RETURNS SATURDAY The $1 Coast-to-Coast Pick 5 with player-friendly 15 percent takeout rate returns Saturday with races from Santa Anita and Gulfstream Park. The sequence kicks off at 12:37 p.m. PT with the seventh race from Gulfstream. Last Sunday’s Coast-to-Coast Pick 5 returned $14,912 to 11 winning tickets.
Gulfstream Park’s seventh race is an allowance for older turf sprinters featuring a 10-horse field. The sequence continues with the ninth race from Gulfstream, maiden special weight for 3-year-olds on turf; the fifth from Santa Anita, a starter allowance on turf and the 11th from Gulfstream, which is the Silks Run Stakes for older turf sprinters. The final leg, scheduled for 3:29 p.m. PT, is the China Doll Stakes at Santa Anita for 3-year-old fillies on turf that goes as the seventh race.
Saturday’s Coast-to-Coast Pick 5 averages 9.5 starters per race before scratches.
FINISH LINES: Santa Anita’s turf chute will be unavailable for racing this week due to another heavy rainstorm on Wednesday. All turf races originally scheduled for either six or 6 ½ furlongs will now be run at 5 ½ furlongs. This does not include sprints scheduled for the hillside turf course…Santa Anita will run 11 races Saturday with first post at 12:30 p.m …Every Friday during the Classic meet, on-track patrons will receive free admission and parking, as well as $3 beers and $5 margaritas…On Saturday, the first 1,000 fans to visit the East Paddock Gardens will receive a Santa Anita Jockey Colony Print. Jockeys will also be signing the print from 11:15 a.m. to 12:15 p.m.