- WEST COAST IN SHARP GATE DRILL FOR PEGASUS
- BOLT D’ORO ON COURSE FOR SAN FELIPE STAKES
- INSTA ERMA RATES TOP BILLING IN MEGAHERTZ
- BENDABLE MAKES GRASS DEBUT IN LAS CIENEGAS
- BARRETTS SALE WILL HELP SAN LUIS REY VICTIMS
WEST COAST ‘WORKS WELL’ FOR $16 MILLION PEGASUS
Multiple Grade I winner West Coast, favored to win an Eclipse Award as outstanding
three-year-old male of 2017, worked six furlongs handily from the gate in a bullet 1:12 at 7:45 Sunday morning for the world’s richest race, the $16 million Pegasus World Cup Invitational at Gulfstream Park on Jan. 27.
West Coast went in company with Cat Burglar, who was clocked in 1:12.20. West Coast’s time was the fastest of 26 drills at the distance, the average time of which was 1:14.86.
“He worked well,” said trainer Bob Baffert, who had Drayden Van Dyke aboard for the drill. “I’m happy about it. He needed company, because he’s sort of a lazy work horse.
“He’ll breeze here one more time next week, then ship to Florida on Jan. 24.”
West Coast, a four-year-old bay colt by Flatter owned by Gary and Mary West, captured the Grade I Travers and Pennsylvania Derby back-to-back before running third behind probable Horse of the Year Gun Runner in the Breeders’ Cup Classic in his most recent start, Nov. 4.
Never out of the money in nine career races, West Coast has earned $2,083,800.
MARCH 10 SAN FELIPE REMAINS OBJECTIVE FOR BOLT D’ORO
Bolt d’Oro, a finalist for an Eclipse Award as outstanding two-year-old male of 2017, is on course for his three-year-old debut in the Grade II, $400,000 San Felipe Stakes on March 10 at 1 1/16 miles, with his major goal after that the $1 million Santa Anita Derby on April 7.
“He’s galloping now and we’ll see in the next eight or nine days when we do our first little work,” said Mick Ruis, owner/trainer of the $630,000 son of Medaglia d’Oro, who was forced to miss his initial comeback race, the San Vicente Stakes at seven furlongs on Feb. 10, due to a pulled muscle.
“It looks like I’ll have to get him into race shape here by working him in company before the San Felipe.”
A two-time Grade I winner, Bolt d’Oro suffered his first defeat Nov. 4 when finishing third while wide throughout in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile, captured by the maiden Good Magic, also a finalist for an Eclipse Award in the juvenile male division.
The voting deadline for the Eclipse Awards was Jan. 2, but winners won’t be announced until Jan. 25 at the 47th annual Eclipse Awards dinner at Gulfstream Park.
INSTA ERMA 2-1 MORNING LINE CHOICE IN MONDAY’S GRADE III MEGAHERTZ
According to trainer Richard Baltas, it’s his race to lose and that notion is supported by Jon White’s morning line for Monday’s Grade III, $100,000 Megahertz Stakes, which has the five-year-old Pioneerof the Nile mare as the 2-1 favorite in a deep and contentious group of eight older fillies and mares at one mile on turf.
A fast finishing third, beaten 1 ½ lengths in the Grade I Matriarch at one mile over the Del Mar turf Nov. 26, Insta Erma was a game nose winner over Megahertz rival Madame Stripes in the one mile turf Swingtime Stakes two starts back here on Oct. 7.
Trainer Jim Cassidy’s hard-luck Laseen, who lacked room when a troubled third in the Grade III Robert J. Frankel Stakes going a mile and one eighth on turf Dec. 30, seeks clear sailing in the Megahertz with Victor Espinoza back aboard.
Although Insta Erma is the horse to beat, veteran trainer Neil French is armed and dangerous with upstart Chocolate Coated, who was a troubled second, beaten 3 ¼ lengths, in the Grade II Autumn Miss Stakes at one mile on turf Oct. 29.
“Gary (Stevens, who has relocated to Oaklawn Park for the winter) said she brushed the rail at one point and he thought she could’ve been right there,” said French. “She’s really come a long way. We’ve been schooling her in the gate and she’s been real good in there. We’ve got Mike (Smith), and I think she’ll run well.”
(Ridden by Stevens in all six of her lifetime starts, Chocolate Coated, a four-year-old Candy Ride filly owned and bred by Barry and Judy Becker, will be making her second graded stakes appearance on Monday).
The field for the Megahertz, race seven of nine: Do the Dance, Evin Roman, 20-1; Laseen, Victor Espinoza, 5-1; Madame Stripes, Kent Desormeaux, 7-2; Insta Erma, Corey Nakatani, 2-1; Thundering Sky, Flavien Prat, 3-1; Bombilate, Stewart Elliott, 20-1; Lady Valeur, Rafael Bejarano, 10-1; and Chocolate Coated, Mike Smith, 6-1.
BENDABLE MAKES TURF DEBUT IN LAS CIENEGAS STAKES
Bendable makes her first start on grass in next Saturday’s Grade III, $100,000 Las Cienegas Stakes for fillies and mares, four and older, at about 6 ½ furlongs.
A five-year-old Horse Greeley mare trained by Richard Mandella for Claiborne Farm, all of Bendable’s eight races have come on dirt, where she has won four times, including the Grade III Desert Stormer at Santa Anita last June.
“I think she has the breeding for grass,” Mandella said of the Kentucky-bred bay, whose dam Bend is by the stallion Arch. “A few of the horses in her family have liked it, so I think it will be interesting to try. You never know if you don’t try.”
Mike Smith regains the mount on Bendable after a third in the Rancho Bernardo and victory in the Desert Stormer. Javier Castellano rode her last out at Keeneland Oct. 7.
BARRETTS SALE WEDNESDAY BENEFITS FIRE VICTIMS
Moved by the tragedy of the Dec. 7 fire at San Luis Rey training center, Barretts will be donating 10 percent of its commissions from this Wednesday’s (Jan. 17) Mixed Sale to the California Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Foundation for victims of the fire as needed, with any remaining balance to be retained by CTHF for ongoing medical needs of backstretch workers.
An auction of donated stallion seasons will be conducted during the sale and a silent auction of equine art and other equine objects will follow the sale, with all proceeds also earmarked for CTHF, a non-profit foundation that supports more than 5,000 licensed backstretch workers and their families throughout California by providing dental and medical care along with other important services.
As a charitable non-profit with tax-exempt 501 (c) (3) status, CTHF is the vehicle through which most of the donations have been funneled to reach SLR victims.
“CTHF is the best organization of its kind in America,” said Kim Lloyd, general manager of Barretts Sales. “This money is going to the organization that does the most to help backstretch workers.”
The January Mixed Sale is scheduled to begin at 11 a.m. this coming Wednesday in the pavilion adjacent to the Finish Line Sports Bar and Grill (simulcast wagering facility) on the Pomona fairgrounds at 2201 N. White Avenue.
The auction for stallion seasons will take place after the breeding stock has been sold (approximately midway through the sale). The equine art auction will follow the sale.
FINISH LINES: Betting bonanzas: There is a Pick Six carryover today of $125,943, and a Late Pick Five carryover of $192,748, which is expected to reach $1 million with the infusion of fresh money this afternoon . . . Muchos Besos triggered the Pick Six carryover after winning the fifth race in front-running style by 4 ½ lengths under Matt Garcia for trainer Javier Sierra at a $47.20 win mutuel. A nine-year-old gelded son of Macho Uno, Muchos Besos won for the seventh time in 36 starts at Santa Anita, yesterday for a $12,500 claiming tag at a mile and one-sixteenth. “Horses are running well for me and it’s nice to be put on some stock,” said the 47-year-old Garcia, a native of San Jose. “If you have the right horse, you pretty much have to just leave them alone and not get into any trouble. Javier told me the horse likes to be on the lead or close to it, so that’s what I did and it worked out well.” . . . Santa Anita will honor John Shear tomorrow in a Winner’s Circle ceremony between the fourth and fifth races on the occasion of his 97th birthday this Wednesday, Jan. 17. Santa Anita’s Paddock Captain, Shear has been employed at The Great Race Place in various capacities for nearly six decades . . . Feeling a bit “under the weather,” Drayden Van Dyke took off his scheduled five mounts today . . . Richard Mandella reports Santa Anita Oaks winner Paradise Woods is “pretty much over her cough” that will force her to miss the Grade II Santa Maria Stakes on Feb. 10. “She won’t get back to the track for another day or two,” he said, “but we’re riding her around the barn.” . . . There were 216 recorded workouts at Santa Anita Sunday, 15 on the training track, including a four furlong move by claimer-turned-graded stakes winner Skye Diamonds who went in 49.40 for Bill Spawr . . .Tomorrow is Dollar Day at Santa Anita with beers and sodas on sale for a dollar each. First post time is 12:30 p.m. Admission gates open at 10:30 a.m. Santa Anita will be dark for live racing this Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, but will resume live racing Friday, Jan. 19, at 1 p.m. Admission gates open that day at 11 a.m. Santa Anita will offer simulcast wagering Wednesday and Thursday, with free general admission and parking.
|SANTA ANITA STATISTICS|
|(Current Through Saturday, Jan. 13)|
|Drayden Van Dyke||47||8||2||4||17%||30%||$510,728|
|William E. Morey||8||4||0||1||50%||63%||$76,635|