- UNBEATEN DREAM TREE DRILLS FOR THE SANTA YSABEL
- BAFFERT COULD HAVE TWO FOR THE GRADE II SAN FELIPE
- CHAMPION UNIQUE BELLA CRUISES IN A BULLET WORKOUT
- BOLT D’ORO IN PIVOTAL WORK TOMORROW FOR SAN FELIPE
- NEWCOMER ANDREW LERNER HAS PASSION FOR LEARNING
DREAM TREE BRANCHES OUT IN QUEST OF ANOTHER WIN
Undefeated Dream Tree, poised to meet Midnight Bisou in next Saturday’s Grade III Santa Ysabel Stakes, a race that might be worth the price of admission, worked six furlongs for Bob Baffert Sunday morning in 1:14.20 with regular rider Drayden Van Dyke aboard.
“She went nice,” said Baffert, who also witnessed works by stakes winners Cat Burglar (four furlongs in 47.40); Masochistic (four furlongs in 47.60); champion West Coast (four furlongs in 47.60); and Hoppertunity and Mubtaahij (each five furlongs in 1:00.20).
The Santa Ysabel, which is expected to attract Midnight Bisou with Mike Smith and impressive maiden winner Spring Lily for John Shirreffs, is a steppingstone to the Grade I Santa Anita Oaks on April 7. Leading rider Evin Roman has the mount on Spring Lily.
Dream Tree, a $750,000 daughter of Uncle Mo who has been favored in all four of her starts, won the Grade I Starlet at a mile and a sixteenth as a two-year-old and the Grade II Las Virgenes at one mile on Feb. 4 in her three-year-old debut, the latter by almost four lengths as the 3-10 choice against five rivals.
Asked if his male three-year-old stakes picture was more clearly defined, specifically the Grade II, $400,000, 50 Kentucky Derby-qualifying-points-to-the winner San Felipe Stakes on March 10, the Hall of Fame trainer said he “might have two in there,” a reference that could include McKinzie and/or Solomini. “I’ll know more next week.”
UNIQUE BELLA ‘HAS FUN’ PREPARING FOR SANTA YSABEL
Champion Unique Bella worked five furlongs Sunday morning for the Grade I, $400,000 Santa Margarita Stakes at 1 1/8 miles on March 17, getting the distance for Jerry Hollendorfer in 58.60 with regular rider Mike Smith aboard.
“I was breaking off and two (horses) were pulling up and we got kind of awful close and it got her a little aggressive,” Smith said, “but she was cruising after that, just having fun.
“She really went well. I’m very blessed that she’s doing good and I get to ride her.”
Added Winners Card clocker Toby Turrell of the drill by the Eclipse Award winner as outstanding female sprinter of 2017: “It was the definition of cruise control.”
BOLT D’ORO TO BREEZE FOR SAN FELIPE UNDER CASTELLANO LIVE ON XBTV
Bolt d’Oro, a leading contender for the Triple Crown who is scheduled to make his three-year-old debut in the Grade II, $400,000 San Felipe Stakes at Santa Anita on March 10, will work towards that goal tomorrow at 7:45 a.m. under four-time Eclipse Award-winning jockey Javier Castellano.
Owner/trainer Mick Ruis has the $630,000 son of Medaglia d’Oro set to go in company from the gate. The 40-year-old Castellano, winner of four consecutive Eclipse Awards as the nation’s outstanding jockey from 2013 through 2016, will be aboard the colt for the first time.
Already this year, Castellano ranks third nationally in purse earnings with $3,251,680.
Bolt d’Oro had been scheduled to start on the Triple Crown trail in the seven furlong San Vicente Stakes on Feb.10 until a pulled muscle forced Ruis to scrap that plan.
Although Castellano has committed to “Bolt” for the San Felipe, jockey plans from there on are indefinite.
Accordingly, three-time Kentucky Derby winner Victor Espinoza, who worked the colt five furlongs here Feb. 20 in 1:01.20 will be in attendance at The Great Race Place for tomorrow’s work along with his agent, Brian Beach, as Espinoza could pick up the mount “down the road.”
Note: Tomorrow’s work will be broadcast live on XBTV and available on-demand thereafter. TVG will tape the work and broadcast it later in the morning at 9:30 a.m. PT.
NEW TRAINER LERNER HAS PAID HIS DUES
Andrew Lerner is a new face among Santa Anita trainers, but not necessarily a new face in racing, even at the young age of 28.
He is still looking for his first win at the Winter Meet, but even with only 10 starters to date, resulting in a second and two thirds, his passion for the game is unabated.
“I’ve been training for a year and worked with Mike Pender for a year and a half before I got my license,” said Lerner, who looks like he just stepped out of a page from GQ.
“Before this, I owned horses, and sent all of them to him, with the caveat that I wanted to learn to train, because I’ve been coming to the track since I was six years old.
“I had started a couple businesses that fortunately did well, so I was in a financial position where I could buy some horses, and I was sending them to Mike. Initially, I was with Little Red Feather and other partners, but then I went on my own.”
Lerner paid his dues early on.
“But before that, I was mucking stalls, worked as a hot walker and did the basics for about a year,” he said. “Ultimately, I decided information I was getting from jockeys was worthwhile and began getting on horses in the mornings myself to learn first-hand what they felt like. That way, I could fully grasp what jockeys were telling me after they worked a horse.
“After about two years of working with Mike and going through various stages, I decided to take my licensing test. That process took about four-and-a-half months. In March of last year, I finally got my license. We have about eight horses at Santa Anita and a couple on the farm we’re going to bring back in. We had some decent success last year.”
For young lion Andrew Lerner, the future lies ahead.
FINISH LINES: Becoming the first three-time winner through 35 days of the Winter Meet, Mongolian Shopper stamped herself as the favorite for Claimer of the Meet by winning Saturday’s Wishing Well Stakes by a half-length at a $48.20 payoff for Enebish Ganbat, who trains the five-year-old mare for the Mongolian Stable. Mongolian Shopper won for a $50,000 claiming tag on Jan. 7, captured an optional claimer on Feb. 3, then took yesterday’s $73,435 stakes worth $43,440 to the winner. Stewart Elliott rode the Kentucky-bred daughter of Any Given Saturday and gave his agent, Carolyn Conley, her first stakes win since embarking on her new endeavor last May 1 . . . Trainer Peter Eurton says the plan now is to run San Antonio winner Giant Expectations in the Grade I, $600,000 Santa Anita Handicap presented by San Manuel Casino on March 10 . . . Probable for next Sunday’s $100,000 Tiznow Stakes: He Will, Smokey Image, Soi Phet and Solid Wager. All four worked five furlongs Sunday. With Kent Desormeaux up, He Will went in 1:03.40 for Jerry Hollendorfer; Smokey Image in 59.60 for Carla Gaines; Soi Phet in 1:01.20 for Leonard Powell; and Solid Wager in 1:00.80 for Peter Miller. In all, there were 216 recorded workouts, including nine on the training track . . . Santa Anita will be dark for live racing Tuesday and Wednesday but offer simulcast wagering Wednesday with free admission and parking. Admission gates open at 10 a.m. Live racing resumes Thursday, March 1, at 1 p.m.
|SANTA ANITA STATISTICS|
|(Current Through Saturday, Feb. 24)|
|Drayden Van Dyke||106||18||10||9||17%||35%||$1,133,378|
|William E. Morey||26||9||2||7||35%||69%||$384,378|