- FAULT TO STAY ON DIRT IN GRADE I SANTA MARGARITA
- MATURING MOPOTISM MAINTAINS HER GRADED STREAK
- SANTA ANITA DERBY AN OPTION FOR UNBEATEN JUSTIFY
- ROMAN WINS TWO RACES ON FIRST DAY AS JOURNEYMAN
DON’T BLAME FAULT FOR TRYING DIRT IN SANTA MARGARITA
Fault has made 12 of her 14 career starts on turf but will transfer to dirt Saturday in the Grade I, $400,000 Santa Margarita Stakes for fillies and mares, four and up, at 1 1/8 miles.
Also entered in Sunday’s Grade II Santa Ana Stakes at 1 1/8 miles on turf, trainer Phil D’Amato said Friday morning Fault would run in the Santa Margarita. The four-year-old Blame filly won the Grade II Buena Vista at a mile on grass on Feb. 17.
“She’s training really well on Santa Anita’s main track, and without Unique Bella in there, and it being a Grade I, it makes it much more attractive,” D’Amato said.
Fault’s one non-turf win came on a muddy track at the Fair Grounds on Jan. 21, 2017, when she broke her maiden going a mile and 70 yards under David Flores for trainer Al Stall Jr.
The Santa Margarita, race nine with a 12 noon first post time: La Force, Mike Smith, 6-1; Turkish Tabby, Rajiv Maragh, 15-1; $8,000 supplemental nominee Mended, Ricardo Gonzalez, 6-1; supplemental nominee Dalsaros, Tyler Baze, 12-1; Mistressofthenight, Kent Desormeaux, 8-1; supplemental nominee Majestic Heat, Corey Nakatani, 6-1; Bishop’s Pond, Victor Espinoza, 6-1; Eccentric Spinster, Joel Rosario, 15-1; Mopotism, Mario Gutierrez, 7-2; and Fault, Geovanni Franco, 4-1.
MOPOTISM MAKES THE GRADE AGAIN IN SANTA MARGARITA
Mopotism will extend her starts in graded stakes to 11 straight when she runs in Saturday’s Grade I Santa Margarita. The four-year-old Uncle Mo filly trained by Doug O’Neill for Reddam Racing began her run last April 8 when finishing a distant fourth to Paradise Woods in the Grade I Santa Anita Oaks.
Then came a 10th in the Grade I Kentucky Oaks, a second in the Grade II Summertime Oaks, a second in the Grade III Indiana Oaks, a seventh in the Grade I Alabama, a fourth in the Grade I Cotillion, a fifth in the Grade I Breeders’ Cup Distaff, a third in the Grade I La Brea, a victory in the Grade II La Canada, and a second in the Grade II Santa Maria.
Overall, Mopotism has a 3-5-2 record from 16 starts with earnings of $601,200.
“She’s doing really well, and I think since she turned four, she’s matured,” said O’Neill’s trusted assistant Leandro Mora. “She’s matured physically and mentally, but unfortunately we’ve had to face Unique Bella twice in her last three races. She’s not running on Saturday, so hopefully we can take advantage of it.”
BAFFERT PONDERS SANTA ANITA DERBY FOR JUSTIFY
The anticipated San Felipe rematch between Bolt d’Or and McKinzie in the Santa Anita Derby on April 7 could turn out to be an even more appealing battle between Bolt d’Oro and Bob Baffert’s budding superstar Justify.
Asked McKinzie’s status Friday morning for the Santa Anita Derby, Baffert, who also trains McKinzie, said, “one could stay here, the other could run in Arkansas. I haven’t made up my mind yet.”
“Arkansas” would be the Arkansas Derby at Oaklawn Park on April 14. Justify, a $500,000 son of Scat Daddy, captured his first race going two turns at Santa Anita last Sunday, winning at a mile in 1:35.73 by 6 ½ lengths on a muddy track. He won his first start here at seven furlongs by 9 ½ lengths on Feb. 18, drawing rave reviews after each performance.
With two facile victories at Santa Anita by a combined margin of 16 lengths, there’s little question Justify fancies the surface, wet or dry.
Bolt d’Oro, who celebrates his foaling date of March 17, 2015, tomorrow, is back jogging after being awarded first place in the San Felipe via disqualification of McKinzie, who crossed the wire first by a head but was demoted to second for bumping incidents in the stretch.
Bolt d’Oro, the leader in Kentucky Derby qualifying points with 64, is scheduled to work a week from Sunday, on March 25, owner/trainer Mick Ruis said. It would be the colt’s first breeze since the San Felipe.
UPDATE: Subsequent to being interviewed this morning at Santa Anita, Baffert told John Cherwa of the LA Times that he’s decided to keep McKinzie at home for the Santa Anita Derby and that Justify would be ticketed to the Arkansas Derby April 14. “It could change, but that’s the plan right now,” said Baffert in a text message to The Times at around 10:45 a.m.
BUSINESS AS USUAL FOR JOURNEYMAN EVIN ROMAN
Champion apprentice Evin Roman made a brief visit to Clockers’ Corner Friday morning after winning two races Thursday, his first day riding competitively as a journeyman rider.
The 20-year-old native of Puerto Rico won Thursday’s fifth race on Devil’s Beauty ($3.80) for Doug O’Neill and the eighth aboard Awesome Anywhere ($6.40) for Bob Hess Jr.
“I’m very excited; it was a great day,” Roman said as his agent, Tony Matos looked on with appreciation. “I’m very grateful for the opportunities trainers have given me.”
Matos, meanwhile, expects demand to continue at a steady and successful clip.
“We have good clients,” Matos said. “Business hasn’t slowed down any.”
Through 45 days of the Winter Meet, Roman leads runner-up Flavien Prat in the race for leading rider, 40-36.
FINISH LINES: Working on a pristine fast track at 11:15 a.m. Friday, Santa Anita Oaks winner Paradise Woods went six furlongs under Flavien Prat for Richard Mandella in 1:12.56, galloping out seven furlongs in 1:25.51 for the Grade II Santa Monica Stakes at seven furlongs on March 24. Workmate Haichi was clocked in 1:13.60. Set to face Paradise Woods in the Santa Monica is bargain claim Skye Diamonds for Bill Spawr, who also has Santa Ysabel winner Midnight Bisou ticketed for the Grade I Santa Anita Oaks on April 7 . . . Eclipse Award winner as champion three-year-old filly of 2017 Abel Tasman worked six furlongs under Drayden Van Dyke for Bob Baffert Friday in 1:13.40, going in company with Faypien who went in a bullet 1:13.20. They were two of 184 recorded workouts Friday, including 17 on the training track . . . Kent Desormeaux, who won two races Thursday giving him 31 for the meet, has been suspended three days (March 16, 17 and 18) for causing interference on Popular Kid in last Thursday’s seventh race. Apprentice Cesar Franco has been suspended the same three days for causing interference on Christy Jackson in last Thursday’s eighth race . . . Victor Espinoza, no stranger to Dubai having won the World Cup there on California Chrome in 2016, will return March 31 to ride Daytona Stakes winner Conquest Tsunami for Peter Miller in the $1 million Al Quoz Sprint at 1200 meters, agent Brian Beach reports . . . Lenny Shulman, features editor for Blood-Horse Magazine the past 20 years, has authored a timely new novel, “Points,” available on Amazon, as March Madness is underway. It’s the story of a top-ranked college basketball team brought down by a game-fixing scandal. Shulman spent 20 years as a TV writer, wrote for Andrew Dice Clay, and won an Emmy Award for Fox NFL coverage. “Points” is his third book and second novel . . . Irish Horseplayer’s John Garvey and Jay Privman, National Correspondent for Daily Racing Form, will be Tom Quigley‘s guests, 10:50 a.m. Saturday and 10:20 a.m. Sunday, respectively, in the East Paddock Gardens.
|SANTA ANITA STATISTICS|
|(Current Through Thursday, March 15)|
|Drayden Van Dyke||133||28||16||11||21%||41%||$1,748,687|