- RANSOM THE MOON TO DEFEND KONA GOLD TITLE
- KENJISSTORM STILL SHARP FOR AMERICAN STAKES
- RYE REMAINS FRESH FOR THE MARATHON SAN JUAN
- THURSDAY BREAKFAST TO AID ADRIAN VALENZUELA
RANSOM THE MOON RETURNS IN GRADE II KONA GOLD
Ransom the Moon will defend his title in the Kona Gold Stakes next Saturday when the son of Malibu Moon runs in the Grade II race for three-year-olds and up at 6 1/2 furlongs.
It will mark the first start for the six-year-old bay horse since last Nov. 4, when he finished fifth in the Breeders’ Cup Sprint behind eventual champion Roy H.
“He’s doing really well,” trainer Phil D’Amato said of Ransom the Moon, who has two bullet works at Santa Anita in preparation for the Kona Gold, which offers $200,000 in purse money.
“He had a really solid breeze last Tuesday (five furlongs in a bullet 59.60), he’ll come back with a five-eighths breeze tomorrow, and he’ll be ready to go.”
Probable for the Kona Gold, named for the Eclipse Award champion sprinter of 2000 trained by Bruce Headley: Bobby Abu Dhabi, Calculator, Moe Candy, Ransom the Moon and Ten Blessings.
KENJISSTORM SET FOR AMERICAN STAKES NEXT SATURDAY
Kenjisstorm, impressive winner of an overnight race March 29 after an absence of eight months, moves up in company next Saturday in the Grade III, $100,000 American Stakes for three-year-olds and up at a mile on turf.
“I think it was a good comeback race for him,” trainer Phil D’Amato said of the six-year-old Stormy Atlantic horse, who was sixth in the American last year when he was trained by Richard Baltas.
“I’m expecting him to take another step forward,” D’Amato added. “He breezed a nice five-eighths on the training track today (in 1:02.60). He’s come out of his prep race really well and hopefully he’ll have an even better performance next Saturday.”
Probable for the American: Colonist, Editore, Free Rose, Kenjisstorm and What a View.
Trainer Mark Glatt said he is considering either the American or the Grade III San Simeon Stakes at about 6 ½ furlongs on turf April 29 for Obviously Mile winner Blackjackcat, who worked five furlongs Sunday in 1:01.20. Colonist went four furlongs on the training track for Jerry Hollendorfer in 49.40.
SAN JUAN DISTANCE SUITS ROUTE SPECIALIST RYE
Turf marathon specialist Rye tries his longest distance ever in next Sunday’s Grade III San Juan Capistrano Stakes for three-year-olds and up at about 1 ¾ miles on the grass.
The California-bred son of English Channel won the $200,000 Unusual Heat Turf Classic at 1 1/8 miles on Jan. 27 before finishing fifth last out in the Grade II San Luis Rey Stakes at a mile and a half on grass March 24.
“I like the idea of trying him longer and longer, so this is our chance,” said Bill Morey, who trains the five-year-old chestnut horse.
It is safe to say one racing record achieved in the San Juan when it was in its heyday will never be equaled: legendary Hall of Fame trainer Charlie Whittingham won the race an astounding 14 times!
Probable for next Sunday’s running are A Red Tie Day, no rider; Evo Campo, Drayden Van Dyke; Hayabusa One, no rider; Nessy, Mike Smith; and Rye, Kent Desormeaux.
Evo Campo worked four furlongs Sunday in 48.60 for Paddy Gallagher.
PANCAKE BREAKFAST BENEFITS ADRIAN VALENZUELA
Santa Anita will present a Pancake Breakfast fundraiser for popular exercise rider Adrian Valenzuela next Thursday, April 19, 10 a.m. at Clockers’ Corner. The 21-year-old son of trainer Martin Valenzuela Jr., Adrian sustained a spinal cord injury during training hours on March 31.
In partnership with the entire Southern California racetrack community, Santa Anita will also be conducting a charity raffle and silent auction, with 100 percent of the proceeds going to support Adrian and his family.
Tickets to the breakfast at $10 are available at Clockers’ Corner, Santa Anita’s track kitchen, the Santa Anita Racing Office, Los Alamitos, and San Luis Rey Downs. Tickets will also be available Thursday morning.
Santa Anita will donate a “VIP Suite Day at the Races” package to be redeemed during the remainder of the 2018 Winter/Spring Meeting (through June 24) or during the 2018 Autumn Meeting. Valued at $3,500, the package will include a private suite for up to 20 guests, Club House admission, complimentary valet parking passes and hosted food throughout the day. (Alcoholic beverages not included). The fulfillment date is based on availability and does not include select premium dates, including May 5 (Kentucky Derby), May 19 (Preakness), June 9 (Belmont) and closing day (June 24). Bidding began at $1,000 and currently is at $2,000.
Also courtesy of Santa Anita will be a pair of pristine gloves valued at $600 signed by International Boxing Organization Champion Middleweight title holder, Gennady Gennadyevich Golovkin. “Triple G,” or “GGG” as he is better known, was on hand April 7 to present the trophy to the Santa Anita Derby winner and was also proud owner of winning tickets in the same race.
“Triple G” currently holds the International Boxing Organization World Middleweight Title, the World Boxing Association Super World Middleweight Title, the World Boxing Council World Middleweight Title, and the International Boxing Federation World Middleweight Title. Bidding began at $250 and currently is at $300.
Del Mar Thoroughbred Club will offer a “VIP Day at the Races” package valued at $2,000, and include private finish line seating for eight guests in the Directors’ Room (a private dining room located on the fifth floor of the Club House), Turf Club Admission, complimentary valet parking passes and hosted food and beverage during the 2018 Summer Meeting (July 18-Sept. 3). The fulfillment date is based on availability and may not be used on Opening Day (July 18) or Pacific Classic Day (Aug. 18). Bidding began at $400 and currently stands at $1,250.
Trainer Karen Headley has graciously informed Santa Anita that her parents, Bruce and Aase, are generously donating two stallion breedings to be added to the website today. Surf Cat will be offered with bids starting at $1,000, and Cyclotron at $500.
Raffle tickets, also sold in advance, will be $5 each, with five tickets for $20. Silent auction and raffle ticket items are currently being sought. To donate or for more information, please contact Ami Atkinson in the Santa Anita Racing Office at (626) 574-6471 or visit http://www.santaanita.com/events/help-support-adrian-valenzuelas-family/ to see current bid amounts for all online auction items.
FINISH LINES: According to a text from Joy French, sister of Neil French, the 65-year-old trainer has been at Garfield Medical Center in Monterey Park for about a month, but he has requested that information on his condition not be given to anyone . . . There were 192 recorded workouts at Santa Anita Sunday, 22 on the training track . . . Edwin Maldonado has been suspended three days (April 21, 22 and 26) for causing interference on Hackleton in Friday’s first race . . . Santa Anita will be dark for live racing Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday AND THURSDAY next week, resuming live racing on Friday, April 20, at 12 noon, but will be open for simulcast racing Wednesday and Thursday, with free parking and general admission. Admission gates open both days at 10 a.m.