- FREY SEEKS TO REMAIN PERFECT AT BELMONT
- MISS SIENNA MAKES S. DEBUT IN HONEYMOON
- PEREIRA ESCAPES SERIOUS INJURY IN MISHAP
- GEROUX TO RIDE BOLT D’ORO IN THE MET MILE
FREY OUT TO MAKE HIS MARK IN BELMONT STAKES
Kyle Frey has a chance to make his mark on the international stage Saturday when he rides Blended Citizen for trainer Doug O’Neill in the Belmont Stakes.
All the 26-year-old native of Tracy in northern California has to do is win the final jewel in the Triple Crown at a mile and a half, defeating unbeaten Justify in the process.
He knows it’s a daunting task, but he’s up to the challenge, even though it will be only his second experience riding at the massive Long Island oval. The circumference of the main track covers the full mile and a half once around from start to finish.
After all, Frey (pronounced Fray), who is represented by agent Bill Sadoo, a Philadelphia-area native and a graduate of Clemson University where he earned a degree in political science, is unbeaten at Belmont Park. Frey takes the redeye to New York Thursday night after riding that afternoon at Santa Anita.
“That was my first ride ever at Belmont,” Frey said of his 1 ½-length victory on Blended Citizen in the one turn, Grade III Peter Pan at 1 1/8 miles on May 12. “For the most part, I’m just going to try and keep my horse comfortable.”
O’Neill obviously was delighted with Frey’s ride. “He was in sync with the horse,” O’Neill said. “He put him in the race at the perfect time.”
On class alone, the Belmont Stakes, of course, is another kettle of fish altogether.
“I don’t know if there’s going to be that much speed other than Justify,” Frey said. “I’ll wait till I see the (Daily Racing) Form, but having had a race over the track and won is comforting in itself, since the horse has shown he can handle it.
“It’s a confidence booster knowing he definitely loves the surface. Justify is an amazing horse, so it will be an honor even to be considered competition for him.”
Fans are invited to enjoy a myriad of festivities at Santa Anita on Belmont Stakes Day and partake in Chandelier Room tequila tasting, a Nineties by Nature 90’s concert in the Infield, a trackside package that includes the Family Fun Zone, and a $500,000 Late Pick Four pool guarantee.
Visit santaanita.com/events for more information.
First post time will be 12 noon. Admission gates open at 8 a.m.
D’AMATO OPTIMISTIC ABOUT MISS SIENNA’S U.S. DEBUT
Phil D’Amato, in a pitched battle with Doug O’Neill and Peter Miller for Spring Meet training honors, will send out Miss Sienna in her U.S. debut Saturday in the Grade II Honeymoon Stakes for three-year-old fillies at 1 1/8 miles on turf.
Through 29 racing days, D’Amato and O’Neill were tied for the lead with 20 wins each, while Miller was next in line with 18 victories.
“She’s done quite nicely,” D’Amato said when asked how Miss Sienna has acclimated since arriving after her last race at Longchamp on April 24, where she was second by a neck under 123 pounds.
“(Rafael) Bejarano has breezed her twice and rides in the Honeymoon. You never know how they’ve acclimated until you run, but she’s come along pretty well and had a nice record in France (two wins, a second and a third in seven starts). Hopefully, we’ll improve on that.”
Probable for the Honeymoon: Animosity, no rider; Consolida, no rider; Finess Bere, no rider; May Girl, Tyler Conner; Miss Sienna, Rafael Bejarano; Movie Moment, Joe Talamo; and Paved, Gary Stevens.
GOOD NEWS FOR PEREIRA AFTER TURF SPILL
Jockey Tiago Pereira miraculously escaped serious injury when his mount, Waya Ed, fell in deep stretch in yesterday’s Snow Chief Stakes.
The 41-year-old native of Brazil, tied for fifth with 16 wins through 29 days of Santa Anita’s Spring Meet, looked like he was performing a high wire act without a net when catapulted high in the air in a spectacular but horrific incident.
“He was taken to Huntington Memorial Hospital in Pasadena where he was X-rayed, and everything came out clean,” said his agent, Patty Sterling, Sunday morning. “When he left, he was limping a bit and a little sore on his right thigh, but other than that, he’s totally fine.
“He didn’t even have the air knocked out of him.”
FINISH LINES: Florent Geroux will ride Bolt d’Oro in Saturday’s Grade I Met Mile at Belmont Park. Corey Nakatani had been scheduled to ride, but with conditions assigning Bolt d’Oro 114 pounds and Nakatani tacking 122, owner/trainer Mick Ruis opted not to run with eight pounds of overweight. “Florent is a natural lightweight,” said his agent, Doug Bredar, via phone Sunday. “He worked him a half mile at Keeneland this morning (in 48.40) and was very impressed. We’re very excited to get a mount of this caliber for such a prestigious race.” . . . Champion Unique Bella came out of her dominant victory in Saturday’s Beholder Mile in good order, and Jerry Hollendorfer is contemplating her next race. “We have lots of options, including Del Mar,” the Hall of Fame trainer said, “but it’s a long ways off.” Unique Bella was assigned a Beyer Speed figure of 103 for her Beholder win . . . Hollendorfer has re-engaged Stewart Elliott to ride Afleet Ascent in next Sunday’s Grade III Affirmed Stakes for three-year-olds at 1 1/16 miles, while Joe Talamo pilots 5 ½-length maiden winner Draft Pick for Peter Eurton in the race named for the 1978 Triple Crown winner . . . Drayden Van Dyke is one of several Santa Anita-based jockeys who will ride at Belmont Park this weekend. Agent Brad Pegram has him booked on Cambodia for Tom Proctor in the Grade I Just A Game . . . Trainer Dan Hendricks has multiple graded stakes winner Om, fourth by less than two lengths in the Grade I Shoemaker Mile May 28 after setting the pace into the stretch, ticketed for either the Grade II Del Mar Mile on Aug. 19 or the Grade I Four Star Dave Handicap at Saratoga on Aug. 11 . . . Soi Phet, at age 10 believed to be the oldest stakes winner in Santa Anita’s storied history when he won the Crystal Water by a head in a five-horse blanket finish on May 20, worked four furlongs for Leonard Powell Sunday in 48.20. It was one of 191 recorded workouts on another beautiful but busy morning for clockers . . . Congrats to Toby Turrell of Winners Card on picking Saturday’s Late Pick Four worth $167.70. While Unique Bella ($3) was a free square in the eighth, ninth race winner Vending Machine under Diego Sanchez for Peter Miller at $28.40 was not . . . Santa Anita will be dark for live racing Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday this week, resuming live racing on Thursday, June 7, at 12:30 p.m. It will be open for simulcast racing Wednesday, with free parking and free general admission. Admission gates open at 10 a.m.
|SANTA ANITA STATISTICS|
|(Current Through Saturday, June 2)|
|Drayden Van Dyke||93||16||15||13||17%||47%||$943,248|