Santa Anita Stable Notes Friday, April 30, 2021



The following item is a column by award-winning columnist MARK WHICKER, who writes for the Southern CA News Group



The first Saturday in May belongs to the soldiers from Lilliput.

They spend the rest of the year strong-arming 1,000-pound thoroughbreds into disappearing holes. They starve themselves. They don’t make shortstop money. When they get hurt, ambulances are called. They are there in front of you at least four times a week, risking themselves at least eight times a day, in a game that only pays three finishers. At the end they catch hell from the drive-by bettors.

They are jockeys. Dr. Robert Kerlan famously called them the greatest athletes in sports. The Kentucky Derby is their day. “I try to explain to people how gifted they are,” said Ron Anderson, the jockey agent. “They’re the elite. It’s like Michael Jordan and Tiger Woods. They weren’t taught to do what they do, and they can’t sit down and explain it to you. “It’s not an easy go. I had Jerry Bailey from 2000 to 2006. He was always very edgy. He wanted to win so bad. He retired and told me later that people didn’t realize how hungry he was. For 20 years.”

Bailey now analyzes the races for NBC. “The day after I retired, I planned it out with my son Justin,” Bailey said. “People asked me what I wanted and I said, ‘Lunch.’ That’s what I missed the most, so I had a turkey pastrami at Two Jays in South Florida. It was awesome. So big, I couldn’t even have dinner that night.”

Anderson talks of the “20 races with 20 different animals” in the Derby, and the “18 decisions” that Bailey had to make when he won with Grindstone in 1996. “Every one of them was right,” Anderson said, “But sometimes you need a horse that’s nimble and athletic enough to get in and out of situations, too.”

A jock also needs an agent who can play the probabilities, to find the right horse in the right race. That’s where Anderson comes in. His jocks have won 15 Triple Crown races, including five Derbies, and 37 Breeders Cup events. On Saturday he’ll have Joel Rosario on Rock Your World, and John Velazquez on Medina Spirit.

He had Bailey, Gary Stevens, Fernando Toro, Corey Nakatani, Chris Antley and Garrett Gomez and, until recently, Umberto Rispoli, who was riding Rock Your World.

Rosario was aiming for a Derby ride with Concert Tour, trained by Bob Baffert. But when Concert Tour ran poorly at the Arkansas Derby, Baffert steered him away from Louisville. That freed up Rosario for John Sadler, Rock Your World’s trainer. Rosario and Sadler have teamed for 247 victories, 34 of them in graded stakes, and nearly $21 million. With Anderson as a conduit, Rosario is on Rock Your World Saturday and Rispoli is out, a decision that Sadler called “agonizing.”

“These are business situations,” Anderson said. “I remember what D. Wayne Lukas would tell riders who would win a race and want to get back on the horse: ‘These are one-race contracts, my boy.’ Harry Silbert was Willie Shoemaker’s agent, and they worked for 36 years on a handshake.”

Agents only represent two jocks at a time. Velasquez had been the regular rider for Malathaat, the favorite in Friday’s Kentucky Oaks for 3-year-old fillies. He was riding Medina Spirit for Baffert in the Santa Anita Derby (and losing to Rispoli and Rock Your World), so Rosario took over Malathaat and won the Ashland Stakes. When it came time for the Oaks, trainer Todd Pletcher reached back for Velasquez. “Joel totally understood,” Anderson said.

It’s a long way from Mt. San Antonio College, and Anderson’s goal of attending UCLA law. But he was a racetrack regular, and agent Chick McClellan gave him Toro’s account, and Toro became Anderson’s racetrack professor. “Ronnie is successful because he’s smarter than anyone else,” Bailey said. “He’s able to interpret the data from the numbers, speed numbers, patterns. If your agent is wrong, it can cost you a lot of money. Maybe $5,000 in an allowance race, but maybe a million in a big race.

“Some agents will say, what do you have for me? Ronnie has already done the homework and says, ‘I want horses A, C and F in races 1, 6 and 9.'”

On Saturday Anderson will sit back and watch Rosario and Velazquez and the others become the biggest men in the world. On Sunday he’ll bury himself in charts and numbers again.

All days means money to racetrack people, but Anderson knows and understands why one day matters more. “You tell somebody you’re in racing and the first thing they want to know is, did you win the Derby?” he said. “That’s the one that lasts forever.”

-Mark Whicker | | Daily News



Rock Your World and Medina Spirit, first and second in the Runhappy Santa Anita Derby on April 3, could keep California Dreamin’ alive should either win the Kentucky Derby on Saturday.

They would become one of 20 horses that have run in the West Coast’s major steppingstone to the Run for the Roses and gone on to capture the world’s most famous race.

Santa Anita-based private clocker Gary Young likes their chances.

Young, 59, has been a clocker since he was 18 but also has been a bloodstock agent for more than three decades. His best buy to date was 1993 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile champion Brocco, who raced for Albert and Dana Broccoli, producers of the iconic James Bond movies.

That purchase might be relegated to second should Medina Spirit win tomorrow, since it was Young who recommended that owner Amr Zedan buy the Florida-bred son of the Giant’s Causeway stallion Protonico as a two-year-old in training at last year’s Ocala Breeders’ Sale for the bargain price of $35,000

Never worse than second in five races, Medina Spirit already has earned more than nine times what he cost, exactly $315,200.

“There are some nice horses in the race,” Young said from Kentucky.  “But the horse I fear most is Rock Your World, the horse that beat us in the Santa Anita Derby.

“When I saw the video of his work the other day (five furlongs in 59.20 at Santa Anita on April 24), it was like, ‘Well, now I know who I have to beat.’ He was very, very good in that work. He’s second choice (at 5-1 on the morning line), and no disrespect to (undefeated two-year-old champion and 2-1 morning line favorite) Essential Quality, but for me, Rock Your World is probably the horse to beat.

“I think we could be one-two, I really do. Medina could be sitting second to Rock Your World. Medina wasn’t sent at all (in the Santa Anita Derby) and he was only a couple lengths behind (until the finish, where he was a willing second, 4 ¼ lengths back).

Rock Your World is unbeaten in his three races (the first two on turf), leading almost throughout in each, which Young feels could serve as a disadvantage in a bulky 20-horse field.

“He’s never had dirt in his face in the afternoons, and providing he breaks, I don’t think they want this to be the first race he experiences that,” said Young, adding that “Hot Rod Charlie is no bum, either,” alluding to the Louisiana Derby winner trained by Doug O’Neill, who is seeking his third Kentucky Derby victory.

“It seems like we say it every year,” Young noted, “but for a place that’s (struggled of late), California does awfully well in the Triple Crown races, and I think it’s positioned to do the same thing this year, too.”

Saturday’s Louisville weather forecast for the 14-race program that starts at 7:30 a.m. Pacific Time calls for a high of 76 degrees, mostly sunny skies, and a three percent chance of rain.

The field for the 147th Kentucky Derby which will be televised on NBC with a scheduled post time of 3:57 p.m. Pacific Time:

        Known Agenda, Irad Ortiz Jr., 5-1; Like the King, Drayden Van Dyke, 50-1; Brooklyn Strong, Umberto Rispoli, 50-1; Keepmeinmind, David Cohen, 50-1; Sainthood, Corey Lanerie, 50-1; O Besos, Marcelino Pedroza, 20-1; Mandaloun, Florent Geroux, 15-1; Medina Spirit, John Velazquez, 15-1; Hot Rod Charlie, Flavien Prat, 8-1; Midnight Bourbon, Mike Smith, 20-1; Dynamic One, Jose Ortiz, 20-1; Helium, Julien Leparoux, 50-1; Hidden Stash, Rafael Bejarano, 50-1; Essential Quality, Luis Saez, 2-1; Rock Your World, Joel Rosario, 5-1; King Fury, Brian Hernandez, 20-1; Highly Motivated, Javier Castellano, 10-1; Super Stock, Ricardo Santana Jr., 30-1; Soup and Sandwich, Tyler Gaffalione, 30-1; and Bourbonic, Kendrick Carmouche, 30-1.




Santa Anita morning line oddsmaker Jon White points out that She’s Our Charm, a full sister to Runhappy Santa Anita Derby winner Rock Your World, runs in Sunday’s seventh race at Santa Anita, a $65,000 second condition allowance at one mile on turf.

Ron McAnally, Hall of Fame trainer of two-time Horse of the Year John Henry, conditions She’s Our Charm, who along with Rock Your World is by Candy Ride and is out of the Empire Maker mare Charm the Maker.

She’s Our Charm has won three of 11 career starts.



Rock Your World T-shirts will be on sale for $20 at Santa Anita tomorrow in celebration of the colt’s victory in the Runhappy Santa Anita Derby on April 3.

They will be available outside Champions Gift Shop near the East Paddock Gardens while supplies last.

Net profits will benefit CARMA (California Retirement Management Account), a charitable organization dedicated to providing funding for the rehabilitation, retraining and/or retirement of California-raced Thoroughbred horses.



Madone, a perfect three-for-three at a mile on grass before finishing eighth of 14 in the Grade I Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf at Keeneland last Nov. 6, returns to her most successful distance and surface Saturday in the Grade III Senorita Stakes, her first race in nearly six months.

Trained by Simon Callaghan for owner Kaleem Shah, Inc., the $125,000 daughter of Vancouver out of the Cherokee Run dam Indian Love Call won Santa Anita’s restricted Surfer Girl at a mile on turf last Oct. 4.

“We just gave her some time and she’s returned well,” Callaghan said. “We’re excited to have her back.”

Flavien Prat has ridden Madone (believed to mean “beautiful angel” freely translated from Italian) in her four races, but with stakes rides at Churchill Downs Saturday, including Hot Rod Charlie in the Kentucky Derby, Juan Hernandez has the mount.

The $100,000 Senorita for three-year-old fillies is race 10 of 10 with first post time at 12:30 p.m.  There were 13 horses nominated to the race and 11 entered, better than 85 percent.

The field: Madone, Juan Hernandez, 3-1; Jibber Jabber, Geovanni Franco, 20-1; Nimbostratus. Tiago Pereira, 12-1; Closing Remarks, Victor Espinoza, 5-2; Tetragonal, Abel Cedillo, 6-1; Golden, Jose Valdivia Jr., 20-1; Sensible Cat, Tyler Baze, 10-1; Stressed, Mario Gutierrez, 20-1; Majestic Steps, Ricardo Gonzalez, 15-1; Javanica, Kent Desormeaux, 4-1; and Sweetest Angel, Edwin Maldonado, 12-1.


FINISH LINES: SANTA ANITA GRANDSTAND ADMISSION GATES WILL OPEN AT  7 A.M. ON DERBY DAY, INFIELD GATES OPEN AT 9 A.M.  First post time on Saturday for a 10-race card is at 12:30 p.m.  Fans are advised to please visit, as there is no walk-up admission, due to COVID-19 restrictions.  Agent Tony Matos is keeping Edwin Maldonado busy Saturday. The 38-year-old Ohio native is booked to ride in nine of the 10 races, the first eight in a row . . . Flavien Prat holds a seemingly insurmountable 95-55 lead over Juan Hernandez in pursuit of the riding title, but it’s still a ways away from the 138 victories by Laffit Pincay Jr., who established a single-season Santa Anita record in 1970-71, when he outdistanced runner-up Jerry Lambert by 68 winners, Lambert reaching the winner’s circle 70 times . . . There were 86 recorded workouts at Santa Anita Friday, including a four-furlong breeze in 49.20 by Curvette, a three-year-old daughter of two-time Horse of the Year Curlin who won her debut by 5 ½ lengths as the 6-5 favorite under Prat on April 18. Owned by Stonestreet Stables LLC, Curvette is trained by Bob Baffert . . .  With her victory on Race Judicata for her stepfather, leading trainer Phil D’Amato, in Saturday’s fifth race, Jessica Pyfer shed two pounds from her apprentice allowance and now rides with a five-pound “bug.”    . . . Jockey Eswan Flores has been suspended five days (May 2, 7, 8, 9 and 14) for causing interference on D’s Lovely Sophia in last Sunday’s 11th race, resulting in the disqualification of his mount from second to unplaced…Tom Quigley’s pre-race handicapping seminar will start at 11:20 a.m. on Derby Day and his special guest will be XBTV’s Jeff Siegel.  With a return to a 1 p.m. first race post time on Sunday, Tom’s guest will be bloodstock agent Larry Zap, with the seminar beginning at 11:50 a.m. and available at







Stronach 5 All-Star Ticket for April 30th, 2021


Kentucky Derby Day Makers 


Jeff Siegel and Eddie Olczyk’s Top Picks for the Kentucky Derby


Flavien Prat Talks Hot Rod Charlie in the Grade I Kentucky Derby


John Sadler Talks Rock Your World Ahead of the Grade I Kentucky Derby





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