BIG TALKER MAKES STAKES DEBUT ON SATURDAY
I’M SO ANNA SEEKS CLEAN TRIP IN MELAIR STAKES
HESS ENTERS TWO IN THE MARATHON SAN JUAN
KANDEREL MEETS TOUGHER FOES IN SIREN LURE
RICH FASIG-TIPTON RACES FEATURED ON SUNDAY
BIG TALKER COULD SPEAK VOLUMES IN SNOW CHIEF
Big Talker makes his stakes debut Saturday in the $150,000 Snow Chief Stakes, a race Tim Yakteen has been pointing the Mr. Big gelding to for some time.
The Snow Chief is one in the Golden State Series for three-year-olds bred or sired in California at 1 1/8 miles on turf.
“The horse is doing great, we’re looking forward to the mile and an eighth,” the trainer said. “The Snow Chief has been one of our targets for quite some time, and we were fortunate enough to get a race into him a month ago but he had a bit of a troubled trip with the rail being at 30 feet, so we’re looking forward to getting the mile and an eighth.”
Owned and bred by Yakteen’s principal client, George Krikorian, Big Talker lacked room in upper stretch last out in an overnight race March 14 but still rallied to finish third, beaten just a length and a half at a mile on turf.
Umberto Rispoli was aboard that day and the two-time Italian riding champion retains the mount in the Snow Chief.
“George bred Big Talker, who is a full brother to Big Score and a half-brother to Mucho Unusual, both graded stakes winners,” Yakteen pointed out.
Big Talker won his only race in six career starts going a mile and an eighth on Santa Anita’s turf course Feb. 14.
“We have high hopes that Big Talker will do all the talking for us on Saturday,” Yakteen said.
The Snow Chief, race nine of 11 with a 1 p.m. first post time: Found My Ball, Mario Gutierrez, 7-2; None Above the Law, Flavien Prat, 9-5; Ferrariano, Abel Cedillo, 4-1; Big Talker, Umberto Rispoli, 4-1; Que Sera Sir Ralph, Tiago Pereira, 50-1; Ingest, Victor Espinoza, 15-1; Jimmy Blue Jeans, Kent Desormeaux, 15-1; Cargo, Joe Bravo, 8-1; and Play Chicken Tyler Baze, 12-1.
I’M SO ANNA INVADES FOR MELAIR STAKES
I’m So Anna, a versatile daughter of the Medaglia d’Oro stallion Fast Anna, stretches out for Saturday’s $150,000 Melair Stakes at a mile and one-sixteenth after leading throughout the one-mile Campanile Stakes at Golden Gate Fields April 25, winning by 2 ½ lengths as the 13-10 favorite.
“I feel good about her chances,” said Northern California-based trainer Steve Sherman. “I hope she can go the mile and a sixteenth. She’s always been a good mile horse; I’m optimistic that she can get the extra sixteenth.
“She came out of the Golden Gate race in good shape so hopefully she can run back to that race.” Santa Anita’s leading rider Flavien Prat has the mount.
I’m So Anna, owned and bred by KLM Racing, LLC, has been bedded down at Santa Anita with trainer Andy Psarras.
“She had a little trouble in two of her starts at Santa Anita,” said Steve, son of octogenarian trainer Art Sherman of California Chrome fame.
“I’ll be coming down for the race and spend some time with my dad,” added Steve, making the trip propitious since Sunday is Father’s Day in addition to being the first day of summer.
“We’re hoping the filly has a clean trip, that’s the main thing.”
The Melair, race 10: Pawnee, Mike Smith, 5-1; Mucha Woman, Juan Hernandez, 10-1; Fi Fi Pharoah, Umberto Rispoli; Smoothlikebuttah, Abel Cedillo, 12-1; I’m So Anna, Flavien Prat, 4-1; Eddie’s New Dream, Mario Gutierrez, 3-1; Misty Cat, Emily Ellingwood, 12-1; and Omg It’s Jessica, Jessica Pyfer, 5-1.
HESS HAS TWO FOR THE MONEY IN SAN JUAN
The late Charlie Whittingham’s remarkable record of 14 victories in the San Juan Capistrano Stakes will remain in tact for another year when the marathon grass race is run on Saturday.
That won’t prevent Bob Hess Jr. from trying to capture the mile-and-three-quarter turf marathon with two horses seeking their first stakes wins, Lure Him In and Pillar Mountain.
“Pillar Mountain has some back class and ran well against really good horses in the past, and he’s pretty sharp,” the trainer said of the Irish-bred son of Kodiac, still a full horse at age six.
Lure Him In was a distant third in the Grade III Tokyo City Cup at a mile and a half on dirt April 18, and has a 4-5-3 record from 17 starts. Polar Mountain, claimed from Todd Pletcher for $35,000 at Gulfstream Park on April 23, has a 5-1-2 record from 14 starts.
“I think he’ll be live, and Lure Him In is pretty consistent,” Hess noted.
As for Whittingham winning the San Juan 14 times, Hess sighed, “It’s just “crazy.”
The San Juan is race 11: Lure Him In, Edwin Maldonado, 8-1; Red King, Umberto Rispoli, 5-2; Ward ‘n Jerry, Flavien Prat, 5-2; Acclimate, Ricardo Gonzalez, 9-5; Pillar Mountain, Joe Bravo, 6-1; and Astronaut, Victor Espinoza, 8-1.
KANDEREL STEPS UP IN SIREN LURE STAKES
Kanderel seeks his first stakes win sprinting on turf in Saturday’s $75,000 Siren Lure Stakes at 6 ½ furlongs.
The four-year-old Candy Ride gelding owned and bred in Kentucky by brothers Alain and Gerard Wertheimer won a 6 ½ furlong overnight race on turf at Santa Anita May 9, rallying three deep to get up late by three-quarters of a length.
“We freshened him up and ran him short, and he won and looked pretty nice doing it, so we’re going to try him against a little better (company),” Richard Mandella said.
The Siren Lure is race three: Kanderel, Juan Hernandez, 4-1; Tatters to Riches, Tyler Baze, 6-1; Commander, Joe Bravo, 5-1; Texas Wedge, Umberto Rispoli, 2-1; Wound Tight, Kent Desormeaux, 15-1; Tilted Towers, Abel Cedillo, 8-1; and Chasin Munny, Flavien Prat, 5-2.
FASIG-TIPTON STAKES FEATURED ON SUNDAY
Two closing-day juvenile stakes, the Fasig-Tipton Debutante and the Fasig-Tipton Futurity, offer purses of $100,000 each, up from the initial amount of $75,000.
Both races to be run Sunday will be contested at five furlongs on Santa Anita’s main track and serve as a prelude to Fasig-Tipton’s two-year-old in training sale at Santa Anita.
The only North American two-year-old sale to be held on dirt this month, the Fasig-Tipton sale will be conducted June 23, with an under-tack preview Monday, June 21.
“We’ll have all of these sales horses on the grounds here during our final week of the meet and this is going to attract a great deal of interest,” said Chris Merz, Santa Anita Director of Racing and Racing Secretary.
“It’s important for everyone to know they can attend the sale, inspect the horses and have opportunities to race not only at Santa Anita in the fall, but at Los Alamitos and Del Mar as well.”
For additional information on the upcoming Fasig-Tipton two-year-olds in training sale on June 23, visit santaanita.com or call the Santa Anita Racing Office at (626) 574-6352.
FINISH LINES: Dr. Schivel, who gave Luis Mendez his initial Grade I training victory when he won the Del Mar Futurity last Sept. 7, makes his first start since in today’s fourth race as the 8-5 morning line favorite against four rivals. The son of Violence, now three, was transferred to trainer Mark Glatt immediately after the Futurity . . . Bob Baffert’s Kentucky Derby winner Medina Spirit, worked three furlongs at Santa Anita on Monday in 37.60 in preparation for the Grade I Haskell Stakes on July 17 which the two-time Triple Crown-winning trainer has won a record nine times. Medina Spirit last ran in the Grade I Preakness Stakes May 15, a race in which he finished third… Also on Monday, Baffert breezed 2020 Eclipse Award female sprint champion Gamine five furlongs in 1:00.60 . . . This morning at Santa Anita, “Miracle Horse” Catemaco, preparing for Del Mar, went four furlongs in 49.40 for trainer/breeder Kristin Mulhall, while Grade I Shoemaker Mile winner Smooth Like Strait went four furlongs in 49.60 for Michael McCarthy . . . Popular multiple Grade II turf stakes winner United, a disappointing fourth and last as the 3-10 favorite in the Grade II Charles Whittingham Stakes May 29, has passed post-race examinations and will race another day. “We bone-scanned him and he looks fine,” Richard Mandella said. ‘We’re going to go back and train him and see what happens.” United worked four furlongs Wednesday in 48.20, while Santa Anita Oaks winner Soothsay went five furlongs this morning for Mandella in 1:00.80. There were 100 recorded workouts Friday, 18 on the training track.
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