ROADSTER AND GAME WINNER BREEZE WELL FOR DERBY
TRAINER BALTAS READY FOR A BUSY STAKES WEEKEND
KILROE IS POSTHUMOUSLY NAMED TO THE HALL OF FAME
ALL 3 EQUINE HALL OF FAMERS LINKED TO SANTA ANITA
ROADSTER, GAME WINNER CAN SMELL THE ROSES
Santa Anita Derby winner Roadster and champion Game Winner, two-thirds of Bob Baffert’s Talented Triple Crown Triumvirate, each had his final major workout this morning for next Saturday’s 145th Kentucky Derby, in which the two-time Triple Crown-winning trainer will be seeking his sixth victory.
Working in company after the 6:45 a.m. renovation break, Roadster went six furlongs in 1:13.80, while Game Winner covered seven furlongs in 1:27 after the 7:45 break, each horse with jockey Martin Garcia in the irons.
Once On Whiskey worked with Roadster and was clocked in 1:01.20 for five furlongs. Show Me Da Lute worked with Game Winner, getting five furlongs in 1:00.60. Both Roadster and Game Winner were inside their workmates.
“I had them inside just to keep the pressure on,” Baffert explained. “That way I can control their works.
“I loved the way he went,” Baffert said of Roadster. “Martin said he felt great and didn’t take a deep breath. That’s one thing about this horse–he’ll go a mile and a quarter. We just don’t know how fast. He handles a deep track, and the really good ones will do that.
“He’ll be fit when he leaves here, because I think the Santa Anita Derby got him pretty fit. After that, I could see a big change in him. He really needed that race.
“As soon as I told him to pick it up, he took off. He was controlling the work and just cruising along . . . if the horse is good enough, he’s ready
” Game Winner looked awesome; it was perfect,” added Baffert, scheduled to leave for Kentucky at noon today, with the two horses set to depart early Saturday and join stablemate Improbable, already bedded down at Churchill Downs.
Now it’s a matter of getting the trio to the gate healthy and safe. Strategy will be in the hands of fate. “They all have different styles,” Baffert said. “They’re not going to get in each other’s way. Now we have one more stressful moment. That’s the draw.
“Then it’s time for the mint juleps.”
BUSY BALTAS HAS FOUR FOR WEEKEND STAKES
Richard Baltas has a busy stakes weekend on tap with four horses entered–Lemoona in the Grade II Santa Margarita Stakes and The Hunted in the $100,000 Crystal Water–both on Saturday, and Neptune’s Storm and Rijeka in Sunday’s $100,000 Singletary Stakes.
Owned by Zayat Stables, LLC, Lemoona seeks her first stakes win coming off a powerful 5 ¼-length score from last place in an overnight grass race April 6.
“Her last win was awesome,” Baltas said of the chestnut filly’s victory. “I don’t think this is a very strong field and she’s doing really well, so I’m just taking a chance.”
The Hunted, a four-year-old gelded son of the late Unusual Heat, makes his stakes debut in the Crystal Water at a mile on turf. The California-bred chestnut broke his maiden by 5 ¼ lengths at a mile on grass last Oct. 27 at Santa Anita.
“He’s doing great for this race,” Baltas said.
As for Neptune’s Storm, “he’s a new horse and it seems like he’s doing OK,” Baltas said, having recently received the son of Stormy Atlantic from the Bill Morey stable.
“Rijeka won after being a first-time gelding, so maybe that might have done the trick, and I took the blinkers off in his last race (which he won by a nose in a four-wide move).”
The Crystal Water, race five of nine with a 1 p.m. first post time: The Street Fighter, Aaron Gryder, 5-1; Hardboot, Victor Espinoza, 4-1; Tule Fog, Brice Blanc, 12-1; Brandothebartender, Joe Talamo, 5-2; Soi Phet, Alonso Quinonez, 4-1; Accountability, Drayden Van Dyke, 6-1; and The Hunted, Tiago Pereira, 7-2.
The Santa Margarita, race eight: Starr of Quality, Tiago Pereira, 5-1; Exuberance, Norberto Arroyo Jr., 20-1; La Force, Drayden Van Dyke, 4-1; Birdie Gold, Victor Espinoza, 20-1; Withholding Info, Joe Talamo, 6-1; Lemoona, Aaron Gryder, 3-1; Just a Smidge, Martin Garcia, 10-1; and Paradise Woods, Mike Smith, 9-5.
The Singletary, race five of nine with a 1 p.m. first post time: Rijeka, Kent Desormeaux; Jasikan, Rafael Bejarano; Shining Through, Flavien Prat; Big Scott Daddy, Aaron Gryder; King of Speed, Victor Espinoza; Urban Light, Tiago Periera; and Neptune’s Storm, Drayden Van Dyke.
SANTA ANITA RACING SECRETARY FRANK E. ‘JIMMY’ KILROE IN HALL OF FAME
As was announced Monday by the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame, the legendary Frank E. “Jimmy” Kilroe, who served as Santa Anita’s longtime Racing Secretary, Handicapper and later as a Senior Vice President, will be honored with posthumous induction to racing’s Hall of Fame in Saratoga Springs, N.Y. on Aug. 2.
A native New Yorker who was born in 1912, Kilroe graduated from Columbia University before serving in the U.S. Army during World War II. Subsequent to his military service, Kilroe worked at both Arlington Park and Washington Park in Chicago prior to becoming Santa Anita’s Racing Secretary and Handicapper for the 1953-54 Winter Meeting.
Regarded as an incredibly knowledgeable man who commanded high respect in racing circles the world over, Kilroe was credited with helping to attract many horses from Europe and South America during an incredible run at The Great Race Place which was cut short by retirement in 1990 due to a series of strokes, the first of which he suffered in 1989. In failing health, Kilroe, who was predeceased by his wife Martha, passed away Nov. 16, 1996 at age 84.
A winner of the Eclipse Award of Merit in 1979 and the Joe E. Palmer Award, presented by the National Turf Writers Association in 1982, Kilroe was also a driving force in the creation of the American Graded Stakes initiative. Over a period of more than 35 years, Kilroe helped forge a top quality, consistent racing program that placed Santa Anita Park at the pinnacle of American racing.
A further testament to the scope of Kilroe’s influence and character was rendered by legendary LA Times columnist Jim Murray, on the occasion of Kilroe’s 80th birthday, in 1992.
“I love Jimmy Kilroe because I learned more from Jimmy Kilroe than all the owners, trainers and writers I have known in 40 years,” said Murray. “He’s one of the purest gentlemen I have ever known in my life.”
A close friend and confidant of the late Hall of Fame conditioner Charlie Whittingham, Kilroe is memorialized annually with the running of the Grade I Frank E. Kilroe Mile, which is customarily run on Santa Anita Handicap Day each March.
In addition to retired jockey Craig Perret, Kilroe is one of 12 influential “Pillars of the Turf” that will be honored with Hall of Fame induction Aug. 2.
Although neither were “regulars” at Santa Anita, top mares Royal Delta and Waya both tasted Grade I stakes glory in Arcadia and are prominent amongst just three equine inductees this year.
Trained by Bill Mott and owned by Besilu Stables, three-time Eclipse Award winner Royal Delta ran twice at Santa Anita, winning the 2012 Breeders’ Cup Ladies Classic by 1 ½ lengths under Mike Smith, thus propelling her to being named Eclipse Champion Older Mare. In her career finale, she finished fourth in the 2013 Breeders’ Cup Distaff at Santa Anita. A Kentucky-bred foal of 2008 by Empire Maker, she won 12 of 22 starts and made $4,811,126.
Eastern-based with trainer David Whitley, French-bred Waya ran three times at Santa Anita in the winter of 1979 and left an indelible mark. Ridden on all three occasions by Angel Cordero, Jr., Waya made her West Coast debut in the Arcadia Handicap on Feb. 10, running second. She then won the Santa Ana Handicap on March 14 and the Grade I Santa Barbara Handicap two weeks later on March 25.
A foal of 1974 by Faraway Son, Waya was owned by Brant and Strawbridge, Jr. With Cordero at the controls, Waya toted 127 pounds in the Santa Ana at a 1 1/8 miles of turf and packed a staggering 131 pounds in the Santa Barbara, contested at 1 ¼ miles on turf.
With her winter accomplishments at Santa Anita in hand, the mighty Waya would go on to be named Eclipse Champion Older Mare of 1979 and was subsequently retired with 14 wins from 29 starts and earnings of $822,948.
FUTURE HALL OF FAMER MY JULIET WAS SANTA ANITA STAKES WINNER
A tip of the hat to Sirius XM Satellite Radio’s Steve Byk, who points out that My Juliet, who will join Royal Delta and Waya as one of three equine inductees into the National Museum and Racing Hall of Fame Aug. 2, was also a Santa Anita stakes winner.
Campaigned primarily on the Eastern Seaboard, My Juliet was America’s Eclipse Champion Sprinter in 1976. In the second of four Santa Anita starts, she took the $40,000 Las Flores Handicap by one length under jockey Anthony Black on New Year’s Day, 1977.
“Tony actually talked the Santa Anita stewards into letting him ride the race,” said Byk. “He’d been in a car accident and was hurt pretty bad. He had to talk them into letting him ride and it’s one of his fondest memories.”
Byk, who hosts the popular “At the Races” from tracks across the country on a year-round basis, also noted that My Juliet began her championship season of 1976 at Santa Anita, as she finished third versus the boys under Darrel McHargue in the Grade II, seven furlong Malibu Stakes on Jan. 10, 1976.
A multiple graded stakes winner who won 24 out of 36 starts, My Juliet, a Kentucky-bred foal of 1972 by Gallant Romeo, out of the Bupers mare My Bupers, earned $548,859, was owned by George Weasel, Jr. and trained by Eugene H. Euster.
Following her Las Flores win, My Juliet was second as the 123 pound highweight versus males in the Grade II, seven furlong San Carlos Handicap Jan. 16. In her fourth and final Santa Anita appearance, she was fifth in the 1 1/16 miles Santa Maria Handicap on Feb. 5, 1977.
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FINISH LINES: Santa Anita Oaks winner Bellafina and runner-up Flor de Mar worked this morning for next Friday’s Kentucky Oaks, the former going five furlongs for Simon Callaghan in 1:01 and the latter the same distance for Bob Baffert in a bullet 59.80 from the gate . . . Catapult worked four furlongs in 48.80 for John Sadler for the Grade I Shoemaker Mile on May 27. The prestigious turf race is a Breeders’ Cup “Win and You’re In” event giving the victor a fees-paid berth to the Nov. 2 Breeders’ Cup Mile . . . George Papaprodromou sends out 6-1 morning line chance For the Hustle in today’s eighth race in quest of his fourth straight training victory . . . Horseplayer Ryan Flanders and agent Derek Lawson will be Tom Quigley‘s guests Saturday and Sunday, respectively, at 11:50 a.m.