- JUSTIFY IN FINAL MAJOR KENTUCKY DERBY DRILL
- FULL OF LUCK MAKES DIRT DEBUT IN CALIFORNIAN
- MARATHON SHOULD SUIT CAUSEFORCOMMOTION
- ISOTHERM SHORTENS UP SUNDAY FOR SAN SIMEON
- FIRST POST WILL BE 12:30 P.M. STARTING ON MAY 3
JUSTIFY ‘WORKS WELL’ FOR KENTUCKY DERBY
At 6:45 on an overcast Friday morning, Santa Anita Derby winner Justify had his final
major workout for the Kentucky Derby, going seven furlongs under jockey Drayden Van Dyke in 1:25.20, accompanied by stablemate Longden, who was given a five furlong clocking of 1:01.
Justify received fractional times from Santa Anita clockers of 24.60, 36.40, 48.40, 1:00.60 and 1:12.60, while trainer Bob Baffert had the chestnut son of the late Scat Daddy galloping out a mile in 1:39 and 4/5.
“That’s what you want to see,” Baffert said. “You want to see a horse that’s enjoying what he’s doing. He worked well and got something out of it. I was either going to work him tomorrow or today and I moved it up an extra day because he’s going to leave on Monday.”
Asked how he felt having the favorite for the Run for the Roses, which he has won four times previously, with War Emblem (2002), Silver Charm (1997), Real Quiet (1998) and Triple Crown king American Pharaoh (2015), Baffert said, “It’s hard to make a favorite in that race.
“There are some very good horses in there, so I can’t worry about that.”
Said Van Dyke of the drill: “He hit the ground good. He’s like a Cadillac.”
BETTER ‘LUCK’ EXPECTED IN CALIFORNIAN
Full of Luck disappointed as the 2-1 favorite in his United States debut March 31 at Golden Gate Fields, finishing 11th of 12 in the Grade III San Francisco Mile on turf.
Saturday, in the Grade II Californian, the five-year-old Chilean-bred horse by Lookin At Lucky out of the Fusaichi Pegasus dam Fusaichi makes his first start on dirt in the 1 1/8-mile race after 15 career races on turf.
Team Hollendorfer expects improvement.
“You can’t work on the turf at Santa Anita so all of his works have been on the dirt,” pointed out Dan Ward, assistant to Jerry Hollendorfer. “That encourages us to try him on the dirt, the way he’s been working.
“In the San Francisco Mile, he kind of took off the first part of it until Flavien (Prat) moved him to the outside when he was almost last about five wide, so we’re just going to throw that one out. He probably needed a race.
“He’s trained very well on the dirt so we’re looking forward to it.”
The field for the Californian, race five of 11: Soi Phet, Kent Desormeaux, 4-1; Full of Luck, Flavien Prat, 5-1; Curlin Road, Tyler Baze, 5-1; Dr. Dorr, Joe Talamo, 8-5; The Lieutenant, Drayden Van Dyke, 7-2; and Prince of Arabia, Stewart Elliott, 5-1.
BREEDING SAYS KRULJAC FILLY WILL FAVOR DISTANCE
Eric Kruljac is taking advantage of the rare opportunity to race at a mile and a half on turf when Causeforcommotion makes her stakes debut in Saturday’s Grade III Santa Barbara for fillies and mares, three and older.
“Where else are you going to get a mile and a half race?” the trainer asked rhetorically. “Her father (Americain) won the (2010) Melbourne Cup, a two-mile race with 28 horses in it. He was a champion stayer in Europe, so you’ve got to try.
“I usually don’t skip conditions, but this is the only way I’m going to catch a mile and a half race for her, and she’s training up a storm. I’m taking blinkers off because when she’s gotten the lead a few times with them on, she can’t see behind her.
“She’s had a tendency to ease up once she gets the lead, thinking she’s done what she’s had to. She’s on the improve and I hope she’s not too fresh.
“You’ve got to test the waters.”
The Santa Barbara, race four: Lucy De, Kent Desormeaux, 3-1; Pantsonfire, Corey Nakatani, 2-1; Queen Blossom, Flavien Prat, 8-1; Causeforcommotion, Geovanni Franco, 6-1; Space Cadet, Franklin Ceballos, 12-1; and Plein Air, Tyler Baze, 8-5.
ISOTHERM RETURNS TO SPRINT IN SUNDAY’S SAN SIMEON
Isotherm hasn’t sprinted but once since his debut race nearly three years ago, when he finished fourth in a maiden allowance race on dirt at six furlongs Aug. 1, 2015, at Saratoga.
Since then, it’s been 14 of 15 grass races at a mile or longer, save for a 7 ½ furlong, Grade III turf stake at Gulfstream Park on Jan. 2, 2016.
But on Sunday, the five-year-old horse tries Santa Anita’s unique downhill turf course at about 6 ½ furlongs in the Grade III San Simeon Stakes.
“He made a big wide move and got a little tired the last 16th,” trainer Phil D’Amato said in explaining Isotherm’s fourth-place finish in an overnight race last out at a mile on grass. “We’re trying something different at 6 ½, and hopefully he’ll make that big move and just keep going.”
The San Simeon, race eight of nine with an 11:30 a.m. first post time: Conquest Tsunami, Victor Espinoza, 8-5; Miss Julia Star, Drayden Van Dyke, 15-1; Coniah, Kent Desormeaux, 4-1; Belvoir Bay, Tyler Baze, 4-1; Isotherm, Geovanni Franco, 5-1; Double Touch, Flavien Prat, 12-1; Mongolian Saturday, Stewart Elliott, 6-1; and Anatolian Heat, Israel Campo, 12-1.
FIRST POST TIME WILL BE 12:30 P.M. STARTING MAY 3
Beginning Thursday, May 3, first post time on all Santa Anita live racing days, excepting three Triple Crown Saturdays, will be at 12:30 p.m.
Although Santa Anita’s earlier post times over the past six weeks resulted in modest wagering increases, the gains were not as robust as had been hoped. The shift to a singular later post time reflects Santa Anita’s continued commitment to fans and horsemen to experiment with new ideas and concepts and to make adjustments according to market conditions and customer preferences.
In accordance with the shift to a later first post time, beginning this Monday, April 30, Santa Anita’s main track will be open for training from 5 a.m. to 10 a.m., with three renovation breaks. The training track will be available from 4:45 a.m. to 10 a.m., with two renovation breaks. (Both surfaces are open for training seven days a week).
With the upcoming Kentucky Derby a week from tomorrow, on May 5, Santa Anita’s admission gates will open at 7:15 a.m. with first live race post time on Derby Day at 12 noon.
FINISH LINES: Mike Smith, who rode Daddys Lil Darling to victory in the Grade I American Oaks at Santa Anita last Dec. 30, is back aboard the daughter of Scat Daddy in today’s Grade III Bewitch at Keeneland, where she is the 3-5 morning favorite . . .There is a Pick Six carryover today of $49,337, which could boost the pool above $250,000 with the infusion of fresh money . . . Agent Vince DeGregory reports Martin Garcia will ride multiple stakes winner Faypien for Bob Baffert in the Ruffian at Belmont Park on May 6 . . . Santa Anita’s Paddock Room will open early, at 7:15 a.m., for simulcast wagering on Kentucky Oaks Day, next Friday, May 4.
|SANTA ANITA STATISTICS|
|(Current Through Thursday, April 26)|
|Drayden Van Dyke||24||4||5||5||17%||58%||$213,160|