- WORLD TRAVELER COOL COWBOY DEBUTS AT SANTA ANITA
- THE WILSHIRE IS A NEW GIG FOR WIN MACHINE ENOLA GRAY
- PHOTO FINISH LOOMS IN JOCKS’ RACE WITH FIVE DAYS LEFT
- GRADED STAKES WINNER MASOCHISTIC LEAVES ELLIS BARN
COOL COWBOY BACK IN THE USA FOR SAN CARLOS
Cool Cowboy makes his first United States start in nearly three years Saturday in the Grade II, $250,000 San Carlos Stakes for three-year-olds and up at seven furlongs.
A chestnut son of Kodiak Kowboy, Cool Cowboy ran 14 straight times in Dubai after racing mainly in the Midwest at the start of his career going on four years ago.
Cool Cowboy is now trained by Seth Benzel, a 42-year-old native of Newark, New York, who was an assistant to Todd Pletcher for six years and Bill Mott for four-and-a-half years before going on his own in New York for five years.
“Then I went to Dubai for two years and later took a little bit of a break for a couple years,” Benzel said. “Cool Cowboy was purchased by myself and the owner (Zaur Sekrekov) as a three-year-old and has been in Dubai ever since, for the last three seasons.
“The horse was campaigned by Dale Bennett around the Midwest and he did a very good job with him (from August 2013 through early November 2014), so way back, he has American form.”
A full horse, Cool Cowboy has an 8-7-3 record from 24 starts with earnings of $839,783. The San Carlos winner’s share of $180,000 would make him a millionaire at $1,019,783.
The San Carlos, race four of 10 with a 1 p.m. first post time: Danzing Candy, Mike Smith, 4-5; Coastline, Jamie Theriot, 8-1; Ransom the Moon, Flavien Prat, 5-2; Cool Cowboy, Joe Talamo, 6-1; and Kobe’s Back, Gary Stevens, 9-2.
ENOLA GRAY GOES GREEN IN WILSHIRE
Enola Gray, a virtual win machine for owner/breeder Nick Alexander and trainer Phil D’Amato, attempts a first in Saturday’s Grade III, $100,000 Wilshire Stakes for fillies and mares, three and up, at one mile on turf.
It will mark the first time the gray daughter of Grazen runs two turns on the grass and, it will also be the first time she’ll be ridden by Flavien Prat, as regular pilot Tyler Baze will be at Monmouth Park to ride French-bred Itsinthepost for Jeff Mullins in the Grade I United Nations Stakes. A winner of six of 10 career starts, the four-year-old California-bred Enola Gray has run once before in a route race, winning the 1 1/16-mile Melair on dirt at Santa Anita May 28, 2016.
She also has won three times on turf over Santa Anita’s unique downhill course at about 6 ½ furlongs, but has never run at one mile on turf.
Those are not primary concerns for D’Amato, even though Enola Gray finished out of the money for the first time in her career on May 27 when she was fifth as the 6-5 favorite in the Grade II Monrovia Stakes at about 6 ½ furlongs on turf.
“She’s coming into the race really well,” said the meet’s third-leading trainer, second to Bob Baffert in stakes wins with five. “She had a nice three-quarter drill Saturday (a bullet 1:14.60 on the training track), had plenty of air in her, and her exercise rider was pleased.”
The Wilshire: Juno, Gary Stevens, 4-1; Madame Stripes, Joe Talamo, 5-1; Place des Vorges, Corey Nakatani, 5-1; Enola Gray, Flavien Prat, 5-2; Prize Exhibit, Santiago Gonzalez, 7-2; and Sheeza Milky Way, Rafael Bejarano, 3-1.
SANTA ANITA JOCKEY KING MEANS MORE THAN DOLLARS AND CENTS
Derek Lawson has a deep appreciation of the rich tradition that permeates Santa Anita, which is why winning the riding title with his jockey, Flavien Prat, means more to the agent than dollars and cents and W’s and L’s.
With five days remaining in the Spring portion of the current meet, Prat holds a 35-34 lead over Evin Roman, the 19-year-old apprentice sensation from Puerto Rico who won four races Sunday, including his first added money event, the $75,000 Southern Truce Stakes.
In close pursuit of the top pair are Joe Talamo with 32 wins and Rafael Bejarano with 31. Tony Matos, agent for Roman, is hoping seven is a lucky number for his rider, as he is named on seven horses today, seven Saturday and seven Sunday.
Prat will be going all out to win the crown, but Lawson is keeping matters in perspective.
“We lost quite a few days with suspensions and being out of town,” he said, “but that doesn’t matter. We’re still on top and the guys want to beat the guy on top, and that’s great.
“I love the challenge. It’s fun to see Matos and his apprentice rider doing such a good job, but trust me, we want it just as bad as they do, so Flavien’s going to be riding hard all weekend long for the next five days.
“It would be a nice way to cap the entire six months that we’ve been here at Santa Anita, if we happen to win it. Being at the top of the Santa Anita jockey colony to me is really something special.
“When you consider all the great riders who have been there in the past, from Johnny Longden, Eddie Arcaro, Bill Shoemaker, Laffit Pincay (Jr.), Chris McCarron, Gary Stevens, Kent Desormeaux, Rafael Bejarano, Joel Rosario, it’s a great honor to be listed with those names.
“I understand why everybody tries to reach that plateau, and we’re going to be pushing all weekend long to stay there and be a part of history.”
FINISH LINES: Santa Anita races through Tuesday, July 4 when the Spring portion of
the current meet ends. Both Monday, July 3, and July 4 are Dollar Days, with beer, hot dogs and soda on sale for a buck apiece . . . Multiple graded stakes-winning sprinter Masochistic has been moved from the barn of Ron Ellis by the California-bred gelding’s managing partner, Will Shamlian, the trainer said Friday morning. “He wasn’t happy with the job I did with the horse,” Ellis said . . . Laura Werner had every reason to celebrate after she guided Night’s Watch to a 2 1/2-length victory at a $55.80 payoff in Sunday’s eighth race for trainer Leonard Powell. It marked the first win at Santa Anita for the 21-year-old native of Stratford-on-Avon in England. “It was the best day of my life so far,” said the apprentice rider, who had a 10-pound weight allowance for Sunday’s race and rode at 109 pounds. “I was so excited I didn’t sleep the next night. I thought the horse had a chance. His form read well and it was his first time with 10 pounds off. I got a good soaking when I went back in (the jockeys’ room), but I thought they treated me pretty lightly, considering.” With the victory, Werner lost three pounds from her weight allowance and now rides with a seven-pound advantage . . . Kent Desormeaux rides Vexatious for Neil Drysdale in Saturday’s Mother Goose Stakes at Belmont Park . . . Tom Quigley‘s handicapping guests this weekend will be 2017 NHC champion Ray Arsenault Saturday; Horseplayer Donny Abrams Sunday; and Santa Anita track announcer Michael Wrona Monday, each day at 11:50 a.m. in the East Paddock Gardens . . . There is a single ticket Pick Six Jackpot carryover Friday of $289,152 . . . Jockey Danny Vergara makes his first Santa Anita start since 2012 when he rides Californiasummer for trainer Antonio Garcia in today’s eighth race.
|SANTA ANITA STATISTICS|
|(Current Through Sunday, June 25)|