STABLE NOTES BY ED GOLDEN – FRIDAY, MAY 3, 2019

  • HORSEMEN FAVOR HOME TEAM IN KENTUCKY DERBY
  • VICTOR ESPINOZA STILL HAS HEART OF A CHAMPION
  • SCOTT STEVENS TO RECEIVE WOOLF AWARD MAY 19
  • ARROYO BACK IN THE SADDLE AFTER BROKEN ANKLE

BAFFERT TRIO POPULAR WITH LOCAL HORSEMEN FOR DERBY

With four of the last seven winners of the Kentucky Derby headquartered at Santa Anita,  a random sampling of horsemen at The Great Race Place this morning indicated there was no shortage of support for the locally-based Bob Baffert trainees Game WinnerImprobable and Roadster for tomorrow’s Run for the Roses, expected to be run on an off track.

The 145th running of the first jewel in the Triple Crown lost some luster with the defection of pre-race favorite Omaha Beach, also stabled at Santa Anita, but in his absence, most trainers stayed with Baffert’s home boys. A victory by one would give the two-time Triple Crown king his sixth Derby triumph, tying him with H.A. (Jimmy) Jones for most wins by a trainer.

Trainers’ comments from A to Z follow:

Paul Aguirre: “Roadster and Game Winner.”

Rafael Beccera: “I have to look at the PP’s.”

Vann Belvoir: “I love the way Improbable worked the other day.”

David Bernstein: “I was an Omaha Beach fan, but now I’m going with the Bafferts.”

Jeff Bonde: “It’s wide open. I think Game Winner’s got a big chance but he’ll have to overcome the mud.”

Jack Carava: “Game Winner. He’s well-seasoned and will probably like the track.”

Matt Chew: Maximum Security.”

Vladimir Cerin: “Improbable.”

Phil D’Amato: “Baffert.”

Keith Desormeaux: “Tacitus. He had a rough trip in the Wood and it ought to set him up good. He got beat up and kept coming.”

Craig Dollase: “Baffert’s lookin’ good.”

Carla Gaines: “I’ve gotta go with Game Winner.”

Paddy Gallagher: “Bob Baffert.”

Victor Garcia: “Tough call.”

Mark Glatt: “Maximum Security.”

Dean Greenman: “Game Winner and Spinoff.”

Dan Hendricks: “Tacitus.”

Steve Knapp: “Roadster.”

Eric Kruljac: “Maximum Security and Game Winner.”

Ian Kruljac: “Baffert first, second and third.”

Andrew Lerner: “Maximum Security.”

Craig Lewis: Baffert’s are all good, but if I had to take one, I’d take Game Winner.”

Alfredo Marquez: “Roadster.”

Ron McAnally: “Baffert’s got to win it again with one of them.”

Michael McCarthy: “I like all my people–(Todd) Pletcher, (George) Weaver and John Velazquez. That’s who my heart says, but my head says Game Winner and Roadster.”

Derek Meredith: “Roadster, especially if it’s muddy.”

Hector Palma: “Game Winner. It’s too bad what happened to Mandella (Richard, trainer of Omaha Beach).”

George Papaprodromou: “Improbable.”

Dean Pederson: “I’ve been on Game Winner since Dal Mar; no sense changing now.”

Jorge Periban: “Roadster.”

Marcelo Polanco: “Roadster.”

Mike Puype: “Improbable has a win over the track and likes the mud (the forecast calls for 100 percent chance of rain in Louisville on Saturday).”

Doug O’Neill: “By My Standards. He’s a Goldencents baby.”

Tom Proctor: “Game Winner.”

Javier Jose Sierra: “Baffert.”

Gary Sherlock: “Bob Baffert. I just don’t know which one, although I like Improbable. He takes the blinkers off and there’s not a whole lot of speed in the race.”

Gary Stute: “Game Winner. I liked him before Omaha Beach scratched.”
Eddie Truman: “Game Winner: He’s tough. He’s definitely an exacta horse.”

Tim Yakteen: “Game Winner.”

Howard Zucker: “Game Winner.”

Fans can participate in the biggest Derby party west of Kentucky tomorrow at Santa Anita. Live racing, music, food trucks and hat contests will be the order of the day.

Admission gates open early at 7:30 a.m.

THREE-TIME DERBY WINNER ESPINOZA VIEWS IT FROM AFAR

A year ago at this time, Victor Espinoza was poised to ride Bolt d’Oro in quest of his

fourth Kentucky Derby victory, in what would prove to be a fruitless journey.

Little would he or anyone else know that two months later he would suffer injuries in a

training mishap that would threaten not only his career but his mobility for the rest of his life.

After an arduous seven-month rehabilitation ordeal, in what could be termed a medical

miracle, the 46-year-old Hall of Fame member who piloted American Pharoah to a Triple Crown sweep in 2015 is back doing what he loves, riding and winning races.

No Kentucky Derby mount this year for Espinoza, who won it on War Emblem in 2002 and California Chrome in 2014 before making history with American Pharoah.

Tomorrow, he’ll watch the Derby from the jocks’ room at Santa Anita, and after having

observed Santa Anita-based Game WinnerImprobable and Roadster from an unfamiliar perspective–good old terra firma–he does have an opinion on the race.

“I’ve been watching all of them,” Espinoza said, “and the most important thing to me was their last work before the Derby. The one that had been most impressive was Omaha Beach, but I liked Game Winner’s work, too.”

If he had a choice, which would he ride? “It would have been between those two,” he

said, “although I wouldn’t discount some of the horses from back east.”

Espinoza and his agent, Brian Beach, designed a strategic and diligent program for his

comeback, which to date has been a well-defined success, with four victories from 13 mounts during the spring portion of the meet that began April 12.

But relatively speaking, Espinoza sees the glass as half empty.

“I feel great, and so far, so good,” he said, “but I want to win more races. That’s what I’m here for–to win. I came back to win, do the best I can and find the next champion.”

SCOTT STEVENS TO RECEIVE WOOLF AWARD ON MAY 19

In what will surely be an intensely emotional moment, veteran jockey Scott Stevens will be presented with the 2019 George Woolf Memorial Jockey Award in a Winner’s Circle ceremony at Santa Anita on Sunday, May 19.

A winner of more than 4,800 races in a career that has spanned 43 years, Stevens will be joined on May 19 by family, friends and colleagues, including the 1996 Woolf Award winner, retired Hall of Famer Gary Stevens, as the pair thus become the first brotherly tandem to win the prestigious award in its 70-year history.

The winner via a vote of jockeys nationwide, Stevens placed first among a list of five finalists that included Joe Bravo, Kerwin Clark, John Davila, Jr. and Julien Leparoux.

“I know I was there when Gary won, but honestly, it’s been so long ago, I don’t remember,” said Stevens from his base at Turf Paradise in Phoenix. “This award is so special and I was honored just to be nominated. When you think about all the great riders and people who have won it and to be selected by a vote of your peers . . . It’s more than I can describe.”

Born Oct. 6, 1960 in Caldwell, Idaho, Stevens is the son of a former trainer, Ron, and rodeo queen, Barbara. Steeped in the ways of the horse-world from infancy, Stevens, who has more than 32,400 career mounts, broke his maiden on May 30, 1976 at Les Bois Park in Boise, at the age of 15.

A member of both the Idaho and Canterbury Park (MN) Halls of Fame, Stevens has been a helpful, guiding influence to scores of young jockeys for decades.

A nine-time leading rider at Turf Paradise, Stevens, who resides in Phoenix with his longtime partner Pam Isles, has two grown children, a daughter Jessica and a son, Jake, as well as five grandchildren, four of whom will join him on May 19.

Named for the legendary Hall of Fame jockey George Woolf, who died at age 35 following a spill on Santa Anita’s Club House turn on Jan. 3, 1946, the Woolf Award can only be won once, and it is intended to recognize those riders whose careers and personal character earn esteem for the individual and the sport of Thoroughbred horse racing.

The Woolf trophy is a replica of the life-size statue of George Woolf which adorns Santa Anita’s Paddock Gardens Area.

ARROYO BACK RIDING WITH YOUTHFUL ENTHUSIASM

Norberto Arroyo Jr. is back doing what he loves best–riding horses–after recovering from a broken right ankle in a mishap at Del Mar last November.

“I had three surgeries,” he said. “They put in screws the first time, took them out, put them in again and left a piece of the screw in so I had to have a third surgery but I’m good now and doing better than ever.”

The native of Puerto Rico is represented by his brother, agent Mike Ciani.

“I’m 40 but I feel like I’m 20,” said the upbeat Norberto. “Age is just a number.”

LATEST CONTENT FROM XBTV:

Game Winner galloped at Churchill Downs (Baffert) 5-03-19

Improbable galloped at Churchill Downs (Baffert) 5-03-19

Roadster galloped at Churchill Downs (Baffert) 5-03-19

Bob Baffert discusses his Oaks and Derby contenders. 5-03-19

Owner and Breeder  Arthur Hancock talks about Roadster ahead of Kentucky Derby 5-03-19

Exercise Rider  Humberto Gomez latest update on Roadster, Game Winner, & Improbable have trained leading up to the Kentucky Derby. 5-03-19

Bob Baffert Q & A ahead of the Kentucky Derby 5-01-19

Desert Oasis (Outside) in company with  Kodiak West work 4 furlongs (Drysdale) 5-01-19

One Bad Boy (Outside) in company with  Two Thirty Five work 5 furlongs (Baltas) 5-01-19

Polity works 5 furlongs (Hofmans) 5-01-19

Raneem works 5 furlongs (Baffert) 5-01-19

     FINISH LINES: Trainer Michael McCarthy has Frank E. Kilroe Mile winner Ohio on course for the Grade I Shoemaker Mile on Memorial Day, Monday, May 27. The Shoemaker is a Breeders’ Cup “Win and You’re In” event, awarding the winner a fees-paid berth to the Breeders’ Cup Mile on Nov.2 . . . Trainer John Shirreffs is considering either the Grade II Santa Maria Stakes at Santa Anita on June 1 or the Grade I Ogden Phipps at Belmont Park June 8 for romping Santa Margarita winner Paradise Woods . . . Trainer Richard Baltas has horses entered in seven of the 11 races at Santa Anita on Saturday . . . Gray horses captured the first three races last Sunday: Violette Szabo for Phil D’Amato under Drayden Van Dyke in the first; 10-year-old war horse Mucho Besos for Javier Jose Sierra under Agapito Delgadillo in the second; and Jimmy the Juice for Reed Saldana with Ruben Fuentes up in the third, the Pick 3 returning $26.85 . . . Barry Meadow, author of The Skeptical Handicapper,” and Horseplayer Jeff Munson, will be Tom Quigley‘s guests 10:50 a.m. Saturday and 11:50 a.m. Sunday, respectively, in the XBTV studios . . . Santa Anita sponsors the annual pancake breakfast hosted by the Arcadia Firefighters tomorrow at Station 106 near Westfield at Santa Anita from 7 a.m. to 12 noon. Tickets are $7 at the door.

 

SANTA ANITA STATISTICS

(Current Through Sunday, April 28)
Jockey

Mts

1st

2nd

3rd

Win%

ITM%

Money Won

Flavien Prat

26

9

7

1

35%

65%

$384,362

Tiago Pereira

35

8

4

6

23%

51%

$335,961

Rafael Bejarano

36

7

8

9

19%

67%

$341,262

Drayden Van Dyke

30

7

7

4

23%

60%

$426,177

Ruben Fuentes

36

6

6

5

17%

47%

$213,487

Edwin Maldonado

19

5

3

6

26%

74%

$159,882

Joseph Talamo

26

4

4

6

15%

54%

$246,326

Kent Desormeaux

13

4

1

1

31%

46%

$120,447

Victor Espinoza

13

4

1

1

31%

46%

$256,053

Aaron Gryder

28

3

5

2

11%

36%

$149,939

Heriberto Figueroa

19

3

0

0

16%

16%

$87,079

Mario Gutierrez

18

2

4

2

11%

44%

$110,395

Martin Garcia

14

2

3

4

14%

64%

$122,924

Brice Blanc

9

2

1

1

22%

44%

$100,448

Geovanni Franco

13

2

1

1

15%

31%

$64,269

Trainer

Mts

1st

2nd

3rd

Win%

ITM%

Money Won

Richard Baltas

18

6

5

0

33%

61%

$336,362

Doug O’Neill

20

6

1

5

30%

60%

$194,215

John Sadler

18

4

3

5

22%

67%

$336,242

Philip D’Amato

12

4

2

0

33%

50%

$173,364

Mark Glatt

21

3

6

2

14%

52%

$196,348

Jerry Hollendorfer

15

3

5

1

20%

60%

$164,967

George Papaprodromou

8

3

0

2

38%

63%

$63,540