CALIFORNIA DREAMIN’ TO CONTINUE IN CLASSIC?
OUR SILVER OAKS GOES AFTER JUVENILE GOLD
TRAINER HOPES MADDY STAKES IS MILLER TIME
$2 MILLION RAINBOW JACKPOT GUARANTEED ON SATURDAY
POST TIME SATURDAY IS 10:30 A.M., SUNDAY 11 A.M.
GOLDEN STATE DOMINATES BREEDERS’ CUP CLASSIC
In 34 previous runnings of the Breeders’ Cup Classic, nearly half have been won by trainers based in Southern California.
They were Bob Baffert (2015, 16 and 17 with Bayern, American Pharoah and Arrogate); John Shirreffs (2009 with Zenyatta); Bobby Frankel (2004 with Ghostzapper); Richard Mandella (2003 with Pleasantly Perfect); Jay Robbins (2001 and 2000 with Tiznow); D. Wayne Lukas (1999 with Cat Thief); David Hofmans (1996 with Alphabet Soup); Neil Drysdale (1992 with A.P. Indy); Charlie Whittingham (1989 with Sunday Silence and 1987 with Ferdinand); Jack Van Berg (1988 with Alysheba); Michael Whittingham (1986 with Skywalker); and Vincent Timphony (1984 with Wild Again).
Widely respected private clocker and bloodstock agent Gary Young sees little reason that trend shouldn’t continue when the 35th edition of the $6 million Classic is contested Saturday at Churchill Downs.
The first three morning line favorites–Accelerate, 5-2, John Sadler; West Coast, 5-1, and McKinzie, 6-1, the latter pair trained by Bob Baffert, all are based at Santa Anita, where the Breeders’ Cup will be presented for a record 11th time next year (Mind Your Biscuits also is listed at 6-1).
Young has been able to experience a steady take on the participants that call Santa Anita home, since The Great Race Place is where he regularly plies his trade, stopwatch and binoculars at the ready as he’s perched in his Club House seat overlooking the majestic San Gabriel Mountains.
“I think someone from California is going to win it,” Young said by phone from Kentucky between raindrops on Thursday. “All three California horses have looked good going over the Churchill track. Hopefully, by the time the race is run (post time Saturday is 4:14 p.m. Pacific Time) the track will be dried out and fast.
“West Coast looked very impressive galloping Thursday, but I think anyone of the three could win. I’d be surprised if anyone other than those three did, although I can’t say I definitely like one over the other two.
“I thought it was a bad sign when Accelerate took so long to load in the gate for the Awesome Again (at Santa Anita on Sept. 29). Out of the blue, he just all of a sudden didn’t want to load. That’s a bit concerning.
“McKinzie has worked very well since his last race, although it’s not an easy spot for a three-year-old facing older horses for the first time. But he won the Parx race (Pennsylvania Derby on Sept. 22) off an extended layoff (more than six months) and gained the weight that he lost on that trip back east and he’s trained well for this race, so I could see him winning.”
Asked for a best bet on the two-day card, Young went to the Mile and offered Juddmonte Farms Expert Eye, a three-year-old English-bred son of Acclimation trained by Sir Michael Stoute.
“Expert Eye has trained well at Churchill,” Young said. “The turf racing is obviously going to be a grab bag, but unlike the dirt, it’s not going to be dried out by the time it’s run.
“The horse has trained well and I have a lot of respect for Michael Stoute.”
OUR SILVER OAK HOPES TO PROVE HIS METTLE SATURDAY
Our Silver Oak seeks to return to the winner’s circle in Saturday’s $200,000 Golden State Juvenile for two-year-old colts and geldings at seven furlongs.
The California-bred son of the late Unusual Heat won at first asking, got off slow and finished fifth next out in the Graduation Stakes at Del Mar as the 8-5 favorite, then was third in the Barretts Juvenile Sept. 22 at Los Alamitos.
“He was unruly at the gate at Del Mar and broke bad, so it was kind of a throw-out race,” explained trainer Bill Morey. “Other than that, his two races have been great. There are a couple tough horses Saturday in Cruel Intention and Galilean, but hopefully the seven furlongs will help us.
“Our Silver Oak is one of the last Unusual Heats so we’re hoping to get him on the turf eventually.”
The Golden State Juvenile, race 10 of 11: Oliver, Heriberto Figueroa, 15-1; Luck’s Royal Flush, Gary Stevens, 12-1; Our Silver Oak, Stewart Elliott, 6-1; Gililean, Rafael Bejarano, 9-5; I Belong to Becky, Eswan Flores, 30-1; Whooping Jay, Angel Cruz, 8-1; Listing, Martin Garcia, 6-1; and Cruel Intention, Evin Roman, 8-5.
MILLER SEEKS TO ENHANCE TITLE CHANCES IN MADDY
Peter Miller will attempt to add to his slim training lead Saturday when he sends out Poster Girl in pursuit of her first U.S. stakes win in the Grade III Senator Ken Maddy Stakes for fillies and mares, three and up, at about 6 ½ furlongs on turf.
Miller holds a 15-14 lead over Jerry Hollendorfer with three racing days left in the 22-day Autumn Meet.
Poster Girl, a five-year-old English-bred mare, has two wins from eight U.S. starts and was sixth in her lone stakes effort here, in the Grade III Megahertz on Jan. 16, 2017.
The Maddy, race eight of 10: Out of the Flames, Martin Garcia, 12-1; Storm the Hill, Rafael Bejarano, 7-2; Bernina Star, Stewart Elliott, 12-1; Go On Mary, Alonso Quinonez, 8-1; Rubilinda, Gary Stevens, 5-1; Painting Corners, Evin Roman, 4-1; Travieza, Juan Hernandez, 6-1; I’m Betty G, Brice Blanc, 5-1; Miss Southern Miss, Asa Espinoza, 15-1; and Poster Girl, Tyler Conner, 10-1.
GUARANTEED $2 MILLION IN 20 CENT SINGLE TICKET RAINBOW PICK SIX JACKPOT
With the prospect of a massive multi-million dollar mandatory payout looming on closing day, Sunday, Santa Anita Park has announced that it will guarantee $2 million in Friday and Saturday’s popular 20 cent Single Ticket Rainbow Pick Six Jackpot.
As today is the first day of the Breeders’ Cup World Championships from Churchill Downs, Santa Anita will run a 10-race program, with projected post time for Friday’s fifth race, leg one in the Rainbow Pick Six, at 2:35 p.m. PT.
First live race post time on Saturday is at 10:30 a.m., with admission gates opening at 7:15 a.m. (Saturday’s $2 million Single Ticket Jackpot guarantee is only in effect providing the Jackpot is not “hit” on Friday).
With a return to Standard Time on Sunday, Santa Anita has announced an early first post time of 11 a.m. and track officials anticipate that with a mandatory payout in play, Sunday’s 20 cent Rainbow Pick Six Jackpot pool could reach between seven and eight million dollars.
FINISH LINES: First post time Saturday is 10:30 a.m. Admission gates open at 7:15 a.m. First post time Sunday, closing day, is 11 a.m. Admission gates open at 9 a.m. Reminder: Standard Time returns Sunday. Turn your clocks back one hour Saturday night . . . Having had an appeal from a suspension issued Aug. 5 overruled, apprentice Assael Espinoza is suspended 10 racing days starting Nov. 11 through Nov. 25 . . . Tom Quigley‘s closing day handicapping guest Sunday will be Santa Anita broadcast/TVG host Peter Lurie, 9:50 a.m. in the East Paddock Gardens.
XBTV VIDEO LINKS TO FEATURE “A CANDID CONVERSATION WITH VICTOR ESPINOZA”:
|SANTA ANITA STATISTICS|
|(Current Through Sunday, Oct. 28)|
|Drayden Van Dyke||70||14||14||12||20%||57%||$839,285|