BAFFERT ACES BREEZE FOR BREEDERS’ CUP
‘MIDWAY’ BATTLES HIS WAY BACK TO RACES
AUTUMN MISS STAKES FITS WEST PALM BEACH
SINGLE TICKET PICK 6 JACKPOT HITS $769,417
SANTA ANITA POST TIMES SET FOR CLOSING WEEKEND
BAFFERT ‘REALLY HAPPY’ WITH GAME WINNER’S WORK
After a full moon gave way to sunrise over Santa Anita’s infinitely picturesque setting, Bob Baffert sent several of his Breeders’ Cup hopefuls through their final major drills Friday morning as the two-time Triple Crown-winning trainer pursues additional victories on racing’s championship weekend Nov. 2 and 3 at Churchill Downs.
Already with 14 Breeders’ Cup triumphs on his glowing resume, Baffert supervised works by Juvenile favorite Game Winner, Distaff contenders Abel Tasman and Vale Dori, and Filly & Mare Sprint second choice Dream Tree.
Game Winner (video), under Joe Talamo, worked in company with Ax Man, receiving an identical time of 47 flat, while Abel Tasman and Vale Dori went four furlongs, each in 47.20, breezing. Talamo was on Abel Tasman, while Drayden Van Dyke rode Vale Dori.
“Game Winner went great,” Baffert said enthusiastically. “I’m really happy with that work. Abel and Vale Dori went nice.”
On a bittersweet note, Baffert will bid farewell to barn favorite Hoppertunity, earner of $4,712,625, who is being retired to stud and will stand at Northview PA in 2019 for $5,000.
“He’s a warrior,” Baffert said of the seven-year-old son of Any Given Saturday. “He’ll dominate in Pennsylvania.”
CONDITIONS FAVOR BATTLE OF MIDWAY SUNDAY
Battle of Midway, last year’s Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile winner at odds of 14-1, has a considerably less daunting task when the son of Smart Strike faces six foes in Sunday’s $75,000 Comma to the Top Stakes for three-year-olds and up at a mile on dirt.
Don’t expect 14-1, although Jerry Hollendorfer isn’t about to count his chickens before the paymaster doles out the winner’s hatchlings, even though Battle of Midway is emerging from four straight graded stakes, including the Grade I Dirt Mile at Del Mar last Nov. 3.
“Hopefully, this will be a much softer spot, but we never take anything for granted,” said the Hall of Fame trainer, whose remarkable total of 7,520 career victories ranks him third behind the late Dale Baird (9,445) and fellow Hall of Fame member Steve Asmussen (8,184).
“We were looking for a little softer spot for him, and theoretically, this would be it.”
Battle of Midway was retired to stud after winning the Dirt Mile, but upon learning he was sub-fertile, returned to training in May. The bay colt owned by Don Alberto Stable and WinStar Farm LLC has had two subsequent starts, a second in the Grade II Pat O’Brien Stakes on Aug. 25 and a fifth in the Grade II Kelso Handicap Sept. 22.
Battle of Midway has a penchant for both Santa Anita and the mile distance on dirt, with a 3-1-1 record from five starts at The Great Race Place where he has two wins in three races at one mile on the main track.
Battle of Midway is named for the island that was a turning point for America in the Pacific theater during World War II. Before the Battle of the Coral Sea on May 7-8, 1942, the Imperial Navy of Japan had swept aside all its enemies from the Pacific and Indian oceans.
But in the Battle of Midway, Japan lost four carriers, a cruiser and 292 aircraft, suffering 2,500 casualties. The U.S. lost the Yorktown, the destroyer USS Hammann, 145 aircraft and had 307 casualties.
As for the upcoming Breeders’ Cup, Hollendorfer plans to work both Dueling and Gunmetal Gray Saturday for the Juvenile on Nov. 2.
The Comma to the Top, race eight of nine: Tatters to Riches, Tyler Baze; Curlin Road, Rafael Bejarano; Roman Rosso, Joe Talamo; St. Joe Bay, Drayden Van Dyke; All Out Blitz, Martin Garcia; Very Very Stella, Agapito Delgadillo; and Battle of Midway, Flavien Prat.
WEST PALM BEACH SHARP FOR GRADE III AUTUMN MISS
West Palm Beach, impressive winner three races back in her U.S. debut last March 16, has been working forwardly for Saturday’s Grade III Autumn Miss Stakes for three-year-old fillies at one mile on turf.
“We skipped the Del Mar Oaks pointing for this race,” trainer Simon Callghan said of the Irish-bred daughter of Scat Daddy owned by Michael Tabor. “She’s training really well for it.”
West Palm Beach was fifth in the Grade III Senorita Stakes on May 5, then seventh in the Grade II San Clemente July 21, experiencing wide trips each time.
Trained by John Gosden in England, West Palm Beach won two of four starts across the pond, including a head victory at Wolverhampton in November of 2017 under 133 pounds.
The Autumn Miss, race 10 of 11 with a 12 noon first post time: Pulpit Rider, Tyler Conner, 20-1; So Hi Society, Tiago Pereira, 30-1; Streetwithnoname, Joe Talamo, 30-1; Ms Bad Behavior, Rafael Bejarano, 4-1; $2,000 supplemental nominee Toinette, Flavien Prat, 9-5; Tesora, Drayden Van Dyke, 6-1; K P Pergoliscious, Tyler Baze, 20-1; West Palm Beach, Brice Blanc, 20-1; Streak of Luck, Mike Smith, 10-1; Movie Moment, Geovanni Franco, 30-1; Rayya, Evin Roman, 12-1; Spring Lilly, Mario Gutierrez, 15-1; Flammetta, Gary Stevens, 12-1; and Hey Negrita, Angel Cruz, 10-1.
TODAY’S 20 CENT SINGLE TICKET JACKPOT AT $769,417
Santa Anita’s popular 20 cent Rainbow Pick Six Jackpot went unsolved for the 16th consecutive racing day Thursday, creating a hefty Single Ticket Jackpot carryover of $769,417 into Friday.
With a Jackpot carryover of $724,807 coming into today, there was $194,848 in “new money” directed at the 20 cent Rainbow Pick Six, creating a total pool of $919,655. This resulted in 160 tickets with six winners, each worth $653.26.
First post time for Friday’s eight-race card is 1 p.m., with approximate time post time for race three, leg one in the Rainbow Six, at 2:03 p.m.
Fans will also be offered two dollar draft Budweiser, Montejo Pale Lager beers and six dollar signature cocktails, made with Woodford Reserve, the official bourbon of Santa Anita.
For more information, please visit www.santaanita.com, or call (626) 574-RACE.
SANTA ANITA ANNOUNCES POST TIMES FOR CLOSING WEEKEND
Santa Anita’s 22-day Autumn Meet, which will conclude on Sunday, Nov. 4, will consist of a three-day live racing week, which will coincide with day one of the Breeders’ Cup at Churchill Downs on Friday, Nov. 2. Following are first race post times and gate openings for closing weekend:
Friday, Nov. 2 1st Post Time 12 noon Gates Open 9 a.m.
Saturday, Nov. 3 1st Post Time 10:30 a.m. Gates Open 7:15 a.m.
Sunday, Nov. 4 1st Post Time 11 a.m. Gates Open 9 a.m.
FINISH LINES: Don’t ssssssstutter, but in last Sunday’s Sunny Slope Stakes, the four participants each had names that started with “S“– victorious Sparky Ville, runner-up Savagery, third-place Seven Scents and fourth-place Shark. It was a sure thing that the winner was ridden by Gary Stevens . . . Handicapper Marc Leufroy and Santa Anita Stable Notes author Ed Golden will be Tom Quigley‘s guests, Saturday at 10:50 a.m. and Sunday at 11;20 a.m., respectively, in the East Paddock Gardens . . . Special early first post time for Saturday’s 11-race card is 12 noon.
XBTV VIDEO WORKS OF THE DAY:
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|SANTA ANITA STATISTICS|
|(Current Through Thursday, Oct. 25)|
|Drayden Van Dyke||59||13||13||9||22%||59%||$770,250|