BUSY BAFFERT ON ALERT BOTH WEST AND EAST
MAXIM RATE ‘LIVE’ IN RODEO DRIVE, SIMON SAYS
DELAHOUSSAYE WEIGHS IN FROM CAJUN COUNTRY
EURTON EYES ‘GIANT’ SPRINT UPSET ON SUNDAY
SANTA ANITA SIMO SEMINAR SET FOR 11:20 A.M.
BAFFERT HAS ONE EYE HERE, ANOTHER ON PREAKNESS
Bob Baffert has 12 horses entered in stakes at Santa Anita starting today through Sunday, and while the two-time Triple Crown winning trainer is focused on the here and now, he also has his mind on the future, namely the former second jewel of the Triple Crown–this altered year it’s the final leg–the Preakness Stakes at Pimlico Race Course on Oct. 3.
Baffert, who upset favored Tiz the Law with Authentic to win his sixth Kentucky Derby on Sept. 5, plans to enter both Authentic and Thousand Words in the mile and 3/16 Preakness. The latter three-year-old was 20 minutes from starting in the Run for the Roses but flipped in the paddock and was scratched from the world’s most famous race.
Both horses will ship to Pimlico from their present base in Kentucky but Baffert wasn’t given to obsessing with Authentic’s triumph, which tied the 67-year-old Hall of Fame member with legendary Calumet Farm trainer Jimmy Jones for most Kentucky Derby training victories at six.
“I don’t really think about it too much,” Baffert said, inclined to shrug off the question somewhat. “I think of all the Derby wins that got away.” They would include near misses by California-bred Cavonnier, 2001 Horse of the Year Point Given and Lookin At Lucky.
“I’ve won six of them and had the best horse in the race, and also had the best horse in the race and got beat, so you not only need the best horse, you need everything to go right. But having the best horse really is the main thing.”
As to the health of his right-hand man, Jim Barnes, who suffered a broken right wrist when trying to aid Thousand Words during his pre-Derby incident, Baffert was happy to report his long-time assistant is on the mend.
“He’s doing well,” Baffert said. “He’s back on the beat, we’ve got him in the golf cart. It will take a while for him to heal up, but he’s at the barn every morning helping out.
“He’ll miss the Preakness but he said he’ll be ready to travel for the Breeders’ Cup.”
Such is life in the fast lane.
TRAINER LOOKS FOR ‘MAXIM’ EFFORT IN RODEO DRIVE
At first glance, Maxim Rate might appear to face a daunting task in Saturday’s Grade I Rodeo Drive Stakes, a Breeders’ Cup “Win and You’re In” Challenge Race for fillies and mares, three and up, at 1 ¼ miles on turf.
But upon further review, she did finish in front of the 2-1 morning line race favorite, Lady Prancealot, twice previously, and she does have the services of world class jockey Luis Saez.
“Obviously it’s a Grade I and there are definitely some good fillies in the race, but I don’t think there’s an overwhelming favorite,” trainer Simon Callaghan said.
“The distance is not a problem; she’s won going further (at 1 3/8 miles last out at Del Mar Aug. 16 in the CTT & TOC Stakes), so I think we’re live in an open race.”
The Rodeo Drive, race seven: Tonahutu, Abel Cedillo, 5-1; Maxim Rate, Luis Saez, 4-1; Bodhicitta, Flavien Prat, 5-2; Mucho Unusual, 5-1, Juan Hernandez; Pretty Point, 12-1, Mike Smith; Lady Prancealot, Umberto Rispoli, 2-1; and Catch the Eye, Victor Espinoza, 12-1.
First post time for Saturday’s stakes studded card is 12:30 p.m.
THE GREAT DELAHOUSSAYE VIEWS ‘EDDIE D’ FROM AFAR
A certified all-time great and longtime member of Racing’s Hall of Fame, Eddie Delahoussaye, for whom today’s main event, the Grade II, $200,000 Eddie D Stakes is named, will not be on-hand to present the winner’s trophy along with his wife Juanita.
“With all the Covid stuff going on, we just weren’t able to make it out this year,” said the popular Cajun native from his home in Lafayette, La. “At my age (69), you never know what you’re gonna get! Hopefully things will get back to normal and we can make the trip again next year.”
Retired due to injury in 2003, Delahoussaye, 69, who has worked part time as a blood stock agent and has dabbled in racehorse ownership himself, is in the process of taking on a new role–that of racing commissioner with the state of Louisiana. Although he won’t be officially sworn in until the Louisiana state legislature reconvenes in June, he’s serving in the role of apprentice commissioner in the interim.
“I’ve always felt that horsemen should have a say on these commissions,” said Delahoussaye. “I was asked a few years ago in California to come on the board (CHRB), but I didn’t feel it was the right time. There’s been a lot of people here saying that we need a change and they asked me if I could help to see if we could help racing and make it better. The biggest issue right now is the devastation in Lake Charles which was caused by the hurricane (Laura).
“The HBPA is trying to figure out if Delta Downs is going to run or if they should run. They were supposed to open Oct. 5, now they’re saying they might open Nov. 27…So, we’ve got trainers maybe sitting out two or three months, owners are gonna leave the business…It looks like Louisiana Downs is the only place maybe we can go because Boyd Gaming won’t open up Evangeline Downs.”
When asked what he thought the biggest current issue or issues facing racing, nationally, are, Delahoussaye didn’t hesitate.
“To me, it’s education. Communicating with the public and educating people properly. I think we’ve gone about it in the wrong way…We have people that are not in this game, trying to change this game and I think that’s what going to hurt this game. It’s not a game, it’s multi-billion dollar business. Instead of perception, we need to deal in facts. We have people in this industry that are new and they think differently.
“There’s a lot of things that are right about our industry and not everything needs to be changed. I just don’t get it…The people in this game love the animals and I think we need to educate people and we have not done that. We should have done this a long time ago, that’s just my opinion.”
America’s leading rider by wins with 384 in 1978, Delahoussaye, who won seven Breeders’ Cup races, including the inaugural Distaff with Princess Rooney at Hollywood Park in 1984 and the Classic with A.P. Indy at Gulfstream in 1992, retired with 6,384 career wins.
He cemented his status as one of the nation’s elite riders by winning the Kentucky Derby in successive years, in 1982 with Gato Del Sol and in 1983 with Sunny’s Halo.
“I think Santa Anita has done a great job getting racing going with everything that’s gone on this year,” he said. “Hopefully, things will continue to get better. I love this sport and I really hope we can get it back to where it was before.”
A winner of the 1981 George Woolf Memorial Jockey Award, Delahoussaye was always known as a plain spoken advocate for horse and rider safety and is one of the most highly respected riders of any era.
GIANT EXPECTATIONS HAS GOOD POST FOR SPRINT UPSET
Old war horse Giant Expectations could go postward at double digit betting odds in Sunday’s Grade II Santa Anita Sprint Championship but trainer Peter Eurton looks at the bright side.
“It’s a salty spot and they’re all very nice horses,” Eurton allowed, “but he was off a whole year prior to his last race and although six furlongs could be a little short for him, we’re trying to get some of that momentum back, and there wasn’t much for him other than this race.”
A seven-year-old full horse bred in New York by Sunrise Stables, Giant Expectations is coming off a fifth by nearly nine lengths in the Grade II Pat O’Brien at seven furlongs on Aug. 29.
That was his first start since Nov. 2, 2019, when he was well beaten in the Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile at Santa Anita.
“At least I got a good draw,” Eurton said, speaking of post position five in a field of five with little shortage of speed. “He’s trained well for the race and I think he needed his last race very much.” The venerable campaigner showed there’s still some dash in his stash with a bullet four furlong move in 47.80 on Sept. 22, fastest of 17 drills at the distance.
A son of Frost Giant, Giant Expectations has earned $1,339,600 posting a 4-5-4 record from 24 career starts.
The Santa Anita Sprint Championship is a Breeders’ Cup “Win and You’re In” Challenge Race giving the winner a fees-paid berth to the Breeders’ Cup Sprint at Keeneland Nov. 7.
The Santa Anita Sprint Championship, race eight of 11: Collusion Illusion, Flavien Prat, 9-5; Desert Law, Juan Hernandez, 8-1; Flagstaff, Victor Espinoza, 5-2; C Z Rocket, Luis Saez, 8-5; and Giant Expectations, Abel Cedillo, 6-1.
NEW $1 GOLDEN HOUR LATE PICK 4
Santa Anita’s much anticipated Autumn meet which opens today, offers a comprehensive betting menu including the new $1 Golden Hour Late Pick 4. The wager, which features a low 15% takeout popular with players, links the last two races from Santa Anita and the last two races from Golden Gate Fields each racing day. It complements the popular $5 Golden Hour Double, which premiered earlier this year during Santa Anita’s winter-spring season.
While Santa Anita remains closed to the public due to Los Angeles County’s COVID-19 restrictions, fans can watch the live races streaming in HD free of charge on santaanita.com. There are several on-line wagering options available, including 1stBet.com, Santa Anita’s official wagering platform, which can be downloaded for free at the App Store. All of Santa Anita’s races also will be shown live on TVG.
The heart of Santa Anita’s player friendly program belongs to the early Pick 5, linking the first five races offered each day. At 14%, the popular wager features one of the lowest takeout rates in the country on a multi-race wager. Bookending the card is a late Pick 5, featuring the last five races each day.
Santa Anita’s 20 cent Rainbow Pick Six Jackpot returns, consisting of the final six races on each day’s program. The 20 cent Rainbow Pick Six has developed a following as it has the propensity to grow into a massive jackpot pool of millions of dollars, paid out only to a single ticket with all six winners.
All bets, including the Rainbow Pick Six Jackpot, have mandatory payouts on closing day, Oct. 25.
Today’s opener, which was delayed a week due to the impact of the Bobcat Fire on the surrounding community, features the return of Santa Anita’s inclusion in The Stronach Five, offering a weekly guaranteed pool of $100,000. Contested each Friday, The Stronach Five consists of a series of races from Santa Anita, Gulfstream Park, Laurel Park and Golden Gate Fields, all running in quick succession. The $1 minimum, The Stronach Five is highlighted by an industry low 12% takeout.
Santa Anita’s betting menu is rounded out by numerous wagering opportunities that players have come to expect from The Great Race Place, including $2 Win, Place and Show wagering featuring the lowest takeout of any major racetrack in North America, plus $1 Exactas, $2 rolling Daily Doubles, 50 cent rolling Pick 3s, early and late 50 cent Pick 4s, early and late 50 cent Pick 5s, the $1 Super High 5 and 10 cent Superfectas on all races with a minimum of six runners.
$5,000 ‘SHOWVIVOR’ ONLINE BETTING CONTEST RETURNS
With $5,000 in total prize money at stake, Santa Anita’s popular “Showvivor” free online betting contest returns for the track’s 16-day Autumn Meet starting today.
Showvivor requires players to select one horse in one race each day they play, and that horse must finish no worse than third in order for the player to remain “alive.” A top prize of $2,500 will be awarded to the longest “show streak” achieved throughout the course of the meet, which will conclude on Sunday, Oct. 25.
Showvivor participants will not be eliminated if their selection finishes off the board. Instead, they will be able to begin a new streak the next racing day–with the eventual top prize going to the player with the longest streak.
For additional information on Santa Anita’s Showvivor, please visit santaanita.com or call (626) 574-RACE.
RUNHAPPY WINNER’S CIRCLE FAN CUT OUTS
If you love horses and jockeys, Santa Anita’s new Virtual Runhappy Winner’s Circle Fan Cut Out is a great way to show your appreciation and benefit retired racehorses and injured riders.
Beginning today, opening day of Santa Anita’s 16-day Autumn Meeting, fans can have their cut-out images appear in Santa Anita’s Runhappy Winner’s Circle with the San Gabriel Mountains serving as a backdrop.
For a donation of $200, one hundred percent of which will go to support the California Retirement Management Account (CARMA) and the Permanently Disabled Jockeys Fund (PDJF), a personalized fan cut out will be displayed throughout the Autumn Meet, which concludes on Oct. 25.
Once a donation is received, Santa Anita will assist in submitting individual pictures within 48 hours.
Headquartered at Santa Anita, CARMA, is a 501(c)(3) non-profit that is dedicated to providing funding for rehabilitation, re-training, and/or retirement of California-raced Thoroughbreds.
Based in Lexington, KY, the PDJF is also a 501(c)(3) public charity that provides financial assistance to jockeys that have suffered catastrophic injuries on the track.
For more information on Santa Anita’s upcoming Autumn Meet and on how to participate in Santa Anita’s Virtual Winner’s Circle Fan Cut Out, please visit santaanita.com.
FINISH LINES: Start time for Santa Anita’s Daily Simulcast Handicapping Seminar, featuring Frank Mirahmadi and Tom Quigley, is at 11:20 a.m. PT, each racing day. Hosted by Quigley, the seminar is a fresh, unscripted look at the day’s card as well as entertaining recollections offered up by the multi-talented Mirahmadi. An outstanding handicapper, Mirahmadi is also a keen observer of the American racing scene and his real-life experiences at tracks across North America help to make these seminars compelling viewing. The seminars and all of Santa Anita’s simulcast content are offered free of charge via the track’s livestream video at santaanita.com.
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