Stable Notes By Ed Golden & Mike Willman – Friday, February 21, 2020

  • LADY PRANCEALOT SHORTENS UP IN BUENA VISTA
  • TURF OR DIRT, ESPINOZA IS FINE WITH CARRESSA
  • HIRSCH HOMEBRED RETURNS IN WINNING FASHION
  • ‘FASHIONABLE FILLIES’ LUNCHEON EVENT MARCH 8

LADY PRANCEALOT SET TO PRANCE IN BUENA VISTA

Santa Anita training leader Richard Baltas has Lady Prancealot primed for Saturday’s Grade II Buena Vista Stakes, a highly contentious test for fillies and mares, four and up, scheduled for one mile on turf.

A stone closer, the Irish-bred mare is coming off five straight races of at least a mile and one-sixteenth in distance, the latest being the Grade III Valley View at Keeneland last Oct. 18, when she rallied from 10th in a field of 14 to win by three-quarters of a length at odds of 10-1.

In her most recent start, she captured Santa Anita’s Grade I American Oaks at 1 1/4 miles on turf, coming from sixth in a field of eight, splitting foes and bulling her way through on the rail to win by a half-length. Each time she was ridden by Joe Bravo, who is back aboard tomorrow.

“He’s two for two on her and we had planned to run in this race all the while,” said Baltas, the newest Board member of the California Thoroughbred Trainers (CTT). “It’s a very competitive and tough race, but she’s won at a mile before and we’re not going to change her style for this race.”

Twelve of the 18 horses nominated to the Buena Vista entered, a remarkable 67 percent. Hall of Famer Neil Drysdale, who conditions stakes-winning French-bred La Sardane, is also represented. “It’s a very contentious race. My filly is consistent, but it is a tough race.”

Drysdale won the 1998 Buena Vista with Dance Parade, who was ridden by Kent Desormeaux, the Hall of Fame rider now plying his trade at Golden Gate Fields.

The field for the Buena Vista, race five of nine with a 12:30 p.m. first post time: Jolie Olimpica, Mike Smith, 8-5; Carressa, Victor Espinoza, 4-1; Muchly, Umberto Rispoli,15-1; Mucho Unusual, Joel Rosario, 8-1; Sold It, Mario Gutierrez, 50-1; Meal Ticket, Tiago Pereira, 15-1; Brill, Geovanni Franco, 12-1; Lady Prancealot, Joe Bravo, 5-1; Super Patriot, Ruben Fuentes, 12-1; La Sardane, Flavien Prat,12-1; Keeper Ofthe Stars, Abel Cedillo, 20-1; and Tiny Tina, Drayden Van Dyke 15-1.

     Muchly, who was scheduled to make her U.S. debut in the Buena Vista, will be scratched, trainer Simon Callaghan said Friday morning.

CARRESSA SET FOR BUENA VISTA, RAIN OR SHINE

Carressa made her grass debut a winning one on Jan. 20, coming from just off the pace to capture the Grade III Megahertz Stakes by three-quarters of a length. Next up, Saturday’s Grade II Buena Vista Stakes scheduled for a mile on grass.

Victor Espinoza is confident the four-year-old Uncle Mo filly trained by John Shirreffs will continue to progress in what will be her seventh career start.

“She’s been running well and she’s improving,” said the Hall of Fame member who rode American Pharoah to a Triple Crown sweep in 2015. “That’s what I like about her.

“She’s got a good running style. She can be in front or track, and it’s easy to put her in the right position when I ask. Of course, a lot depends on how the race sets up, but I’ve worked her before this race and she’s doing pretty good.”

BO HIRSCH HOMEBRED CE CE RETURNS TO RACES IN STYLE

Monday’s fourth race proved far more than just another first condition allowance for owner/breeder Bo Hirsch and trainer Michael McCarthy. It marked the return of Hirsch’s homebred Ce Ce, whose dam Miss Houdini, won the Grade I Del Mar Debutante in 2002 for Hirsch and the late trainer Warren Stute.

Idle since running fourth in her third career start, the Grade I Acorn Stakes at Belmont Park on June 8, Ce Ce, a four-year-old filly by Elusive Quality, was the 1-2 favorite Monday and won going away by 4 ¼ lengths, getting 6 ½ furlongs in 1:16.04 under Victor Espinoza.

Breaking from the rail in a field of five older fillies and mares, Ce Ce pulled Espinoza into contention heading into the far turn and despite being in tight quarters, found room one from the inside and easily overhauled leader Ava’s Charm three sixteenths from home.

“It’s great to have her back,” said McCarthy. “I thought she broke well, and I was glad to see Victor keep her up close. I was a little afraid they’d shut us off inside, so I’m glad he stayed up in there.”

Hirsch, whose late father Clement Hirsch was a founding member of the Oak Tree Racing Association and an iconic figure in California racing for many decades, was elated to see his prize filly back in action.

“I’ve been in this game a long time and it’s the anticipation that keeps you going,” said Hirsch. “The race itself is so short, a couple minutes or less. But it’s the planning and plotting and all the anticipation that goes with it that makes this game so special. We prayed she’d come back sound. She did so with consummate ease, despite the fact Mike would’ve preferred to run her six furlongs.

“Kathy Berkey (longtime bloodstock agent) got me to breed to Elusive Quality before he became well established, so I have to give her a lot of credit. We knew from the beginning this filly looked special and Mike thought the same thing.”

When asked what might be next, McCarthy responded, “We’ll just wait and see. This is a really nice filly. Last year, the original plan was to stay here and run. Bo’s a sportsman and he wanted to try the Acorn, so it’s great to have her back now. She got hurt at the barn last fall and we had to give her some time. She (wrenched) her hind end somehow, so we just had to back off and then start back. So far, so good.”

‘FASHIONABLE FILLIES’ LUNCHEON IN CHANDELIER ROOM MARCH 8

“Go West Young Lady!” A successful event for nearly two decades in Saratoga Springs, New York, Santa Anita will host its first “Fashionable Fillies” Luncheon in the Chandelier Room on Sunday, March 8.

The event is sponsored by The Jockey Club Safety Net Foundation, a charitable trust which provides, on a confidential basis, financial relief and assistance to needy members of the Thoroughbred industry and their families.

The event, which takes place from 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., will include cocktails, lunch and the opportunity to shop from local vendors. Tickets are $150 each and all proceeds will be earmarked by the foundation to benefit the backstretch community of Southern California.

Those interested in this very worthwhile cause are encouraged to respond by this Monday, Feb. 24 to Shannon Kelly, executive director, at (212) 521-5327, or via email at skelly@jockeyclub.com.

FINISH LINES: Trainer John Shirreffs reports Honor A.P. and Hard Not to Love on course for the March 7 San Felipe Stakes and the Grade I Beholder Mile March 14, respectively . . . Los Alamitos Derby winner Game Winner had his first work yesterday since winning that race last July 13, going three furlongs at Santa Anita in 36.60 for Bob Baffert. This morning, Baffert sent Eight Rings, winner of the Grade I American Pharoah Stakes, five furlongs in 1:00.20, while Triple Crown hopeful American Theorem, runner-up to Eight Rings in the American Pharoah, went five furlongs for trainer George Papaprodromou in 1:01.40. In all, there were 159 recorded workouts today, 23 on the training track.

LATEST CONTENT FROM XBTV:

FEATURES:

Stronach 5 All-Star Ticket for February 21st, 2020

Quick Questions With Exercise Rider Humberto Gomez

XBTV Friday: What to Watch for at Santa Anita Park on February 21st, 2020

Andrew Lerner Shedrow Stroll: Get to Know Rager

WORKOUTS:

Venetian Harbor (Baltas) 2-21-20

United (Outside) and Affianced (Mandella) 2-21-20

Eight Rings (Inside) and Ax Man (Outside) (Baffert) 2-21-20

Croughavouke (Mullins) 2-20-20

Game Winner (Baffert) 2-20-20

I Want One (Lerner) 2-20-20

Mirth (D’Amato) 2-17-20

Mucho Gusto (Outside) and McKale (Baffert) 2-16-20

SANTA ANITA STATISTICS

(Current Through Monday, Feb. 17)

Jockey

Mts

1st

2nd

3rd

Win%

ITM%

Money Won

Joel Rosario

111

30

25

18

27%

66%

$1,718,754

Abel Cedillo

175

26

28

23

15%

44%

$1,565,344

Flavien Prat

117

25

24

21

21%

60%

$1,532,984

Drayden Van Dyke

95

20

18

8

21%

48%

$1,181,321

Umberto Rispoli

91

19

15

11

21%

49%

$931,506

Tiago Pereira

84

14

11

14

17%

46%

$743,632

Jorge Velez

118

10

11

21

8%

36%

$594,647

Mario Gutierrez

65

9

9

7

14%

38%

$551,881

Mike Smith

39

9

3

4

23%

41%

$873,142

Trainer

Sts

1st

2nd

3rd

Win%

ITM%

Money Won

Richard Baltas

77

19

12

8

25%

51%

$1,270,422

Bob Baffert

56

17

10

12

30%

70%

$1,318,452

Peter Miller

54

15

5

5

28%

46%

$863,676

Doug O’Neill

73

9

12

9

12%

41%

$592,917

Philip D’Amato

67

7

12

9

10%

42%

$625,068

John Sadler

52

7

8

10

13%

48%

$568,427

Steve Knapp

34

7

6

3

21%

47%

$291,062

Brian J. Koriner

31

7

2

7

23%

52%

$281,342

Michael McCarthy

30

7

2

3

23%

40%

$275,545