STABLE NOTES BY ED GOLDEN & MIKE WILLMAN – SATURDAY, MARCH 2, 2019

  • SADLER EYES BACK-TO-BACK BIG CAP VICTORIES
  • THE RICH GET RICHER: ROADSTER ON DERBY TRAIL
  • TONSILS GONE, BEJARANO IS DUE BACK SHORTLY

SADLER ‘HAPPY’ WITH GIFT BOX FOR SANTA ANITA HANDICAP

Just about a year ago John Sadler was celebrating Accelerate’s victory in the Santa Anita Handicap, the trainer’s first ever in the track’s historic race. Now he is poised to win it again with Gift Box, who worked six furlongs Friday in 1:14 for the mile and a quarter classic next Saturday, March 9.

“He looked good, went out in 27 (1:27 for seven furlongs),” Sadler said of the gray son

of Twirling Candy formerly trained by Chad Brown. “We had to move his work up a day because of the rain, but we got the work in, so I’m happy.

“I was thinking about the win last year on a sloppy track, but hopefully we’ll get some good weather this week.”

Gift Box won the Grade II San Antonio Stakes Dec. 26 in his first start for Sadler, who conditions the five-year-old full horse for principal clients Kosta and Peter Hronis.

Should Sadler win the Big Cap two years in a row, he would join the distinguished company of seven other trainers who have accomplished the feat: Bob Baffert (Game On Dude, 2013 and 2014); Doug O’Neill (Lava Man, 2006 and 2007); Bobby Frankel (Milwaukee Brew, 2002 and 2003); Richard Mandella (Siphon and Malek, 1997 and 1998); Charlie Whittingham (Lord At War and Greinton, 1985 and 1986); Ron McAnally (John Henry, 1981 and 1982); and Tom Smith (Kayak II and Seabiscuit, 1939 and 1940).

Joel Rosario, who rode the gray son of Twirling Candy to his half-length score at 6-1 in the San Antonio, will be back aboard for the Big Cap.

Fans will be treated to five stakes Saturday, greatest interest focusing on the Grade II, $500,000 San Felipe Stakes expected to match Bob Baffert’s two leading undefeated Triple Crown contenders, champion Game Winner and Improbable in the Grade II test offering 50 Kentucky Derby qualifying points to the winner.

Additionally, the prestigious Frank E. Kilroe Mile with Grade I status will be showcased on turf; the Grade II San Carlos Stakes will attract sprint stars going seven furlongs; and for good measure, three-year-old fillies will vie in the $75,000 China Doll Stakes at a mile on grass.

First post time on Big ‘Cap Day will be 12 noon.

VICTORY PUTS ROADSTER ON PATH TO TRIPLE CROWN

Prior to Friday’s feature race at Santa Anita, Bob Baffert was sitting pretty with three top echelon Triple Crown candidates in Game WinnerImprobable and Mucho Gusto.

Move over, boys: Roadster just joined the team.

The gray son of Quality Road won yesterday’s eighth race at a mile by 2 ½ lengths under Mike Smith, his first start since last Sept. 3 when he was third to championGame Winner in the Grade I Del Mar Futurity.

“He’s back on the Derby trail,” Baffert said of Roadster after the victory. “That was quite a performance off a layoff.”

As to whether one of Baffert’s Fab Four wins the 145th Run for the Roses on May 4, that remains to be seen. If so, it would give the two-time Triple Crown winner his sixth triumph in the first jewel of the Triple Crown.

“I’m just so happy with the way he ran,” said Smith, who swept the Triple Crown for Baffert last year with eventual Horse of the Year Justify. “His mechanics, his breathing, everything was smooth.

“In the Del Mar Futurity, he struggled, so they did minor surgery. Today, he was loving it. The track is great. It’s got a lot of cushion. They’re just floating over it. This colt loved it.”

LATEST CONTENT FROM XBTV:

Ack works 4 furlongs (O’Neill)-3/01/19

Enaya Alrabb works 6 furlongs (O’Neill)-3/01/19

Dream Tree works 6 furlongs (Baffert)-3/01/19

Much Better works 6 furlongs (Baffert)-3/01/19

Omaha Beach (Inside) works 5 furlongs (Mandella)-3/01/19

Bellafina works 4 furlongs (Callaghan)-3/01/19

Kanthaka works 6 furlongs (Hollendorfer)-3/01/19

Shedrow Stroll:  Lava Man (O’Neill)

Quick Questions With Jockey  Joseph Talamo 

La Force works 6 furlongs (Gallagher)-2/28/19

Mucho Gusto (Outside) works 4 furlongs with  Honeyfromthesouth (Baffert)-2/28/19

Instagrand preparing for San Felipe Stakes Mar. 9 (Hollendorfer)-2/25/19

Improbable working 6 furlongs (Baffert)-2/25/19

Game Winner (outside) works 6 Furlongs with  Dr. Dorr (Baffert)-2/25/19

FINISH LINESJoel Rosario, who enjoys a 47-45 lead over Flavien Prat in the Santa Anita jockey standings, rides at Gulfstream Park today. Chief among his four stakes engagements is the Bill Mott-trained Hidden Scroll, the 9-5 morning line favorite in the Grade II Fountain of Youth Stakes, final major prep for the Grade I Florida Derby on March 30 . . . Rafael Bejarano had tonsillectomy surgery Wednesday but is expected to resume working horses by Tuesday, according to his agent, Tora Yamaguchi . . .With a dearth of longshots Thursday, chalk players were in heaven as favorites won all eight races, to wit: Sugary ($3.80) in the first; Dr Wysong ($4) in the second; Cajun Treasure ($4.60) in the third; Sergio ($4.40) in the fourth; Smoovie ($4.40) in the fifth; Time for Suzzie ($3.80) in the sixth; Rocky Rogue ($4.60) in the seventh; and You Must Chill ($4.20) in the eighth. On Santa Anita Handicap Day Saturday, THOROUGHBREDS Club members will receive a free Santa Anita hat, courtesy of San Manuel Casino, with paid admission while supplies last, one hat per paid admission. Also Saturday, Santa Anita presents the annual Big Cap Beer and Cider Festival featuring live music, craft brews and food trucks. Tickets are on sale at santaanita.com/events . . . Milestone for the ages: Yesterday marked the 50thanniversary of Tuesdee Testa becoming the first female jockey to win a race at Santa Anita.  Testa, who was 27 at the time, had worked as an exercise rider prior to obtaining her jockey’s license. On March 1, 1969, she rode an eight-year-old full horse named Buz On to victory.  Entered for a $4,000 claiming tag, Buz On, who was trained by E.W. King,won by a neck and paid $9.20 while covering six furlongs over a “heavy” track in 1:13 4/5.

SANTA ANITA STATISTICS

(Current Through Friday, March 1)

Jockey

Mts

1st

2nd

3rd

Win%

ITM%

Money Won

Joel Rosario

200

47

35

34

24%

58%

$2,383,086

Flavien Prat

170

45

33

23

26%

59%

$2,702,456

Heriberto Figueroa

162

22

17

26

14%

40%

$855,913

Geovanni Franco

166

21

19

24

13%

39%

$970,415

Tiago Pereira

136

21

18

14

15%

39%

$853,137

Mike Smith

64

21

11

11

33%

67%

$1,305,536

Rafael Bejarano

133

19

23

26

14%

51%

$1,103,457

Tyler Baze

178

18

30

24

10%

40%

$1,211,473

Drayden Van Dyke

126

17

18

16

13%

40%

$1,039,378

Assael Espinoza

108

13

10

13

12%

33%

$455,238

Joseph Talamo

122

12

22

16

10%

41%

$929,799

Mario Gutierrez

91

10

16

12

11%

42%

$664,991

Ruben Fuentes

80

10

10

15

13%

44%

$343,458

Kent Desormeaux

86

10

9

12

12%

36%

$778,253

Edwin Maldonado

62

10

8

1

16%

31%

$302,832

Agapito Delgadillo

55

8

7

6

15%

38%

$245,730

Aaron Gryder

54

8

7

4

15%

35%

$243,390

Trainer

Mts

1st

2nd

3rd

Win%

ITM%

Money Won

Doug O’Neill

154

26

25

25

17%

49%

$1,317,970

Peter Miller

98

19

16

12

19%

48%

$1,070,197

Richard Baltas

102

18

20

20

18%

57%

$1,074,074

John Sadler

68

18

16

9

26%

63%

$988,204

Jerry Hollendorfer

82

14

12

14

17%

49%

$1,091,911

Philip D’Amato

87

11

14

11

13%

41%

$764,428

Bob Baffert

56

11

9

9

20%

52%

$1,037,586

Mark Glatt

60

10

10

6

17%

43%

$433,887

J. Keith Desormeaux

52

10

8

6

19%

46%

$486,837

William E. Morey

54

9

12

10

17%

57%

$442,830

Jeff Mullins

47

9

9

8

19%

55%

$587,067

Richard Mandella

38

9

3

2

24%

37%

$307,251

Peter Eurton

42

8

7

6

19%

50%

$373,127

Steve Knapp

47

8

4

7

17%

40%

$199,324

Simon Callaghan

30

8

3

5

27%

53%

$481,198