Stable Notes By Ed Golden & Mike Willman – Saturday, March 21, 2020

  • LEAVE IT TO WARD ‘N JERRY IN THE SAN LUIS REY
  • BEJARANO WILL REMAIN TO RIDE AT SANTA ANITA
  • TOP AGENT McCLELLAN NOW WITH ‘HOT’ RISPOLI
  • MCDOWELL, AGENT FOR JERRY LAMBERT, DIES

WARD ‘N JERRY EYES FIRST STAKES WIN IN SAN LUIS REY

Ward ‘n Jerry, a consistent and diligent California-bred son of Lucky Pulpit, seeks his first stakes victory in today’s Grade III San Luis Rey marathon at a mile and a half on turf.

The testing distance should be ideal for the seven-year-old gelding owned and bred by Mr. and Mrs. Larry Williams, longtime successful supporters of racing and breeding in the Golden State.

“He loves the distance and I think the race is between him and Oscar (Dominguez),” trainer Mike Puype said. “There are several unproven horses at a mile and a half, so I think it’s going to be a good opportunity.”

Impressive Southern California newcomer Umberto Rispoli rode Ward ‘n Jerry to an eventful second last out in the Turf Classic for state-breds at 1 1/8 miles Jan. 18, but Flavien Prat has the mount on Saturday. Prat rode Ward ‘n Jerry twice previously, in December 2015 and June 2016, unplaced each time, but the rider change is immaterial to Puype.

“I don’t think you can lose an inch with either guy,” he said. “They’re both the two best turf riders here.”

Depending on circumstances, Ward ‘n Jerry can be on or near the lead, although in most of his 19 races, he has come from off the pace. “He can lay wherever you need to,” Puype said. “He’s very, very versatile.”

The field for the San Luis Rey, race seven of nine with a 12:30 p.m. first post time: Swamp Souffle, Mario Gutierrez, 12-1; Camino Del Pariso, Tiago Pereira, 3-1; Ashleyluvssugar, Brice Blanc, 6-1; Oscar Dominguez, Umberto Rispoli, 9-5; Go for a Ride, Edwin Maldonado, 20-1; Ward ‘n Jerry, Flavien Prat, 2-1; and French Getaway, Rafael Bejarano, 10-1.

BEJARANO TO REMAIN IN SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA

On second thought, Rafael Bejarano is staying in Southern California.

Citing “scarce opportunities,” in Southern California two weeks ago, agent Tora Yamaguchi said the 37-year-old native of Peru would be riding regularly in Kentucky after the Santa Anita Derby on April 4.

At that time, Bejarano had four wins from 66 mounts here, but has progressed since and with Keeneland cancelling its spring meet due to the coronavirus pandemic, decided to remain in Southern California, where in 2008 he swept all five major Southern California titles and was a finalist for an Eclipse Award as outstanding jockey.

“With Keeneland cancelling, it kind of left Raffy without a place to ride,” said Yamaguchi, who has represented Bejarano since 2015. “We really had little choice but to conduct business here for the time being.

“In the overall picture, racing is secondary right now but we’re all trying to make the best of things and do what we can.”

As of March 19, Bejarano ranked 76th all-time with 4,056 career wins from 20,053 mounts (20 percent), earning purse money of $204,806,993.

McCLELLAN RETURNING TO ACTION WITH RISPOLI

It was pretty much a foregone conclusion that Scotty McClellan become a jockey’s agent.

His late father, Chick McClellan, had a long and successful career as an agent, teaching Scotty everything he knew along the way. His son learned well, reaping the rewards representing Hall of Fame members Chris McCarron and Alex Solis, the former for 21 years, the latter for 17, some 14 of them during the same time Scotty had McCarron.

McClellan enjoyed a run of 13 years with Joe Talamo prior to his leaving Southern California for greener pastures back east in early January, but not before recording his 2,000th career victory.

Joe’s departure presented McClellan with a rare opportunity: time to smell the roses, which he did.

But now, at a youthful 65, it’s back to business. After a three-month respite, McClellan officially begins anew April 10 with condition book number six, calling the shots for Umberto Rispoli, a two-time champion in his native Italy who has taken Santa Anita by storm, hobnobbing with Joel Rosario, Abel Cedillo and Flavien Prat in quest of the Winter Meet crown.

The 31-year-old Rispoli had been represented by super-agent Ron Anderson until he decided to add John Velazquez to his bailiwick, joining Joel Rosario and leaving Umberto shocked and agentless.

“Ron called and asked if I’d be interested in working for Rispoli, and I said yes,” related McClellan, a longtime friend and business associate of Anderson’s, “and Ron said he would help make it happen. That took quite some time, and after the devastation dissipated and Umberto returned from resolving visa issues overseas, he sought input from different trainers, quite a few of whom voluntarily recommended me.”

When the smoke cleared, McClellan liked what he saw.

“Umberto is very focused and researches the horses he rides quite a bit,” Scotty said. “He also studies the main contenders and tries to figure out how he can win the race, factoring in surfaces, pace, post, etc.

“On dirt here, you likely need to be in a contending or tracking position. It doesn’t mean you can’t close, but it’s harder with the kickback.

“I’ve watched him ride a few times but because of this coronavirus, I’m limited and in a weird spot. I don’t want to be running around the barn area trying to drum up business, because I have no (condition) book (with prospective races) now anyhow. I’m more concerned about my health, my wife’s, my Mom’s and my little granddaughter’s.

“I want to see them, but I also don’t want to risk making them ill. I feel great, but this is just the way things are.

“Once I knew I’d have Umberto, I contacted people to let them know, but until I have a book, I’m kind of laying low before the time comes for me to work, because it’s just crazy right now.”

LONGTIME JOCKEY AGENT PAT MCDOWELL PASSES AT 84

Condolences to family and friends of longtime jockey agent Pat McDowell, who passed away yesterday at age 84 near Seattle.  McDowell represented many riders dating back to the late 1950s, primarily on the West Coast and at Turf Paradise in Phoenix.  McDowell had great success in the 60s and 70s with Jerry Lambert, who was best known as the regular rider of the legendary California-bred Hall of Famer, Native Diver.  McDowell, who also represented Hall of Famer Russell Baze for a time when he rode full-time in Southern California in 1989-90, was a popular figure at the track, on the golf course and about town.  Following his career as an agent, McDowell worked for a number of years and as recently as this past September, as paddock judge at Emerald Downs near Seattle.  Pat McDowell is survived by his wife Janice and several children and grandchildren.

FINISH LINES:  Due to the fact TVG is not producing their normal studio or remote shows on account of the outbreak of the coronavirus, NBCSN will no longer be able to present simulcast programming from tracks such as Santa Anita.  Fox Sports, however, has picked up several additional hours of programming this weekend and will be able to show the first seven races from Santa Anita this weekend.  Fox Sports 1 will air from 10:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. PT.  The show, America’s Day at the Races, will also include racing from Gulfstream Park and the Louisiana Derby from Fair Grounds…First post time this weekend at Santa Anita is at 12:30 p.m., please visit santaanita.com for updates.

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SANTA ANITA STATISTICS
(Current Through Friday, March 20)
Jockey

Mts

1st

2nd

3rd

Win%

ITM%

Money Won

Flavien Prat

178

42

36

34

24%

63%

$2,354,060

Abel Cedillo

254

37

41

33

15%

44%

$2,393,096

Joel Rosario

145

37

33

23

26%

64%

$2,423,014

Umberto Rispoli

158

35

25

22

22%

52%

$1,599,866

Drayden Van Dyke

118

25

20

11

21%

47%

$1,607,141

Trainer

Sts

1st

2nd

3rd

Win%

ITM%

Money Won

Richard Baltas

111

21

18

11

19%

45%

$1,479,262

Bob Baffert

84

21

17

16

25%

64%

$1,830,092

Peter Miller

72

19

9

5

26%

46%

$1,113,396

Doug O’Neill

102

12

18

11

12%

40%

$784,801

John Sadler

82

12

15

14

15%

50%

$1,294,859