- VASILIKA SEEKS TO EXTEND STREAK IN GOLDIKOVA
- RIVER BOYNE SET FOR SUNDAY’S TWILIGHT DERBY
- TURF OR DIRT, BLANC WELCOMES OPPORTUNITIES
- RAINBOW PICK SIX IS GUARANTEED AT $2 MILLION
- FIRST POST TIME CLOSING DAY SUNDAY IS 11 A.M.
- CAL-BRED WINNER GIVES CONNECTIONS BIG DOUBLE
VASILIKA ON A ROLL FOR TEAM HOLLENDORFER
Vasilika has been a win machine since she was claimed for $40,000 last Feb. 11.
The four-year-old daughter of Skipshot finished second by a neck in her first venture after the claim and since has reeled off seven straight victories for Jerry Hollendorfer, including the Grade II John C. Mabee at Del Mar Sept. 1 and the Grade I Rodeo Drive Stakes at Santa Anita on Sept. 29.
Next up: Sunday’s Grade II, $200,000 Goldikova Stakes for fillies and mares, three and up, at one mile on turf. The Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf had been briefly considered for her next race, but it would have cost $100,000 to enter and Hollendorfer preferred to keep her on firm going at Santa Anita as opposed to risking soft turf at Churchill Downs.
“She had a good record when we got her,” Hollendorfer assistant Dan Ward said of the chestnut filly bred in Kentucky by Mikhall Yanakov.
“She’s very consistent and probably prefers the firmer turf here. A lot of times back east the turf is soft, and even when she got beat here, the turf was a little bit off.” Officially, the course that day was labeled good.
“That’s why we stayed here, to run on a firm turf,” Ward continued. “It’s a bit soggy back there, and we’ve got all next year to run her.”
Meanwhile, Team Hollendorfer is making a concerted run for the Autumn Meet training title, only one win behind leader Peter Miller, 15-14, with two racing days remaining. Hollendorfer has started 57 horses, Miller 56.
“We have the best horses and owners we’ve ever dealt with,” said Ward, in his 11th year as Hollendorfer’s top aide. “We’re all focused on the same goal.”
The field for the Goldikova, named for the Irish-bred distaff star that captured the Breeders’ Cup Mile three consecutive years, from 2008 through 2010: Vasilika, Flavien Prat, 9-5; Madame Stripes, Rafael Bejarano, 12-1; Cambodia, Drayden Van Dyke, 5-2; I’m Betty G, Gary Stevens, 10-1; La Sardane, Mike Smith, 8-1; Beau Recall, Joe Talamo, 20-1; Lull, Joel Rosario, 4-1; and Fahan Mura, Edwin Maldonado, 6-1.
TRAINER HOPES THERE’S NO PLACE LIKE HOME FOR RIVER BOYNE
River Boyne, a consistent Irish-bred son of Dandy Man, is Jon White’s 5-2 morning line favorite to win Sunday’s Grade II Twilight Derby for three-year-olds at 1 1/8 miles on turf.
“He’s coming up to the race well,” said Jeff Mullins, trainer of the dark bay colt who has been favored in seven of his eight U.S. races, winning five.
“We’re running here because there really wasn’t anything else for him. The Breeders’ Cup was considered, but he doesn’t like soft turf, so I’m glad we didn’t go.
“He’s pretty straightforward and a pretty nice horse to be around.”
The $200,000 Twilight Derby, which goes as race eight of 10: Have At It, Joel Rosario, 4-1; Prince Earl, Rafael Bejarano, 6-1; Majestic Eagle, Mike Smith, 8-1; Kazan, Martin Garcia, 6-1; Pubilius Syrus, 15-1; Desert Stone, Geovanni Franco, 20-1; Epical, Tyler Baze, 20-1; River Boyne, Flavien Prat, 5-2; Platinum Warrior, Drayden Van Dyke, 4-1; and Andesh, Tiago Pereira, 12-1.
BLANC MAKES THE MOST OF LIMITED OPPORTUNITIES
Brice Blanc won only his second race of the meet Friday, but it was noteworthy, even though it was a minor stakes.
The industrious and affable Frenchman, who turns 46 come Jan. 16, captured the $75,955 Lure Stakes on 5-1 shot Kencumin for the C R K Stable and trainer Peter Eurton.
“The horse broke well and put me in the race,” Blanc said of the four-year-old French-bred colt, who was second during most of the one-mile turf event, getting up under left-handed urging in deep stretch to win by a half-length.
“Peter told me they wanted to be close and get a nice position going to the first turn and I was second behind Kenjisstorm. We relaxed nicely on the backside, I pressed on him at the midway point and he kept digging in.”
Blanc has a reputation for having an affinity for turf racing, but truth be told, he is adept on all surfaces.
“When I ride nice horses like I did yesterday and win, I think that adds to the reputation. But I’m like any rider, given a fast horse, can get it to the wire. It pretty much comes down to keeping the horse out of trouble, whether you’re on turf or dirt or whatever.
“Obviously, I get better opportunities on the grass. Even when I go through a slow time like I have the last few months, it seems like I pick up a nice horse at some point that gets me out of the slump. You have to keep winning. That’s pretty much what it is.
“My agent, Carolyn Conley, is doing a good job since we recently got together. So far, we’ve been a good team.”
From Santa Anita, Blanc will head to Del Mar for the meet that starts Nov. 9.
“I’ll follow the circus,” he said.
MASSIVE SINGLE TICKET RAINBOW PICK SIX JACKPOT OF $2 MILLION GUARANTEED
For the second consecutive day, Santa Anita Park will guarantee $2 million in Saturday’s popular 20 cent Rainbow Pick Six Jackpot, which will begin with the sixth race on an 11-race program. Approximate post time for Saturday’s sixth race is 2:10 p.m. PT.
With a $2 million guaranteed Jackpot in place Friday and a “live money” pool of $1,298,071, there were three Rainbow Six tickets with six winners, each worth $54,328.25. Additionally, there were three “live” Jackpot tickets coming into Friday’s 10th and final race. Of the three, Awesome Amanda, at 26-1, finished closest, seventh, under Tyler Conner.
HESS, ROMAN & HOT SIRE TEAM FOR BIG DOUBLE ON FRIDAY
Unbeaten now in three starts, Give Me a Hint gave her connections a big thrill on several levels Friday, as the California-bred filly by Merit Man took the $200,000 Golden State Juvenile Fillies by 2 ¼ lengths, thus providing her jockey, trainer, sire and owner/breeders with a big double on the afternoon.
With the Schroeder Farms, LLC homebred All Tea All Shade taking Friday’s sixth race, a starter allowance for two-year-old fillies, the Schroeder family celebrated a coveted owner/breeder double along with their trainer Bob Hess, Jr. and jockey, Evin Roman.
“Absolutely, I’m excited!” said Cathy Schroeder following the Golden State Juvenile Fillies. “When you breed in California, it’s the best. We’ve got a wonderful stud, Merit Man, and I’m so high on him. Especially winning with him like we are.”
Merit Man, a multiple stakes-winning son of With Approval, also trained by Hess and owned by the Schroeder family, will stand at B G Thoroughbred Farm in Hemet for 2019.
FINISH LINES: Two half sisters ran in Friday’s fifth race, Married by Now and Summer Down Now, both bred in California by James Weigel, who also owns the four-year-old Married by Now, trained by Matt Chew. Ray Bell conditions the three-year-old Summer Down Now, who finished ninth and was sired by Ministers Wild Cat. Slew’s Tiznow is the sire of Married by Now, who ran fourth. . . First post time Sunday, closing day, is 11 a.m. Admission gates open at 9 a.m. Reminder: Standard Time returns Sunday. Turn your clocks back one hour tonight.
|SANTA ANITA STATISTICS|
|(Current Through Friday, Nov. 2)|
|Drayden Van Dyke||70||14||14||12||20%||57%||$839,285|