OLD ASHLEY WOULD SET MARK IN SAN LUIS REY
JOCKEYS’ BATTLE TIGHTENSUP AT SANTA ANITA
CHARLATAN HIGHLIGHTS SILENT SATURDAY
SANTA ANITA, GOLDEN GATE CLOSED TO PUBLIC
ASHLEY MAKES RECORD FOURTH START IN SAN LUIS REY
Since storied Santa Anita opened on Christmas Day, 1934, no horse has ever raced in the same stakes race four times.
That lengthy streak could end Saturday if venerable Ashleyluvssugar runs in the San Luis Rey Stakes as planned. He would become the first to compete in the marathon turf event on four separate occasions.
On March 15, 2015, the now nine-year-old California-bred son of Game Plan out of the Urgent Request dam Ashley’s Folly won the San Luis Rey by 2 ½ lengths under Gary Stevens.
Two years later, on March 25, 2017, he led before winding up third, with Stevens aboard again.
On March 29, 2019, the old bay finished fifth with Kent Desormeaux up.
After an absence of four months, trainer Peter Eurton brought Ashley back to the races at Golden Gate Fields last Nov. 30, finishing fifth in the Grade III Berkeley Handicap. On Jan. 18, he was fifth going five-wide in the Turf Classic for California-breds.
“I didn’t know that,” Eurton said when informed this would be Ashleyluvssugar’s fourth start in the mile-and-one-half San Luis Rey. “We love this horse and he still has the desire to race, even though he may be missing a step now.
“He had a three-quarter mile open gallop Friday on the training track because I knew I wouldn’t be able to work him again before the race, with the rain and everything. He absolutely still loves to be out there and he gets into his gallops with enthusiasm.
“The longer races allow him to get into a better position in early parts of the race, which he enjoys. He can lay one-two and be more a defender of his position than a closer.
“He’ll fight longer and doesn’t have to go as wide, either. He saves ground and at a mile and a half, he should be right up in it.”
‘QUALITY QUARTET’ VIES FOR SANTA ANITA RIDING TITLE
With the influx of Italian Stallion Umberto Rispoli, Santa Anita’s race for riding honors at the Winter Meet has increased from the usual two or three combatants to a Quality Quartet of Joel Rosario, Abel Cedillo, Flavien Prat and the aforementioned 31-year-old two-time champion in his native Italy, Rispoli.
Through Saturday, Prat held a 40-36 over runner-up Rosario, with Cedillo third at 35 and Rispoli fourth with 33.
Agent Derek Lawson, who represents Prat, is among those enjoying the ride.
“It’s an outstanding race,” Lawson was quick to point out. “With Rispoli in the mix, it’s a very competitive group of riders. Some will be going out of town (to ride three-year-olds with Triple Crown aspirations), and that will be a disadvantage to those seeking the riding title here, but as far as competition, it’s the best we’ve seen at Santa Anita in the past few years.
“It’s a lot of fun, not only for the jockeys, but for the agents. We’re always trying to figure out who’s doing what and who’s riding where, but overall, with all the other stuff that’s going on in racing, it’s exciting.
“This is something tangible we can look at and enjoy.”
BAFFERT’S CHARLATAN HIGHLIGHTS SILENT SATURDAY AT SANTA ANITA
With apologies to Simon and Garfunkel, the Sound of Silence was indeed acutely surreal on Saturday at Santa Anita Park, as the legendary track went about the business of horse racing minus the public for the first time since its opening in December, 1934. With only credentialed media and licensed owners, trainers, jockeys, grooms and a smattering of track employees on hand, a total of eight races, including the Grade I Beholder Mile, were run without incident as the remainder of the nation’s sports and entertainment world for the most part, sat idle.
The day got off to an uneventful start, as the Vladimir Cerin-trained Time for Suzzie reported home on top by a half length. Ridden by apprentice Jorge Velez, the 4-year-old California-bred filly by Time to Get Even got seven furlongs over a main track listed as “good” in 1:24.75 and paid $13.40 to win on the 1/ST BET and Xpressbetapps, as well as live streaming at www.santaanita.com/.
With seven horses, a total of $260,400 was wagered on race one.
“As far as training, nothing’s really changed for us except the weather,” said Cerin, in reference to intermittent rain that has fallen the past few days. “I’m amazed our Trackman (Dennis Moore) is actually better than the Weather Service. This morning, I didn’t think there was any chance it wouldn’t be raining. So far, so good.”
Race two went to the Matt Chew-conditioned Silken Prince, who won by 4 ¼ lengths under Jose Valdivia, Jr., while getting 6 ½ furlongs on a track upgraded to “fast” in 1:16.31. Off at 5-1, he paid $13.60 to win.
“It feels eerie, coming down the stretch, not to hear the crowd,” said Valdivia.
One of five first time starters, the Mark Glatt-trained Big Sweep was heavily favored at even money in race three and won by 2 ¼ lengths while paying $4.00 to win. Ridden by Flavien Prat, she got six furlongs in 1:10.59.
Race four, run during a light drizzle, went to the Hector Palma-trained Kadesh. Ridden by Abel Cedillo, he won by 4 ¼ lengths while getting one mile in 1:38.87 and paid $5.80 to win.
Did this victory, garnered under quite unusual circumstances, hold any particular significance to Palma, who’s called the racetrack “home” for more than 60 years?
“It’s just one more, my friend.”
Flavien Prat got his second win on the day as he guided Adorably Sweet to a half length win in the fifth race. Trained by Mike Puype, the 4-year-old California-bred filly by Richard’s Kid got 6 ½ furlongs in 1:18.48. Off at 7-2, she paid $9.80 to win.
Race six showcased the performance of the afternoon, as Bob Baffert’s Derby hopeful Charlatan demolished his competition by 10 ¼ lengths while getting one mile under Drayden Van Dyke in 1:36.24. The 1-5 favorite, he paid $2.60 to win and earned an incredible 106 Beyer Speed figure in the process.
“Right now, we’re just glad they didn’t cancel (today’s races), cause we were going to go to Sunland Park,” said Baffert.
The seventh race, the Grade I, $400,000 Beholder Mile, went Bo Hirsch’s homebred Ce Ce, who beat heavily favored Hard Not to Love by 3 ¼ lengths. Trained by Michael McCarthy and ridden by Victor Espinoza, Ce Ce paid $10.40 to win while garnering a 100 Beyer in her first stakes win.
Saturday’s eighth and final race was taken by longshot Galwalksintoabar, which prompted track announcer Frank Mirahmadi to proclaim, “Galwalksintoabar is no joke…” Ridden by Van Dyke, who doubled on the day, she’s trained by Steve Miyadi and paid $21.20 to win.
With no on-track wagering, Saturday’s total pari-mutuel handle was $6,523,828.
Closed to the public until further notice due to local, state and national health decrees issued with regard to the coronavirus (COVID-19), wagering on Santa Anita’s races is available at some brick and mortar satellite locations, Santa Anita’s 1/ST BET and Xpressbet apps.
Santa Anita’s races can be viewed live via its simulcast signal, online at santaanita.com, and on TVG, which is available via DirectTV 602, Spectrum/Time Warner 413, Dish 399 and other outlets.
SANTA ANITA, GOLDEN GATE FIELDS TEMPORARILY CLOSED TO THE PUBLIC
With the utmost regard for the safety and well-being of our customers and employees and in following the best available guidance from local and international health authorities, Santa Anita Park and Golden Gate Fields is temporarily closed to the public.
Both tracks will continue live racing as scheduled with personnel licensed by the California Horse Racing Board in attendance which will provide our fans at home with the opportunity to stay connected to the action via our 1/ST BETand Xpressbet apps.
We will continue to monitor the situation and will look forward to welcoming our fans and guests back again soon.
FINISH LINES: Although speculation as to the scheduling of major events such as the Kentucky Derby is rampant, Bob Baffert’s Charlatan has the racing world abuzz in reaction to his huge 10 ¼ length allowance win yesterday. Making every pole a winning one, he got a flat mile in 1:36.24, earning an incredible 106 Beyer Speed figure in just his second start…Michael McCarthy’s Ce Ce, owned and bred by Bo Hirsch and out of his Grade I Del Mar Debutante-winning mare Miss Houdini, appears headed to great things, as she took yesterday’s Grade I Beholder Mile by 3 ¼ lengths, getting the distance in 1:37.33 while earning a 100 Beyer…Racing is set to resume on Friday, with first post time at 1 p.m. Entries will be taken on Tuesday and fans are encouraged to visit santaanita.com for updates regarding the upcoming racing schedule.
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|SANTA ANITA STATISTICS|
|(Current Through Saturday, March 14)|
|Drayden Van Dyke||114||24||20||10||21%||47%||$1,586,601|
|J.C. Diaz, Jr.||71||7||6||11||10%||34%||$327,261|
|Jose Valdivia, Jr.||56||5||5||6||9%||29%||$254,370|
|Craig Anthony Lewis||43||8||3||12||19%||53%||$455,421|
|J. Eric Kruljac||35||7||4||5||20%||46%||$258,340|
|Robert Hess, Jr.||38||5||8||3||13%||42%||$259,135|