- ‘MIDNIGHT’ GOES PRIME TIME IN THE SANTA YSABEL
- TOP GUN CASTELLANO WORKS BOLT SIX FURLONGS
- BOLT TO WORK AGAIN SUNDAY, PENDING WEATHER
- MARTIN GARCIA RETURNS SOON UNDER DEGREGORY
- NEW SUNDAY FIRST POST OF 11:30 STARTS MARCH 11
MIDNIGHT BISOU TRIES TWO TURNS IN SANTA YSABEL
Midnight Bisou goes two turns for the first time Saturday in the Grade III Santa Ysabel Stakes for three-year-old fillies at a mile and a sixteenth, but Mike Smith is optimistic that the daughter of Midnight Lute trained by Bill Spawr will be up to the task.
Midnight Bisou blew out three furlongs Thursday morning in 39.60.
“It’s her first time around two turns and we’re hoping she handles it,” said Smith, who rode her to a 4 ½-length victory when she broke her maiden in the Grade II Santa Ynez Stakes at seven furlongs on Jan. 7.
“The talent’s there. It’s just a matter of getting the two turns. If she gets that, man, she’s special. It looked like she can based on her win going seven-eighths, but you don’t know until they go around that turn, but she should.”
Spawr was a tad more confident that Midnight Bisou (it means “kiss” in French) would successfully negotiate the distance. “She wants to run longer,” Spawr said, “but she’s got to learn, relax, and kick the last part.”
The Santa Ysabel is a steppingstone to the Grade I, $400,000 Santa Anita Oaks at a mile and a sixteenth on April 7.
The Santa Ysabel, race six on a 10-race program that starts at 12:30 p.m.: One Fast Broad, Geovanni Franco, 8-1; Spring Lily, Evin Roman, 4-1; Midnight Bisou, Mike Smith, 7-5; Thirteen Squared, Tyler Baze, 12-1; Sweetsongofthenile, Flavien Prat, 20-1; and Dream Tree, Drayden Van Dyke, 6-5.
BOLT D’ORO ‘FIT’ AFTER MONDAY BREEZE, ONE WORK REMAINS
Ridden for the first time by four-time Eclipse Champion Javier Castellano, top Derby candidate Bolt d’Oro worked six furlongs out of the gate last Monday, Feb. 26, at Santa Anita in 1:12 flat and was given gallop out times for seven furlongs in 1:25 flat and a mile in 1:39.80 by Santa Anita’s official clockers.
With Castellano committed to the Kentucky-bred colt by Medaglia d’Oro for Santa Anita’s Grade II, $400,000 San Felipe Stakes at 1 1/16 miles on March 10, Bolt d’Oro came on the track through an in-gap near the quarter pole at about 7:50 a.m., backtracked around the far turn and proceed up the backstretch to the starting gate, positioned in the seven furlong chute at the three quarter pole.
Paired in the gate with speedy stablemate, three-year-old maiden colt Eskimo Roses, “Bolt” broke slowly but was quickly into stride and about a length and a half behind at the half mile pole. With Castellano gradually asking Bolt d’Oro to pick up the pace, he was a length off his prey at the quarter pole and took over while well within himself three-sixteenths of a mile from home.
With a couple subtle reminders, Bolt d’Oro appeared to finish well and then was ridden out vigorously around the Club House turn to the seven furlong pole. Eskimo Roses, with jockey Juan Ochoa up, finished about 10 lengths behind Bolt d’Oro at the wire and was given a six furlong time of 1:14 flat.
“He breezed good, I really like the way he finished,” said Castellano after he had dismounted at owner/trainer Mick Ruis’ Barn 96. “He got some dirt in his face and it didn’t bother him. I asked him little by little to pick it up around the turn and he did it very easy. I rode him the way they asked me and it was a good, solid work.”
Ruis, who watched the work in Santa Anita’s box seat area near the finish line while seated with his wife Wendy and fellow trainer Eric Kruljac, accompanied his horse on foot back to his barn.
“He went a little quick early, but he finished really good,” Ruis said. “I think we’re where we need to be. He’s a very smart horse and he can get very relaxed behind the gate. I’m really glad we worked out of the gate today, because he’ll be much sharper next time.”
With a full complement of racetrack observers on hand, highly respected private clocker Andy Harrington gave “Bolt” high marks.
“I thought it was a really good work,” said Harrington. “I had him in 47, 1:11 and four and out seven eighths in 1:25 and two. The jock asked him and he got a lot out of him . . . He went by that other horse in about four strides. Every drill, he gets a little better. This work was encouraging.”
Unbeaten in his first three starts, including a pair of Grade I tallies in the Del Mar Futurity Sept. 4 and in the FrontRunner Stakes at Santa Anita on Sept. 30, Bolt d’Oro was adversely affected by an outside post position in the Grade I Breeders’ Cup Juvenile on Nov. 4 and he ran third, beaten 5 ¼ lengths as the 3-5 favorite in a field of 12.
The San Felipe will award the winner 50 Kentucky Derby qualifying points. The second, third and fourth place finishers will each receive 20, 10 and 5 points.
BOLT D’ORO TO BREEZE SUNDAY, WEATHER PERMITTING
Bolt d’Oro is scheduled to have his final workout Sunday for his three-year-old debut in the San Felipe Stakes a week from Saturday, March 10, weather permitting, owner/trainer Mick Ruis said Thursday morning.
Victor Espinoza will be aboard.
“With rain in the forecast, if the track is not suitable on Sunday, I’ll wait till Monday and do a nice little half (mile),” Ruis said, “but he’s fit.”
MARTIN GARCIA RETURNS TO RIDE FULL TIME AT SANTA ANITA
Martin Garcia is returning to ride full time at Santa Anita after a three-month sojourn on the New York Racing Association circuit. The 33-year-old native of Veracruz, Mexico, will be represented by Vince DeGregory, who will continue to handle apprentice Cesar Franco.
“Martin is fulfilling his obligations in New York this week, is due here Monday and will start working horses Tuesday,” said DeGregory, 85, who has represented eight Hall of Fame jockeys in a career that started in 1959 with a kid out of Puerto Rico named Angel Cordero Jr.
In addition to Cordero, other Hall of Fame members DeGregory has worked for are Laffit Pincay Jr., Chris McCarron, Bill Shoemaker, Jorge Velazquez, Jacinto Vazquez, Alex Solis and Victor Espinoza. He also handled business for Darrel McHargue and Joel Rosario, the latter one day likely to be the ninth DeGregory rider enshrined.
Garcia had been the go-to rider work rider for Bob Baffert during his recent run in Southern California, in addition to gaining stakes mounts for the Hall of Fame trainer.
“The response I have gotten so far has been good, but Martin will have to go around the barns and see other trainers in the mornings from now on,” said DeGregory, who was contacted by Garcia and asked to take his book. “I think Mr. Baffert will put him back on horses eventually.
“He understands that Bob has other riders he is using now and that he won’t be working horses for him every morning like he did before. I asked him what his situation was with Bob and he said we’re still good friends, so he left on good terms.
“This will give Martin an opportunity to work for other trainers. We’ll have to stir up some business again. In this game, if you don’t work horses for the trainers, you don’t ride them.”
NEW ‘SUNDAY BRUNCH’ FIRST POST TIME OF 11:30 A.M. ON MARCH 11
Santa Anita will adopt a new “Sunday Brunch” first post time of 11:30 a.m. on all Sundays, beginning with the onset of Daylight Saving Time on March 11, through closing day of its current Winter/Spring Meet on June 24.
Effective Thursday, March 15, first post time on all other racing days except Sundays and Triple Crown Saturdays will be at 12 noon.
Current post times will remain the same prior to Daylight Savings on March 11, with weekday starts at 1 p.m. and weekend first post time at 12:30 p.m.
Santa Anita’s present 104-day Winter/Spring Meeting, which began Dec. 26, operates on a Thursday through Sunday basis, with few exceptions.
For additional information on upcoming events and stakes races, please visit www.santaanita.com or call (626) 574-RACE.
FINISH LINES: Robert B. Lewis winner Lombo worked four furlongs Thursday morning in 49.60 under Rafael Bejarano for Mike Pender, who has the son of Graydar ticketed for the San Felipe Stakes. Also working Thursday in advance of imminent rain were Santa Anita Oaks winner Paradise Woods, five furlongs in 1:02.20 for Richard Mandella, and champion male sprinter of 2017 Roy H, five furlongs in 1:00.20 for Peter Miller. In all, there were 287 recorded workouts, including 38 on the training track, one by multiple graded stakes winner Skye Diamonds, who went three furlongs in 36.60 for Bill Spawr . . . All THOROUGHBREDS members will receive a free Santa Anita gym back on Big ‘Cap
Day, next Saturday, March 10, with paid admission while supplies last. Other highlights include a beer and cider trackside festival, wine tasting in the Chandelier Room, a $500,000 guaranteed Late Pick Four pool, and a rhythm and brews reggae festival. Gates open at 10 a.m. First post time will be 12 noon . . .THE BUG IS ALIVE at Santa Anita, evidenced by today’s seventh race, which has nine horses entered, four of which will be ridden by apprentices: Evin Roman, #2 Big Day Tomorrow 9-2, Franklin Ceballos, #3 Moonlight Ridge 7-2, Asa Espinoza, #6 Squared Squared 12-1 and Cesar Franco, #8 Yo La Tenga 15-1 . . . Cinco de gelding: Reverend Al, 10-1 morning line chance in today’s seventh race, has finished fifth in his last four races . . . Sign on with the Los Angeles Times Horse Racing Newsletter. Authored by John Cherwa, it offers entries, charts and more at: http://www.latimes.com/newsletters/la-newsletter-racing-signup-page-htmlstory.html.
|SANTA ANITA STATISTICS|
|(Current Through Sunday, Feb. 25)|
|Drayden Van Dyke||109||20||10||9||18%||36%||$1,202,123|
|William E. Morey||26||9||2||7||35%||69%||$384,378|
|J. Keith Desormeaux||32||7||2||5||22%||44%||$254,309|