STABLE NOTES BY ED GOLDEN – SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 23, 2019

  • TOP SOPHOMORES COULD MEET IN SAN FELIPE MARCH 9 
  • BATTLE OF MIDWAY EUTHANIZED AFTER TRAINING MISHAP
  • COCO KISSES RUNS IN FIRST STAKES RACE TOMORROW
  • SINGLE TICKET JACKPOT CARRYOVER REACHES $282,342

TRIPLE CROWN FEVER IS ‘YOUNG’ AT HEART

The Kentucky Derby is still more than two months away, but it’s never too soon for a touch of Triple Crown fever to permeate the racing world, although it has yet to reach epidemic proportions at Santa Anita, where at least four three-year-olds are held in high esteem by private clocker and bloodstock agent Gary Young.

Three of them call Bob Baffert’s shed row home: undefeated Eclipse Award champion two-year-old male of 2018 Game Winner; Los Alamitos Futurity winnerImprobable; and Robert B. Lewis Stakes winner Mucho Gusto.

Another is the California-bred Galilean, trained by Jerry Hollendorfer, who also conditions Best Pal winner Instagrand, on the outside looking in at this point in Young’s opinion.

“I don’t see a Justify or a Pharoah so far,” Young said in typically no-holds-barred

fashion. “Baffert is very strong, between Game Winner, who’s worked decently, and Improbable, who’s also worked decently, but I’m still a little hesitant about them getting a mile and a quarter (the distance of the Kentucky Derby on May 4).

“I can’t fault Mucho Gusto, although he doesn’t carry a lot of weight. He’s a horse kind of built like Scotty Pippen, but he’s definitely OK.

“Galilean is another horse that doesn’t carry a lot of weight, although he was somewhat impressive winning the California Cup Derby. He was running against horses he should have manhandled and he beat ’em.

“Those are the top four right now, I think.”

Not among Young’s quartet is Best Pal Stakes winner Instagrand, who could make his first start as a three-year-old in the Grade II, $500,000 San Felipe Stakes on March 9 after a seven-month layoff. Baffert has indicated Game Winner and Improbable as likely to make their three-year-old debuts at a mile and one-sixteenth in that race, which awards 50 Kentucky Derby qualifying points to the winner. Second is worth 25, third 10 and fourth five.

Horses based in Southern California have won the Kentucky Derby five of the past seven years: I’ll Have Another (2012), California Chrome (2014), Triple Crown winner American Pharoah (2015), Nyquist (2016) and Triple Crown winner Justify (2018).

“Horses are trained a little bit harder here than they are back east,” Young allowed in assessing the reason for the rash of recent success by Golden State equine residents. “There are good horses and good trainers back there, but lately California’s been on a run, mostly with Baffert, although (Doug) O’Neill’s had his day in the sun too with I’ll Have Another and Nyquist.

“Our top dirt horses can compete with others anywhere. That’s proven all the time, but our turf horses are very concerning.

“In the last three years Justify and Pharoah were the horses, but it didn’t take a brain surgeon to figure that out. Right now, however, the picture isn’t that clear in California or anywhere else.

“It’s too early to say this is a below average crop, but in my mind, it is a much foggier picture than a few years ago.”

BATTLE OF MIDWAY EUTHANIZED FOLLOWING INJURY

Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile winner of 2017 Battle of Midway was euthanized Saturday morning after suffering injuries sustained during a workout, according to Dr. Rick Arthur, Equine Medical Director of the California Horse Racing Board.

A five-year-old bay son of Smart Strike trained by Jerry Hollendorfer for Don Alberto Stable or WinStar Farm, LLC, Battle of Midway was being pointed to the $12 million Dubai World Cup on March 30 with a possible start before that in the Grade I Santa Anita Handicap on March 9, Hollendorfer had said just prior to the incident.

Battle of Midway won the Grade II San Pasqual Stakes by a half-length over 1-2 favorite McKinzie on Feb. 2, his last start. He was working five furlongs in company this morning. 

Battle of Midway won eight of 16 career starts, including the Grade III Native Diver Stakes and the Grade III Affirmed Stakes. He was third in the 2017 Kentucky Derby and compiled career earnings of $1,589,049.

COCO KISSES MAKES STAKES DEBUT IN SPRING FEVER

Coco Kisses makes her stakes debut in Sunday’s $100,000 Spring Fever Stakes for older fillies and mares at six furlongs.

It is one in the lucrative Golden State Series for California-bred or sired horses.

“She’s a hard-trying filly who gives her best every time,” said Jeff Bonde, who trains the four-year-old daughter of Empire Way for Edward and Debi Brown and Terry Lovingier.

Lovingier not only also bred Coco Kisses, he bred another Spring Fever starter, Show It N Moe It, trained by Gary Sherlock.

“It’s a short field,” Bonde said, “but the winner will have to earn it. Nobody’s’ getting a freebie in there.”

The Spring Fever, race eight of nine: Show It N Moe It, Rafael Bejarano, 1-1; Coco Kisses, Joel Rosario, 8-1; S Y Sky, Joe Talamo, 6-5; Barbara Beatrice, Tiago Pereira, 5-1; and Into Rissa, Geovanni Franco, 20-1.

TODAY’S 20 CENT SINGLE TICKET RAINBOW PICK SIX CARRYOVER AT $280,342

There is a 20 cent Single Ticket Pick Six Jackpot carryover of $316,428 into Saturday at Santa Anita and with 55 horses entered and eligible to run in the six-race sequence, average field size stands at more than nine runners per race.

With a 10-race card on tap, the Rainbow Six will cover races five through 10 with approximate post time for race five at 2:40 p.m. PT.

With $157,625 in “new” money wagered Friday contributing to a total 20 cent Single Ticket Rainbow Pick Six Jackpot pool of $437,967, there were 20 consolation tickets, each worth $4,151.90.

Saturday’s main event, the Grade II, $200,000 Buena Vista Stakes for older fillies and mares at one mile on turf, has been carded as race eight. Vasilika has been installed as the 8-5 morning line favorite in a field of nine.

For additional information, please visit  santaanita.com or call (626) 574-RACE.

LATEST CONTENT FROM XBTV:
Today’s works include four horses that are on the Triple Crown Trail:

Roadster works 6 furlongs (Baffert)

Gunmetal Gray works 5 furlongs (Hollendorfer)

Nolo Contesto (Outside) in company with  Encanto work 6 furlongs(Sadler)

Easy shot (Inside) in company with  Speedette work 5 furlongs (Desormeaux)

Gift Box works 7 furlongs (Sadler)

Chocolate Speights works 5 furlongs (Hollendorfer)

Shedrow Stroll: Getting to Know  Parsimony and  Pavel (O’Neill)

A Day in the Life With Horse Chiropractor  Dr. Nick Sopha

Dream Tree works 4 furlongs (Baffert)-2/22/2019

Legends of War works 3 furlongs (O’Neill)-2/22/2019

Enaya Alrabb works 4 Furlongs (O’Neill)-2/22/2019

Eskenforadrink works 4 Furlongs (Gutierrez)-2/21/2019

Melissa Jane works 4 furlongs (Powell)-2/21/2019

Swirling works 4 furlongs (Sadler)-2/21/2019

Mucho Gusto works 4 furlongs (Baffert)- 2/20/19

Improbable works 6 furlongs (Baffert)-2/20/19

FINISH LINESTyler Baze, unseated three furlongs from home in yesterday’s ninth race, visited First Aid and has been cleared to ride today . . . Victor Espinoza, in full workout dress, was a Clockers’ Corner visitor today and is scheduled to breeze horses Sunday morning . . . Trainer Tim Yakteen and owner/breeder George Krikorian are on a roll, having won with their last four starters: Mucho Unusual and First Screening last Monday; Big Buzz on Jan. 31; and Camino de Estrella yesterday . . . Now sans agent Carolyn Conley who moved on to greener pastures, jockey Brice Blanc is once again representing himself. “I’ll be my own agent until I figure something else out,” he said . . . College Football Hall of Famer and legendary NFL quarterback Billy Kilmer will present today’s Grade II Buena Vista trophy.  “Number 17” and his wife, Sandy, celebrated their 41st wedding anniversary this past Wednesday.

SANTA ANITA STATISTICS

(Current Through Friday, Feb. 22)

Jockey

Mts

1st

2nd

3rd

Win%

ITM%

Money Won

Joel Rosario

176

42

31

31

24%

59%

$2,170,960

Flavien Prat

150

37

30

20

25%

58%

$2,325,994

Heriberto Figueroa

150

21

14

23

14%

39%

$804,771

Tiago Pereira

117

20

17

11

17%

41%

$781,272

Geovanni Franco

147

19

16

21

13%

38%

$902,338

Rafael Bejarano

126

18

20

24

14%

49%

$1,003,637

Mike Smith

57

18

10

8

32%

63%

$1,168,296

Drayden Van Dyke

111

16

16

13

14%

41%

$970,218

Tyler Baze

163

14

29

22

9%

40%

$1,060,249

Trainer

Mts

1st

2nd

3rd

Win%

ITM%

Money Won

Doug O’Neill

140

22

23

22

16%

48%

$1,168,279

Peter Miller

94

19

16

11

20%

49%

$1,058,397

Richard Baltas

92

16

19

17

17%

57%

$960,321

John Sadler

64

16

15

9

25%

63%

$935,122

Jerry Hollendorfer

74

13

11

12

18%

49%

$953,938

Bob Baffert

53

10

9

8

19%

51%

$996,435

J. Keith Desormeaux

48

10

8

5

21%

48%

$478,755