STABLE NOTES BY ED GOLDEN – SATURDAY, JANUARY 5, 2019

  • ESPINOZA BACK, ‘FEELS GOOD’ AFTER FIRST BREEZE
  • ACCELERATE DRILLS FOR RICH PEGASUS WORLD CUP
  • FAVORED BELLAFINA SET FOR GRADE II SANTA YNEZ
  • SINGLE TICKET PICK SIX JACKPOT STANDS AT $447,555
  • HORNBLOWER COHEN SIDELINED WITH BELL’S PALSY

ESPINOZA RETURNS, SMILE AND ALL

Racing is a little brighter today.Victor Espinoza is back with his smile that would light up a room.

For the first time in more than five months, when he suffered fractured vertebrae and other serious injuries in a training mishap at Del Mar on July 22, the 46-year-old Hall of Fame member and three-time Kentucky Derby winner was in the saddle, working former stakes winner St. Joe Bay for trainer John Sadler at 7:45 Saturday morning, going five furlongs in 1:01.

One might have thought he was aboard Triple Crown winner American Pharaoh, with media attending en masse for the occasion.

“I feel good,” Espinoza said at Sadler’s barn after the drill. “Basically, my fitness is returning, but it’s only one horse. It was kind of John to let me work him. It’s like riding a bicycle. It takes a little practice, but I didn’t expect to come back at 100 percent after one work.

“The brain restarted the whole process of riding and I’ll come back again, work more horses and hopefully start riding soon.” That wasn’t always Victor’s mindset.

“In the beginning, I thought I’d never want to ride again, and going through all the rehab and exercises, I just wanted to get better,” he said. “I wasn’t thinking about riding.

“But as time went by, I felt better physically and mentally. Now, for the last month and a half, I feel I can come back because I’ll be 100 percent.”

Exactly when Espinoza works his next horse is up in the air.

“It depends on the weather and his scheduled therapy sessions,” said agent Brian Beach, who also represents Victor’s nephew, apprentice Asa Espinoza. “Monday will probably be a big work day here if it rains Sunday as expected. Victor has to be back home at Del Mar, so he may not be back here to work another horse until next weekend.”

That said, understandably Beach was beyond pleased to have his Triple Crown-winning jockey back.

“It’s exciting to see him out here,” Beach said. “He’s pretty much been in San Diego and Del Mar ever since the accident in July. He hasn’t been at Santa Anita until yesterday, so it’s good to have him out here in familiar territory.

“It’s satisfying to see him on the back of a horse with that usual smile on his face.”

ACCELERATE WORKS ‘GREAT’ FOR PEGASUS WORLD CUP

Horse of the Year contender Accelerate worked six furlongs in a bullet 1:13.40 Saturday morning for his final race, the $9 million Pegasus World Cup at Gulfstream Park on Jan. 26. It was the fastest of 18 works at the distance, the average time of which was 1:14.96.

“He galloped out (seven furlongs) in (one) 27.41,” said trainer John Sadler, who had assistant trainer Juan Leyva aboard for the drill. “He worked really well, just like himself . . . He went great. I like to think he’s on the same pattern he was before he won the Pacific Classic.

“He might work seven furlongs next Saturday, or possibly three quarters in company and gallop out. That will be the biggest work of the series, next Saturday.”

Accelerate is scheduled to ship Monday, Jan. 21, for North America’s richest race to be decided at 1 1/8 miles.

Also working Saturday for the Pegasus World Cup was City of Light, the only horse to defeat Accelerate this year, having done so in the Oaklawn Handicap last April.

The son of Quality Road went five furlongs for Michael McCarthy in a bullet 1:00, fastest of 102 drills at the distance, the average time of which was 1:02.45.
Don’t miss Horse of the Year candidate’s Accelerate’s latest work from this morning here and the feature piece courtesy of Santa Anita Park and XBTV on trainer John Sadler leading into the Pegasus World Cup Invitational Series on January 26.

Full written feature on John Sadler

Part I of XBTV’s video feature

Part II of XBTV”s video feature

Part III of XBTV’s video feature

BELLAFINA WORKING WELL FOR GRADE II SANTA YNEZ

Simon Callaghan expects Bellafina to rebound in Sunday’s Grade II Santa Ynez Stakes from her fourth-place finish as the 19-10 favorite in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Nov. 2. 

The bay daughter of Quality Road prompted the pace despite an eventful start in the Juvenile Fillies after winning her prior three races by a combined margin of 15 lengths.

“Following the race she showed she was in season,” the trainer said. “The Breeders’ Cup just wasn’t meant to be, so we gave her some time after that and she’s come back really strong. Her works have been very good and we’re looking forward to Sunday.”

Bellafina drew post position two for the seven furlong Santa Ynez, which Callaghan feels will be advantageous, as Bob Baffert trainee Mother Mother drew inside of her on the rail.

“We could get a bit of rain, but I don’t think that should be an issue,” Callaghan said. “We’re outside of Baffert which is probably the other speed, so I think it’s OK.”

The Santa Ynez, race  eight of nine with a 12:30 p.m. first post time: Mother Mother, Drayden Van Dyke, 9-5; Bellafina, Flavien Prat, 4-5; Sold It, Mario Gutierrez, 8-1; Tomlin, Tyler Baze, 8-1;and Reflect, Kent Desormeaux, 6-1.

SANTA ANITA SINGLE TICKET PICK SIX JACKPOT AT $447,555

With special early first post time for a 10-race card Saturday at 12 noon, Santa Anita presented a pair of graded stakes and a hefty 20 cent Single Ticket Pick Six Jackpot carryover of $447,555. Saturday’s fifth race will serve as leg one in the Rainbow Six and approximate post time is at 2:04 p.m.

The Grade II, $200,000 San Gabriel Stakes, for older horses at a mile and one eighth on turf, has been carded as Saturday’s seventh race, while the Grade III, $100,000 Sham Stakes, for Derby hopefuls at a flat mile, will go as the ninth.

There was $223,580 in “new” money wagered into Friday’s Rainbow Six, which combined with a carryover from Tuesday of $396,369, created a total Jackpot pool of $619,949.

There were a total of 36 winning tickets today, each worth $3,366.20.

HORNBLOWER JAY COHEN SIDELINED DUE TO BELL’S PALSY

Hospitalized for the past five days, Santa Anita Horn blower Jay Cohen reports he’s been diagnosed with Bell’s Palsy.

“I could feel something coming on opening day (Dec. 26) and it just got worse as the day went on,” said Cohen, who is due to be released from Foothill Presbyterian Hospital in Glendora later this afternoon. “They’ve done a whole battery of tests on me and the good news is, it’s nothing life threatening. I’ve been told it will take ‘weeks’ to recover, so my job now is to get plenty of good nutrition, exercise and as much rest as I need to try and get healthy as soon as possible.

“I can’t wait to get back to work, but right now, there’s no way I can play my instrument.  Opening day was so much fun, with all the little kids, families and the people I’ve known for so many years. I miss being there so much!”

And, many thousands of racing fans miss seeing, hearing and interacting with the best in the business, Jay Cohen. Here’s hoping he’s back in action as soon as possible. In the interim, Cohen’s good friend, Kevin Brown, will be pinch-hitting with the Call to the Post.

FINISH LINES: With rain forecast tonight and into Sunday, there were 301 recorded workouts at Santa Anita this morning. . . Mike Smith will not ride next Sunday. The 53-year-old Hall of Fame great is getting married to Cynthia Naanouh at St. Rita’s Church in Sierra Madre and is “looking forward to the big day.”. . . Citing illness, jockey Joel Rosariotook off his scheduled eight mounts today . . . Spokane Eagle, 4-1 morning line chance in today’s sixth race, has been claimed from his last five races in a row . . . Apprentice jockey Luis Fuentes has been suspended four days (Jan. 11, 12, 13 and 17) for careless riding aboard Principe Carlo in the 10th race on Jan. 1 . . . This weekend marks the last two days to enjoy ice skating at Santa Anita Park. The rink will be open today and tomorrow and online packages are still available for purchase at santaanita.com/events. Walk-up tickets that include skate rental, are available for just $15 as well . . . The very popularBurgers & Brewfest trackside event is set for next Saturday at The Great Race Place. Online packages available as are walk-ups, while supplies last . . . The Bulldog Derbywill hold its inaugural running Saturday, Jan. 19 in the Infield. Both French and English-breds will face off in a friendly competition throughout the day over the grass with two dirt finals set for the main track later in the day. All proceeds benefit the Southern California Bulldog Rescue.

SANTA ANITA STATISTICS

(Current Through Friday, Jan.  4)

Jockey

Mts

1st

2nd

3rd

Win%

ITM%

Money Won

Flavien Prat

38

9

6

4

24%

50%

$640,244

Joel Rosario

46

8

8

8

17%

52%

$675,784

Heriberto Figueroa

33

7

2

3

21%

36%

$232,945

Drayden Van Dyke

33

4

3

7

12%

42%

$225,807

Rafael Bejarano

26

4

3

4

15%

42%

$207,101

Joseph Talamo

30

4

2

4

13%

33%

$269,465

Assael Espinoza

20

4

1

1

20%

30%

$115,377

Edwin Maldonado

16

3

3

1

19%

44%

$140,990

Tiago Pereira

24

3

2

3

13%

33%

$90,946

Mike Smith

13

3

1

3

23%

54%

$315,049

Tyler Baze

42

2

10

6

5%

43%

$304,151

Geovanni Franco

33

2

4

3

6%

27%

$148,258

Ruben Fuentes

18

2

3

3

11%

44%

$97,850

Brice Blanc

14

2

1

1

14%

29%

$82,262

Martin Pedroza

11

2

1

0

18%

27%

$37,022

Trainer

Mts

1st

2nd

3rd

Win%

ITM%

Money Won

Richard Baltas

32

7

9

3

22%

59%

$378,179

Doug  O’Neill

26

7

0

2

27%

35%

$209,348

William Morey

16

4

2

3

25%

56%

$117,826

Jerry Hollendorfer

19

3

3

3

16%

47%

$163,175

Peter Miller

20

3

3

3

15%

45%

$150,838

John Sadler

17

3

2

2

18%

41%

$270,546

J. Keith Desormeaux

14

3

1

2

21%

43%

$122,478

Jeff Mullins

15

2

1

4

13%

47%

$283,813

Brian Koriner

7

2

1

1

29%

57%

$231,556

Richard Mandella

8

2

1

1

25%

50%

$86,789

Ryan Hanson

5

2

1

0

40%

60%

$36,996

Bob Baffert

15

2

0

3

13%

33%

$300,747

Vladimir Cerin

11

2

0

2

18%

36%

$133,836

Steve Knapp

7

2

0

1

29%

43%

$39,350


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

XBTV VIDEO WORKS:

Accelerate

St. Joe Bay (Victor Espinoza aboard for the 1st time since his injury)

SOT from Espinoza following the work