- CHAMPION ABEL TASMAN’S MIND IS SET ON WINNING
- TRAINER EURTON IS SWEET ON ASHLEYLUVSSUGAR
- INAUGURAL STRONACH 5 PAYS $9,888 TO 14 WINNERS
- $1 MILLION JACKPOT POOL IN TODAY’S RAINBOW PICK SIX
CHAMP ABEL TASMAN LIKES TO DO HER THING
Abel Tasman has a mind of her own.
Not an unusual trait for a race horse, and it hasn’t deterred her from being a champion.
The three-year-old filly queen of 2017, Abel Tasman has been known to break slowly, then accelerate with noticeable alacrity early on the backstretch when going a route of ground, thrusting concern and fear into the hearts of her connections and her backers, lest she might run out of gas when it counts, in the stretch run.
Not to worry, says her regular pilot, Hall of Fame member Mike Smith, who will be aboard the four-year-old daughter of Quality Road in Sunday’s Grade I, Breeders’ Cup “Win and You’re In” Zenyatta Stakes for fillies and mares, three and up, at 1 1/16 miles.
“It’s part of her game,” Smith said of the balky bay, oddsmaker Jon White’s 2-5 morning line favorite. “Sometimes she does that, depending on the pace. It’s like if she knows the pace is quick enough, she’ll sit back. If not, she likes to go up there. You have to be a little careful not to get in her way.
“She likes to do her thing, and as long as she’s happy, I know she’s going to run big. Sometimes the move might be a little too soon, but it is what it is. I think going forward with her has always been better than maybe holding her to make the right move.”
Abel Tasman has eight victories from 14 career starts, six of them in Grade I races. She has been favored seven times, four times at odds-on, and has earned $2,787,385. In the latest NTRA Top 10 Thoroughbred poll, Abel Tasman moved from fifth to fourth position, supplanting three-year-old filly sensation Monomoy Girl.
“Abel Tasman can be a little bit temperamental, get a little bit mad, and then the next thing you know you have to put her where she needs to be instead of her taking you,” Smith continued. “It’s just fun and games; it all depends on the pace. If they’re going quick enough, she’s fine.
“You’ll notice in some of her short races, she doesn’t do that when they go quick enough. But some of these mile and an eighth races, they’ll break running and then they’ll throw the anchor out, and she says, ‘I’m going.'”
The Zenyatta, race five of nine: Shenandoah Queen, Tyler Baze, 6-1; Abel Tasman, Mike Smith, 2-5; La Force, Drayden Van Dyke, 4-1; Vale Dori, Joe Talamo, 5-1; Lemoona, Flavien Prat, 20-1; and Fool’s Paradise, Mario Gutierrez, 30-1.
ASHLEYLUVSSUGAR SEEKS SECOND JOHN HENRY WIN
Ashleyluvssugar, a seven-year-old gelding with 10 victories from 28 starts, six over Santa Anita’s turf course, will attempt to resume his winning ways Sunday in the Grade II John Henry Turf Championship for three-year-olds and up at 1 ¼ miles on the grass.
The California-bred bay has lost his last six starts, finishing sixth in four of them, the last three times in a row, but trainer Peter Eurton is optimistic the old boy can improve with better racing luck.
The son of Game Plan last raced Aug. 18 when he was an eventful sixth in the Grade II Del Mar Handicap at 1 3/8 miles on turf. Gary Stevens, who won the John Henry aboard Ashleyluvssugar in 2016, has the mount.
“He’s coming back well and Gary’s back on, which is good,” Eurton said. “The horse had a tough trip in the Del Mar Handicap where he got covered up for a long period of time and the field pulled away from him, but for a seven-year-old, he’s pretty good.”
Ashleyluvssugar has earned $1,349,039.
“We got a good draw (three of seven) and at a mile and a quarter he should be wherever he feels comfortable,” Eurton said.
The field for the John Henry: Ritzy A. P., Tyler Baze, 8-1; Ann Arbor Eddie, Mario Gutierrez, 6-1; Ashleyluvssugar, Gary Stevens, 5-1; Ya Gotta Wanna, Geovanni Franco,
5-1; Secretary At War, Drayden Van Dyke, 5-1; Liam the Charmer, Tyler Gaffalione, 7-2; and Fashion Business, Flavien Prat, 2-1.
FIRST STRONACH PICK 5 PAYS $9,888 TO 14 BETTORS
The inaugural running of The Stronach 5, a national Pick 5 wager with an industry-low 12 percent takeout and a guaranteed pool of $50,000, was hit by 14 bettors Friday, each winning $9,888.30.
A total of $157,333 was wagered on races from Laurel Park, Santa Anita Park, Gulfstream Park and Golden Gate Fields. The minimum wager is $1. The winning numbers Friday were 7, 3, 9, 8,1.
The results were:
- Leg One from Laure Park, Race 9: Bay of Rocks $8.20
- Leg Two from Santa Anita, Race 4: Streak of Luck $17
- Leg Three from Gulfstream Park, Race 8: Field Trip $6.20
- Leg Four from Golden Gate Fields, Race 4: Impecunious $16
- Leg Five from Gulfstream, Race 9: S S Illuminati $11
“We are happy with the results from the inaugural running of The Stronach 5,” said Tim Ritvo, Chief Operating Officer of The Stronach Group. “Unfortunately, there was a gate scratch in the first leg at Laurel, but to have five races at four tracks in under an hour and attract the handle we did the first week is a good start. We will tweak some things as we move forward.
“We want to thank the fans for their participation.”
The first 100 fans at participating tracks received a Quick Pick ticket on the Stronach 5 with the purchase of a program.
For the Stronach 5, if a change in racing surface is made after wagering closes, each selection on any ticket will be considered a winning selection. If a betting interest is scratched, that selection will be substituted with the favorite in the win pool when wagering closes.
The Stronach 5 races will be drawn Sunday.
20 CENT RAINBOW PICK SIX JACKPOT OFF TO FAST START AT SANTA ANITA
Santa Anita’s all-new 20 cent Rainbow Pick Six got off to a rollicking start on opening
day, Friday, as no less than six tickets were “alive” for a chance to hit a guaranteed Jackpot pool of $250,000 going into the day’s ninth and final race.
As it turned out, Hall of Fame jockey Gary Stevens booted home 5-2 favorite Untouched Elegance by one length, thus denying a $250,000 payoff to one of the “live” Jackpot horses, longshot Lucky Knickers.
With $82,392 wagered in the opening day Rainbow Pick Six Jackpot pool, there were six tickets with all six winning horses, each worth $7,336.28. As a result, 30 percent of the pool, or $18,864.75, is now carried over to Saturday.
Santa Anita, however is guaranteeing $1 million Jackpot pools on both Saturday and Sunday. If there is a single winning ticket on either day, the lucky winner will take home the entire $1 million Jackpot pool.
For additional information, please visit santaanita.com or call (626) 574-RACE.
FINISH LINES: Jockey Martin Garcia is at home and “feeling good” according to his agent, Thom Mitchell. Garcia was injured in a training mishap Wednesday morning. “The doctors will have to clear him to ride, so as of now, everything is day-to-day.”