Justify, Bolt d’Oro and Midnight Bisou, arguably the leading three-year-olds in the land,

will move their captivating acts to Kentucky next month where they will take center stage in the Kentucky Derby and the Kentucky Oaks.

“He looks good,” Bob Baffert said of Justify early Sunday morning, less than 24 hours after the chestnut son of Scat Daddy repulsed Bolt d’Oro in the Santa Anita Derby, winning by three lengths to remain unbeaten and stamp himself as the clear-cut favorite for the Kentucky Derby on May 5.

“The track was really deep and loose yesterday and I was worried about that because he could have gotten really tired, but he acted like he wasn’t, and he handled it well.

“He’s still learning how to run, still a little green. He was out there (on the lead) by himself, looking at everything, taking it all in, but I like the way he responded when Bolt made that run at him (in mid-stretch).

“Those two beat the rest of that field by a wide margin (9 ½ lengths back to Core Beliefs in third), so they’re serious horses. You just need racing luck (to win like that). You’ve got to have the racing luck.

“Justify and Bolt are the two best horses, and you have to give credit to Bolt. He doesn’t quit. He’s right there every time.”

Baffert, too savvy to contemplate notions this early of a Triple Crown sweep for Justify, even though it has already struck the mindset of some race trackers, pooh-poohed the thought.

“Oh, no,” he said. “That’s a long way off.”

Bolt d’Oro also came out of the race well, save for a minor cut, and will head to Churchill Downs for a rematch with Justify in the Run for the Roses.

“After the race there was a little blood by his front quarter on the right side,” owner/trainer Mick Ruis said. “We washed it off and checked it out. It was like getting a splinter. No flesh came off, nothing like that. It just opened up a bit and in three days you won’t even know it’s there.”

As for Midnight Bisou, the filly who made a Zenyatta-type move to win the Grade I Santa Anita Oaks by 3 ½ lengths, trainer Bill Spawr has her bound for the Blue Grass State and the Kentucky Oaks on May 4.

Midnight Bisou was eighth and next-to-last, more than 10 lengths behind at the half-mile mark in the mile and a sixteenth race before unleashing her overpowering run.

“She’s bright-eyed, cheery, happy and ate up all her food, so we’re happy,” said former jockey Jeff Bloom, part owner of the daughter of Midnight Lute. “It’s on to Kentucky. The flight is booked. Actually, the flight’s been booked, but now it’s really booked.

“She’s just such a wonderful filly to be around, but the way she won yesterday just gives you goose bumps. I’ve talked to so many horsemen who have been in this game a long time, and they said the same thing.

“They’re fans who saw what she did. It’s remarkable.”



Jockey Jose Ferrer, a mainstay on the eastern seaboard dating back to 1982, will be at Santa Anita next Sunday, April 15, to receive the 2018 George Woolf Memorial Jockey Award in a Winner’s Circle ceremony between races.

Ferrer, 54, outpolled fellow riders Alex Birzer, Javier Castellano, Rodney Prescott and Joe Talamo in winning the 69th Woolf Award, which was instituted by Santa Anita in 1950 to honor riders whose careers and personal character bring credit not only to themselves, but to the sport of Thoroughbred racing.

Born March 31, 1964, Ferrer is a proponent of the power of positive thinking and views each day as a God-given opportunity to contribute to a sport that has provided him a magnificent career.

With more than 4,200 wins to his credit, Ferrer is currently based at Tampa Bay Downs. Second in the rider standings this past summer at Monmouth Park, Ferrer has rebounded from serious injuries sustained in a spill at Delaware Park last September.

The 2018 Woolf Award Trophy is a replica of the life-sized statue that adorns Santa Anita’s Paddock Gardens area. The Woolf Award memorializes one of the greatest “big money” riders of all time, George Woolf, who died the morning after a spill on Santa Anita’s Club House turn on Jan. 3, 1946.



Move over Zenyatta, you have company!

On a day of tremendous winners, including Heck Yeah, Midnight Bisou and especially this year’s Kentucky Derby favorite, Justify, Millie Ball made history of her own, beating the boys in the Santa Anita Derby Day 5K yesterday.

The weather was perfect, the course was clear and Filly Millie was cruising, in a time of 23:06!  Maybe not exactly like Zenyatta in the 2009 Breeders’ Cup Classic, but close, marking the first time a woman won the employees’ division in the 24 years of the race’s existence.

Millie was just as surprised as the rest of us, including her husband, Tim Yakteen, who trains his charges to run fast. Tim told me this morning she had nothing to do with it. Millie’s story was that she had to race right home to get ready to be on air on for what was a very busy rest of the day Derby Day.

As to the fittest department of all? Go with the Corp Yard employees, who know a thing or two about getting around the track.

Congratulations to all who participated; I will get medals to the top three male and female finishers.

Oh, and yeah, in case you were wondering, Rey Solis DID finish the race–Pete Siberell, Director of Community Services & Special Projects.


Women’s Division

Millie Ball                                                         23:06

Christine Beer                   Receiving Barn                  33:21

Lauren Lopez                     Hospitality                           38:25

Mary Forney                      TOX                                        40:51

Rebecca Neimark             Accounting                         43:04

Lucinda Mandella             CARMA                                43:20

Natalie Reitkerk                CARMA                                43:20

Wendy Thatcher              Hospitality                           54:59

Marissa Bosworth            Accounting                         56:00

Teresa Montellano          Mutuels                               1:08:07


Men’s Division

Rene Henriquez               Gate Crew                          23:35

Martin Villanueva            Plant                                      25:17

Noe Meza                           Corp Yard                            26:30

Alec Jimenez                      Corp Yard                            27:32

Gabriel Villafan                 Corp Yard                            28:35

Billy Malone                       Hospitality                           54:57

Rey Solis                              Accounting                         58:02



Today between 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. Pacific Time, the Permanently Disabled Jockeys Fund (PDJF) airs its first telethon live on the TVG Network in association with Betfair. Those dialing1-844-TVG-PDJF might find Mike Smith or another Hall of Fame rider taking their call.

America’s racing community joins together to support the dedicated efforts of the PDJF.

Hall of Fame jockeys Javier Castellano, Pat Day, Ramon Dominguez, Sandy Hawley, Chris McCarron and Alex Solis will be joined by top Quarter Horse riders Cody Jensen and Eddie Garcia as well as PDJF beneficiaries in manning the phone banks at the TVG studios in California and Keeneland Race Course in Kentucky.

Your tax deductible donations will support the PDJF, a 501 ©(3) public charity that provides financial assistance to 60 former jockeys who have suffered catastrophic on-track iinjuries. Since its creation in 2006, nearly $9 million has been distributed to support disabled riders, most of whom have sustained paralysis or brain injuries.

With no guaranteed source of funding, the PDJF is 100% reliant on donations. Over 90 percent of every dollar donated to the PDJF goes directly to its beneficiaries.

Donations can also be made online at


FINISH LINES: With wins Saturday in the $1 million Santa Anita Derby, the $400,000 Santa Anita Oaks and the $200,000 Echo Eddie Stakes, Mike Smith‘s purse earnings for Santa Anita’s Winter Meet reached $2,727,618, tops among all riders despite winning only 21 races from just 88 mounts . . . With the Winter Meet ending today, Evin Roman leads Flavien Prat in the jockeys’ race, 46-43, although Prat still has a mathematical chance to overtake Roman. Bob Baffert, however, has the training title won, leading runner-up Peter Miller, 35-30, and leading in purse money won with $2,697,833. Baffert started but 112 horses and thus has a sparkling winning average of 31 percent . . . Solomini, in his final major breeze for next Saturday’s Arkansas Derby at Oaklawn Park, worked six furlongs in company with Dabster Sunday for Baffert. Each horse was clocked in a bullet 1:13.60. McKinzie, off the Derby trail with a minor injury since being DQd from first to second in the March 10 San Felipe Stakes, is recovering from a “twisted hock, a very strange injury,” said Baffert, who is giving the colt 30 days before embarking on a summer campaign . . . Agent Brian Beach has Victor Espinoza booked to ride Tenfold for Steve Asmussen in the Arkansas Derby, in addition to Santa Anita Handicap winner Accelerate for John Sadler in the Oaklawn Handicap . . . City of Light, winner of the Grade I Malibu Stakes, worked five furlongs Sunday in a bullet 59.80 for Michael McCarthy. It was the fastest of 67 drills at the distance, the average time of which was 1:02.34 . . . Champion Unique Bella, also headed to Oaklawn for Friday’s Apple Blossom Handicap, worked four furlongs in yet another bullet, this one in 46.80, breezing, for Jerry Hollendorfer, galloping out five furlongs in 59.80, according to Santa Anita clocker Dane Nelson . . . Hollendorfer said Instilled Regard came out of his fourth-place finish in the Santa Anita Derby in good shape, but has “no plans” for his next race. “We had no excuse,” the Hall of Fame trainer added . . . California-based sire Unusual Heat progeny Acclimation, champion Older Male of 2010, produced back-to-back winners in Saturday’s sixth and seventh races when Heck Yeah won the Echo Eddie Stakes and Accountability the San Manuel Indian Bingo Casino event . . .  Probable for next Saturday’s $100,000 Thor’s Echo Handicap for California-bred or sired three-year-olds and up at six furlongs: Edwards Going Left, Image of Joplin, Smokey Image and Tough Sunday . . . Martin Valenzuela‘s 21-year-old son, Adrian, is paralyzed from the waist down after sustaining neck and back fractures in a training mishap March 31. A account has been established for him. Fans are asked to show their love and support for Adrian during this trying time . . . Santa Anita offers Tacos y Cervezas Saturday, April 21. The trackside package includes tacos, craft beer, Club House admission, a $5 betting voucher, program, tip sheet and trackside seating. Save $10 by using promo code TACOS18. Must be 21 or older to buy tickets, which can be purchased at . . . Santa Anita will be dark for live racing Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday AND THURSDAY next week, resuming live racing at the start of the Spring Meet portion on Friday, April 13, at 12 noon, but will be open for simulcast racing Wednesday and Thursday, with free parking and general admission. Admission gates open both days at 10 a.m.

(Current Through Saturday, April 7)
Jockey Mts 1st 2nd 3rd Win% ITM% Money Won
Evin Roman 315 46 50 51 15% 47% $1,669,694
Flavien Prat 232 43 47 33 19% 53% $2,459,961
Drayden Van Dyke 175 37 23 21 21% 46% $2,257,134
Tyler Baze 295 35 45 42 12% 41% $2,373,994
Joseph Talamo 221 33 26 34 15% 42% $1,572,214
Kent Desormeaux 162 33 18 21 20% 44% $1,738,126
Rafael Bejarano 181 29 20 33 16% 45% $1,254,076
Geovanni Franco 181 27 24 24 15% 41% $1,322,932
Mike Smith 88 21 15 9 24% 51% $2,727,618
Tyler Conner 138 19 10 17 14% 33% $646,364
Corey Nakatani 112 18 21 13 16% 46% $1,425,648
Stewart Elliott 171 18 16 15 11% 29% $716,747
Trainer Mts 1st 2nd 3rd Win% ITM% Money Won
Bob Baffert 112 35 19 13 31% 60% $2,697,833
Peter Miller 143 30 33 19 21% 57% $1,611,009
Richard Baltas 176 29 27 19 16% 43% $1,611,677
Philip D’Amato 139 21 24 20 15% 47% $1,782,970
Jerry Hollendorfer 135 20 16 19 15% 41% $1,224,268
Vladimir Cerin 74 19 13 7 26% 53% $530,255
Doug O’Neill 146 18 22 19 12% 40% $1,086,287