Mucho Gusto

STABLE NOTES BY ED GOLDEN SUNDAY, FEBRUARY 3, 2019

  • DOG BITES MAN: BAFFERT ON DERBY TRAIL AGAIN
  • MACHOWSKY SADDLES HIS FINAL RUNNER TODAY
  • THREE ARE IN TIGHT RACE FOR THE TRAINING LEAD

TEAM BAFFERT PURSUES MORE THREE-YEAR-OLD CLASSICS

Chad Brown has won an Eclipse Award as the nation’s outstanding trainer for the past three years, but if there was a category for most recognizable trainer, Bob Baffert would have retired the cup by now.

He’s on TV more than Lucy reruns.

Winning the Kentucky Derby five times and sweeping the Triple Crown twice will buoy your mainstream popularity.

The 66-year-old Hall of Fame member with the signature shock of white hair is poised to add to his laurels on the Triple Crown trail thanks to a nucleus of three-year-olds with seemingly unlimited potential, although it is three months from the 145th Run for the Roses on May 4.

The latest to show his merit is Mucho Gusto, who rolled to a 4 ¾-length triumph in Saturday’s Grade III Robert B. Lewis Stakes, covering a mile and one-sixteenth on a sloppy/sealed track in 1:41.81 under a patient ride by Joe Talamo.

Baffert was delighted with the outcome. It was his record seventh win in the race, which was run as the Santa Catalina Stakes from 1964 through 2006.

“The horse got to sit off the pace and they have to learn to do that,” Baffert said. “I was happy with Joe. He rode him with a lot of confidence and was on his own. I didn’t give him any instructions. When he asked me what he should do, I told him, ‘You need to WIN THIS RACE.’

“This is the time of year when you start getting excited about the big three-year-old races. We’re still dreaming in Technicolor, but the horses have to start performing and moving forward from this point, and it’s fun to be in this position.”

Whether Mucho Gusto remains first string or a sub off the bench from Baffert’s varsity remains to be seen. At the moment, Mucho Gusto is among Baffert’s “starters” along with Improbable, Coliseum and his “Michael Jordan,” undefeated Eclipse Award winner as outstanding two-year-old male of 2018, Game Winner.

Coliseum is scheduled to start in this Sunday’s Grade II San Vicente Stakes at seven furlongs. The gray son of Tapit owned and bred by Godolphin LLC worked six furlongs from the gate Wednesday in a bullet 1:12.20 under Mike Smith.

“He came away from the gate a little slow,” Baffert said, “but he settled really well, which I really liked. I’m pretty happy with that.”

If one of his three-year-olds were to go on and join American Pharoah (2015) and undefeated Horse of the Year Justify (2018) as Triple Crown winners, Baffert would become the first trainer to capture the Classics three times and the Kentucky Derby six times.

Had the fates allowed, however, he might already hold those records.

In 1998, Victory Gallop hung an excruciating nose defeat on Real Quiet, preventing a Triple Crown sweep for Baffert, and in the 1996 Kentucky Derby, Grindstone nailed Cavonnier on the wire, also by a nose, defeats that will live in infamy.

LATEST CONTENT FROM XBTV

BOB BAFFERT SHEDROW STROLL: GET TO KNOW GAME WINNER, THE BREEDERS’ CUP JUVENILE AND TWO-YEAR-OLD ECLIPSE CHAMPION

MICHAEL MCCARTHY SHEDROW STROLL: GET TO KNOW POLAR, A PROMISING THREE-YEAR-OLD

BOB BAFFERT SHEDROW STROLL: GET TO KNOW IMPROBABLE, THE UNDEFEATED THREE-YEAR-OLD ON THE DERBY TRAIL

COLISEUM (OUTSIDE) AND SPEED FREAK WORKING FROM THE GATE

UNDEFEATED GAME WINNER WORKING 5-FURLONGS

MEGAHERTZ CHAMP VASILIKA WORKING 4-FURLONGS

FINISH LINESProud Emma, 6-1 chance on Jon White‘s morning line in today’s fourth race, is the last runner for Mike Machowsky after a 30-year training career. Machowsky will represent auction giant Fasig-Tipton in California starting Feb. 15. Machowsky won Saturday’s seventh race with Ministersdon’tlie ($12.80) under Aaron Gryder . . . Through 24 racing days, only four wins separate the top four in the race for the training lead. Doug O’Neill remains in front with 14 wins (he has 15 seconds); Peter Miller is second with 13, Richard Baltas third with 12 and Jerry Hollendorfer fourth with 10. The money won battle is close as well, with Miller leading Baltas, $789,788 to $780,957. Among jockeys, Flavien Prat leads Joel Rosario, 26-22. Winning favorites are consistent with the national average of about 33 percent: overall, 64 of 206 (31.07 percent); on dirt, 41 of 135 (30.37 percent); and on turf, 23 of 71 (32.39 percent) . . . Santa Anita will be dark for live racing Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday and reopen for live racing Thursday, Feb. 7, at 12:30 p.m. There will be simulcast racing Wednesday, with free general admission and parking. Admission gates open at 10 a.m.

SANTA ANITA STATISTICS

(Current Through Saturday, Feb. 2)

Jockey

Mts

1st

2nd

3rd

Win%

ITM%

Money Won

Flavien Prat

106

28

20

15

26%

59%

$1,752,832

Joel Rosario

115

22

21

20

19%

55%

$1,296,051

Heriberto Figueroa

107

18

10

16

17%

41%

$630,518

Geovanni Franco

102

15

12

13

15%

39%

$727,909

Tiago Pereira

78

14

9

8

18%

40%

$501,307

Rafael Bejarano

83

13

11

10

16%

41%

$672,654

Mike Smith

41

13

9

7

32%

71%

$912,841

Drayden Van Dyke

83

11

13

11

13%

42%

$650,663

Tyler Baze

120

10

22

17

8%

41%

$809,150

Joseph Talamo

84

8

14

13

10%

42%

$690,827

Kent Desormeaux

52

8

5

11

15%

46%

$585,939

Ruben Fuentes

59

7

7

12

12%

44%

$247,370

Assael Espinoza

64

7

3

10

11%

31%

$241,449

Agapito Delgadillo

34

5

5

4

15%

41%

$138,785

Edwin Maldonado

38

5

5

1

13%

29%

$198,952

Martin Pedroza

40

5

4

2

13%

28%

$153,940

Trainer

Mts

1st

2nd

3rd

Win%

ITM%

Money Won

Doug O’Neill

87

14

16

10

16%

46%

$644,504

Peter Miller

64

13

12

7

20%

50%

$789,788

Richard Baltas

66

12

15

11

18%

58%

$791,957

Jerry Hollendorfer

54

11

9

6

20%

48%

$738,591

J. Keith Desormeaux

32

9

5

5

28%

59%

$356,940

William E. Morey

37

8

8

6

22%

59%

$375,639

Philip D’Amato

55

7

9

8

13%

44%

$526,567

Mark Glatt

38

7

7

5

18%

50%

$281,778

Jeff Mullins

32

7

6

6

22%

59%

$461,424

John Sadler

40

6

9

7

15%

55%

$462,788

Bob Baffert

41

6

6

7

15%

46%

$666,382

Richard Mandella

24

6

2

2

25%

42%

$227,436

Steve Knapp

27

5

1

5

19%

41%

$116,596

William Spawr

12

5

1

2

42%

67%

$117,916