STABLE NOTES BY ED GOLDEN SUNDAY, JANUARY 27, 2019

  • ESPINOZA IS CLEARED TO RESUME HIS RIDING CAREER
  • GUNMETAL GRAY BREEZES FOR ROBERT LEWIS STAKES
  • BOB BAFFERT SHEDS LAUDATORY ‘LIGHT’ ON McCARTHY
  • SANTA ANITA JOCKEYS IN CHARITY GAME ON THURSDAY
  • STRONG WORK ETHIC PAYING OFF FOR DIEGO SANCHEZ
  • PICK 6 JACKPOT HAS GUARANTEED POOL OF $2 MILLION

VICTOR ESPINOZA COULD BE RACE RIDING IN TWO WEEKS

Victor Espinoza said Sunday morning at Santa Anita that doctors have cleared him to resume his riding career.

The 46-year-old Triple Crown winner and Hall of Fame member suffered a fractured vertebra in his neck and a stinger to his left shoulder and arm in a training mishap at Del Mar last July 22 and has been sidelined since, but worked his first horse on Jan. 5 and two more this morning, one for trainer Bob Baffert and another for Jim Cassidy.

Yesterday, he breezed one for Carla Gaines.

After the Jan. 5 work, Espinoza and his agent, Brian Beach, sought a third doctor’s opinion after two had rendered disparate medical judgments on how his recovery would play out should he resume riding competitively.

“Everything is good,” Espinoza said this morning. “You see different doctors and they have different opinions, but at the end of the day, I probably feel stronger than before. Doctors said I could go back to riding and see how I feel, and if I feel good, I’m good to go.

“I’ve been given the green light to ride and now it will be up to me when I’m fit and ready, but I’m pretty much ready right now.”

Added Beach, who also represents Victor’s nephew, apprentice Asa Espinoza: “We saw a third doctor just to make sure, and basically the third opinion was the same as before. Victor’s good to go and we’re looking at a return in the middle of February, somewhere in there.”

GUNMETAL GRAY WORKS FOR KEY KENTUCKY DERBY PREP

Sham Stakes winner Gunmetal Gray had his final major work for this Saturday’s Robert B. Lewis Stakes, going six furlongs Sunday in 1:15.20 for part owner Jerry Hollendorfer.

“He galloped out good,” said the Hall of Fame trainer, who has re-engaged Mike Smith to ride in the Grade III event at 1 1/16 miles that offers 10 Kentucky Derby qualifying points to the winner, four to the runner-up, two for the third-place finisher and one to the fourth.

Prior to the one mile Sham on Jan. 5, Gunmetal Gray, a gray son of Exchange Rate, was a distant fifth in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Nov. 2 behind undefeated champion Game Winner, but was second to him in the Grade I American Pharoah prior to that last Sept. 29.

Also expected for the Lewis are Kid Cantina, Mucho Gusto and Nolo Contento.Mucho Gusto worked six furlongs Sunday in 1:12.60 for Bob Baffert.

BAFFERT: McCARTHY ‘VERY DESERVING’ OF PEGASUS VICTORY

Michael McCarthy earned his most noteworthy victory Saturday when City of Light rolled to a 5 ¾-length triumph over Horse of the Year runner-up Accelerate and 10 other rivals in the $9 million Pegasus World Cup Invitational at Gulfstream Park.

The fastidious former protégé of Todd Pletcher, who turns 48 on Feb. 1, was most deserving, in the opinion of a trainer who has been there, done that: Bob Baffert.

“He’s very deserving,” said the two-time Triple Crown-winning trainer Sunday morning. “I’ve watched him through the years and he’s worked hard and gone through the process. He deserves a victory like that, especially working with Todd all those years, although he’s worked for a lot of others.

“McCarthy did a tremendous job managing that horse.”

SANTA ANITA JOCKEYS SET FOR CHARITY BASKETBALL GAME THURSDAY

The 52nd annual Santa Anita Jockeys vs. Holy Angels Elementary School Charity Basketball Game will be played this Thursday, Jan. 31. at La Salle High School in Pasadena.

Proceeds from the game will benefit Holy Angels Athletics and the Bill Hartack

Charitable Foundation, which contributes to several Thoroughbred racing industry charities and presents the winning rider in each year’s Kentucky Derby with the Hartack Memorial Award.

It is named in honor of the late Hall of Fame jockey, William Hartack, who along with Eddie Arcaro, won the Kentucky Derby a record five times.

With tip-off set for 7:05 p.m., Hall of Fame jockeys Kent Desormeaux, Laffit Pincay, Jr., Mike Smith, Alex Solis and Gary Stevens will be available at center court for an autograph session beginning at 6:30 p.m.

The jockeys’ squad will be under the direction of Tony Vong, who also serves as “Big Money” Mike Smith’s personal trainer, while the Holy Angels will be coached by Michael Hernandez and Job Rivera.

Tickets are $5 per person, and for every two tickets purchased, individuals will receive one free admission ticket to Santa Anita Park.

La Salle High School is located at the southwest corner of Sierra Madre Blvd. and Michillinda Ave. in Pasadena, approximately three miles from Santa Anita.

Admission tickets and promotional tee shirts are on sale at Champions! Gifts and Apparel in Santa Anita’s East Paddock Gardens, or through Holy Angels School in Arcadia.

SANCHEZ EARNS HIS KEEP AT SANTA ANITA

Diego Sanchez is making an impact at Santa Anita on little cat’s feet.

The 41-year-old native of Spain caught the eye of even the most jaded horseplayer on Jan. 13 when he piloted 12-1 shot Diamond Blitz  to a front-running 2 ¼-length victory in the first race, a one-mile turf event in which the bay Munnings colt trained by Keith Desormeaux opened an eight-length lead after a half mile in 46.84.

That strategy caused naysayers alarm, thinking the cavalry would storm home late.

It never happened. Diamond Blitz had plenty left in the tank.

The victory was the third of the meet from only 11 mounts for the agentless Sanchez, who represents himself, working diligently in the mornings to hustle business.

Desormeaux, turns out, is an equal-opportunity employer. In addition to giving a leg up on many winners to his Hall of Fame brother Kent, who needs just one to reach 6,000 career victories in North America, the trainer has landed in the winner’s circle riding relatively unknowns Sanchez and Saul Arias.

“I believe I’m making progress,” said Sanchez, who came to the U.S. in 2007. “I’m dedicated and realize you need a positive attitude and staying power to achieve your goals.”

$2 MILLION GUARANTEED RAINBOW PICK SIX JACKPOT

With $354,642 in “new” money wagered into Saturday’s 20 cent Single Ticket Pick Six Jackpot contributing to a massive live money pool of $1,640,048, there was again no single ticket winner, but a total of 36 consolation tickets were each worth $5,226.

And, with a mandatory payout looming next Saturday, Feb. 2, Santa Anita will again guarantee $2 million in today’s Rainbow Six Jackpot, which will commence with race five on a 10-race program.

Average field size in Sunday’s Rainbow Six stands at nine horses per race. The featured $70,000 Clockers’ Corner Stakes, for older horses at 6 ½ furlongs down the hillside turf course, has been slotted as race eight and Peter Miller’s Conquest Tsunami, who will be ridden by Drayden Van Dyke, is the 5-2 morning line favorite.

Approximate post time for Sunday’s fifth race is at 2:03 p.m. PT.

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

LATEST CONTENT FROM XBTV

PATH TO PEGASUS: EPISODE 1

PATH TO PEGASUS: EPISODE 2

PATH TO PEGASUS: EPISODE 3

PATH TO THE PEGASUS: EPISODE 4

BOB BAFFERT SHEDROW STROLL: GET TO KNOW HECK YEAH

MICHAEL MCCARTHY SHEDROW STROLL: GET TO KNOW CITY OF LIGHT

MCKINZIE (OUTSIDE) AND SHOW ME DA LUTE PREPARING FOR SAN PASQUAL STAKES

GUNMETAL GRAY’S FINAL MAJOR WORK IN PREPARATION FOR SATURDAY’S ROBERT B. LEWIS STAKES

MUCHO GUSTO (OUTSIDE) PREPARING FOR ROBERT B. LEWIS STAKES ALONG WITH ROMAN ROSSO

DABSTER (OUTSIDE) AND NERO WORKING SIX FURLONGS THIS MORNING

FINISH LINES: Trainer Bill Morey was delighted to win yesterday’s $200,000 Unusual Heat Turf Classic presented by City National Bank for the second straight year, each time under Kent Desormeaux, now one shy of 6,000 career wins in North America. “He’s one of the best of all time,” Morey said of the three-time Kentucky Derby winner and Hall of Fame member, who turns 49 of Feb. 27. “It was a pleasure to have him on my horse for win No. 5,999 and if I can’t put him on for No. 6,000, I hope it’s his brother (trainer Keith Desormeaux).” . . . Phil D’Amato won more races Saturday–four–than he had the first 20 days of the Winter Meet, including two stakes, but it wasn’t a first: “I’ve done it twice before,” the 43-year-old trainer said. “It was fun to win two Cal-bred stakes and a nice allowance race, all for good owners of mine. It was a great day. I had a bout of seconditis (seven) but broke through on Cal Cup day and I’m very happy for my team that works so hard. Hopefully, this will carry the momentum.” . . . Congratulations to agent Patty Sterling on winning five races Saturday with riders she represents, Tiago Pereira (four victories) and Aaron Gryder (one). “I won four in one day with Brayan Pena at Los Al,” said the daughter of the late trainer Larry Sterling (winner of the 1978 Santa Anita Handicap with Vigors) and the niece of former jockey Larry (Win Again) Gilligan. “I felt all the horses had good chances yesterday.”

Patty has been an agent for “exactly three years.” Before that she was a clocker for 18 years . . . Shelbe Ruis, who has been working several years with her father, trainer Mick Ruis and his wife, Wendy, sends out her first horse as a trainer in her own right in today’s fourth race, a Candy Ride colt named Popcorn for Eddie,12-1 on Jon White‘s morning line . . . There were 244 recorded works at Santa Anita Sunday, 41 on the training track . . . Santa Anita will be dark for live racing Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday and reopen for live racing Thursday, Jan. 31, at 12:30 p.m. There will be simulcast racing Wednesday, with free general admission and free parking. Admission gates open at 10 a.m.

SANTA ANITA STATISTICS

(Current Through Saturday, Jan. 26)

Jockey

Mts

1st

2nd

3rd

Win%

ITM%

Money Won

Flavien Prat

88

24

16

12

27%

59%

$1,467,119

Joel Rosario

94

16

17

16

17%

52%

$1,061,803

Heriberto Figueroa

89

16

7

13

18%

40%

$525,354

Tiago Pereira

64

13

6

6

20%

39%

$446,723

Mike Smith

35

12

7

6

34%

71%

$799,110

Geovanni Franco

84

11

9

10

13%

36%

$567,934

Rafael Bejarano

69

10

11

8

14%

42%

$531,599

Drayden Van Dyke

70

9

12

9

13%

43%

$545,217

Joseph Talamo

73

7

12

12

10%

42%

$572,563

Assael Espinoza

56

7

2

8

13%

30%

$220,109

Tyler Baze

100

6

19

14

6%

39%

$651,175

Kent Desormeaux

45

6

5

9

13%

44%

$484,524

Ruben Fuentes

49

5

6

9

10%

41%

$188,788

Agapito Delgadillo

27

4

4

3

15%

41%

$103,462

Edwin Maldonado

32

4

4

1

13%

28%

$174,849

Martin Pedroza

33

4

3

1

12%

24%

$102,807

Trainer

Mts

1st

2nd

3rd

Win%

ITM%

Money Won

Doug O’Neill

69

13

12

8

19%

48%

$533,046

Richard Baltas

58

10

14

10

17%

59%

$704,643

Peter Miller

53

10

9

7

19%

49%

$640,846

Jerry Hollendorfer

45

10

6

6

22%

49%

$566,349

J. Keith Desormeaux

31

9

5

4

29%

58%

$338,940

Philip D’Amato

43

7

7

5

16%

44%

$478,883

William E. Morey

29

6

5

5

21%

55%

$278,299

Jeff Mullins

30

5

6

6

17%

57%

$431,024

Mark Glatt

29

5

6

4

17%

52%

$201,810

John Sadler

35

4

8

7

11%

54%

$403,848

Bob Baffert

32

4

4

5

13%

41%

$473,071

Vladimir Cerin

24

4

3

2

17%

38%

$187,762

Hector O. Palma

25

4

3

2

16%

36%

$118,465

Brian Koriner

17

4

3

1

24%

47%

$320,931

Simon Callaghan

19

4

2

5

21%

58%

$236,943

Steve Knapp

23

4

1

4

17%

39%

$91,545

William Spawr

11

4

1

2

36%

64%

$108,016

Richard Mandella

18

4

1

2

22%

39%

$144,834