- IN MARATHONS ON TURF, LEAVE IT TO WARD ‘N JERRY
- AMERICAN STAKES A ‘GOOD SPOT’ FOR TRUE VALOUR
- MARGOT’S BOY MAKES STAKES DEBUT IN SNOW CHIEF
- LONGTIME CHART CALLER SCHNEIDER TO BID ADIEU
- MILLER AHEAD OF BAFFERT, 31-29, FOR TRAINING LEAD
SAN JUAN CAPISTRANO IDEAL FOR WARD ‘N JERRY
There’s an old saying in racing about a horse that “can run all day,” and it applies wholeheartedly to Ward ‘n Jerry, a seven-year-old California-bred son of Lucky Pulpit whose forte is marathon turf races.
That’s why the gelding owned and bred by Mr. and Mrs. Larry Williams is coming back on a quick turnaround in next Sunday’s traditional closing day feature, the Grade III San Juan Capistrano Stakes at a mile and three-quarters on turf.
One might say Ward ‘n Jerry tuned up for the race in his last start on June 6 when he made a mild rally to finish fifth in the one-mile Crystal Water Stakes under 126 pounds.
“That wasn’t quite his distance,” said Mike Puype, who sent out Ward ‘n Jerry to win the Grade III San Luis Rey Stakes at a mile and a half on grass March 21 at Santa Anita. “There’s not really anything at Del Mar at a distance he likes so we have nothing to lose coming back here in just two weeks.
“Looking at the field, there’s not that many horses of quality that can run that far, either. It’s a good spot . . . He’s going to be pretty tough to beat in there.”
In 21 career races, Ward ‘n Jerry has won six, with two seconds and three thirds for earnings of $375,579. All but his first three races–all sprints–have come on turf, the last 18 in a row at a mile or longer.
Puype, 53, a native of Phoenix, has been training since 1986, and has the utmost respect for Mr. and Mrs. Williams. “I’ve been with them a long time,” he said. “They’re great clients.”
They live in Boise, Idaho, and in 1979, Williams founded the Idaho Timber Corporation, which grew into one of the top 10 private corporations in Idaho. They own three stallions, including Lucky Pulpit who stands at Harris Farms in Coalinga, California.
Should Puype capture the San Juan, it would still leave him in pursuit of a record that will never be broken, established by Charlie Whittingham, who won the race a remarkable 14 times.
SNOW CHIEF MARKS STAKES DEBUT FOR MARGOT’S BOY
Margot’s Boy, yet another son of the “now” California stallion Clubhouse Ride, goes for his fourth straight victory and his first stakes triumph in Saturday’s $150,000 Snow Chief Stakes at a mile and an eighth on turf.
The race is named for the Eclipse Award winner as champion three-year-old male of 1986 who retired in 1987 as the all-time California-bred earnings leader with $3,383,210.
He was trained by Mel Stute.
Clubhouse Ride stands at Pete and Evelyn Parrella’s 145-acre Legacy Ranch in Clements, California, for $3,500.
Owned and bred by Alfred Pais (pronounced pie-EEZ), Margot’s Boy’s style is one of catch me if you can. In his last three races, he went to the front and stayed there, although at a mile and one eighth the Snow Chief will mark his longest race yet.
“We’ll see how it develops; he doesn’t have to be in front,” said Craig Lewis, who also conditioned multiple Grade II winner Clubhouse Ride.
“But I prefer to be in front if nobody else wants to be there and if he doesn’t have to go too fast.”
Drayden Van Dyke has ridden Margot’s Boy in all of his races and will be aboard again Saturday in the Snow Chief, one in the lucrative Golden State Series, this restricted to three-year-olds.
“I won’t have to tell Drayden anything,” Lewis said. “He knows the horse very well. He’s a smart rider; I’m sure everything will be fine.
TRUE VALOUR GETS CLASS RELIEF IN AMERICAN
True Valour, a hard-trying Irish-bred son of Kodiac, seeks his third United States stakes win in next Sunday’s Grade III American Stakes for three-year-olds and up at a mile on turf.
Still a full horse at age six, True Valour has had eventful trips in almost all of his seven starts in this country, including being in tight last out when finishing sixth, beaten only 4 ½ lengths, in the Grade I Shoemaker Mile on grass May 25.
“I think he had an OK trip,” said trainer Simon Callaghan of the Shoemaker. “I think he’s just a notch below those very top horses. “Without that many horses shipping in for the American, this is going to be a good spot and he’s going to be very competitive.”
Jose Valdivia Jr., who rode True Valour for the first time in the Shoemaker, retains the mount. Overall, the bay has a 5-2-7 record from 24 starts, with earnings of $397,612 for Qatar Racing Limited.
AFTER 37 YEARS, EQUIBASE CHART CALLER SCHNEIDER TO RETIRE
In a career as a Chart Caller that began with a start-up publication named Sports Eye at Bay Meadows in the fall of 1983, Bay Area native Mike Schneider will put his binoculars down for the final time following the last race on Santa Anita’s closing day, next Sunday, June 21, thus concluding a distinguished 37-year career covering The Sport of Kings.
First hired by Daily Racing Form as their Chart Caller beginning at Golden Gate Fields in January, 1985, Schneider has toiled for the past 22 years in that role for Equibase.
“I was with Sports Eye and then the Form for a total of 15 years, primarily in the Bay Area but also for five spring meets at Remington Park in Oklahoma City,” said Schneider, 64, prior to today’s nine-race card at The Great Race Place. “I worked part of one meet at Turf Paradise in 1989, and when Jon White went to work full time for Santa Anita, I was transferred by the Form to Southern California, beginning with the L.A. County Fair in 1993 and when Equibase took over, I went to work for them on June 22, 1998 at Hollywood Park.”
When asked to name the greatest jockeys he’s covered, he said, “Two guys, Shoemaker and Pincay. I worked for Sports Eye the summer of 1984 at Hollywood Park and it was incredible. Shoe had those hands and he was such a great judge of pace. Pincay, he was just so strong. So fearless and so dedicated to the game.”
As for top equine performances, Schneider rates Zenyatta’s miraculous last to first win in the 2009 Breeders’ Cup Classic, John Henry’s stellar performances when the big money was up and the 1997 Santa Anita Derby stretch duel between Free House and Silver Charm as the best he’s witnessed.
An ardent A’s and Raiders fan, Schneider and his wife Kathleen will be moving to New Orleans over the summer and although he’ll be in close proximity to racing at Fair Grounds, he acknowledges he’ll face geographic and yes, political challenges in maintaining his sporting allegiances from The Big Easy.
“With the time zone difference, it’ll be tougher to watch the A’s, for sure,” he said. “Now that there is no Oakland Raiders, there is no football anymore, so it doesn’t matter.”
FINISH LINES: Peter Miller holds a 31-29 lead over Bob Baffert in the race for leading trainer, but Baffert has a 9-8 edge over Miller for most stakes wins at the meet that ends on June 21. Flavien Prat has all but officially cinched leading rider honors with a 77-57 advantage over Abel Cedillo, but Mike Smith has a 12-11 lead over Prat for most stakes wins . . . Live racing resumes at 1 p.m. Friday, June 19, followed by the final two days of racing Saturday and Sunday.
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