STABLE NOTES BY ED GOLDEN -SUNDAY, JUNE 23, 2019

  • OH, ZUZANNA! QUITE A RIDE TO CLAIMER OF MEET
  • THERE’S NO PLACE LIKE HOME FOR TRAINER CECIL
  • BAFFERT BREEZES McKINZIE FOR WHITNEY STAKES

FAIRYTALE COMES TRUE FOR TEAM ZUZANNA

It’s been a storybook ride the last three months for the five-year-old mare Zuzanna.

Claimed for $8,000 on Sept. 13, 2018 by a partnership group that includes TVG host and analyst Kurt Hoover, the bay daughter of Wilburn won three of four subsequent races, the most recent yesterday’s second at Santa Anita, a $46,000 starter allowance at a mile on turf.

Coming from seventh and last, Zuzanna won by a length and a half under Kent Desormeaux, who has ridden her to two of her last three victories, with one second. The win earned her honors as Claimer of the Meet in Santa Anita’s annual media poll.

“She’s a doll to ride,” Desormeaux said Sunday morning at Clockers’ Corner, giving considerable credit to her trainer, Bob Hess Jr., with whom the 49-year-old Hall of Fame rider has enjoyed remarkable success through the years dating back to the early 1990s, winning nearly 38 percent of the time on mounts conditioned by Hess.

“The race she lost (second by 1 ¼ lengths going a mile and an eighth on May 24) was probably her best effort with me, because there was always a target,” Desormeaux continued. “But even when she lost, she ran wild, she ran awesome; the winner just outran her that day.

“She showed her tenacity yesterday because she had to make a long run. When we left the gate, we went about 50 yards and I could hear the water squeezing out of the course from the two days of rain we had. It wasn’t really rain, but it was misty those mornings.

“So I was content to sit back there, and sure enough the field came back to me. She caught them, too, but in all the turf races the last two days, the winner came from last except in yesterday’s final race. So Zuzanna proved to be in the right spot, and she did the rest.

“Bob’s done a fabulous job with her.”

Addressing his success with Hess, Desormeaux was succinct. “I’m grateful to him for having the respect to put me on horses he likes,” Kent said. “My brother (trainer Keith Desormeaux) tries to do the same thing, but quite honestly, he tells me to my face, ‘Anybody can ride and win on Exaggerator. I need you to help me out on the ones that are not that good.’

“It’s funny the way he put it, but it makes me understand that sometimes it’s important to get fifth on a horse.”

Before Saturday’s races, Desormeaux was one of several Hall of Fame jockeys past and present who participated in a trackside benefit for the Permanently Disabled Jockeys Fund, which was later followed by a luxurious luncheon.

“The banquet was more impressive to me,” he said, “because we were all rubbing shoulders. Even my jaw dropped seeing some of the people I idolized as a young rider–Bobby Ussery, Braulio Baeza, Steve Cauthen.

“I didn’t know them all very well; I just knew their stories, but to have Steve Cauthen there made me feel really, really good just to be a part of it.”

BRIT SHOWS HIS WIT AFTER ROYAL ASCOT VISIT

Trainer Ben Cecil is back stateside after a recent visit to his native England.  “It was a pleasure trip,” Cecil said. “I went to see my family and all my friends, and also took the occasion to attend the races at Royal Ascot on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday.

“Being there is like nothing else. If we could bring a bit of that here, it would be great.”

Cecil made hay at Santa Anita while the sun was shining across the pond.

“I had two winners here while I was gone,” he said, “one last Friday and one the following Friday.”

Mentioned maybe he should stay away, Cecil laughed and said, “I’m thinking about it.”

FINISH LINES: Multiple grade I winner McKinzie worked four furlongs Sunday in 51 seconds for Bob Baffert who has him ticketed for the $1 million Whitney Stakes at Saratoga on Aug. 3. On the three-year-old front, Baffert has Affirmed Stakes winner Mucho Gusto headed for the July 20 Haskell at Monmouth and Game Winner to the Aug. 24 Travers at Saratoga. Meanwhile, Omaha Beach, the pre-race favorite for the Kentucky Derby, continues to near his first breeze since being declared from that May 4 race by jogging and galloping at Santa Anita for Richard Mandella . . .The racing community offers condolences to family and friends of owner/breeder John Toffan, who died after a lengthy illness last Monday at his home in Hidden Hills, CA., according toDaily Racing Form. He was 83. Partnered with the late Trudy McCaffery, they won the Santa Anita Derby with Free House in 1997 and Came Home in 2002. Other stakes winners they campaigned included  Bien BienBienamadoA.P. AssayBosque RedondoDel Mar DennisElaborateMane Minister and Pacific Squall. McCaffery died in 2007. Their trainer was Paco Gonzalez, since retired . . . Condolences also to family and friends of longtime owner/breeder Jim Ford, who passed away at 75 June 14 in Rancho Santa Fe, near Del Mar. His What a Spell, trained by Craig Lewis, became his first stakes winner when he took the 1991 Baldwin Stakes here and the highlight of his racing career came when Ticker Tape, an English-bred filly trained by Jim Cassidy, won the Grade I American Oaks in 2002 at Hollywood Park . . . Norberto Arroyo Jr. has been suspended three days (June 29, 30 and July 4) for causing interference on Street Imagein Friday’s first race . . . Santa Anita offers simulcast wagering this Thursday and Friday with free General Admission and free parking. Admission gates open at 10 a.m.

LATEST CONTENT FROM XBTV: 

McKinzie works 4 furlongs. 6-23-19 (Baffert)

Chasing Moments works 3 furlongs. 6-23-19 (Sherlock)

Via Egnatia (Outside) and Morse Code works 5 furlongs. 6-23-19 (Baltas)

XBTV Sunday: What to Watch for at Santa Anita Park on June 23rd, 2019.

Shedrow Stroll: Phil D’Amato’s accomplished Turfer Tiny Tina.

Shedrow Stroll: Phil D’Amato’s graded stakes winner Air Strike.

Shedrow Stroll: Phil D’Amato’s graded stakes winner Bowies Hero.

Shedrow Stroll: Phil D’Amato’s turf sprinter Master Ryan.

Quick Questions: With Trainer Dan Blacker.

Tequila Sunrise works 4 furlongs. 6-21-19 (Baltas)

Rafal works 4 furlongs. 6-21-19 (Baffert)

Grade 1 placed Ahimsa works 5 furlongs. 6-21-19 (Eurton)

Multiple stakes winner American Anthem works 6 furlongs. 6-21-19 (Baffert)

Bellafina works 4 furlongs. 6-22-19 (Callaghan)

Flor De La Mar works 4 furlongs. 6-22-19 (Baffert)

Scrappy Deville works 4 furlongs. 6-22-19 (Powell)

Baby Ice (Outside) and Platinum Equity works 4 furlongs. 6-22-19 (Knapp)

SANTA ANITA STATISTICS

(Current from April 12 through Saturday, June 22)

Jockey

Mts

1st

2nd

3rd

Win%

ITM%

Money Won

Flavien Prat

135

30

30

27

22%

64%

$2,202,197

Joseph Talamo

125

23

18

17

18%

46%

$1,322,467

Rafael Bejarano

140

22

21

29

16%

51%

$1,309,672

Tiago Pereira

136

21

11

20

15%

38%

$1,116,412

Ruben Fuentes

108

17

19

17

16%

49%

$775,570

Drayden Van Dyke

112

16

21

13

14%

45%

$1,428,983

Victor Espinoza

60

16

6

8

27%

50%

$926,351

Martin Garcia

70

15

14

11

21%

57%

$821,278

Edwin Maldonado

79

15

10

10

19%

44%

$605,602

Aaron Gryder

89

14

12

10

16%

40%

$669,456

Kent Desormeaux

72

14

10

9

19%

46%

$733,924

Mario Gutierrez

81

12

15

10

15%

46%

$788,082

Norberto Arroyo, Jr.

70

11

8

12

16%

44%

$667,323

Geovanni Franco

94

9

14

12

10%

37%

$648,322

Jorge Velez

68

9

7

11

13%

40%

$439,837

Martin Pedroza

42

7

6

7

17%

48%

$303,859

Mike Smith

26

5

3

2

19%

38%

$480,419

Heriberto Figueroa

48

5

3

2

10%

21%

$208,754

Agapito Delgadillo

46

4

6

10

9%

43%

$236,867

Trainer

Mts

1st

2nd

3rd

Win%

ITM%

Money Won

Doug O’Neill

115

23

15

24

20%

54%

$1,239,901

Mark Glatt

81

19

14

8

23%

51%

$902,506

Richard Baltas

81

18

14

10

22%

52%

$1,262,016

Philip D’Amato

86

14

13

10

16%

43%

$1,108,316

John Sadler

67

14

10

14

21%

57%

$1,018,975

Bob Baffert

41

9

12

7

22%

68%

$668,870

Jerry Hollendorfer

53

8

11

5

15%

45%

$773,529

Vladimir Cerin

49

7

12

5

14%

49%

$363,694

Steve Knapp

34

6

7

7

18%

59%

$255,598

Steven Miyadi

32

6

6

6

19%

56%

$337,546

John Shirreffs

27

6

4

2

22%

44%

$433,626

Carla Gaines

25

6

3

3

24%

48%

$557,048

William Spawr

24

6

2

6

25%

58%

$267,807

Andrew Lerner

16

6

0

1

38%

44%

$173,004

Brian J. Koriner

34

5

7

5

15%

50%

$328,997

J. Keith Desormeaux

34

5

6

6

15%

50%

$271,509

Robert Hess, Jr.

30

5

5

3

17%

43%

$214,586

Leonard Powell

26

5

3

6

19%

54%

$270,315

Richard Mandella

30

5

3

6

17%

47%

$282,946

George Papaprodromou

26

5

1

3

19%

35%

$159,266

Tim Yakteen

17

5

1

2

29%

47%

$216,677