MEDINA HAS SPIRIT FOR RUNHAPPY SA DERBY
SOOTHSAY IMPRESSES MANDELLA, OAKS NEXT
CHARMAINE’S MIA SHARP FOR ROYAL HEROINE
TRACK WELCOMES LIMITED NUMBER OF FANS
MEDINA SPIRIT SET FOR RUNHAPPY SANTA ANITA DERBY
Medina Spirit, twice runner-up to Life Is Good, worked four furlongs Sunday in 48 seconds flat as he prepares to deputize for his undefeated but sidelined stablemate in this Saturday’s Grade I Runhappy Santa Anita Derby.
“He went very nice (under jockey Juan Ochoa),” said Bob Baffert, who is seeking to add to his record of nine Santa Anita Derby victories.
“I also worked Hozier (runner-up to unbeaten stablemate Concert Tour in the March 13 Rebel at Oaklawn Park, five furlongs in 1:00.80), Charlatan (four furlongs in 48 flat) and Gamine (five furlongs in 59.60).”
Life Is Good was favored to win the May 1 Kentucky Derby before a small chip in his left hind ankle was detected following a workout on March 20, forcing him to miss the race and necessitating surgery by Dr. Larry Bramlage at Rood & Riddle Equine Hospital in Lexington, Ky. two days ago.
“The surgery went well,” Baffert said. “I received great reports on it. It was minor, so that was good and he should be back (racing) a lot sooner than we thought he would.”
Grade I Malibu Stakes winner Charlatan and Eclipse Award champion female sprinter Gamine are scheduled to run at Churchill Downs on Derby Day, Charlatan in the Grade I Churchill Downs presented by Ford and Gamine in the Grade I Derby City Distaff, both at seven furlongs.
Trainer John Sadler sent Runhappy Santa Anita Derby candidate Rock Your World five furlongs this morning in a bullet 59.20, fastest of 76 drills at the distance, more than two seconds faster than the average time of 1:01.37.
The Runhappy Santa Anita Derby headlines six stakes next Saturday, four of them graded and two showcasing California-bred or sired runners.
In addition to the Runhappy Santa Anita Derby, they are the Grade II Santa Anita Oaks for three-year-old fillies at 1 1/16 miles; the Grade II Royal Heroine for fillies and mares four and up at one mile on turf; and the Grade III Providencia Stakes for three-year-old fillies at 1 1/8 miles on turf.
Also, two Golden State Series races, the $150,000 Echo Eddie Stakes for three year olds at 6 ½ furlongs and the $150,000 Evening Jewel Stakes for three-year-old fillies at 6 ½ furlongs.
In all, the six stakes offer $1,750,000 in purse money. Entries for Saturday’s race will be taken on Wednesday.
Saturday’s latest local weather forecasts partly cloudy skies, one percent chance of rain and a high of 78 degrees.
First post time will be 12 noon.
SOOTHSAY GOES FROM MAIDEN WIN TO GRADE II
Soothsay moves from a Feb. 21 debut victory at six furlongs to Saturday’s Grade II Santa Anita Oaks at a mile and one-sixteenth, seemingly an uncharacteristic move for Hall of Fame trainer Richard Mandella.
But with a sparkling resume like his, it might be wise to give the three-year-old daughter of Distorted Humor a second look.
“She won pretty impressively the first time out,” Mandella said, alluding to her 1 ½-length triumph in come-from-behind fashion under Flavien Prat, who retains the mount.
“Her work (March 26) was fabulous (six furlongs in a bullet 1:11.40),” Mandella added, “so we’re taking a shot.”
CHARMAINE’S MIA REMAINS SHARP FOR ROYAL HEROINE
Charmaine’s Mia, in the best form of her career since she’s been under the guidance of Santa Anita’s leading trainer Phil D’Amato, seeks her third straight graded victory in Saturday’s Grade II Royal Heroine Stakes for fillies and mares four and up at a mile on turf.
D’Amato has only had the five-year-old daughter of The Factor for two races, winning both, the Grade III Las Cienegas at six furlongs and the Grade II Buena Vista at a mile, both on turf.
“She’s doing really well,” D’Amato said, barely containing his enthusiasm for the five-year-old bay who previously raced exclusively at Woodbine in Canada and Gulfstream Park in Florida before coming to California.
“They’re going to have to have their running shoes on (to beat her).”
Since winning the Buena Vista on Feb. 20, Charmaine’s Mia has been working lights out, including a bullet four furlong move in 48.20 on March 8. She worked five furlongs on the training track this morning in 1:00.40.
SANTA ANITA WELCOMES FANS BACK ON FRIDAY
Santa Anita Park is excited to announce that as Los Angeles County continues to make progress in its fight against COVID-19, the historic track will re-open to the public in a limited capacity beginning on Friday, April 2, per the State of California’s guidelines for large sporting event venues.
Tickets for Santa Anita Derby Weekend (April 2-4) will be sold online only at santaanita.com/open beginning 10 a.m. Monday, March 29 Pacific Time. Tickets will be sold in “pods” of two seats, four seats and six seats.
The health and safety of our horses, community, fans, and staff is our priority. Our team has worked diligently with local health officials to ensure that the most up-to-date safety guidelines and protocols are in place for your visit.
From increased safety and disinfecting measures, to changes to our seating, we’re committed to making sure our guests and staff can safely enjoy the races.
HERE’S WHAT WE’RE DOING IN THE PARK:
- Face masks required
- Limiting and monitoring attendance
- Socially distanced seating
- Contactless admission
- Contactless wagering
- Contactless & cashless food & beverage ordering
- Plexiglass at wagering & service windows
- Increased cleaning schedule
- Reminders for social distancing
FINISH LINES: Congrats to trainer Richard Baltas on winning Saturday’s Grade III Santa Ana Stakes for the fourth year in a row, this time with front-running Going to Vegas, who led 2-5 favorite Mucho Unusual on a merry chase for a mile and a quarter, scoring by nearly four lengths under a heady ride by Umberto Rispoli . . . Time flies department: trainer David Bernstein, who turned 81 on Jan. 6, and Hall of Fame jockey Kent Desormeaux, 51, hope to enjoy a more successful reunion in today’s fourth race with 9-2 morning line chance The Roan Ranger than they did going on three decades ago when they teamed to cross the wire first in the 1994 Santa Anita Handicap with champion The Wicked North, only to be disqualified to fourth. The Big ‘Cap was worth $1 million back then, with the winner receiving $550,000 and the fourth horse $75,000, a difference of $475,000. “People felt so bad for us,” remembers Bernstein, a Hall of Fame gentleman, “when we went to the Derby Restaurant for dinner that night, management picked up the tab for our whole party.” . . . Saturday’s hunch football exacta of Notre Dame and Defense Wins returned $15.60 in the seventh race . . . There were 213 recorded workouts on a busy Sunday morning, 41 on the training track . . . Santa Anita is dark Monday through Thursday. Live racing resumes 1 p.m. Friday, April 2. Fans are welcome on track in a limited capacity according to the State of California’s guidelines for large sporting event venues (see above item).
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