STABLE NOTES BY ED GOLDEN – SUNDAY, MARCH 31, 2019

  • KILROE PHOTO RESULTS IN A WIN FOR TEAM OHIO
  • ESPINOZA’S STAKES VICTORY GOOD ALL AROUND
  • McKINZIE AND GAME WINNER BREEZE TOMORROW
  • TODAY’S RAINBOW PICK SIX JACKPOT HITS $675,799
  • MANDATORY RAINBOW JACKPOT PAYOUT SATURDAY

LONGEST PHOTO HAS HAPPY ENDING FOR FUENTES

Hollywood has “The Longest Yard.” Now Santa Anita has “The Longest Photo.”

After an interminable amount of time–perhaps more than five minutes–as fans waited with the anticipation of an expectant father, results of a photo finish from Saturday’s Grade I Frank E. Kilroe Mile on turf were posted, showing 9-1 outsider Ohio the winner by the narrowest of noses over 4-5 favorite Catapult.

While it was the toughest of beats for the connections of Catapult, it was a feel-good story for those of Ohio, trainer Michael McCarthy and owners Eclipse Thoroughbred Partners and Bruce Treitman, but most of all 21-year-old jockey Ruben Fuentes, who was riding in his first Grade I race.

“My initial reaction was we got beat,” was the assessment Sunday morning from McCarthy, who gained international acclaim for his masterful preparation of City of Light in winning the $12 million Pegasus World Cup Invitational at Gulfstream Park on Jan. 26.

“I was very pleased that Ohio showed up and ran like that. But after about two or three minutes of waiting for the photo, I felt they were taking an awfully long time to look at it–maybe it could be a dead-heat.

“After about five minutes, I thought, ‘This is nice. I don’t think they’ll make anybody a loser here,’ and then when they eventually flashed his number (two), I was in total shock. I couldn’t believe it. Both horses ran too good to lose.

“I’m very pleased for Ruben. He’s a nice young man, comes out here and tries his best every day, is very polite and seems dedicated to his craft, so it’s good to be able to team up with someone like him.”

Ditto for Fuentes’ agent, 29-year-old Tijuana native Saul Marquez, who has been booking mounts for 12 years, the last two for the 21-year-old Fuentes, who hails from El Paso.

“He’s the hardest worker,” Marquez said. “He never says no, always has a smile on his face and I think this is the start of a long and successful career. It runs in the family, because Ruben’s father, Miguel, also rides. He’s known as the Mike Smith of Mexico City.

“Waiting for that photo yesterday was very nerve wracking, but very rewarding.”

TO THE SAN CARLOS VICTOR BELONGS THE SPOILS

To hear Victor Espinoza tell it, “I was out of work for seven months. Now I’m back working again.”

With every bit of humor there’s a touch of truth, but when the 46-year-old Hall of Fame member and Triple Crown winner rolled to a three-length victory on 15-1 outsider St. Joe Bay in Saturday’s Grade II San Carlos Stakes, it unleashed a wide range of emotions.

Espinoza had been out of action since last July when he suffered serious injuries in a training mishap at Del Mar. On more than one occasion during his arduous recovery, he questioned whether he would return to riding.

But when St. Joe Bay broke on top, opened a 4 ½-length lead into the stretch of the seven furlong race, and was never threatened to the wire, any doubts Victor had vanished.

“It was all about confidence because the horse was doing it so nicely,” Espinoza said Sunday morning. “He was just cruising along at a comfortable pace and we got the job done. I wasn’t thinking about winning turning for home, but when I saw the wire 20 feet away, that’s when I started to get excited.

“It was my first win since I came back and it’s always nice to get the first one out of the way. It was great to win for John (Sadler) and the Hronis brothers (owners of St. Joe Bay) because of all the support they have given me before and after my accident.

“They’ve always looked out for me, always checked on me, so it was great for me to win on one of their horses.”

It was the first stakes win for Espinoza since last May 28, when he won the Monrovia Stakes on Belvoir Bay for Peter Miller, and it should help business.

“Hopefully, it’ll pick some people’s heads up,” said agent Brian Beach, who books mounts for Victor and his nephew, apprentice Assael Espinoza. “I think everybody’s been taking a wait and see approach and want to see him ride other people’s horses.

“They’re reacting like they need to see him ride, like he has to prove himself all over again. But anybody who knows Victor knows how hard he’s worked in the gym and with physical therapy to get back to where he is.

“You don’t have to worry about his fitness or whether he’s ready to go, because he wouldn’t be back riding without being ready to go.

“He’s always told me he wouldn’t come back unless he’s 100 percent.”

McKINZIE, GAME WINNER TO DRILL FOR SATURDAY GRADE I’S

Santa Anita Handicap favorite McKinzie will have his final major workout tomorrow for the track’s marquee event for older horses. The Grade I fixture offers $600,000 in purse money and will be decided at a mile and a quarter.

“McKinzie is doing extremely well,” said Bob Baffert, who also will breeze 2018 male two-year-old champion Game Winner Monday for Saturday’s $1 million Santa Anita Derby, which offers 100 Kentucky Derby qualifying points to the winner, 40 to the runner-up, 20 to the third-place finisher and 10 to the fourth.

Baffert has won the Santa Anita Handicap five times, second only to Charlie Whittingham, who holds the record with nine.

Another Santa Anita Derby contender trained by Baffert, Roadster, worked six furlongs this morning in a bullet 1:12.60, and “went nice.” It was the fastest of 19 drills at the distance.

Fans will be treated to a stakes bonanza April 6, with seven added money events worth $2,750,000, topped by the $1 million Santa Anita Derby and the $600,000 Santa Anita Handicap presented by San Manuel Casino.

In addition to the 1 ¼-mile Big ‘Cap and the 1 1/8-mile Santa Anita Derby, Santa Anita will showcase the Grade I, $400,000 Santa Anita Oaks for fillies at 1 1/16 miles; the $200,000 Echo Eddie Stakes for three-year-olds at 6 ½ furlongs; the $200,000 Evening Jewel Stakes for three-year-old fillies at 6 ½ furlongs; the Grade II, $200,000 Royal Heroine Stakes for older fillies and mares at one mile on turf; and the Grade III, $150,000 Providencia Stakes for three-year-old fillies at 1 1/8 miles on the grass.

First post time for the biggest day in racing to date this year will be 12 noon.

RAINBOW SIX AT $675,799, CHRB APPROVES MANDATORY PAYOUT ON SATURDAY

Santa Anita’s 20 cent Single Ticket Rainbow Pick Six Jackpot continued to swell on Saturday, as there again was no single ticket winner, resulting in a Jackpot carryover into Sunday of $675,799.

With robust handle Saturday of $193,507 contributing to a total Jackpot pool of $825,003, there were 11 consolation tickets with six winners, each worth $9,397.45.

Sunday’s Rainbow Pick Six starts with race four with approximate post time 2:35 p.m.

In other Rainbow Jackpot news, the CHRB has approved a mandatory Jackpot payout Saturday if the popular 20 cent wager is not “hit” today, Thursday or Friday.

LATEST CONTENT FROM XBTV:

Mother Mother (Outside) prep for Beaumont Stakes at Keeneland works 5 furlongs (Baffert)

Roadster (Outside) SA Derby prep in company with  Explorer work 6 furlongs (Baffert)

Extra Hope (Outside) SA Derby prep in company with  Springs Eternal work 4 furlongs (Mandella)

Victor Espinoza on his return to the Winner’s Circle after injury.

Big ‘Cap Memories:  Harris Auerbach takes us back to the 1978 Santa Anita Handicap

Santa Anita Derby Memories:  Dan Hendricks Talks Brother Derek’s Win in the 2006 Santa Anita Derby

Santa Anita Derby Memories:  Laffit Pincay III Talks About Justify’s win in the Santa Anita Derby

Improbable (Outside) in company with  Once On Whiskey work 6 furlongs (Baffert) 3-30-19

Bellafina works 5 furlongs (Callaghan) 3-30-19

Enaya Alrabb works 6 furlongs (O’Neill) 3-30-19

Market Sentiment (Outside) and  Platinum Equity work 4 furlongs (Knapp) 3-30-19

FINISH LINES: There were 233 recorded workouts at Santa Anita Sunday, 58 on the training track . . . Santa Anita will be dark for live racing Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, and reopen for live action Thursday, April 4, at 1 p.m. There will be simulcast wagering Wednesday with free general admission and parking. Admission gates open 10 a.m.

SANTA ANITA STATISTICS

(Current Through Saturday, March 30)

Jockey

Mts

1st

2nd

3rd

Win%

ITM%

Money Won

Joel Rosario

207

51

36

34

25%

58%

$2,545,756

Flavien Prat

176

46

34

26

26%

60%

$2,751,718

Geovanni Franco

190

25

22

32

13%

42%

$1,415,079

Trainer

Mts

1st

2nd

3rd

Win%

ITM%

Money Won

Doug O’Neill

167

28

26

28

17%

49%

$1,451,594

John Sadler

81

22

18

10

27%

62%

$1,345,986

Richard Baltas

116

21

20

23

18%

55%

$1,485,250

Peter Miller

105

21

17

12

20%

48%

$1,137,939

Jerry Hollendorfer

93

15

13

17

16%

48%

$1,178,591