- McKINZIE WORKS ‘VERY WELL’ FOR SAN FELIPE STAKES
- GIANT EXPECTATIONS FIRES A BULLET FOR THE BIG ‘CAP
- CITY OF LIGHT IS ON COURSE FOR GRADE I TRIPLE BEND
- PRAT RIDES CHAMPION WORLD APPROVAL IN KILROE
McKINZIE ‘LOOKS TERRIFIC’ IN SAN FELIPE BREEZE
Undefeated McKinzie, probable favorite for next Saturday’s San Felipe Stakes, worked seven furlongs Sunday morning towards that objective in 1:23.80 under Drayden Van Dyke.
Trainer Bob Baffert said the son of Street Sense went “very well” for his expected engagement with another Triple Crown contender, Bolt d’Oro, who is scheduled to work a half mile Monday at 9 a.m. under Victor Espinoza.
McKinzie worked in company with Downtowner, who was given a five furlong time of a minute flat. Private clocker Gary Young said McKinzie, a well-established good work horse, “looked terrific.”
Solomini, runner-up in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile last Nov. 4, also worked in company for Baffert, going six furlongs in a bullet 1:11.40 while stablemate and fellow Derby hopeful Restoring Hope, with Van Dyke up, was clocked in 1:11.60.
Baffert said Solomini would make his next start in the Rebel at Oaklawn Park March 17.
The San Felipe offers 50 Kentucky Derby qualifying points to the winner, 20 to the runner-up, 10 to the third-place finisher and five to the fourth.
Also working Sunday for Baffert was Awesome Again winner Mubtaahij, who will be ridden by Mike Smith in next Saturday’s Grade I, $600,000 Santa Anita Handicap presented by San Manuel Casino, and Triple Bend nominee Cat Burglar. Going six furlongs in company, each of the latter pair was timed in 1:11.80.
GIANT EXPECTATIONS SHARP FOR BIG ‘CAP
“Very happy” is how Peter Eurton described his emotions after watching Giant Expectations work five furlongs Sunday in a bullet 59 seconds flat for the Santa Anita Handicap.
Corey Nakatani was aboard for the drill, which was the fastest of 20 at the distance.
Probables for the 81st edition of the historic Big ‘Cap: Accelerate, Curlin Road, Fear the Cowboy, Giant Expectations, Hoppertunity, Mubtaahij, Prime Attraction and Top of the Game.
Confirmed jockey assignments have Nakatani on Giant Expectations, Flavien Prat on Hoppertunity and Kent Desormeaux on Top of the Game.
CITY OF LIGHT DOING VERY WELL FOR TRIPLE BEND
City of Light, winner of the Grade I Malibu Stakes last Dec. 26, is on course for Saturday’s Grade I Triple Bend Stakes and a meeting with Breeders’ Cup Sprint champion and Eclipse Award winner Roy H in the $400,000 race at seven furlongs.
“The horse is training awfully well,” City of Light’s trainer Michael McCarthy said Sunday morning. “I’m very pleased with his preparation.
“Unfortunately, we didn’t get to make the race at Oaklawn (Razorback on Feb. 19) because of inclement weather, so we decided to go ahead and reroute from here, although it’s a little difficult to go ahead and keep a horse in peak form for a couple of extra weeks, but he seems like he’s showing no signs of training any different than he has.”
Drayden Van Dyke, who was aboard for the Malibu win, will be back on City of Light in the Triple Bend, while regular rider Kent Desormeaux returns aboard Roy H as does Flavien Prat on Bing Crosby winner Ransom the Moon.
California Cup Sprint winner Edwards Going Left, claimed for $50,000 by John Sadler for Hronis Racing on Feb. 9, 2017, and winner of seven of 10 starts since, one via disqualification, worked five furlongs Sunday in 59.60 for the Triple Bend.
Tyler Baze, who has ridden the gelded son of Midnight Lute in his last 10 starts, retains the mount.
PRAT RIDES ECLIPSE CHAMP WORLD APPROVAL IN KILROE MILE
Flavien Prat and Evin Roman, who tied for the 2017 Santa Anita Spring Meet riding title with 41 wins each, are in another pitched battle for the 2018 Winter Meet crown.
Through 39 days, Roman holds a 34-33 lead over Prat.
Meanwhile, Prat and his agent, Derek Lawson, are excited about obtaining the mount on 2017 Eclipse Award champion turf male World Approval in Saturday’s Grade I Kilroe Mile. Prat had ridden Om to victory in the Thunder Road on Feb. 10 and anticipated riding the Dan Hendricks trainee in the Kilroe until receiving a call from Mark Casse, trainer of World Approval.
“When the decision was made by Casse not to go to Dubai (with World Approval for the 1 1/8-mile Dubai Turf on March 31), he called to see if we’d be interested in riding World Approval in the Kilroe,” Lawson said.
“(John) Velazquez, who had ridden World Approval in his last three races, including a victory in the Breeders’ Cup Mile, has a commitment to ride Vino Rosso for Todd Pletcher that day in the Tampa Bay Derby, so of course I said yes.”
Although Prat remains neck and neck with Roman for Santa Anita’s Winter Meet title, when Lawson was reminded that Roman loses his five-pound apprentice allowance in a week on March 11, he dismissed it with a cat-that-ate-the-canary-smile and said, “too bad.”
FINISH LINES: Trainer Barry Abrams enjoyed his 64th birthday this morning with friends and well wishers who consumed a carrot cake at Clockers’ Corner. Abrams celebrated a day earlier in the winner’s circle after a horse he bred in part, Fast as Cass, won the fourth race under Flavien Prat for trainer Tim Yakteen . . . Congratulations to champion apprentice of 2017 Evin Roman on the occasion of his 20th birthday today. Roman flies out of California tonight for his native Puerto Rico to be with his girlfriend, Andrea, who also turns 20 tomorrow. An aspiring jockey, Andrea is attending the riding school in the Island Nation that produced Roman and Eclipse Award-winning riding phenoms, the brothers Jose and Irad Ortiz Jr. . . . Asked how Midnight Bisou was this morning after her authoritative win in Saturday’s Santa Ysabel Stakes, trainer Bill Spawr sported two thumbs up . . . Jockey Rajiv Maragh has been suspended two days (March 10 and 11) for causing interference in the stretch on Tell Your Mama in Thursday’s second race . . . Best wishes to Santa Anita usher Bobby Warren, who remains hospitalized with injuries sustained in a motorcycle accident this past Tuesday . . . How cold was it early this morning? Trainer Andrew Lerner said there was frost on his windshield when he left for the track.
|SANTA ANITA STATISTICS|
|(Current Through Saturday, March 3)|
|Drayden Van Dyke||115||21||12||11||18%||38%||$1,269,803|
|William E. Morey||29||10||2||8||34%||69%||$403,203|
|J. Keith Desormeaux||34||7||3||6||21%||47%||$260,829|