Stable Notes By Ed Golden – Sunday, March 8, 2020

  • GOOD STORIES ABOUND ON BIG ‘CAP SATURDAY
  • HARD NOT TO LOVE SET FOR GRADE I BEHOLDER
  • HENRY MORENO TO BE REMEMBERED THURSDAY

HAPPY DAYS ARE HERE AGAIN AT SANTA ANITA

Three feel-good story lines emerged from a spectacular afternoon of racing on Big ‘Cap Saturday, two familiar, one not so.

Bob Baffert won another San Felipe Stakes, his seventh, adding to his record; John Sadler won the Santa Anita Handicap for the third straight year, a first in the 83-year history of the storied race; and Ron McAnally, whose victories are as scarce as hen’s teeth in his 87th year, captured No. 706 at The Great Race Place, good for fourth on the all-time list.

Only Bobby Frankel, Charlie Whittingham and Baffert stand ahead of him.

Baffert won the San Felipe with undefeated Authentic; Sadler went to the junior varsity to take the Big ‘Cap with 9-1 shot Combatant after favored stablemate Gift Box was scratched due to an ankle issue; and McAnally scored a front-running victory in the ninth race with his homebred She’s Our Charm at $11.60 for his wife, Deborah, the filly’s owner and co-breeder.

“They looked fine today,” Baffert said of Authentic and Thousand Words, who finished fourth in the San Felipe. The two-time Triple Crown winner intends to keep Authentic here for the Grade I, $1 million Santa Anita Derby April 4, but plans for Thousand Words were on hold.

“I haven’t figured it out yet,” he said of Thousand Words. “I’ll wait two weeks.”

Presently loaded with Triple Crown contenders in pursuit of his sixth Kentucky Derby victory which would tie him with legendary trainer Ben Jones, Baffert sent one of them, sensational debut winner Charlatan, six furlongs this morning in a bullet 1:12.60, and another, San Vicente winner Nadal, five furlongs in a bullet 59.60 for Saturday’s Rebel at Oaklawn Park.

Drayden Van Dyke, who rode Authentic in the San Felipe, breezed both horses.

Sadler, meanwhile, weathered the unexpected storm unleashed by Gift Box in relatively good order, looking at the glass as half full this morning.

“It was a great day; we were just thrilled,” said Sadler, who also sent out Flagstaff to take the Grade II San Carlos Stakes under Victor Espinoza. “To win our third Big ‘Cap in a row is tremendous. I’m really happy.

“Saturday morning, we were down here (holding his hand near ankle level) after we learned Gift Box wouldn’t run, and we ended the day up here (hand above his head). It was an emotional roller coaster.

“Gift Box had a little swelling in his ankle, we’re going to do some tests the next couple of days, it doesn’t look like anything terrible, but he wasn’t good to go yesterday. Everybody forgets these are horses and things happen. They get sick and that’s part of the game.”

McAnally, a mainstay here since 1948, still is consumed with the ambiance and history of Santa Anita, where he can be found by sunup race mornings at Clockers’ Corner, decades after his glory days with legendary two-time Horse of the Year John Henry.

“I don’t even think about retiring,” said McAnally, whose assistant of 25 years, 69-year-old former trainer Dan Landers, does all his heavy lifting at the barn. Dan’s memories of Santa Anita go back to its opening, on Christmas Day in 1934, when his late father, Dale, won the second race ever run at the track, aboard Let Her Play for owner/trainer H.T. Palmer.

A five-year-old bay mare, Let Her Play won by a length and a half, paid $10.20 to win and earned $625 from a purse of $800. Yellow and dog-eared, Dan still has a chart of the race.

“I love being out here,” McAnally said. “It put me where I am, and I tell everybody, ‘If you love something you’re doing, it’s not a job. People sit on the freeway five days a week and they can’t wait till the weekend comes to get a couple of days off.”

“I love coming out just watching the horses. I never dreamed I’d be in the Hall of Fame because this was something I liked to do, and my wife always supported me in my work. Behind every successful man is a good woman. She lets me do what I wanted to do.”

Asked how long he’s been married, McAnally shrugged it off. He has other priorities.

“I don’t know,” he said. “I don’t count the years.”

FINISH LINES: Popular Hard Not to Love trained by John Shirreffs seeks her seventh win from eight starts and her first going two turns in Saturday’s Grade I Beholder Mile. The four-year-old daughter of Hard Spun, who lost her left eye when kicked by another horse as a youngster, won the Grade I La Brea Stakes and the Grade II Santa Monica, each at seven furlongs, in her last two starts. Expected to face her in the Beholder are Der LuOllie’s CandyQueen Bee to You and Zusha . . .Trainer George Papaprodromou will ship American Theorem Wednesday to Arkansas where he will make his three-year-old debut in the Rebel Stakes against Nadal and other Triple Crown prospects . . .There will be a Celebration of Life on Thursday, March 12, from 2 to 4 p.m. in the Directors Room at Santa Anita for popular trainer Henry Moreno who died Feb. 23 at the age of 90 . . .Big ‘Cap Day stats: 128 horses worked Saturday morning and 105 horses ran over the course on a 12-race program that morning and afternoon with zero issues . . . Santa Anita will be dark for live racing Monday through Thursday, March 9 through 12, and resume live racing 1 p.m. Friday, March 13. There will be simulcast wagering Wednesday and Thursday with free General Admission and parking. Admission gates open at 10 a.m.

LATEST CONTENT FROM XBTV:

FEATURES: 

XBTV Sunday: What to Watch for at Santa Anita Park on March 8th, 2020

WORKOUTS:

Warren’s Empress (Outside) and Down Home (Lewis) 03/08/20

Charlatan (Outside) (Baffert) 03/08/20

Nadal (Outside) (Baffert) 03/08/20

Bella Chica (Puype) 03/07/20

Azul Coast (Baffert) 03/07/20

Streak of Luck (Chew) 03/07/20

Venetian Harbor (Baltas) 03/06/20

American Theorem (Papaprodromou) 03/06/20

Lazy Daisy (Outside) and A Thousand Dreams (O’Neill) 03/06/20

Gingham (Outside) and Much More Halo (Baffert) 03/05/20

Eight Rings (Inside) and JZ My Man (Baffert) 03/05/20

Hofburg (Mott) 03/04/20

Queen Bee To You (Outside) and Lay The Floor (Lerner) 03/04/20

Charlatan (Outside) and Fay Dan (Baffert) 03/02/20

Donna Veloce (Callaghan) 03/02/20

SANTA ANITA STATISTICS
(Current Through Saturday, March 7)
Jockey

Mts

1st

2nd

3rd

Win%

ITM%

Money Won

Joel Rosario

136

36

31

22

26%

65%

$2,381,914

Flavien Prat

156

35

32

28

22%

61%

$2,001,340

Abel Cedillo

229

33

38

31

14%

45%

$2,247,856

Umberto Rispoli

137

30

20

20

22%

51%

$1,373,096

Drayden Van Dyke

108

22

20

9

20%

47%

$1,516,221

Tiago Pereira

117

17

15

18

15%

43%

$901,442

Jorge Velez

159

16

17

29

10%

39%

$868,259

Geovanni Franco

86

14

10

7

16%

36%

$683,680

Ruben Fuentes

80

11

12

4

14%

34%

$529,641

Mario Gutierrez

82

10

11

8

12%

35%

$630,161

Mike Smith

50

9

6

5

18%

40%

$1,049,182

Victor Espinoza

53

8

8

9

15%

47%

$840,397

Edwin Maldonado

75

7

10

8

9%

33%

$275,715

J.C. Diaz, Jr.

71

7

6

11

10%

34%

$327,261

Assael Espinoza

58

6

7

9

10%

38%

$218,912

Agapito Delgadillo

64

6

5

9

9%

31%

$355,521

Rafael Bejarano

70

5

12

12

7%

41%

$379,172

Jose Valdivia, Jr.

52

4

5

6

8%

29%

$218,510

Aaron Gryder

52

4

3

8

8%

29%

$205,921

 

Trainer

Sts

1st

2nd

3rd

Win%

ITM%

Money Won

Richard Baltas

99

20

16

10

20%

46%

$1,407,982

Bob Baffert

75

19

17

14

25%

67%

$1,754,752

Peter Miller

66

18

9

5

27%

48%

$1,095,876

Doug O’Neill

93

12

17

10

13%

42%

$753,477

John Sadler

75

12

13

13

16%

51%

$1,219,299

Jeff Mullins

51

10

8

6

20%

47%

$778,351

Michael McCarthy

41

10

3

4

24%

41%

$420,305

Philip D’Amato

80

9

12

11

11%

40%

$711,236

Steve Knapp

46

9

9

5

20%

50%

$361,402

Craig Anthony Lewis

42

8

3

12

19%

55%

$454,921

Brian Koriner

40

8

3

9

20%

50%

$331,082

Mark Glatt

73

7

8

15

10%

41%

$373,881

Richard Mandella

36

7

2

8

19%

47%

$636,805

Jeff Bonde

22

6

6

1

27%

59%

$192,221

Andrew Lerner

30

6

5

2

20%

43%

$281,142

Mike Puype

41

6

4

6

15%

39%

$328,600

J. Eric Kruljac

32

6

4

5

19%

47%

$245,020