- SHOEMAKER USED HIS HEAD AS WELL AS HANDS
- CONIAH MUST OVERCOME THE RAIL ON MONDAY
- TRAINER EYES A RETURN TO FORM IN MONROVIA
- VALE DORI WORKS FOR GRADE I BEHOLDER MILE
SANTA ANITA REMEMBERS SHOEMAKER ON MONDAY
Vince DeGregory could write a book about racing.
At 85, the senior agent in a game he’s loved since 1959, DeGregory has represented a myriad of riders, including eight Hall of Fame members: Angel Cordero Jr., Victor Espinoza, Chris McCarron, Laffit Pincay Jr., Bill Shoemaker, Alex Solis, Jacinto Vasquez and Jorge Velazquez, not to mention two worthy of consideration, Darrel McHargue and Joel Rosario.
With Monday’s Memorial Day feature honoring the late, great Shoemaker, who died in his nearby San Marino home at the age of 72 on Oct. 12, 2003, DeGregory was asked his remembrance of The Shoe, whom he represented for the proverbial cup of coffee (nine months, circa 1983), filling in for Shoe’s long-time agent, Harry Silbert, who was ill at the time.
Even though Shoemaker retired on Feb. 3, 1990 with a record 8,833 victories, long since surpassed, he remains the gold standard by which jockeys of all generations are measured. A massive crowd of 64,573 was at Santa Anita that day to see Shoe finish fourth on a horse named Patchy Groundfog.
“Shoe liked to kid around, and one day I asked him if he ever got in any fights in the jocks’ room,” DeGregory said of the legendary rider, who stood four feet 10 and weighed 91 pounds soaking wet. “He looked at me and said, ‘Me fight? You see how small I am?
“He said, ‘I didn’t fight, but I got even another way. I hurt them in their wallet. In a race, if I was coming down the lane and a guy shut me off, I’d tell him he owed me one. Later, when the money was down in a big stakes and my horse was empty and a jock who had shut me off before was down on the fence yelling for me to let him through, I made out like I didn’t hear him.
‘When I got back to the jocks room, I told him, we’re even, and it never happened again.
‘I couldn’t beat them with my fists, but I could with my head.'”
The Shoemaker, race seven of 10: Om, Joe Talamo, 5-1; Bowies Hero, Corey Nakatani, 5-2; Pavel, Mario Gutierrez, 10-1; Colonist, Drayden Van Dyke, 15-1, Hunt, Flavien Prat, 8-1; Heart to Heart, Julien Leparoux, 2-1; Arms Runner, Alonso Quinonez, 15-1; Next Shares, Rafael Bejarano, 6-1; and Blackjackcat, Kent Desormeaux, 6-1.
Monday is Dollar Day at Santa Anita, with beers and sodas just a buck apiece. For those with the urge to splurge, hot dogs go for $2.
CONIAH CAN OVERCOME INSIDE POST IN MONROVIA
Coniah drew the rail for Monday’s Grade II Monrovia Stakes, not trainer Bill Morey’s favorite post position, although the five-year-old California-bred mare has won from that spot before, capturing the Grade III Las Cienegas last Jan. 18.
“She draws the one hole a lot (six times in 23 career starts),” Morey said, “although she did win from there once. It’s definitely not what I would have chosen, but we have to deal with it. She’s got good speed.”
Coniah, a daughter of Harlington owned and bred by James and Tammy McKenney, has a 4-7-3 record with earnings of $340,165. She was second in last year’s Monrovia.
The Monrovia, for fillies and mares three and up at about 6 ½ furlongs on turf, the 10th of 10 races: Coniah, Kent Desormeaux, 5-2; Miss Sugars, Rafael Bejarano, 12-1; Belvoir Bay, Victor Espinoza, 2-1; Blame It On Alphie, Mike Smith, 8-1; Algorhythmic, Joe Talamo, 15-1; Ancient Secret, Flavien Prat, 4-1; Classy Tune, Julien Leparoux, 12-1; Causeway Carolyn, Alonso Quinonez, 30-1; Compelled, Drayden Van Dyke, 5-1; and Mongolian Shopper, Stewart Elliott, 20-1.
TRAINER SEEKS RETURN TO FORM IN MONROVIA
Algorhythmic won four straight races on Santa Anita’s unique downhill turf course at about 6 ½ furlongs after being claimed by Mike Machowsky for $32,000 on March 10, 2017, but has tailed off a tad since.
However, the trainer is hopeful she returns to form in Monday’s Monrovia Stakes.
“It would be a good day to do it,” Machowsky said of the six-year-old Vronsky mare owned by Richard or Kate Barton. “It’s a tough race but hopefully she can redeem herself.”
VALE DORI BREEZES FOR GRADE I BEHOLDER MILE
Vale Dori will try to start a new winning streak in next Saturday’s Grade I Beholder Mile when the Argentine-bred mare is expected to face a small but very select field headed by champion Unique Bella and multiple Grade I winner Paradise Woods.
Towards that goal, Vale Dori worked five furlongs Sunday morning under Martin Garcia for Bob Baffert in 1:00.40. Rafael Bejarano will ride Vale Dori in the Beholder in a bid to return to her winning ways, which stretched to six straight triumphs before the six-year-old mare finished second by a neck twice to champion Stellar Wind last summer.
Vale Dori was fifth in the Grade III Adoration Stakes May 6 behind Fault, who is making a name for herself in the stakes ranks for leading trainer Phil D’Amato.
Also working Sunday for Baffert were Hoppertunity and champion Abel Tasman, going six furlongs together in a bullet 1:12 flat under Drayden Van Dyke and Garcia, respectively. Venerable millionaire Hoppertunity runs in the Brooklyn and Abel Tasman in the Ogden Phipps at Belmont Park on June 9.
FINISH LINES: Accelerate came out of his impressive 4 ¼-length victory in Saturday’s Grade I Gold Cup at Santa Anita for which he earned a 111 Beyer figure, “really well,” according to trainer John Sadler, who has the Pacific Classic on Aug. 18 as his next major goal. “He looks super, not tired at all,” said Sadler, adding that streaking stakes-winning filly Selcourt is fine after a setback that will force her to miss the Beholder Mile . . . City of Light was none the worse for wear after finishing third as the favorite in the Gold Cup. “I’m proud of what he’s accomplished,” trainer Michael McCarthy said, alluding to a pair of Grade I wins at seven furlongs and a Grade II victory at 1 1/8 miles prior to the Gold Cup. “It shows what kind of versatility he has.” . . . Three trainers–Jeff Bonde, Keith Desormeaux and Doug O’Neill–have entered two horses each in today’s second race, a 4 ½ furlong dash for two-year-olds, accounting for the field of six . . . Evo Campo, expected to start in next Sunday’s $75,000 Possibly Perfect Stakes for fillies and mares, three and up at a mile and a quarter on turf under Rafael Bejarano, worked three furlongs Sunday in 37 flat for Paddy Gallagher. In all, there were 171 recorded works at Santa Anita Sunday, 18 on the training track . . . Santa Anita’s jockeys’ room will be depleted on Belmont Stakes weekend June 7 through 9, with Victor Espinoza, Geovanni Franco, Kyle Frey, Corey Nakatani, Flavien Prat and Mike Smith among those with stakes mounts at the Elmont, Long Island oval . . . Smith is in Texas today to ride Mubtaahij for Bob Baffert in the Lone Star Park Handicap . . . Daily Racing Form reporter/handicapper Brad Free is Tom Quigley‘s guest Monday, 11:20 a.m., in the East Paddock Gardens.
|SANTA ANITA STATISTICS|
|(Current Through Saturday, May 26)|
|Drayden Van Dyke||77||13||11||11||17%||45%||$652,088|