STABLE NOTES BY ED GOLDEN -SUNDAY, OCTOBER 6, 2019

  • WIN BY OMAHA BEACH ONE FOR THE AGES
  • CALIFORNIA DREAMIN’ GOES NATIONWIDE
  • (S Y) SKY’S THE LIMIT FOR OLD GRAY MARE

VICTORY BY OMAHA BEACH WILL ONLY GROW IN STATURE

Like Bill Mazeroski’s home run that won the World Series, Lou Gehrig’s farewell speech, and Secretariat’s 31-length victory in the Belmont, the mythic return to glory by Omaha Beach in Saturday’s Santa Anita Sprint Championship will grow in lore through the ages.

The pre-race favorite for the Kentucky Derby on May 4 finally returned to the races after a myriad of aborted attempts that kept the three-year-old son of War Front racing-free since last April 13, when he won the Grade I Arkansas Derby on a sloppy track.

Trainer Richard Mandella, two of whose most recognizable personal traits are humility and self-deprecation, stood in solitary satisfaction on a glorious Sunday morning at Santa Anita.

“I haven’t had him out of bed yet, but he looks good over the (stall) door,” Mandella responded when asked how Omaha Beach came out of the Grade I Santa Anita Sprint Championship, a Breeders’ Cup “Win and You’re In” event that provided the winner a fees-paid berth to the Breeders’ Cup on Nov. 2.

Omaha Beach won the race by a head under 54-year-old Mike Smith, who seems to get better as tempus fugits, covering the distance under high weight of 122 pounds in 1:08.79, blistering time on a track that has been described as deep and demanding by some horsemen.

“It’s just a relief to have him back at the same level he went out,” Mandella said. “We had some tough obstacles to overcome at the start (surgery for an entrapped epiglottis that caused him to miss the Kentucky Derby), and then some lesser ones–just stupid things–afterward, a virus, a horse dropping the rider in front of us during a workout, just s— you can’t control, but it forced us to improvise and it turned out well.”

Breeders’ Cup options for Omaha Beach would be the Sprint, the Dirt Mile or the Classic, but Mandella had any decision on hold. “I’m not even thinking about it today,” he said. “I’m just enjoying the win. We’re going to run him in the Breeders’ Cup, but we’ll see how he comes out, get him back to the track, and let him tell us.”

Magnanimous in defeat, Jorge Navarro, trainer of Shancelot, the 3-10 favorite that finished second to Omaha Beach after setting the pace as is his wont, tweeted out the following: “Shancelot came back to the barn in good order.

“He just got beat by an exceptional horse named Omaha Beach. What a tremendous job by ‘Papa’ Mandella. One of the best trainers ever. I’ll speak with Shancelot’s owners about the possibility to run in the Breeders’ Cup.”

A fitting testimonial for an already glowing resume.

LOCAL HORSEMEN FARE WELL IN EAST COAST STAKES

Southern California-based horsemen did themselves proud on the East Coast Saturday, winning four graded stakes, most prominent a Grade I triumph by Bowie’s Hero conditioned by Phil D’Amato in the $1 million Shadwell Turf Mile at Keeneland.

Also at Keeneland, Stubbins, trained by Doug O’Neill, set a track record winning the Grade II, $200,000 Woodford at 5 ½ furlongs on turf, and Spiced Perfection, trained by Peter Miller, captured the Grade II, $250,000 Thoroughbred Club of America.

At Belmont Park, Richard Baltas, whose Lady Ninja won the Grade III LA Woman Stakes at Santa Anita by a nose, won the Grade II, $400,000 Hill Prince with Neptune’s Storm.

“It just shows that the strength of trainers in Southern California is something everyone recognizes,” said D’Amato, tied for the training lead with O’Neill through five racing days and leading in stakes wins with three.

“Racing’s always tough here,” Baltas observed. “We have our issues but we’ve always been well-represented across the country. It’s not as frequent when the turf horses ship out of state and win, like the dirt horses, because the dirt horses are expected to run well.”

Added trainer Eoin Harty, President of the California Thoroughbred Trainers (CTT): “This year is not different from any other year, because we always do ourselves proud when we ship anywhere. Training was a little out of sorts here this year, but the quality remains. If you can be competitive in California, you can be competitive anywhere.”

“It’s amazing,” said Richard Mandella. “We don’t have that big of a pond here, but through the years, California-based horses hold up pretty well anywhere you go.”

Said native Californian John Sadler: “It was a really good day of racing everywhere.”

S Y SKY’S NOTHING IF NOT CONSISTENT FOR CAL DISTAFF ‘CAP

S Y Sky is a remarkable mare.

The five-year-old California-bred daughter of Grazen owned and bred by Nick Alexander has never been out of the money in 15 career starts, winning seven, finishing second seven times and third once, earning $703,540.

Versatile on turf, dirt, long or short, the old gray mare looms a heavy favorite in Saturday’s $100,000 California Distaff Handicap for fillies and mares at 5 ½ furlongs on the grass. No surprise there. She has been favored in 12 races, six times at odds-on.

“She’s in a zone now where she just runs those good races, and I’m looking forward to another one,” trainer Phil D’Amato said. “She’s very tactical. She can be on or near the lead or come from off it. I think that’s what’s made her so exceptional this last year.”

As to training for longtime successful California owner/breeder Nick Alexander, who knows the game inside and out, D’Amato says theirs is a symbiotic relationship.

“Nick’s really good,” D’Amato said of the 77-year-old Santa Monica resident and current chairman of the Thoroughbred Owners of California (TOC). “We have good communication. We talk about spots (to run), but at the end of the day, he leaves the decision up to me.”

FINISH LINES: With his 1 ½-length victory in Saturday’s second race aboard 7-2 shot Chasin Munny for trainer Mark GlattJoe Talamo reached 1,995 in his career, five shy of 2,000 . . . There were three straight nose photo finishes Saturday in races four through six, and in the Grade II City of Hope Stakes, the first seven finishers were separated by a length and a half, the first six by a length and the first four by two heads, a nose and a neck, with 16-1 Simon Callaghan trainee True Valour winning by a head over trainer Val Brinkerhoff‘s 43-1 shot Restrainedvengence . . . Trainer Craig Lewis reports California-based Clubhouse Ride, sire of the John Sadler-trained debut maiden two-year-old winner Cali Dude in yesterday’s seventh race, has now produced an incredible 16 winners from his last 25 starters . . . Omaha Beach and Shancelot, separated by a head in yesterday’s Grade I Santa Anita Sprint Championship, earned Beyer Speed figures of 103 and 102, respectively . . . Santa Anita will be dark for live racing Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, but be open Wednesday for simulcast wagering with free General Admission and parking. Admission gates open at 10 a.m. Live racing resumes Thursday, Oct. 10, at 1 p.m.

LATEST CONTENT FROM XBTV:

XBTV Sunday: What to Watch for at Santa Anita Park on October 6th, 2019

FEATURES:

A Day in the Life With Exercise Rider Taylor Cambra at Santa Anita Park

A Candid Conversation With Jockey Joseph Talamo: Part 1

A Candid Conversation With Jockey Joseph Talamo: Part 2

Richard Mandella Discusses the Return of Graded Stakes Winner Omaha Beach

WORK OUTS:

S Y Sky (Outside) and Violette Szabo (D’Amato) 10/06/19

American Anthem (Outside) and Qahira (Baffert) 10/06/19

Kentan Road (Sadler) 10/05/19

Catalina Cruiser (Sadler) 10/05/19

Gypsy Blu (Glatt) 10/05/19

Bellafina (Callaghan) 10/04/19

Campaign (Sadler) 10/04/19

Midnight Bisou (Asmussen) 10/03/19

Roadster (Baffert) 10/03/19

War Beast (Outside) and Acai (O’Neill) 9/14/19

Landeskog (Outside) and Raging Whiskey (O’Neill) 9/14/19

 

SANTA ANITA STATISTICS

(Current Through Saturday, Oct. 5)

Jockey

Mts

1st

2nd

3rd

Win%

ITM%

Money Won

Abel Cedillo

36

7

3

3

19%

36%

$596,114

Drayden Van Dyke

20

5

2

2

25%

45%

$393,574

Flavien Prat

22

4

5

7

18%

73%

$448,413

Evin Roman

16

4

2

0

25%

38%

$134,838

Tiago Pereira

17

3

5

2

18%

59%

$142,612

Jorge Velez

25

3

5

0

12%

32%

$119,290

Geovanni Franco

18

3

2

5

17%

56%

$132,796

Mike Smith

17

3

1

1

18%

29%

$510,305

Trainer

Sts

1st

2nd

3rd

Win%

ITM%

Money Won

Doug  O’Neill

26

7

3

4

27%

54%

$339,965

Philip D’Amato

18

7

1

1

39%

50%

$584,338

Bob Baffert

12

4

2

1

33%

58%

$515,502

Richard Baltas

23

3

6

5

13%

61%

$292,832

Richard Mandella

14

3

2

3

21%

57%

$327,242

Simon Callaghan

8

3

1

0

38%

50%

$195,853

Mark Glatt

16

2

6

1

13%

56%

$117,997

John Sadler

25

2

5

4

8%

44%

$234,226

Vann Belvoir

6

2

0

3

33%

83%

$31,770