- BEAMING BAFFERT LOOKS TO PREAKNESS
- UNITED ROMPS IN PACE LESS JOHN HENRY
- TOP CAL-BRED FASHIONABLY FAST RETURNS
- JUAN HERNANDEZ CAPTURES FIRST GRADE I
- VAN DYKE CREDITS ASST. STARTER CRAIGMYLE
PREAKNESS AWAITS BAFFERT AFTER SANTA ANITA SURGE
It was business as usual for Bob Baffert Sunday morning after the two-time Triple Crown-winning trainer savored victories yesterday by undefeated Princess Noor and relatively unsung Improbable.
Princess Noor proved convincingly she can handle two turns, giving Baffert a record 12th triumph in the Grade I Chandelier Stakes at 1 1/16 miles, while Improbable rallied from last to capture the Grade I Awesome Again Stakes, vanquishing stablemate and odds-on favorite Maximum Security in the process.
“You’re never sure about going two turns, and she was stuck behind horses coming out of the one hole, but she came out of the race really well,” Baffert said of Princess Noor, a $1,350,000 purchase owned by Saudi businessman Amr Zedan who campaigns as Zedan Racing
“She’s still doing her thing and it looks like two turns is not going to be a problem for her,” Baffert added.
“Improbable and Max came out really well. I knew there was going to be a lot of pace, and we were going to sit off of it and then let Max run, but he was in between Midcourt and they were just bumping the whole way down the backside.
“They were in a full drive from the half-mile pole, but he didn’t bring his A game, and Improbable is getting really good. He’s got a lot of Grade I’s on his resume, he’s filled out, matured, and Drayden (Van Dyke) rode a great race, just sat back there early on.
“He saw what was happening up front and let them go.”
Next up for Baffert is Saturday’s Preakness Stakes at Pimlico Race Course. Thousand Words worked five furlongs in 1:00.60 yesterday at Churchill Downs towards that goal while Kentucky Derby winner Authentic works there Monday.
“As long as Authentic works good, both horses will ship to Maryland on Tuesday,” Baffert said.
STRATEGY CHANGE PAYS OFF FOR UNITED
A cursory glance at the past performances revealed there was zero speed in yesterday’s John Henry Turf Championship at a mile and a quarter, save for that of versatile favorite United, who has preferred to stalk and pounce or close from well back in most of his races.
Not so in the John Henry under regular rider Flavien Prat, who has ridden the five-year-old Giant’s Causeway gelding in 11 races, the last 10 in a row, winning five.
“We planned on being on the lead,” trainer Richard Mandella revealed Sunday morning. “Flavien and I decided that was the best thing to do, so that’s kind of how we went about it.
“The plan now is to train him up to the Breeders’ Cup (Turf at Keeneland on Nov. 7).”
Meanwhile, Brazilian-bred Jolie Olimpica has recovered from a fever, is back galloping, but won’t have a work for a few more days before Mandella decides on whether to point to the Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint.
“She seems OK but it’s one step at a time and we’ll see what happens,” he said.
CAL-BRED ACE FASHIONABLY FAST DUE BACK SOON
Fashionably Fast, the sensational California-bred who reeled off six straight victories before finishing second to odds-on favorite McKinzie in the Grade I Triple Bend Stakes on June 7, is enjoying a freshening at Harris Farms in Coalingua after coming home sixth in the Grade I Bing Crosby Stakes on Aug. 1.
Thus, he did not make today’s Grade II Santa Anita Sprint Championship, a Breeders’ Cup ‘Win and You’re In’ race at six furlongs.
“He’s turned out right now but should be back in my barn before the end of the month,” said Dean Pederson, who trains the five-year-old gelded son of Lucky Pulpit bred by Harris and owned in part by him along with associates Per Antonsen and John Nicoletti.
The Bing Crosby was the second race against open company for Fashionably Fast, who reeled off six straight victories at one point, the last four of those against state-breds. He has a 6-4-1 record from 15 starts with earnings of $451,020.
Pederson, a native of Union City in Northern California, typically operates a small string of no more than 15 head, but expects two coming in from Harris Farms “and there’s a possibility I could get a few horses from Jack Carava (who recently retired from training to become an agent representing jockey Tyler Baze).
“I had one nice two-year-old that won first out at Del Mar and looks like she has a chance to be pretty decent, a filly named Needless to Say by the sire Not This Time who could be the hottest stallion of his generation.”
She won her debut race Aug. 23 at 5 ½ furlongs by 3 ¼ lengths as the 3-2 favorite under a hand ride by Tiago Pereira.
Not This Time was listed for a $12,500 stud fee at Taylor Made in Kentucky but Needless to Say is a Harris Farms homebred out of the multiple stakes-winning Roman Dancer mare Camille C. Harris Farms purchased Camille C for $25,000 at the 2017 Keeneland November sale when in foal to Not This Time.
Another of Not This Time’s progeny is undefeated Princess Noor, smashing winner of yesterday’s Grade I Chandelier Stakes.
“This is Not This Time’s first crop of two-year-olds and he’s had nine first-out winners already,” Pederson said.
“Needless to Say’s win was the highlight of our meet down there.”
NEW $1 GOLDEN HOUR LATE PICK 4
Santa Anita’s much anticipated Autumn meet which opens today, offers a comprehensive betting menu including the new $1 Golden Hour Late Pick 4. The wager, which features a low 15% takeout popular with players, links the last two races from Santa Anita and the last two races from Golden Gate Fields each racing day. It complements the popular $5 Golden Hour Double, which premiered earlier this year during Santa Anita’s winter-spring season.
While Santa Anita remains closed to the public due to Los Angeles County’s COVID-19 restrictions, fans can watch the live races streaming in HD free of charge on santaanita.com. There are several on-line wagering options available, including 1stBet.com, Santa Anita’s official wagering platform, which can be downloaded for free at the App Store. All of Santa Anita’s races also will be shown live on TVG.
The heart of Santa Anita’s player friendly program belongs to the early Pick 5, linking the first five races offered each day. At 14%, the popular wager features one of the lowest takeout rates in the country on a multi-race wager. Bookending the card is a late Pick 5, featuring the last five races each day.
Santa Anita’s 20 cent Rainbow Pick Six Jackpot returns, consisting of the final six races on each day’s program. The 20 cent Rainbow Pick Six has developed a following as it has the propensity to grow into a massive jackpot pool of millions of dollars, paid out only to a single ticket with all six winners.
All bets, including the Rainbow Pick Six Jackpot, have mandatory payouts on closing day, Oct. 25.
Today’s opener, which was delayed a week due to the impact of the Bobcat Fire on the surrounding community, features the return of Santa Anita’s inclusion in The Stronach Five, offering a weekly guaranteed pool of $100,000. Contested each Friday, The Stronach Five consists of a series of races from Santa Anita, Gulfstream Park, Laurel Park and Golden Gate Fields, all running in quick succession. The $1 minimum, The Stronach Five is highlighted by an industry low 12% takeout.
Santa Anita’s betting menu is rounded out by numerous wagering opportunities that players have come to expect from The Great Race Place, including $2 Win, Place and Show wagering featuring the lowest takeout of any major racetrack in North America, plus $1 Exactas, $2 rolling Daily Doubles, 50 cent rolling Pick 3s, early and late 50 cent Pick 4s, early and late 50 cent Pick 5s, the $1 Super High 5 and 10 cent Superfectas on all races with a minimum of six runners.
$5,000 ‘SHOWVIVOR’ ONLINE BETTING CONTEST RETURNS
With $5,000 in total prize money at stake, Santa Anita’s popular “Showvivor” free online betting contest returns for the track’s 16-day Autumn Meet starting today.
Showvivor requires players to select one horse in one race each day they play, and that horse must finish no worse than third in order for the player to remain “alive.” A top prize of $2,500 will be awarded to the longest “show streak” achieved throughout the course of the meet, which will conclude on Sunday, Oct. 25.
Showvivor participants will not be eliminated if their selection finishes off the board. Instead, they will be able to begin a new streak the next racing day–with the eventual top prize going to the player with the longest streak.
For additional information on Santa Anita’s Showvivor, please visit santaanita.com or call (626) 574-RACE.
RUNHAPPY WINNER’S CIRCLE FAN CUT OUTS
If you love horses and jockeys, Santa Anita’s new Virtual Runhappy Winner’s Circle Fan Cut Out is a great way to show your appreciation and benefit retired racehorses and injured riders.
Beginning today, opening day of Santa Anita’s 16-day Autumn Meeting, fans can have their cut-out images appear in Santa Anita’s Runhappy Winner’s Circle with the San Gabriel Mountains serving as a backdrop.
For a donation of $200, one hundred percent of which will go to support the California Retirement Management Account (CARMA) and the Permanently Disabled Jockeys Fund (PDJF), a personalized fan cut out will be displayed throughout the Autumn Meet, which concludes on Oct. 25.
Once a donation is received, Santa Anita will assist in submitting individual pictures within 48 hours.
Headquartered at Santa Anita, CARMA, is a 501(c)(3) non-profit that is dedicated to providing funding for rehabilitation, re-training, and/or retirement of California-raced Thoroughbreds.
Based in Lexington, KY, the PDJF is also a 501(c)(3) public charity that provides financial assistance to jockeys that have suffered catastrophic injuries on the track.
For more information on Santa Anita’s upcoming Autumn Meet and on how to participate in Santa Anita’s Virtual Winner’s Circle Fan Cut Out, please visit santaanita.com.
FINISH LINES: Congratulations to jockey Juan Hernandez on winning the Rodeo Drive Stakes yesterday aboard Mucho Unusual for his first Grade I victory. The George Krikorian California-bred homebred is trained by Tim Yakteen. Hernandez won two other races on the card . . .A tip of the cap to assistant starter Tim Craigmyle, who Drayden Van Dyke was quick to credit following Improbable’s stirring win in Saturday’s Grade I Awesome Again. Craigmyle kept the horse calm and along with starter Jay Slender, helped to ensure that he broke well from the gate…Trainer Richard Baltas has four horses nominated for Saturday’s Grade II City of Hope Mile on turf but likely will enter two, Wickerr winner Bob and Jackie and One Bad Boy, winner of a restricted stakes at Woodbine in June of 2019. Bob and Jackie worked five furlongs on the training track this morning in a bullet 1:02.20 . . . Grade I winner Ollie’s Candy worked five furlongs yesterday in a minute flat for John Sadler, who has the Candy Ride mare ticketed for the Grade I Spinster at Keeneland this Saturday. Joel Rosario rides . . .City of Hope nominee Bowies Hero, who remarkably has run in 24 consecutive stakes since his maiden victory July 16, 2016 at Lone Star Park, will pass the Grade II race here next Saturday to seek a repeat victory in the Grade I Shadwell Turf Mile at Keeneland the same day, trainer Phil D’Amato reports. Rosario rides the son of Artie Schiller, a full horse at age six who boasts an 8-2-3 record from 25 starts with earnings of $1,580,970.
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