OHIO RETURNS TO MILE IN GRADE II CITY OF HOPE
McKINZIE, HIGHER POWER BOTH EYE BC CLASSIC
ABEL CEDILLO MAKES THE GRADE AT SANTA ANITA
MAIDEN WINNER DONNA VELOCE ONE ‘FAST WOMAN’
VETERAN MECHE MAKES CALIFORNIA DEBUT TODAY
TYLER BAZE RETURNS FULL TIME THIS SATURDAY
TRAINER HAS OHIO IN WINNING STATE OF MIND
Ohio returns to a distance that is right in his wheelhouse Saturday when he runs in the Grade II, $200,000 City of Hope Mile on grass.
Half of his 30 career races have come at that distance on turf, where he has won five. The eight-year-old Brazilian-bred gelding meandered from his comfort zone last out, going a mile and one-sixteenth on the main track at Presque Isle Downs on Sept. 9, but he still finished a creditable third, beaten less than two lengths in a field of 10.
“They set a track record that day,” pointed out trainer Michael McCarthy. “Obviously, we’re very proud of his effort since it had been a long time (a string of 12 races) since he had run on anything other than grass, so it was certainly respectable.
“He’s come back and trained well (four furlongs Saturday in 49.40). Even though he favors a mile, he’s a bit trip-dependent. He doesn’t have a real big turn of foot and he’s a bit one-paced, so obviously working out a trip is always important with him.
“But he shows up every time. He loves his job.”
Owned by Eclipse Thoroughbred Partners and Bruce Treitman, Ohio has nine wins, his most impressive coming by a desperate but thrillingly suspenseful nose at 9-1 in the prestigious, Grade I, Kilroe Mile at Santa Anita last March 30. He has earned $520,767.
Also ticketed for the City of Hope Mile is Grade I Shoemaker Mile winner Bolo, ridden for the first time by returning Tyler Baze, who resumes his career full-time at Santa Anita with agent Craig O’Bryan after a successful six-month tour in the Midwest.
Others probable for the City of Hope are Andesh, Abel Cedillo; Catapult, Rafael Bejarano; Kingly, Mario Gutierrez; Prince Earl, Geovanni Franco; Restrainedvengence, Ruben Fuentes, and True Valour, Drayden Van Dyke.
McKINZIE, HIGHER POWER STILL EYE BC CLASSIC DESPITE UPSET
Bob Baffert and John Sadler reported Sunday morning their charges emerged from being upset by 25-1 winner Mongolian Groom in the Grade I Awesome Again Stakes in good order and if all goes well, it’s on to the $6 million Breeders’ Cup Classic at Santa Anita Nov. 2.
“He came out of it all right,” Baffert said of McKinzie, the 3-10 favorite who had the entire stretch to overtake Mongolian Groom but couldn’t, losing by 2 ¼ lengths after being only a half-length back at the top of the stretch.
“The plan is to run him in the Breeders’ Cup Classic.” John Sadler said Higher Power “came out fine” from his third in the Awesome Again, beaten 7 ½ lengths.
“It was too bad that he stumbled so badly at the start and was kind of eliminated,” Sadler added, “but if he’s in good shape, he’ll go back in the big one (Breeders’ Cup Classic).”
CEDILLO WINS FIRST GRADED STAKES AT GREAT RACE PLACE
It was business as usual for Abel Cedillo Sunday morning after winning his first Grade I stakes at Santa Anita yesterday aboard longshot Mongolian Groom for trainer Enebish Ganbat in the Awesome Again Stakes.
For good measure, the 30-year-old native of Guatemala won his first graded stakes three races earlier by capturing the Grade II John Henry Turf Championship on 9-1 shot Cleopatra’s Strike for trainer Phil D’Amato.
“He worked nine horses this morning and started at 5 o’clock,” said Cedillo’s agent, Tom Knust. “He has a lot of talent, works hard, is very smart, very strong and reminds you a lot of Joel Rosario.” Cedillo caught the eye of Knust while winning races in bunches at Golden Gate earlier this year, confident he could succeed on the competitive Southern California circuit.
“I’m very happy with him,” Knust continued. “As for upsetting McKinzie, you never know, because that’s horse racing. You could pay $12,000 for a horse (as Mongolian Stable did for Mongolian Groom) or you could pay a million dollars. You can never tell how good they are until they start running.”
MAIDEN WINNER DONNA VELOCE RUNS AS EXPECTED
Donna Veloce fulfilled every expectation of Team Callaghan when she won her debut race Saturday by 9 ¼ lengths, leading throughout the 6 ½ furlong sprint as the 3-10 favorite under Flavien Prat.
The two-year-old bay filly bred in Kentucky by Coin Broker Syndicate covered the distance on a fast track in 1:16.22, handily (read geared down) under 122 pounds.
“When you’ve got one you think is extremely good, you just want everything to go right,” trainer Simon Callaghan said Sunday morning.
“You never want to predict victory. She came back well and we’ll see how her next few works go and look at the possibility of getting into the Breeders’ Cup.
“If she doesn’t, we could wait for the Starlet (Grade I at Los Alamitos in December).”
Owned by Kaleem Shah, the $800,000 daughter of Uncle Mo’s name translates to “fast woman” in Italian, but off her debut performance, she’s a runner in any language.
FINISH LINES: Veteran Donnie Meche invades from Canterbury Downs to make his California debut in today’s second race when he rides Iron Curtain for trainer Val Brinkerhoff. The Louisiana native has been riding since 1993, ridden in the Kentucky Derby twice, rode first call for Steve Asmussen for six years and is six wins shy of 2,000 in his career, according to his agent, Ken Huth. “I always wanted to try California,” said Meche (pronounced “mesh”) and I finally got here.” Huth has Meche booked to ride Tule Fog Saturday in the $100,000 Harris Farms Stakes at Fresno for trainer Javier Sierra . . . Joe Talamo pilots favored Mucho Gusto for Bob Baffert in today’s Grade III, $400,000 Oklahoma Derby at Remington Park. Talamo will ride Selcourt for John Sadler in Saturday’s Grade III LA Woman Stakes. Sadler has Martin Pedroza back on Horse Greedy in Saturday’s headliner, the Grade I Santa Anita Sprint Championship, in which Omaha Beach is due to make his eagerly awaited return to the races. It looms a busy weekend for Sadler, who also has unbeaten and likely favorite Encoder set for Sunday’s $100,000 Zuma Beach Stakes at a mile on turf . . . In Saturday’s Grade I Rodeo Drive Stakes, the six runners finished in exact order of their post position numbers: No. 1 Mirth first; No. 2 Beau Recall second; No. 3 Elysea’s World third; No. 4 Siberian Iris fourth; No. 5 Excellent Sunset fifth; and No. 6 Paved sixth . . . Agent Derek Lawson has Kentucky Derby-winning rider Flavien Prat booked on multiple Grade I winner Vasilika for Jerry Hollendorfer in Saturday’s Grade I First Lady Stakes at Keeneland. Prat has two other stakes mounts that day, Bowie’s Hero for Phil D’Amato and Danuska’s Girl, also for Hollendorfer . . . Morning Line Maker Jon White advises Mongolian Groom earned a lofty 110 Beyer Speed figure in winning yesterday’s Awesome Again, while runner-up McKinzie earned a 108, and dazzling two-year-old maiden filly winner Donna Veloce checked in with a Beyer of 91 . . . Having withdrawn an appeal of a suspension issued Aug. 10, Drayden Van Dyke will serve a three-day ban Oct. 19, 20 and 24 . . . Santa Anita is dark Monday, Tuesday simulcast wil be available Wednesday. Live racing resumes Thursday at 1 p.m.
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