STABLE NOTES BY ED GOLDEN – THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 28, 2019

  • ROSARIO, PRAT IN KEEN RACE FOR RIDING TITLE
  • BAFFERT BREEZES MUCHO GUSTO IN A BULLET
  • STUBBINS STRETCHES OUT IN PASADENA STAKES
  • SANTA ANITA’S MAIN TRACK ‘100 PERCENT READY’
  • SINGLE TICKET PICK 6 JACKPOT IS UP TO $629,679

TOP JOCKS VIE FOR SANTA ANITA RIDING HONORS

When super-agent Ron Anderson brought Hall of Fame jockey-in-waiting Joel Rosario to Santa Anita to ride on an everyday basis at the Winter Meet, potentially it changed the dynamics of the jockeys’ race.

Through 37 racing days, that potential has been realized, as Rosario and his primary adversary, Flavien Prat, have outdistanced the field in the battle for the riding title, to date winning 44 and 41 races, respectively. Heriberto Figueroa is a distant third with 22 victories.

The top two also are more than a million dollars ahead of their nearest rivals in money won this meet, Prat in front of Rosario, $2,568,554 to $2,270,864.

Rosario, the regular rider of undefeated Eclipse Award champion as outstanding two-year-old male of 2018 Game Winner, and Prat, also are among the national leaders in wins and purse earnings.

“We’ve been well-received and we’ve done well,” Anderson said. “Joel is a really great rider and a really good kid at the end of the day, which everybody recognizes. He’s an exceptional rider and very likable.”

Underplaying his own contribution to the team’s success, Anderson said, “The good ones make things easy.”

Prat’s agent, Derek Lawson, is enjoying the ride and the competition.

“It’s been fun,” he said. “The fact that we’re challenging Joel and Ron is exactly the way we thought it would be when he came out here, back and forth, back and forth between the two.

“And you know what? It looks like all the riders here are having a good season, although we’ve separated ourselves from the rest of the group. Saturday Rosario goes out of town but we’ve been out of town, too, so we’ve both missed time here.

“But it’s been exciting and we’re working hard. Flavien is riding extremely well and I’m actually picking some good horses for him to ride, so it’s all been a plus.”

LEWIS WINNER MUCHO GUSTO ON TRIPLE CROWN TRAIL

Robert B. Lewis Stakes winner Mucho Gusto, one of Bob Baffert’s leading Triple Crown candidates, worked four furlongs in company Thursday with the fillyHoneyfromthesouth.

Each was clocked in a bullet 47.60. Joe Talamo was aboard Mucho Gusto, who is slated to run in either the March 16 Rebel Stakes or the March 24 Sunland Derby.

Despite the rash of recent rain, Baffert’s dynamic undefeated duo of championGame Winner and Improbable remain on course for the Grade II, $500,000 San Felipe Stakes on March 9, a race that offers 50 Kentucky Derby qualifying points to the winner.

“I’ve been working around the rain,” said Baffert, who has a long-range goal in mind.

“I want them to meet in the Derby,” he said, alluding to the May 4 Kentucky Derby.

Joel Rosario has the mount on Game Winner in the 1 1/16-mile San Felipe while Drayden Van Dyke pilots Improbable.

STUBBINS GOES LONG FOR TEAM O’NEILL IN PASADENA

Stubbins, a Kentucky-bred son of Morning Line, stretches out to a mile on grass in Saturday’s $100,000 Pasadena Stakes for three-year-olds after two narrow victories on Santa Anita’s unique downhill turf course at about 6 ½ furlongs.

Stubbins broke his maiden on Jan. 5, winning by a nose, then returned Feb. 10 in an overnight race over the same venue to win by a neck. Owned by McShane Racing, the colt has never been worse than third in four career starts.

“We always thought he was a nice horse,” said Leandro Mora, assistant to the meet’s leading trainer, Doug O’Neill. “After he finished third in his first race going five-and-a-half furlongs on dirt at Del Mar (last Aug. 4), he had a little shin issue, so we took our time with him.

“But we believed he would like a distance and he proved it to us two races back (coming from 10th in a field of 12 to get up by a nose at the wire).”

As to Team O’Neill’s current success, Mora said, “We’re thrilled. We always do the best we can and we’ll try to stay afloat.”

The field for the Pasadena, race six of 10 with a 12:25 p.m. first post time: Stubbins, Tyler Baze, 7-2; $2,000 supplemental nominee Much Better, Joe Talamo, 9-2; Eagle Song, Drayden Van Dyke, 8-1; Colonial Creed, Geovanni Franco, 4-1; Shining Through, Flavien Prat, 12-1; Rijeka, Mario Gutierrez, 3-1; Mayor Cobb, Tiago Pereira, 15-1; Neptune’s Storm, Kent Desormeaux, 5-1; and Big Scott Daddy, Mike Smith, 4-1.

SANTA ANITA’S MAIN TRACK DEEMED ‘ONE HUNDRED PERCENT READY’

Santa Anita’s one mile main track, which was closed to training Tuesday and Wednesday, has been deemed “one hundred percent ready,” by Mick Peterson, PhD, who serves as the University of Kentucky’s Agricultural Equine Programs, and who evaluates soil samples from Santa Anita on a monthly basis.

In addition to soil samples and a thorough examination of the track’s cushion, pad and base, which was conducted by Peterson and Santa Anita Track Superintendent Andy LaRocco, Peterson employed ground-penetrating radar to ensure uniform consistency throughout the one mile oval.

“The ground penetrating radar verified all of the materials, silt, clay and sand, as well as moisture content, are consistent everywhere on this track,” said Peterson on Wednesday afternoon. “This testing ensures all components, the five-inch cushion, pad and base, are consistent and in good order.

“Andy (LaRocco) has inspected the entire oval and has made sure that by pulling the soil (cushion) off and reapplying it, this surface is in fact one hundred percent consistent and ready for training and racing.”

Peterson was also quick to note that physical soundness is a seven-day-a-week, 24 hour-a-day challenge which involves a myriad of issues, in addition to a consistent surface.

“All of the testing and research we’ve done, worldwide, clearly indicates soundness is multi-factorial,” said Peterson. “We must approach this challenge with the knowledge that this is always a process and we need to always strive to get better and that no matter how good the results may be, we must get better.

“If there are issues, they’re going to be addressed. The safety of the horses, jockeys and exercise people is our number one priority and always will be.”

Tim Ritvo, Chief Operating Officer, The Stronach Group, also addressed the current situation.

“At the Stronach Group, we consider the safety and security of the athletes, both equine and human, who race at our facilities, to be our top priority,” said Ritvo. “All industry stakeholders, including our company, must be held accountable for the safety and security of the horses and we are committed to doing just that.”

Santa Anita’s main track was open for training Thursday at 5 a.m. and remained open until 10 a.m. The inner training track, which is approximately three quarters of a mile in circumference, opened at 4:45 a.m. and also remained open until 10 a.m.

TODAY’S 20 CENT SINGLE TICKET RAINBOW PICK SIX CARRYOVER AT $629,679

A sizeable Jackpot carryover of $438,679 awaits fans today wagering on the popular 20 cent Single Ticket Rainbow Pick Six.

The Rainbow Six begins with race three, with an approximate post time of 2 p.m. PT.

There was $247,559 in “new” money bet into Sunday’s Rainbow Six sequence, creating a total pool of $629,560. With 276 consolation tickets, each was worth $479.90.

For additional information, please visit santaanita.com or call (626) 574-RACE.

LATEST CONTENT FROM XBTV:

Chasing Yesterday works 6 furlongs (Baffert)

La Force works 6 furlongs (Gallagher)

Mucho Gusto (Outside) works 4 furlongs in company with  Honeyfromthesouth (Baffert)

Shedrow Stroll:  Lava Man (O’Neill)

Flor de La Mar working 4 furlongs (Baffert)-2/26/19

Instagrand preparing for San Felipe Stakes Mar. 9 (Hollendorfer)-2/25/19

Improbable working 6 furlongs (Baffert)-2/25/19

McKinzie Working 7 furlongs (Baffert)-2/25/19

Galilean works  4 furlongs (Baffert)-2/25/19

Game Winner (outside) works 6 Furlongs with  Dr. Dorr (Baffert)-2/25/19

FINISH LINES: Through 37 racing days of the Winter Meet, favorites are winning at the national average of about 33 percent on all fronts: 33.33 percent overall (111 of 333 races); 33.64 on dirt (74 of 220); and 32.74 on turf (37 of 113). Odds-on favorites have won 48.44 percent of the time (31 of 64) and favorites have been in the money 71.77 percent of the time (239 of 333) . . . Fans can enjoy a slice of New Orleans during Mardi Gras at Santa Anita this Saturday. The trackside party features live music and delicious Cajun cuisine. On March 9, THOROUGHBREDS Club members receive a free Santa Anita hat, courtesy of San Manuel Casino, one per paid admission while supplies last. Also on March 9. Santa Anita presents the annual Big Cap Beer & Cider festival. Tickets are on sale now at santaanita.com/events.

SANTA ANITA STATISTICS

(Current Through Sunday, Feb. 24)

Jockey

Mts

1st

2nd

3rd

Win%

ITM%

Money Won

Joel Rosario

190

44

32

34

23%

58%

$2,270,864

Flavien Prat

162

41

32

22

25%

59%

$2,568,554

Heriberto Figueroa

157

22

16

23

14%

39%

$834,913

Tiago Pereira

128

21

18

11

16%

39%

$834,595

Geovanni Franco

159

20

18

23

13%

38%

$943,202

Mike Smith

62

20

10

11

32%

66%

$1,260,336

Rafael Bejarano

133

19

23

26

14%

51%

$1,103,457

Tyler Baze

169

16

30

23

9%

41%

$1,150,870

Drayden Van Dyke

120

16

16

15

13%

39%

$994,177

Joseph Talamo

121

12

21

16

10%

40%

$923,399

Assael Espinoza

101

12

9

13

12%

34%

$436,583

Ruben Fuentes

78

10

9

15

13%

44%

$334,558

Kent Desormeaux

84

10

9

12

12%

37%

$776,893

Edwin Maldonado

58

9

8

1

16%

31%

$280,350

Mario Gutierrez

86

8

16

12

9%

42%

$605,840

Agapito Delgadillo

52

8

6

6

15%

38%

$236,230

Aaron Gryder

50

8

6

3

16%

34%

$226,939

Trainer

Mts

1st

2nd

3rd

Win%

ITM%

Money Won

Doug O’Neill

145

23

25

23

16%

49%

$1,226,579

Peter Miller

95

19

16

11

20%

48%

$1,060,157

Richard Baltas

100

18

20

19

18%

57%

$1,067,123

John Sadler

65

17

15

9

26%

63%

$954,322

Jerry Hollendorfer

81

14

12

14

17%

49%

$1,091,560

Bob Baffert

55

10

9

9

18%

51%

$1,003,386

J. Keith Desormeaux

49

10

8

5

20%

47%

$479,106

Philip D’Amato

81

9

13

11

11%

41%

$684,837

William E. Morey

53

9

12

9

17%

57%

$440,670

Mark Glatt

58

9

10

6

16%

43%

$423,636

Jeff Mullins

45

9

9

7

20%

56%

$579,217

Richard Mandella

38

9

3

2

24%

37%

$307,251

Steve Knapp

45

8

4

7

18%

42%

$195,204

Simon Callaghan

30

8

3

5

27%

53%

$481,198

Hector O. Palma

40

7

7

6

18%

50%

$257,338

Peter Eurton

41

7

7

6

17%

49%

$340,127

Vladimir Cerin

48

7

4

9

15%

42%

$287,079

William Spawr

21

7

2

2

33%

52%

$195,175