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

  • GIFT BOX, THREE OTHERS KEEP SADLER BUSY
  • INSTAGRAND IS SET FOR SANTA ANITA DERBY
  • EXUBERANCE EYES STAKES GOLD IN BEHOLDER
  • HUNT SEARCHES FOR WIN IN GRADE I KILROE
  • KANTHAKA CAN OVERCOME SAN CARLOS RAIL

SADLER EYES REPEAT VICTORY IN BIG ‘CAP

John Sadler goes for back-to-back victories in the Santa Anita Handicap presented by San Manuel Casino a week from Saturday, April 6, when he sends out Gift Box in the track’s marquee race for older horses at a mile and a quarter offering $600,000 in purse money.

Sadler won his first Big ‘Cap last year with Accelerate, 2018 Horse of the Year runner-up to undefeated Triple Crown champion Justify.

A gray son of Twirling Candy, Gift Box is a six-year-old full horse that won at first asking for Sadler and principal clients Kosta and Peter Hronis, taking the Grade II San Antonio Stakes under Joel Rosario last Dec. 26. Gift Box previously had been trained by Chad Brown.

“He’s doing really well,” Sadler said. “He has one more work Saturday, seven days out (from the race). He’s all set to go. Joel rides him back.”

It will be a busy resumption week for Sadler, who also has Selcourt in the Grade I Beholder Mile, Catapult in the Grade I Kilroe Mile and St. Joe Bay in the Grade II San Carlos Stakes, all this Saturday, with his primary Triple Crown hopeful Nolo Contestowaiting in the wings, “so we’ve got a lot to run.

“It looks like Nolo Contesto will go in the Santa Anita Derby (also next Saturday), but we haven’t decided on a jockey yet,” Sadler said.

A son of Pioneerof the Nile, Nolo Contesto was second after an eventful trip in an allowance race at Santa Anita on Jan. 30, his first start in two months.

Southern California-based three-year-olds have won the Kentucky Derby five of the last seven years, and Sadler sees little reason why that trend can’t continue.

“California looks strong again to me with Game Winner and Improbable, and even the horse from up north (Anothertwistafate) ran an exceptionally good race in the Sunland Derby, so California should be right in the mix as per usual.

“A lot of the preps are April 6, so it sorts itself out pretty quickly.”

Fans will be treated to a stakes bonanza on April 6, with seven added money events worth $2,750,000 on the calendar, topped by the $1 million Santa Anita Derby and the $600,000 Santa Anita Handicap.

In addition to the 1 ¼-mile Big ‘Cap and the 1 1/8-mile Santa Anita Derby, each bestowed with Grade I status, Santa Anita will showcase the Grade I, $400,000 Santa Anita Oaks for fillies at 1 1/16 miles; the $200,000 Echo Eddie Stakes for three-year-olds at 6 ½ furlongs; the $200,000 Evening Jewel Stakes for three-year-old fillies at 6 ½ furlongs; the Grade II, $200,000 Royal Heroine Stakes for older fillies and mares at one mile on turf; and the Grade III, $150,000 Providencia Stakes for three-year-old fillies at 1 1/8 miles on the grass.

First post time for the biggest day in racing to date this year will be 12 noon.

INSTAGRAND TO SANTA ANITA DERBY, GALILEAN TO ARKANSAS DERBY

Jerry Hollendorfer has firmed up prep races for his two Triple Crown candidates, Instagrand and Galilean, the former set for the Santa Anita Derby on April 6 and the California-bred Galilean heading to Oaklawn Park for the Arkansas Derby a week later on April 13.

Instagrand was a promising third in the March 9 Gotham at Aqueduct after a layoff, while Galilean was third in the first division of the Rebel Stakes at Oaklawn on March 16.

Flavien Prat will ride both three-year-olds, Hollendorfer said.

EXUBERANCE SEEKS FIRST STAKES WIN IN GRADE I BEHOLDER

Exuberance, who finished fourth in two prior Grade I races, seeks her first stakes win in Saturday’s Grade I Beholder Mile, in which she landed post four in a field of seven fillies and mares age three and older.

“We’ve got a great draw and I believe she’s doing as well as she was before her last race, but you don’t know until they go,” said Ian Kruljac, who trains the hard-hitting daughter of Archarcharch for Seltzer Thoroughbreds. “She’s doing great.”

With several of Santa Anita’s top jockeys fulfilling out of town obligations, and with her previous rider, Tyler Baze, opting for Selcourt in the Beholder, Kruljac has engaged Hall of Fame member and Triple Crown winner Victor Espinoza to pilot Exuberance, who won her last start by a widening six lengths despite bobbling at the start from the number one post position.

The Beholder, race nine of 10 with a 1 p.m. first post time: Secret Spice, Geovanni Franco, 6-1; Selcourt, Tyler Baze, 5-1; Paradise Woods, Evin Roman, 6-1; Exuberance, Victor Espinoza, 15-1; Marley’s Freedom, Drayden Van Dyke, 4-5; Just a Smidge, Asa Espinoza, 10-1; and Mopotism, Mario Gutierrez, 6-1.

KILROE MILE PART OF FULL DAY FOR D’AMATO

With eight horses entered Saturday at Santa Anita, Phil D’Amato will be one of the busiest trainers on the grounds, if not the busiest, but his focus will be on the Grade I Frank E. Kilroe Mile on turf and the Grade II San Carlos Stakes at seven furlongs on the main track.

D’Amato sends out Hunt in the Kilroe and Touching Rainbows in the San Carlos.

Hunt, a seven-year-old Irish-bred gelding owned by Michael House, is coming off a seventh-place finish going about 6 ½ furlongs on Santa Anita’s downhill turf course Jan. 27, but stretching out to a mile is well within his wheelhouse, as he won the Grade I Shoemaker Mile on grass last May.

“We would have liked to seen more out of him from his last race, but the course was so fast that day the horses running one-two-three from the gate stayed that way all the way to the finish,” D’Amato said. “Nobody really made up ground.

“But if anything, that race put a little air into him and I think the mile is his best distance. We’re looking to see the old Hunt reappear.”

Touching Rainbows, a six-year-old California-bred gelding that won California Cup Sprint on Jan. 26, faces open company in the San Carlos.

“He’s been sitting on go for a while,” D’Amato said of the son of the Irish-bred stallion Aragorn. “We’ve been pointing for this race. He was ready three weeks ago and hopefully he’ll be ready Saturday.”

As to having eight entered Saturday, D’Amato said, “We’ve been sitting on these horses for a while, like everyone else, and we’re just excited to get them running.”

The Kilroe Mile, race five: Hunt, Brice Blanc, 8-1; Ohio, Ruben Fuentes, 6-1; Desert Stone, Geovanni Franco, 8-1; Catapult, Drayden Van Dyke, 8-5; Next Shares, Kent Desormeaux, 3-1; and River Boyne, Rafael Bejarano, 5-2.

SAN CARLOS RAIL SHOULDN’T BOTHER KANTHAKA

Even though Kanthaka has won going seven furlongs from the rail before, capturing the Grade II San Vicente Stakes last February, if Jerry Hollendorfer had his druthers, he’d prefer not to be in post position one for Saturday’s Grade II San Carlos Stakes at seven furlongs.

But if there’s one thing the Hall of Fame trainer has coped with in his storied career is how to roll with the punches, and in a game short on ups and long on downs, he looks at the glass as half full for Kanthaka, who is owned by West Point Thoroughbreds.

“Ideally, I don’t think trainers like to draw inside, but I don’t think it will hurt this horse,” Hollendorfer said of the four-year-old son of Jimmy Creed, who is three for four at the distance, all at Santa Anita.

LATEST CONTENT FROM XBTV:

Improbable galloping (Baffert) -3-27-19

Pricing works 4 furlongs (Proctor) -3-27-19

Rye works 5 furlongs (Morey) -3-27-19

Big ‘Cap Memories: Mike Smith talks about his three wins in the Santa Anita Handicap

Big Cap Memories:  Gary Stevens reminisces on his 1990 Santa Anita Handicap victory aboard Ruhlmann

Big Cap Memories:  Frank Mirahmadi describes Farma Way’s win in the 1991 Santa Anita Handicap

Big Cap Memories:  Tim Yakteen describes Sir Beaufort’s thrilling victory in the 1993 Santa Anita Handicap

Big ‘Cap Memories: Sean McCarthy  looks back to 1982 at John Henry’s win in the Santa Anita Handicap

Big ‘Cap Memories: Bob Baedeker says nothing beats Spectacular Bid’s victory in 1980

Big ‘Cap Memories: Ron McAnally  takes us back to the 1981 Santa Anita Handicap

Game Winner (Inside) in company with  Dr.Dorr work 4 furlongs (Baffert) -3-26-19

Roadster works 6 furlongs (Baffert) -3-26-19

Nolo Contesto (Outside) in company with  Foxtail work 6 furlongs (Sadler) -3-23-19

Gift Box works 6 furlongs (Sadler) -3-23-19

The San Carlos, race six: Kanthaka, Rafael Bejarano, 3-1; Ax Man, Drayden Van Dyke, 5-2; Touching Rainbows, Tiago Pereira, 6-1; St. Joe Bay, Victor Espinoza, 5-1; $5,000 supplementalnominee Zatters, Geovanni Franco, 12-1;  Dr. Dorr, Tyler Baze, 7-2; and Solid Wager, Martin Pedroza, 5-1.

SANTA ANITA STATISTICS

(Current Through Sunday, March 3)

Jockey

Mts

1st

2nd

3rd

Win%

ITM%

         Money Won
Joel Rosario

207

51

36

34

25%

58%

$2,545,756

Flavien Prat

176

46

34

26

26%

60%

$2,751,718

Geovanni Franco

175

23

20

28

13%

41%

$1,053,077

Heriberto Figueroa

168

23

18

26

14%

40%

$873,075

Mike Smith

69

23

12

11

33%

67%

$1,390,487

Tiago Pereira

146

22

18

18

15%

40%

$890,481

Tyler Baze

186

20

31

25

11%

41%

$1,318,904

Rafael Bejarano

133

19

23

26

14%

51%

$1,103,457

Drayden Van Dyke

131

17

20

16

13%

40%

$1,056,800

Joseph Talamo

126

13

23

16

10%

41%

$974,970

Assael Espinoza

113

13

12

13

12%

34%

$467,489

Ruben Fuentes

84

11

11

16

13%

45%

$370,998

Edwin Maldonado

65

11

8

2

17%

32%

$329,972

Mario Gutierrez

98

10

19

12

10%

42%

$694,744

Kent Desormeaux

90

10

10

13

11%

37%

$807,044

Agapito Delgadillo

56

8

7

6

14%

38%

$246,081

Aaron Gryder

54

8

7

4

15%

35%

$243,390


Trainer                             

Sts

1st

2nd

3rd

Win%

In$%

Money Won
Doug O’Neill

161

28

25

27

17%

50%

$1,424,512

Peter Miller

103

21

17

12

20%

49%

$1,125,588

John Sadler

72

20

16

9

28%

63%

$1,071,024

Richard Baltas

104

18

20

21

17%

57%

$1,086,386

Jerry Hollendorfer

85

14

12

16

16%

49%

$1,103,833

Bob Baffert

62

13

10

9

21%

52%

$1,118,428

Philip D’Amato

88

11

15

11

13%

42%

$784,428

Mark Glatt

64

11

11

7

17%

45%

$481,127

William E. Morey

56

10

13

10

18%

59%

$482,030

J. Keith Desormeaux

54

10

8

7

19%

46%

$495,277

Jeff Mullins

47

9

9

8

19%

55%

$587,067

Simon Callaghan

31

9

3

5

29%

55%

$493,848

Richard Mandella

38

9

3

2

24%

37%

$307,251

Peter Eurton

44

8

9

6

18%

52%

$395,527

Vladimir Cerin

49

8

4

9

16%

43%

$296,979

Steve Knapp

49

8

4

8

16%

41%

$202,634

Hector O. Palma

45

7

8

7

16%

49%

$272,018

William Spawr

22

7

2

2

32%

50%

$195,526