- SONGBIRD JUST CRUISES UNDER MIKE SMITH
- AFFIRMED IS LIKELY FOR BATTLE OF MIDWAY
- LAZARO BARRERA DISTANCE SUITS KIMBEAR
- CITY STORM TAKES STEP UP IN DESERT CODE
SONGBIRD BREEZES FOR FOUR-YEAR-OLD DEBUT
Two-time champion Songbird worked five furlongs on a picturesque Thursday morning in 59 flat for her four-year-old debut in either the Beholder Mile at Santa Anita or the Ogden Phipps at Belmont Park.
With regular rider Mike Smith aboard for Jerry Hollendorfer, Songbird worked in company with Mangita, who was clocked in 59.80. Songbird had fractional times of 23.20, 35 and 47, with a six furlong gallop out of 1:11.60 and a seven furlong gallop out of 1:26.
Asked if a decision had been made as to whether she would stay here for the Grade I Beholder Mile on June 3 or ship east for the 1 1/16-mile Ogden Phipps at Belmont on June 10, Hollendorfer said, “We don’t know yet.”
“She worked really good,” said Smith. “I worked her with company, sat off a couple of lengths, and she just cruised up to her and galloped on out really, really nice.”
Should Songbird run in the Beholder, she could face another champion in Stellar Wind, Eclipse Award winner as outstanding three-year-old filly of 2015, in addition to streaking graded stakes winner Vale Dori, victor in six straight including the Adoration Stakes last Sunday.
DERBY WINNER’S FORTE IS SPEED AND ENDURANCE
Santa Anita Derby runner-up Battle of Midway, who performed admirably finishing third by nearly eighth lengths to Always Dreaming in last Saturday’s 20-horse Kentucky Derby field, is back with Jerry Hollendorfer at Santa Anita and could make his next start in the Grade III, $100,000 Affirmed Stakes for three-year-olds at 1 1/16 miles on June 24, the Hall of Fame trainer said Thursday.
“He came out good, he’s back here at Santa Anita and we’re looking to run him maybe in the Affirmed,” Hollendorfer said of Battle of Midway, who outran his odds of 40-1 in the first jewel of the Triple Crown classics.
While Always Dreaming was a tepid Derby favorite at 9-2, he won by nearly three lengths and, according to Hollendorfer, has the wherewithal to continue successfully in the Preakness Stakes on May 20.
“Speed and endurance is a winning combination and this horse has it,” Hollendorfer said of Always Dreaming, a son of Bodemeister who gave Todd Pletcher his second Derby victory. “That’s how (Bob) Baffert won the Triple Crown (with American Pharoah in 2015).”
KIMBEAR RETURNS TO SPRINT IN LAZ BARRERA
Kimbear returns to the distance at which he broke his maiden when he runs in Saturday’s Grade III Lazaro Barrera Stakes for three-year-olds at seven furlongs.
The son of Temple City trained by Eric Kruljac was a middlin’ sixth in the Grade I Santa Anita Derby at a mile and an eighth on April 8, beaten just 5 ½ lengths despite bobbling at the start and going three wide down the lane.
“He moved up pretty well to where he could win the race at the quarter pole,” said Joe Talamo, who rode the bay colt in the Santa Anita Derby and will be aboard again Saturday, “but I think distance-wise, his thing is six to seven eighths.
“He’s a funny horse in the morning. He wants to run off, but in the afternoon, he relaxes, which is good, I guess. Hopefully, we’ll be in a good spot.”
The Laz Barrera, race five of nine races: American Anthem, Mike Smith, 2-1; Kimbear, Joe Talamo, 3-1; Bobby Abu Dhabi, Norberto Arroyo Jr., 4-1; Taxman’s Quest, Tyler Baze, 12-1; Sutton’s Impact, Flavien Prat, 6-1; and Aristocratic, Rafael Bejarano, 5-2. Taxman’s Quest blew out three furlongs for Richard Mandella Thursday in 37 flat.
D’AMATO HOPES PATIENCE PAYS OFF IN DESERT CODE
City Storm posted a 10-1 upset breaking his maiden going about 6 ½ furlongs on Santa Anita’s hillside turf course March 2, and steps up Saturday to the $75,000 Desert Code Stakes for three-year-olds over the same venue.
The California-bred son of City Zip was coming off a three-month layoff following a last-place finish on Del Mar’s main track at six furlongs Dec. 3.
“We’ve just kind of been patient with him,” trainer Phil D’Amato said of the chestnut gelding. “He took a giant step forward on the grass and has trained forwardly. We’re just looking to go step by step with him.
“I’m very happy with what I’ve seen so far. I think I’ve seen a step up from his last race and he’s going to need that step up against some nice competition.”
The Desert Code, which goes as race four: City Storm, Stewart Elliott, 5-1; Big League, Edwin Maldonado, 4-1; Farley, Mario Gutierrez, 5-1; Arms Runner, Norberto Arroyo Jr., 3-1; What’sontheagenda, Tiago Pereira, 10-1; Rebel War, Agapito Delgadillo, 12-1; and Cistron, Tyler Baze, 9-5.
ANGELS FLIGHT BETTER SPOT FOR PRINCESS KAREN
Jeff Bonde figures he can pretty much draw a line through Princess Karen’s seventh-place finish by nearly 24 lengths behind 11 ¾-length winner Paradise Woods in the Grade I Santa Anita Oaks at 1 1/8 miles April 8.
“She defeated herself in that race,” the trainer said. “Gary (Stevens) tried to get her to sit and wait and she didn’t want any part of that and in hindsight, the race was too far for her.”
The Kentucky-bred daughter of Stay Thirsty returns to a sprint Sunday in the $75,000 Angels Flight Stakes at seven furlongs, a distance over which she broke her maiden at first asking last Oct. 15 at Santa Anita.
FINISH LINES: Bal a Bali, winner of the Grade I Kilroe Mile on a firm course at Santa Anita March 11, didn’t fare as well on a “good” turf course in the Woodford Reserve Turf Classic at Churchill Downs last Saturday, finishing fifth by 5 1/4 lengths, but Richard Mandella made no excuses. “He came back good and we’ll just do the best we can in the next one,” the Hall of Fame trainer said. That would be the Grade I Shoemaker Mile on turf June 3, a Grade I “Win and You’re In” Challenge Race for the Breeders’ Cup at Del Mar in November. Santa Anita Oaks winner Paradise Woods, on the other hand, wasn’t as fortunate, disappointing in the Kentucky Oaks, coming home 11th of 14 as the 6-5 favorite after engaging in a pace duel. “She looked a little tired and a little stiff behind,” said Mandella of the daughter of Union Rags. “It’s nothing serious, but we’ll just watch her and figure out what to do next. We’re not going to be in a hurry.” Mandella has promising sprinter Bendable nearing a return to the races after an absence of seven months. “She’s been out a long time,” Mandella said. “We’re not looking at anything right now, but she’s almost ready to run.” Bendable, third in the Grade III Thoroughbred Club of America at Keeneland last Oct. 8, worked six furlongs at Santa Anita May 9 in a bullet 1:11.40 . . . Multiple stakes winner Enola Gray worked three furlongs on Santa Anita’s fast training track Thursday in 35.60 for trainer Phil D’Amato . . . Probables for the Grade I, $500,000 Gold Cup at Santa Anita on May 27 include Big John B, Collected, Follow Me Crev, Hard Aces, Hoppertunity, Midnight Storm and Prospect Park.
|SANTA ANITA STATISTICS|
|(Current Through Sunday, May 7)|
|Norberto Arroyo, Jr.||39||6||5||8||15%||49%||$328,498|