MANDELLA EYES EMERALD CITY WITH OMAHA BEACH
D’AMATO HAS TWO FOR THE MONEY IN CITY OF HOPE
BAFFERT-SMITH SPLIT ON McKINZIE IS JUST BUSINESS
CALLAGHAN MULLS BREEDERS’ CUP FOR SQUARE DEAL
MANDELLA EXCITED ABOUT RETURN OF OMAHA BEACH
Saturday marks the second time Richard Mandella embarks down the Yellow Brick Road with Omaha Beach.
This time, he hopes to reach the Emerald City.
He never got there on May 4, when the pre-race favorite for the Kentucky Derby missed the classic due to an entrapped epiglottis which ultimately required surgery. The son of War Front has not raced since, but is scheduled to return in Saturday’s Grade I, $300,000 Santa Anita Sprint Championship, a Breeders’ Cup “Win and You’re In” event.
The race will be decided at six furlongs, a distance in which Omaha Beach will be making his debut, having last raced at a mile and an eighth on April 13, capturing the Grade I Arkansas Derby on a sloppy track.
“I’m excited,” trainer Richard Mandella said at his barn early Thursday morning about the widely anticipated comeback of Omaha Beach. “I’m not sure if he’s quick enough to beat some of the top sprinters in there, but he sure acts like he could.
“We’re anxious to see how it goes, but the main thing is getting him back to the races. We’ll see what might be next after we run. I’ll tell you after we get a race into him.”
The “top sprinter” is Shancelot, a front-running son of Shanghai Bobby trained by Jorge Navarro. Winner of three of his four starts, the three-year-old colt drew the advantageous outside post in a field of six and is Jon White’s 4-5 morning line favorite.
The Sprint Championship, race nine of 10 with a 12:30 p.m. first post time: $6,000 supplemental nominee One Flew South, Evin Roman, 30-1; Omaha Beach, Mike Smith, 8-5; Shancelot, Emisael Jaramillo, 4-5; Flagstaff, Victor Espinoza, 4-1; California Street, Drayden Van Dyke, 15-1; and Horse Greedy, Martin Pedroza, 15-1.
THREE STAKES FEATURED ON SATURDAY’S NBC SPORTS
Saturday’s NBC Sports Breeders’ Cup Challenge Series will present expanded coverage to include the Grade III LA Woman Stakes (scheduled post time 2:33 p.m. PT) incorporated into the regularly scheduled America’s Day at the Races Show.
America’s Day at the Races (4 to 5 p.m. PT) will cover the Santa Anita Sprint Championship with Laffit Pincay III and Gary Stevens in studio and Michelle Yu reporting.
D’AMATO GOES FOR ONE-TWO PUNCH IN CITY OF HOPE
Phil D’Amato, who sent out Cleopatra’s Strike and Acclimate to run one-two in last Saturday’s John Henry Turf Championship, hopes for a repeat result with Andesh and Prince Carl in this Saturday’s Grade II City of Hope Mile on turf, which drew 11 entrants.
Andesh, an Irish-bred gelding, won an overnight race at Del Mar last out despite being squeezed at the start of the one-mile grass test.
Prince Earl, a four-year-old California-bred gelding, rallied from sixth in a field of 10 to win the Grade II Del Mar Mile Handicap on Aug. 18.
“He got squeezed out of it pretty good,” D’Amato said of Andesh. “He was running that day first time as a gelding, and we thought that would help him. He’s come back really good.
The City of Hope, race eight: Ohio, Norberto Arroyo Jr., 12-1; Synchrony, Joe Talamo, 5-1; True Valour, Drayden Van Dyke, 10-1; Restrainedvengence, Martin Garcia, 15-1; Big Score, Mike Smith, 10-1; Catapult, Rafael Bejarano, 5-1; River Boyne, Ruben Fuentes, 4-1; Kingly, Mario Gutierrez, 20-1; Prince Earl, Geovanni Franco, 7-2; Andesh, Abel Cedillo, 20-1; and Bolo, Tyler Baze, 6-1.
BAFFERT’S DECISION TO CHANGE RIDERS IS ‘BUSINESS’
When it comes to man and horse, Bob Baffert taking Mike Smith off of McKinzie doesn’t measure up to, say, Cervantes removing Don Quixote from Rocinante, but relatively speaking, it is memorable in racing.
It wasn’t personal. As they said in “The Godfather,” it’s business.
Baffert and Smith, both Hall of Fame members, have enjoyed a long and successful relationship, most significantly in 2018 when they joined forces for Justify’s Triple Crown sweep and Horse of the Year title.
But after Smith finished second aboard odds-on favorite McKinzie in last Saturday’s Awesome Again Stakes, Baffert later said he was making a change in riders on McKinzie for the $6 million Breeders’ Cup Classic Nov. 2 at Santa Anita.
“Mike wanted to talk to me after the race, but I told him to come to the barn,” Baffert said Thursday morning following a bullet six furlong breeze by Roadster (1:13 flat). “That’s when I told him I wanted to make a switch.
“I respect Mike and he’s my friend, but I’m entitled to change my mind. McKinzie is not a difficult horse to ride and my whole focus right now is to get him really right.”
TRAINER HAS OPTIONS FOR TWO-YEAR-OLD SQUARE EDDIE COLT
Square Deal makes his grass debut in Sunday’s $100,000 Breeders’ Cup “Win and You’re In” Speakeasy Stakes for two-year-olds at five furlongs on turf, giving the winner a fees-paid berth to the $1 million Juvenile Turf Sprint Nov. 1 at Santa Anita.
A California-bred son of Square Eddie owned by Arnold Zetcher and Qatar Racing Limited, Square Eddie won his last two starts in restricted stakes on dirt against Cal-breds, the Graduation and the Im Smokin.
“The Square Eddies do really well on the turf sprinting,” allowed trainer Simon Callaghan. “We felt like we needed a race between now for either the Breeders’ Cup or the Golden State Juvenile ($200,000 on dirt at seven furlongs for Cal-breds also on Nov. 1).
“But if he were to run well Sunday, we’d run him in the Breeders’ Cup.”
FINISH LINES: Congratulations to Huey Barnes, who celebrates his 86th birthday today. In his 40th year as an assistant starter, Barnes came from New York to California in 1954 with his late friend, Eugene (Snake) McDaniel, grooming and exercising horses for Charlie Whittingham. “I’m hanging in there,” said the charismatic and colorful Barnes, who will have dinner tonight with his family, which includes his wife, three sons and a daughter . . . Paradise Woods came out of her impressive victory in Sunday’s Zenyatta Stakes and will train up to the Breeders’ Cup Distaff, trainer John Shirreffs said . . . With five wins through the first three racing days, including four graded stakes, Abel Cedillo has made an immediate impact with fans and horsemen alike at Santa Anita. “People notice him,” agent Tom Knust said. “Trainers have been calling even though the condition book had my wrong phone number, so that didn’t help. Seriously, he works hard. He worked horses at San Luis Rey last week and was out here at 5:30 this morning. He’ll work seven, eight horses every morning, so it’s paid off so far.” . . . A special edition of America’s Day at the Races airs Saturday from 4 to 5 p.m. PT on FS2 featuring coverage of the City of Hope Mile (race eight) and the Grade I Santa Anita Sprint Championship (race nine). Earlier in the day, on the 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. PT edition of ADR, the Grade III LA Woman (race five) will be shown from Santa Anita with Michelle Yu reporting . . . Mario Gutierrez, who rode One East Bro in last Saturday’s third race, has been suspended four days (Oct. 13, 14, 15 and 19) for careless riding, his second offense in the last 60 days.
LATEST CONTENT FROM XBTV:
All-Star Stronach 5 Ticket for October 4th, 2019
XBTV Thursday: What to Watch for at Santa Anita Park on October 3rd, 2019
Quick Questions With Trainer Eoin Harty: Part 1 of 2
Bolo (City of Hope Mile) (Gaines) 10/02/19
Shancelot (SA Sprint) (Navarro) 9/29/19
Andesh (Outside), Prince Earl (Middle) and Bowies Hero (Inside) (D’Amato) 09/16/19
Campaign (Sadler) 9/27/19