- EAST COAST, WEST COAST, SMITH GAINS BIG BUCKS
- BEAU RECALL EYES CLEAR SAILING IN RODEO DRIVE
- HOLLENDORFER PAIR SET FOR AMERICAN PHAROAH
- STEVENS SEEKS GOLD ABOARD TOUCHING RAINBOWS
- TWO DOLLAR HAPPY HOURS START ON OPENING DAY
- FREE HALL OF FAME POSTERS AVAILABLE SATURDAY
- ‘VOICE OF VIKINGS’ ALLEN VISITS CLOCKERS’ CORNER
SMITH HOPES TO ADD TO HIS MILLIONS ON WEST COAST SATURDAY
Move over Fort Knox.
Mike Smith, the Man with the Midas Touch, hopes to add to his lucrative bankroll Saturday when he rides champion West Coast in the $300,000 Awesome Again Stakes for three-year-olds and up at 1 1/8 miles.
West Coast, Eclipse Award winner as outstanding three-year-old male of 2017, has not raced since last March 31 when second in the Dubai World Cup, but was a $6,000 supplemental nominee to the Awesome Again, which trainer Bob Baffert plans to use as a steppingstone to the Breeders’ Cup Classic at Churchill Downs on Nov. 3.
The Awesome Again is but one of five Grade I, Breeders’ Cup “Win and You’re In” events opening weekend, providing the winner with a fees-paid berth to their respective Breeders’ Cup races Nov. 2 and 3 at Churchill Downs.
The others are the American Pharoah Stakes at 1 1/16 miles for two-year-olds; the Chandelier Stakes at 1 1/16 miles for two-year-old fillies; and the Rodeo Drive Stakes at 1 ¼ miles on turf for fillies and mares, three and up on Saturday, and the Zenyatta Stakes at 1 1/16 miles for fillies and mares, three and up, on Sunday.
Smith, just back from the East Coast where he won two $1 million races at Parx last Saturday, was putting jet lag on the back burner at Clockers’ Corner Thursday morning.
“I’m excited about the opportunity to ride West Coast back,” said Smith, whose $316,689,364 in career earnings place him second all time behind John Velazquez with $391,977,502.
“It’s his first race out in a while,” Smith said of West Coast, “but as you well know, Bob will have them ready, we’re excited about the chance, and we’ll see how we come back.”
The field for the Awesome Again: Shades of Victory, Martin Pedroza, 50-1; Isotherm, Geovanni Franco, 15-1; Prime Attraction, Kent Desormeaux, 10-1; The Lieutenant, Flavien Prat, 10-1; West Coast, Mike Smith, 7-5; and Accelerate, Joel Rosario, 3-5.
The Awesome Again is race 11 on a 12-race program that starts at 12 noon.
HOLLENDORFER HAS TWO FOR THE MONEY IN AMERICAN PHAROAH
Jerry Hollendorfer conditions two of the five horses entered in Saturday’s American Pharoah Stakes, one with a maiden sprint win, the other with a maiden victory at one mile.
The Hall of Fame trainer is confident both will give a good account of themselves.
Roywaton, an Into Mischief colt, broke his maiden going five furlongs July 21, then was second in the Grade I Del Mar Futurity at seven furlongs Sept. 3. Gunmetal Gray, a gray son of Exchange Rate, broke his maiden over a flat mile, winning off by some seven lengths at odds of nearly 7-1.
“Both horses are doing real well coming into the race, training real well,” Hollendorfer said. “We’re looking forward to this meet. It’s nice to be at Del Mar, but it’s also nice to get back home and train at Santa Anita.”
The American Pharoah, race six: Rowayton, Florent Geroux, 5-2; Gunmetal Gray, Flavien Prat, 9-5; Jefe, Kent Desormeaux, 8-1; Game Winner, Joel Rosario, 6-5; and Sigalert, Tyler Baze, 15-1.
TRAINER SEEKS CLEAR PATH FOR BEAU RECALL IN RODEO DRIVE
Simon Callaghan hopes better luck will bring victory for Beau Recall in Saturday’s Rodeo Drive Stakes.
The four-year-old Irish-bred filly was wide in her last three starts, two of them graded stakes, but still showed her customary late surge.
“Things didn’t really pan out in those races,” said Callaghan, who trains the bay daughter of Prancealot for Slam Dunk Racing or Medallion Racing. “She had a bit of traffic and last time got too far back off a slow pace.
“We’re taking the blinkers off Saturday and she’s back with Joe Talamo who knows the filly really well. It’s a tough race but I think she’s going to be competitive. If she gets some pace we expect her to make her late run.”
The Rodeo Drive, race 10: Paved, Joel Rosario; Tisbutadream, Tyler Conner; Beau Recall, Joe Talamo; Queen Blossom, Florent Geroux; Amboseli, Stewart Elliott; Vasilka, Flavien Prat; Sophie P, Kent Desomreaux; and Cambodia, Drayden Van Dyke.
STEVENS FANCIES CHANCES IN EDDIE D STAKES OPENING DAY
Gary Stevens has been an eventful third on Touching Rainbows in his last two races, but is optimistic a more fortuitous trip in Friday’s Eddie D Stakes will reverse the trend.
“I like him tomorrow,” Stevens said of the five-year-old gelding, one of three Phil D’Amato trainees in the downhill race at about 6 ½ furlongs on turf.
“He ran awfully well last time (going five furlongs on turf Aug. 17). He got pinched pretty hard at the start but came running, and he’ll come running again tomorrow. He hadn’t run on turf for a long time (since Dec. 1, 2016) and he handled it well. It was a good run last time.
“I think the 6 ½’s going to be perfect for him. We drew well (nine in a field of nine) and he’s going to run well. He’s a really neat horse who shows up every time and runs hard.
“It says he got off a bit slow in his last race, but I got annihilated.”
The field for the Eddie D, race six on a nine-race program that starts at 1 p.m.: Law Abidin Citizen, Tiago Periera, 12-1; Caribou Club, Joe Talamo, 6-1; Stormy Liberal, Drayden Van Dyke, 2-1; Threefiveindia, Geovanni Franco, 15-1; He Will, Kent Desormeaux, 15-1; Cistron, Tyler Baze, 8-1; Kenjisstorm, Rafael Bejarano, 10-1; Conquest Tsunami, Flavien Prat, 5-2; and Touching Rainbows, Gary Stevens, 6-1.
LUCRATIVE ‘STRONACH 5’ WAGER TO DEBUT ON FRIDAY
The “Stronach 5,” a $1 minimum wager which features an industry-low takeout of 12 percent, will debut tomorrow beginning with Laurel Park’s ninth race, which has an assigned post time of 5:26 ET. The Stronach 5, which will also coincide with Santa Anita’s Autumn Meet opening, will be offered each Friday, through Nov. 2. The inaugural Stronach 5 will also offer fans a guaranteed pool of $50,000.
With Leg Two shifting to Santa Anita, Leg Three to Gulfstream Park and Leg Four to Golden Gate Fields, the fifth and final leg this Friday will emanate from Gulfstream, with their ninth race set to go at 6:08 ET. The Stronach 5 is thus intended to be run within a 45-minute pari-mutuel window.
THE TIMELINE FOR FRIDAY’S ONE DOLLAR STRONACH 5:
–LEG ONE, Laurel Park Race 9, (nine horses entered), 5:26 ET
–LEG TWO, Santa Anita Race 4, (11 horses entered), 5:32 ET
–LEG THREE, Gulfstream Race 8, (11 horses entered), 5:38 ET
–LEG FOUR, Golden Gate Race 4, (10 horses entered), 5:50 ET
–LEG FIVE, Gulfstream Race 9, (11 horses entered), 6:08 ET
The Maryland Jockey Club will serve as host of the Stronach 5 and will offer the multi-race bet as a separate wagering program. Additionally, each participating track will be issuing 100 “Quick Pick” tickets and Stronach 5 past performances will be available on each track’s website no later than Thursday morning.
Fans are advised that if a change in racing surface is made in any Stronach 5 race after wagering closes, each selection in that race, on any ticket, will be considered a winning selection. If a betting interest is scratched, that selection will be substituted with the favorite in the win pool when wagering closes.
In the event there are no tickets with five winners, the entire Stronach 5 pool will be carried over to the next Friday.
XBTV TO AIR SPECIAL STRONACH 5 PREVIEW SHOW FRIDAY AT 11:30 A.M.
With 52 horses entered and an industry-low 12 percent takeout in play, it’s no surprise that there’s a great deal of interest building in the inaugural one dollar Stronach 5 on Friday.
Accordingly, XBTV will present a 20-minute preview show Friday at 11:30 a.m. PT and on-demand thereafter.
Hosted by Gulfstream’s Jason Blewitt, the show will feature racing analysts from all of the participating Stronach Group tracks, including Gulfstream’s Acacia Courtney, Santa Anita’s Michelle Yu and Megan Devine, Laurel Park’s Tim Tullock and Golden Gate Fields’ Matt Dinerman.
XBTV will also provide fans with an “All Star Ticket,” with best bets from racing experts. This analysis will also be available on XBTV.com, and on all participating tracks’ social media platforms.
Additionally, a unique feature of the Stronach 5 wager will be that the five races will be shown live on all racetrack simulcast feeds. (For example, live racing from Gulfstream, Laurel and Golden Gate Fields, will be shown on Santa Anita’s feed within the one-hour time frame of the wager).
SANTA ANITA’S ALL-DAY ‘FRIDAY HAPPY HOUR’ STARTS OPENING DAY
With the beginning of Santa Anita’s 22-day Autumn Meet tomorrow, on-track fans 21 years of age and up will be treated to an all-day “Friday Happy Hour” each Friday featuring $2 draft beers and half price on signature cocktails such as the “Baldwin Buck,” made with Woodford Reserve, the official bourbon of Santa Anita Park.
Ice cold draft Budweiser and Montejo Pale Lager will be available until the last race is official at Sirona’s Sports Bar, the Club House Bar across from the sandwich carving station on the main floor, and the Horseshoe Bar located on the track’s Mezzanine level.
While draft beers will be available for $2, signature cocktails will be sold for just $6.
“We feel this provides great value for everyone and along with free parking and admission on weekdays, it’s a compelling way to bring in new fans and take care of our core customers as well,” said Nate Newby, Santa Anita Vice President, Marketing. “We’re offering a great many promotions now on the weekends that are attracting a much younger demographic and there’s also no question there’s room to grow our business on weekdays.”
For more information on Santa Anita’s Autumn Meet “Happy Hour” and other promotions, including the Santa Anita Oktoberfest Sept. 29 & 30 and Oct. 6 & 7, please visit www.santaanita.com or call (626) 574-RACE.
FREE HALL OF FAME POSTER AVAILABLE THIS SATURDAY
In addition to four Grade I Breeders’ Cup “Win and You’re In” Challenge races, the first 5,000 on-track fans at Santa Anita will be treated to a beautiful full color poster depicting some of the greatest Hall of Fame jockeys and trainers of all time Saturday at 10:30 a.m. in the track’s Paddock Gardens area.
Retired Hall of Famers Eddie Delahoussaye, Julie Krone, Laffit Pincay, Jr., Donald Pierce and Alex Solis will be joined by active HOFers, including Kent Desormeaux, Mike Smith, Gary Stevens, Neil Drysdale, Jerry Hollendorfer, Richard Mandella and Ron McAnally.
Vintage photos of the aforementioned jockeys and trainers will be included on the poster, as will printed recognition of other Hall of Fame legends such as Charlie Whittingham, Lazaro Barrera, Bill Shoemaker, John Longden, Eddie Arcaro, Chris McCarron, Chris Antley, William Molter, Milo Valenzuela, Bill Hartack, Russell Baze, Gary Jones, Garrett Gomez, Manuel Ycaza, George Woolf, Bill Boland, Ted Atkinson, Mesh Tenney, Bob Wheeler, Buster Millerick and others.
PAUL ALLEN, VOICE OF THE VIKINGS, VISITS SANTA ANITA
With the Minnesota Vikings in town to play the Rams tonight at the Coliseum, former Pasadena Star News horseracing writer Paul Allen, who is now the highly acclaimed radio voice of the Vikings, was a Clockers’ Corner visitor Thursday morning.
“I love it out here, always have,” said Allen, who made it a point to check in on the Mezzanine level with private clocker Gary Young upon his arrival. “Between Bay Meadows and Canterbury Park, I’ve done play by play for the Minnesota Vikings for 17 years, but I’ve been calling races for 26 years now and there are a lot of things I do in race calls that I’ve been able to translate to the NFL.
“For so many years, when a horse opens up turning for home, I’ll say something like ‘A.P. Indy is loose!!’ Well, when Adrian Peterson would bust through the line of scrimmage, I’d say, ‘And he’s loose!’ and the guys at ESPN and NFL Network like it . . . I guess it makes me unique, because nobody else in the NFL is racetrack-trained like I am.”
In addition to an early morning consultation with Young, Allen was also thrilled to renew acquaintances with jockey Geovanni Franco, who Allen nicknamed “The Godfather” seven years ago at Canterbury.
“I’ve been following Geovanni and all the success he’s having out here and I’m really happy for him,” said Allen.
“He works hard and it’s amazing to see him doing so well. We had a lot of fun with the Godfather thing, but if he didn’t win, I was a little leery about opening my door late at night!”
BTW, the Vikings, who were thumped at home by the lowly Buffalo Bills 27-6 this past Sunday, are a seven point “dog” versus the Rams tonight.
FINISH LINES: Jockey Martin Garcia, injured in a training mishap Wednesday morning, was expected to be released from Huntington Memorial Hospital Thursday according to his agent, Thom Mitchell. When Garcia resumes riding could depend on the concussion protocol for horse racing, Mitchell said . . . A 25 percent discount is available for Uber guests to and from the races during Santa Anita’s Autumn Meet by using promo code 2018SantaAnita. The code may be used by both new and existing customers and is valid from Sept. 28 through Nov. 11, 2018.