- DABSTER BREEZES FOR GRADE I MALIBU ON OPENING DAY
- SAN ANTONIO COULD PROVE A PEGASUS STEPPINGSTONE
- BONDE OUT TO DOUBLE HIS PLEASURE IN GRADE I LA BREA
- POPULAR WALL CALENDAR FREE TO FANS ON OPENING DAY
BAFFERT WORKS DABSTER, WEST COAST, MASOCHISTIC
Bob Baffert’s Dabster, who has crossed the wire first in all three of his starts, worked
five furlongs Tuesday in company for the Grade I Malibu Stakes opening day Dec. 26 at Santa Anita, one of four graded stakes that jump starts the highly anticipated Winter Meet.
Dabster, a $1 million bay son of two-time Horse of the Year Curlin, was clocked in 1:00.20, the same time given to workmate Cat Burglar.
“He went nice,” trainer Bob Baffert said of Dabster, who was disqualified from victory in his first race, a seven furlong maiden special test at Santa Anita last Dec. 26. “He’s never been a real willing worker. He’s just that way, but it was a good work.”
Baffert also supervised drills this morning for West Coast, who went in company with San Antonio probable Hoppertunity, and barn newcomer Masochistic.
West Coast and Hoppertunity each went four furlongs in a bullet 47.80, fastest of 35 drills at the distance, the average time of which was 49.54.
Masochistic worked five furlongs from the gate in a bullet 58.40, fastest of 71 drills at the distance, the average time of which was 1:01.74.
West Coast, favored to win an Eclipse Award as outstanding male three-year-old of 2017, is ticketed for the $16 million Pegasus World Cup Invitational at Gulfstream Park on Jan. 27, as is Baffert’s Pacific Classic winner and Breeders’ Cup Classic runner-up Collected, who worked seven furlongs Tuesday in 1:25.60.
Hoppertunity does not have a slot in the race, Baffert said.
Baffert has Masochistic nominated to the Grade III Midnight Lute Stakes at 6 ½ furlongs on Dec. 30, but will see how he’s doing before deciding to run or not.
ACCELERATE SET FOR SADLER IN SAN ANTONIO
San Diego Handicap winner Accelerate, an eventful ninth in the Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile Nov. 3, worked six furlongs Tuesday for the San Antonio Stakes opening day in 1:14.40.
“He went well,” trainer John Sadler said of the four-year-old colt owned by principal clients Kosta and Peter Hronis. “He went the last quarter in 24 (seconds).
“He came out of the Breeders’ Cup with a quarter crack, a sore foot, so he had a physical thing going on in the race. But we patched his foot, put some bar shoes on him and he’s training well for this race. We expect him to return to his good form.”
Accelerate will be ridden for the first time by four-time Eclipse Award winner Javier Castellano.
The San Antonio will be run on an opening day for the first time in its 80-year history, and as such will serve as a key steppingstone to the Pegasus World Cup Invitational.
Sadler also has Edwards Going Left set for the Malibu Stakes at seven furlongs. The gelded son of Midnight Lute, also owned by Hronis Racing, worked six furlongs Tuesday in 1:13.80.
“He’s all set for the Malibu,” Sadler said of Edwards Going Left, claimed from his first race Feb. 9, 2017, for $50,000 and winner of six of nine career starts, including the Cary Grant for California-breds on Nov. 19. “He’s good on this track (four wins from six starts) and an improving horse, so we’re ready to go.”
EURTON RUNNER HAS ‘GIANT’ DRILL FOR SAN ANTONIO
Giant Expectations, fifth in the Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile Nov. 3 despite a slow start, worked five furlongs Monday in a bullet 59.40 for the San Antonio Stakes. It was the fastest of 77 drills at the distance, the average time of which was 1:01.80.
“He was moving around in the gate, got away bad and he doesn’t like a lot of dirt in his face,” said trainer Peter Eurton in explaining the disappointing showing.
“It was hard to close on that track that week, and he was way back and wasn’t very comfortable.”
Gary Stevens, who has ridden the New York-bred son of Frosty Giant in his last four races, including a victory in the Grade II Pat O’Brien, retains the mount. The Hall of Fame jockey will ride at Santa Anita through New Year’s Day before moving his tack to Oaklawn Park where his agent will be Jay Fedor.
LA BREA-BOUND MISS SUNSET NO SURPRISE TO BONDE
Miss Sunset, a California-bred daughter of Into Mischief, seeks her fourth straight stakes win in the Grade I La Brea for three-year-old fillies at seven furlongs on opening day.
Her biggest win came in the Grade II Raven Run at Keeneland Oct. 21 under Julien Leparoux, who will be back aboard Tuesday.
“She hasn’t surprised me,” trainer Jeff Bonde said of the bay filly owned by Alan Klein and Philip Lebherz. “She’s a competitor. She tries every time and she does real well at seven-eighths.”
Bonde also plans to enter Princess Karen in the La Brea, with Kent Desormeaux aboard. She won the Beverly Lewis at Los Alamitos Sept. 9 under Desormeaux but was fifth last out Nov. 4 in the Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Sprint.
Princess Karen worked four furlongs Wednesday morning in 48.20.
Richard Mandella said Santa Anita Oaks winner Paradise Woods going from the mile and an eighth of the Breeders’ Cup Distaff to the seven furlongs of the La Brea “shouldn’t be a problem. She’s doing real well.”
Paradise Woods pleased Mandella with a five furlong work this morning in a minute flat under Nestor Capitaine.
Peter Eurton said that neither champion Champagne Room nor Pacific Wind would run in the La Brea. “Champagne will probably go in the La Canada (a Grade II event for older fillies and mares at one mile Jan. 13),” the trainer said. “We’ll give Pacific Wind some time.”
FREE WALL CALENDAR AT SANTA ANITA ON OPENING DAY
One of Santa Anita’s most popular giveaways, its colorful and composite Wall Calendar, will be given free to all fans with paid admission opening day at Santa Anita while supplies last.
The 2018 calendar, themed “Our Horses, Our Passion,” features artfully presented photographs of Thoroughbreds in a variety of eye-catching stages, including maintenance, training and running at The Great Race Place.
FINISH LINES: Dan Ward, assistant to Jerry Hollendorfer, said that Colonist, nominated to both the Malibu and the Mathis Brothers Mile on opening day, would go in the latter race for three-year-olds on turf, where the son of Pioneerof the Nile, while not winning, performed admirably in his last two starts . . . On Santa Anita’s training track Wednesday morning, turf specialist Bowies Hero worked five furlongs for Phil D’Amato in 1:05.40 for the Grade II Mathis Brothers Mile. Bowies Hero has made all 10 of his career starts on turf, winning three restricted stakes . . . Grade I winner Union Strike, pointing to her turf debut in the Grade III Megahertz Stakes on Monday, Jan. 15 for owner/trainer Mick Ruis, worked four furlongs on the training track in 1:03.40. In all, there were 141 recorded works at Santa Anita Tuesday, 10 on the training track . . . Entries for Tuesday’s opening day program will be taken tomorrow . . . First post time at Santa Anita opening day will be 12 noon. Admission gates open at 10 a.m. Santa Anita will be dark Wednesday and Thursday, Dec. 27 and 28, and resume live racing Friday Dec. 29 at 12:30 p.m. through New Year’s Day, Jan. 1. Santa Anita will be dark Jan. 2, 3 and 4, and begin live racing again on Friday, Jan. 5 at 1 p.m. Admission gates open that day at 11 a.m. Santa Anita offers simulcast wagering in the Paddock Room only tomorrow through Sunday, Dec. 21, 23 and 23. Admission gates open at 10 a.m.