STABLE NOTES BY MIKE WILLMAN & ED GOLDEN -FRIDAY, JANUARY 31, 2020

  • CHAMPION’S MATE MAKES DIRT DEBUT IN LEWIS
  • RESTRAINEDVENGENCE TO BE TESTED IN SATURDAY’S SAN PASQUAL
  • DERBY FEVER? JON WHITE PICKS HIS WEEKLY TOP 10
  • SANTA ANITA HOSTS LEUKEMIA & LYMPHOMA SOCIETY EVENT SATURDAY
  • CHIEFS OR 49ers? HORSEMEN AREN’T PUNTING
  • COME FOR THE RACES AND STAY FOR BIG GAME SUNDAY AT 11:30 AM
  • VAN DYKE SCORES 23 POINTS AS SANTA ANITA JOCKEYS WIN 41-35

CHAMPION’S MATE MAKES DIRT DEBUT IN GRADE III LEWIS

Don’t look now, but champion Storm the Court could soon have company on the Triple Crown trail in the form of stablemate Royal Act.

Peter Eurton, who trains Storm the Court, winner of an Eclipse Award as outstanding two-year-old male of 2019, has entered Royal Act in Saturday’s Grade III Robert B. Lewis Stakes for three-year-olds at a mile and a sixteenth, the son of American Pharoah’s first start on dirt.

The bay colt owned by C R K Stable, LLC has had only two races, both on turf, winning his debut at a mile last Nov. 10 at Del Mar, then returning in Santa Anita’s restricted Eddie Logan Stakes at a mile Dec. 29, finishing fifth but beaten only four lengths.

“I thought he deserved a chance on dirt,” Eurton said. “I worked him three times on it and I’m pleased, so we’re going to give it a try. There are no other dirt races for three-year-olds other than stakes, so why the heck not? He’s doing very well.”

As to Storm the Court not only winning the Eclipse Award but by such a surprisingly large margin (147-51 over runner-up Structor), Eurton was understandably proud and greatly relieved at Gulfstream Park’s 49th annual Eclipse Awards Dinner on Jan. 23.

“I held my breath until they said his name,” Eurton admitted. “I wasn’t going to take anything for granted. I didn’t want to get too excited; that way I wouldn’t be disappointed. They don’t give you any hint in advance that you might win.

“My daughter (Britney) has a lot of friends in racing who talk about these things and they thought it would be very, very close, but turns out it wasn’t and that was OK because the suspense made it more fun.”

Storm the Court, meanwhile, is scheduled to make his three-year-old debut in the Grade II San Vicente Stakes at seven furlongs on Feb. 9.

The Robert B. Lewis, race six on a nine-race card, offering 10 Kentucky Derby qualifying points to the winner: Encoder, (8-1) Mike Smith; Thousand Words, (4-5) Flavien Prat; Tizamagician, (3-1) Victor Espinoza; Royal Act, (15-1) Abel Cedillo; High Velocity, (3-1) Joel Rosario and Zimba Warrior, (15-1) Jose Valdivia, Jr.

First post time Saturday is 12:30 p.m.

RESTRAINEDVENCENCE SEEKS BIGGEST WIN IN SAN PASQUAL

Restrainedvengence gets the stiffest test of his career Saturday when he tackles the likes of Grade I Santa Anita Derby winner Roadster in the Grade II San Pasqual Stakes, a major steppingstone to the Grade I Santa Anita Handicap on March 7.

Val Brinkerhoff feels the five-year-old gelded son of Hold Me Back is up to the task.

“He’s been second in a Grade II (the City of Hope Mile on grass) and third in a Grade III (beaten a neck in the Longacres Mile on dirt),” points out Brinkerhoff, who trains the Kentucky-bred for his wife and valued assistant Kelly, and Bobby Joe Grayson Jr., son of Brinkerhoff’s late longtime friend and associate, owner/trainer Bobby Joe Grayson Sr., who died on Nov. 8.

“His last race was his best, a fifth off the track record and Tyler (Baze) had him soft at the wire,” Brinkerhoff added, referring to a front-running 4 1/2-length romp over eight foes in the Zia Championship in New Mexico at the same mile and an eighth distance as the San Pasqual.

Restrainedvenence gets a new rider for the race in Abel Cedillo, currently in a ding-dong battle with Joel Rosario for riding honors at Santa Anita’s Winter Meet.

“I’m sure he’ll be forwardly placed but he doesn’t have to be on the lead,” said Brinkerhoff, 63, who has 25 head at Santa Anita “and 20 yearlings we’re breaking at my St. George (Utah) training center.”

Five of the 19 career starts by Restrainedvengence have come on dirt, where he has won once, that being the aforementioned Zia Park race. He has won four of 14 on grass, earning $360,222 overall.

Brinkerhoff is one of the hardest-working trainers in a game that requires unflagging focus 24/7, a former jockey who gallops his own horses be they at Santa Anita, Del Mar, Turf Paradise or his training center in Utah. It all began when he was 14 on a dot on the map called Fillmore, Utah, population circa 2,500.

“My dad trained about 30 horses when we lived in Fillmore,” recalled Brinkerhoff, a third-generation horseman. “I was 5-10 and weighed 118 pounds, rode at the smaller venues mainly in Utah and Montana, where I was leading rider, and Wyoming and Fairplex Park (in Pomona).

“I’ll never forget the day my dad took me to Pomona. I walked in the jocks’ room and immediately became aware of how tall I was. While in California, Bill Shoemaker gave me one of his whips, which I cherished. I rode many winners with it.

“But ultimately, I couldn’t make the weight. I was already skinny and at 5-10 and 118 pounds, I didn’t have an ounce to lose.”

The San Pasqual, race eight: Roadster, Joel Rosario (7-2); Route Sixty Six, Jose Valdivia, Jr. (20-1); Restrainedvengence, Abel Cedillo (4-1); King Abner, Flavien Prat (4-1); Midcourt, Victor Espinoza (3-1); Instagrand, Umberto Rispoli (12-1); California Street, Mike Smith (12-1); Two Thirty Five, Ruben Fuentes(8-1); Bold Endeavor, Mario Gutierrez (30-1); and Combatant, Drayden Van Dyke (10-1).

JON WHITE’S KENTUCKY DERBY TOP 10

Santa Anita morning line maker Jon White formulates a Kentucky Derby Top 10 each week, employing video review and monitoring the opinions of other respected racing observers nationwide.  The following is Jon’s most recent Derby Top 10, courtesy of Xpressbet:

“Holding the No. 1 spot this week on my Top 10 is Storm the Court, who was voted a 2019 Eclipse Award as champion 2-year-old male. Trainer Peter Eurton continues to get the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile winner ready to make his return to equine combat in Santa Anita’s seven-furlong San Vicente Stakes on Feb. 9.

“Where does Storm the Court rank on some other Kentucky Derby lists?

“BloodHorse’s Steve Haskin has Storm the Court at No. 2 on his Derby Dozen behind only Dennis’ Moment.

“As for the Top 20 rankings by Gary West (the respected journalist, not the owner of Maximum Security), Storm the Court is No. 10. West, like Haskin, has Dennis’ Moment in the top spot.

“Jeremy Plonk, who puts together a weekly Top 20 for Countdown to the Crown, has Storm the Court all way down at No. 14. Plonk’s No. 1 is Honor A.P.

“The future book odds released Monday by the William Hill Sports Book indicates just how wide open the 2020 Kentucky Derby appears to be at this point. William Hill’s 8-1 favorite is Tiz the Law. Next on Monday’s list of odds were Dennis’ Moment, Maxfield, Storm the Court and Thousand Words, all at 12-1.

“Tiz the Law and Thousand Words both will be running Saturday. Tiz the Law is the 3-5 morning-line favorite in Gulfstream Park’s Holy Bull Stakes, a 1 1/16-mile race that has attracted a field seven. Thousand Words is the 4-5 morning-line favorite in the Robert B. Lewis Stakes at Santa Anita. The Lewis, also a 1 1/16-mile affair, has drawn a field of six.

“Trained by Barclay Tagg, Tiz the Law makes his 2020 debut after winning two of three starts as a 2-year-old. The Constitution colt won the Champagne Stakes by four lengths at Belmont Park in early October. Tiz the Law then finished a close third in Churchill Downs’ Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes when he experienced a troubled trip on a wet track in late November.

“Thousand Words, a $1 million yearling acquisition, is two for two. After winning a maiden race at Santa Anita in late October for trainer Bob Baffert, Thousand Words won the Los Alamitos Futurity on a wet track in early December. Thousand Words’ sire is Pioneerof the Nile, whose son American Pharoah swept the Triple Crown in 2015. Baffert also trained American Pharoah.

“High Velocity, who like Thousand Words hails from the powerful Baffert barn, also is entered in the Lewis. High Velocity, 3-1 on the morning line, finished third in the Los Al Futurity.

“Also at 3-1 on the Lewis morning line is Tizamagician, who won a one-mile maiden race by 2 1/2 lengths at Santa Anita on New Year’s Day. A son of two-time Breeders’ Cup Classic winner Tiznow, Tizamagician had been winless in five starts prior to his Jan. 1 triumph. Keep in mind Omaha Beach was winless in his first four career starts, but then reeled off four straight victories. Can Tizamagician similarly go on a winning streak after finally leaving the maiden ranks?

“The Holy Bull, Lewis and Aqueduct’s 1 1/8-mile Wither Stakes are the three races Saturday on the Road to the Kentucky Derby.

“Topping the field of eight entered in the Withers is Shotski, who is the 2-1 morning-line favorite. He will be making his first start since winning the Remsen Stakes at the Big A in early December. Jeremiah O’Dwyer trains Shotski, whose sire, Blame, won the 2010 Breeders’ Cup Classic by a dramatic head to hand the great Zenyatta the only loss in her 20-race career.

“Saturday’s seven-furlong Swale Stakes at Gulfstream does not offer any Kentucky Derby points. Nevertheless, it should be watched closely due primarily to the presence of Green Light Go and Untitled in the field of eight.

“Green Light Go, trained by Jimmy Jerkens, will be competing for the first time since he finished second as the 6-5 favorite in the aforementioned Champagne won by Tiz the Law. A son of Hard Spun, Green Light Go won the Saratoga Special last summer.

“Untitled, who is No. 10 on my Kentucky Derby rankings, was an 11-length winner at first asking in a six-furlong maiden race at Gulfstream on Dec. 14 for trainer Ralph Nicks. Mark Casse subsequently took over as trainer of the Khozan colt following a private sale in which Gary Barber is now the majority owner. Casse won last year’s Preakness Stakes with War of Will and Belmont Stakes with Sir Winston.

“The only race on the Road to the Kentucky Derby last week was Oaklawn Park’s Smarty Jones Stakes, a race worth 10-4-2-1 Kentucky Derby points to the first four finishers. Gold Street won in a 10-1 upset. Three Technique ran second as the 2-1 favorite. Shoplifted and Silver Prospector finished third and fourth, respectively.

“Trained by Steve Asmussen, Gold Street led all the way on a muddy track and won by 2 3/4 lengths. It was Gold Street’s third consecutive victory. The Street Boss colt still needs to prove he can succeed on a track that isn’t wet. He is three for three when racing on a wet track. He’s winless in three starts when running on a track that wasn’t wet.

“In the Smarty Jones, Gold Street seemingly took advantage of a racing surface that was favorable to early speed. I thought that Three Technique did give a good account of himself to finish second while racing around two turns for the first time. Not only did Three Technique come home willingly, he galloped out strongly. I’m still not as high on Three Technique as some people, but I will be taking him more seriously going forward off his commendable effort in defeat last week.

“Meanwhile, Daily Racing Form’s Marty McGee provided an update this week regarding the status of Maxfield. A son of 2007 Kentucky Derby winner Street Sense, Maxfield is No. 6 on my rankings.

“McGree reported Wednesday that Maxfield recently returned to trainer Brendan Walsh’s barn at the Palm Meadows training center in Florida after undergoing rehabilitation at Bridlewood Farm in Ocala, Fla. The colt had a small ankle chip removed after being scratched from the Nov. 1 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile. Maxfield, who is two for two, rallied from ninth to win the Breeders’ Futurity by 5 1/2 widening lengths at Keeneland last October.

“Walsh told McGee: ‘He’s back galloping at Palm Meadows and we’ll monitor him this week as to when he can start back working. But he’s done great physically and is moving great, too. We’re going to see how he does, let him tell us where we are with him. I’d say we’ll know a lot more in a month or so. I wouldn’t rule anything out, and I wouldn’t rule anything in. It will be a waiting game with him for a little while.'”

The following is Jon White’s Kentucky Derby rankings for this week, courtesy of Xpressbet:

1. Storm the Court

2. Dennis’ Moment

3. Nadal

4. Honor A.P.

5. Thousand Words

6. Maxfield

7. Tiz the Law

8. Authentic

9. Independence Hall

10. Untitled

BIG GAME SUNDAY AT SANTA ANITA STARTS AT 11:30 A.M

Come for the races and stay for the Big Game.  That’s the plan this Sunday at Santa Anita, as racegoers will be treated to a seven-race program that gets underway at 11:30 a.m. with free General Admission, drink specials and a free $3,000 Football Contest.

With the decision to go with a seven-race card, Santa Anita officials opted to move post time back 30 minutes, from 11 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. in order to accommodate those that intend to stay for the game which is scheduled to start at 3:30 p.m. PT.

Fans are also encouraged to visit Santa Anita’s spacious Infield Area with free General Admission and parking offered each weekend via Gate 6 off of Colorado Place.

For additional information regarding Big Game Sunday at Santa Anita, please visit santaanita.com or call (626) 574-RACE.

SUPER BOWL 54 IS HOT TOPIC AMONG HORSEMEN

In racing terms, Sunday’s Super Bowl 54 is a classic match race between two evenly matched horses and the early wagering has been reflective of that.  Although the Kansas City Chiefs have held sway over the San Francisco 49ers over the past 10 days as a one or 1 ½ point favorite, there were reports out of Las Vegas this morning that the game had moved to “pick-em” for a brief time and then back to the Chiefs as a one point favorite.

In what annually serves as a textbook definition of “casual money speaking,” here are some random selections garnered from horsemen this morning at Santa Anita:

Brian Beach, agent–“CHIEFS, MAHOMES IS A GREAT QUARTERBACK.”

Vann Belvoir, trainer–“CHIEFS.”

Jack Carava, trainer–“CHIEFS.”

Gary Stevens, HOF jockey–“KANSAS CITY.”

Aaron Gryder, jockey–“KANSAS CITY.”

Andrew Lerner, trainer–“I’LL GO NINERS.”

Ben Cecil, trainer–“I LIKE THE 49ers.”

Bruce Headley–“I DON’T KNOW.”

Geovanni Franco, jockey–“49ers.”

Neil Drysdale, HOF trainer–“NO COMMENT, BUT I GAVE FRANCO THE 49ers.”

Keith Desormeaux, trainer–“49ers, EASY MONEY.”

Bob Baffert, HOF trainer–“CHIEFS, MAHOMES BABY!”

Paddy Gallagher, trainer–“CLIPPERS.”

Larry Gilligan, Trakus technician–“I JUST WANT TO SEE A CLOSE, HARD-FOUGHT GAME.”

Ron McAnally, HOF trainer–“CHIEFS, BUT I’M HOPING THE 49ers DO WELL.”

Dan Landers, asst. trainer–“KANSAS CITY.”

Brad Pegram, agent–“49ers BABY!”

Ron Anderson, agent–“I’VE BEEN ON PATRICK MAHOMES ALL YEAR.”

Craig O’Bryan, agent–“CHIEFS, ANDY REID AND MAHOMES.”

Brandon O’Bryan, agent, via telephone–“MY SOURCES INDICATE KANSAS CITY.”

More expert analysis to come in Saturday’s Stable Notes!

SANTA ANITA HOSTS LEUKEMIA & LYMPHOMA SOCIETY EVENT SATURDAY

     Santa Anita will host a fundraiser to benefit the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society’s fight against cancer in the East Paddock Gardens on Saturday.  Trainer Craig Dollase’s daughter, Alyssa, and her classmate Kimberly Cabral, are heading the effort as both are candidates for the Society’s Student of the Year program.

Fans are encouraged to stop by the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society’s tent tomorrow.  The first 500 fans to donate will each receive a free 2020 Santa Anita Park wall calendar.  For additional information, please visit santaanita.com/events.

     FINISH LINES Golden Gate Fields is closed this weekend due to repairs of the track’s hot water system. As a result there will be no Stronach 5 today… Grade III Megahertz Stakes winner Caressa worked four furlongs this morning in 47.80 for John Sherriffs, who also sent out Zellda, a daughter of the great Zenyatta for a half mile drill in 50.80…Congrats to the Santa Anita Jockeys, who defeated a squad of Holy Angels Middle Schoolers 41-35 in last night’s annual charity basketball game.  Coach Craig O’Bryan reports that Drayden Van Dyke led the jocks with 23 points and “played tenacious defense.”…Santa Anita offers $2 beer and $6 specialty cocktails each Friday at designated locations throughout the track. Specialty cocktails include a Baldwin Buck, Margarita and other selected cocktails. There is also free Club House and General Admission each Friday . . . FIRST POST ON BIG GAME SUNDAY, FEB. 2., IS EARLY AT 11:30 A.M.  COME FOR THE RACES AND STAY FOR THE BIG GAME!

LATEST CONTENT FROM XBTV:

FEATURES: 

XBTV Friday: What to Watch for at Santa Anita Park on January 31st, 2020

XBTV Saturday: What to Watch for at Santa Anita Park on February 1st, 2020

Quick Questions With Assistant Starter Huey Barnes

WORKOUTS:
Caressa (Sadler) 1-31-20

Zucchera (Baltas) 1-31-20

Collusion Illusion (Glatt) 1-31-20

Authentic (Baffert) 1-30-20

McKinzie (Outside) and McKale (Baffert) 1-30-20

Roadster (Outside) and Heck Yeah (Baffert) 1-26-20

Clivetty (Outside) and Instagrand (Chatlos) 1-25-20

SANTA ANITA STATISTICS
(Current Through Thursday, January 30, 2020 Inclusive)
Jockey

Mts

1st

2nd

3rd

Win%

ITM%

Money Won

Joel Rosario

78

19

18

12

24%

63%

$1,142,374

Abel Cedillo

119

18

16

12

15%

39%

$1,029,732

Drayden Van Dyke

61

13

11

5

21%

48%

$785,521

Flavien Prat

67

10

16

16

15%

63%

$717,474

Trainer

Sts

1st

2nd

3rd

Win%

ITM%

Money Won

Richard Baltas

53

12

9

4

23%

47%

$792,770

Peter Miller

35

11

4

3

31%

51%

$688,014

Bob Baffert

35

10

7

9

29%

74%

$833,612

Brian J. Koriner

22

7

1

4

32%

55%

$245,342