Saturday, October 18, 2008
STABLE NOTES, SATURDAY, OCTOBER 18TH, 2008
SMITH GOES FOR GRAND SLAM IN BREEDERS’ CUP 25
Mike Smith wouldn’t trade places with anybody next weekend. The 43-year-old Hall of Fame rider is scheduled to ride two solid favorites, the undefeated Zenyatta in the Ladies’ Classic and Oak Leaf Stakes winner Stardom Bound in the Juvenile Fillies, and the speedy and game Dearest Trickski in the Filly & Mare Sprint. Each race is on Friday, Oct. 24. The next day, Smith tackles Curlin and the rest of the world aboard Santa Anita Derby winner Tiago in the $5-million Breeders’ Cup Classic.
“They’re all training really, really well,” Smith said after working Tiago on Hollywood Park’s Cushion Track Saturday and watching exercise rider Bruno Delgadillo work Stardom Bound. “I really believe if the horses I ride are given the opportunity to run like they can, they’re going to run huge. They’re all training as good, if not better, than they ever have, so they’re going into the race the way they’re supposed to. You pray for the opportunity, and if it presents itself, I think they’re going to run like you haven’t seen before.”
“I think it is,” the native of Roswell, N.M., said, “especially for Tiago more than any of them, because of the fact that he hasn’t taken too kindly to the synthetic surfaces. For him to run the race he ran the other day was real good (second by a length to Well Armed in the Goodwood Handicap on Sept. 27, closing from 10th and last entering the stretch in the 1 1/8-mile race). I think he got a lot of confidence from that race and seems to have gone forward.”
Tiago went six furlongs for John Shirreffs in 1:12.60, while Stardom Bound, a $375,000 daughter of Tapit trained by Chris Paasch, went five furlongs in :59.20, breezing. “The time wasn’t as impressive as the way she went,” Paasch said. “She galloped out in 1:11 4/5.”
In other Breeders’ Cup news:
Unbeaten Japanese invader Casino Drive, who won his debut race at Santa Anita last Sunday, cantered one lap around Hollywood Park’s 1 1/8-mile Cushion Track Saturday and remains on course for the Classic, according to Nobutaka Tada, racing manager for owner Hidetoshi Yamamoto. “He will have a slow breeze at Hollywood on Wednesday,” Tada said.
Defending Sprint champion Midnight Lute stretched his legs Saturday on Santa Anita’s Pro-Ride under exercise rider Sarah Cillie. “I’m going to breeze him Monday, but it’s going to be very light,” trainer Bob Baffert said. “All I can tell you is that he’s healthy, his mind is really great. At Del Mar, his mind was not right. He was bad at the gate, he was bad everywhere. Everything is in place right now.”
Asked if there would be enough speed to run at for Midnight Lute in the six-furlong Sprint, Baffert said, “The break is important. He needs to break with the field. He’s going to be behind, but he needs to break with them, because they’re going to outfoot him a ways until he gets in gear.”
Baffert said Midnight Lute would run without blinkers in the Sprint.
Champion Indian Blessing (Filly & Mare Sprint) worked five furlongs for Baffert in :59.20 under exercise rider Janell Gruss.
“We had three horses work at Santa Anita today,” John Sadler said, “Cost of Freedom (Sprint, five furlongs in :59.40), Zappa (Marathon, seven furlongs in a bullet 1:25.40) and Whatsthescript (Mile, seven furlongs in 1:26.40). They all went really, really well.”
Other works on Santa Anita’s Pro-Ride main track Saturday included: In Summation (Sprint, four furlongs in :47.80 for Christophe Clement); Albertus Maximus (Dirt Mile, five furlongs in :59.20 for Vladimir Cerin); Bear Now (Ladies’ Classic, five furlongs in 1:03.40 for Reade Baker); Ginger Punch (Ladies’ Classic, five furlongs in 1:00.60 for Bobby Frankel); Music Note (Ladies’ Classic, five furlongs in 1:00.60 for Saeed bin Suroor); Ventura (Filly & Mare Sprint, five furlongs in :58.60 for Frankel); and Azul Leon (Juvenile, six furlongs in 1:14.40, and Square Eddie, Juvenile, six furlongs in 1:15.40, each for Doug O’Neill).
This will mark the first Breeders’ Cup competition for Clinton Potts. The 37-year-old rider rides Vosburgh winner Black Seventeen for trainer Brian Koriner in the $2-million Sprint. Koriner said Black Seventeen is scheduled to work Monday at Santa Anita.
“I was supposed to ride River’s Prayer and a couple of others for Jeff Mullins last year, but four got hurt and one didn’t get in on points,” Pott said. “This is a good opportunity.”
The Weather.Com forecast for Arcadia for Breeders’ Cup is as follows: Friday, Oct. 24, sunny with temperatures ranging from 57 to 82 degrees, and Saturday, Oct. 25, sunny with temperatures from 57 to 81 degrees.
Oak Tree will be hosting the Breeders’ Cup for the fourth time and the first time under its two-day format, which features 14 races with total purses of $25.5 million.
McCARRON MISSES THE GAME HE LOVES
Appreciation grows deeper with age.
Chris McCarron is first to admit that. The Hall of Fame rider, who retired in 2002, was sitting in his old familiar stall in Oak Tree’s jockeys’ room Friday, prior to today’s Living Legends Race.
Except for the fact that he showed more waist than waste, the 53-year-old winner of more than 7,000 races looked like he never stopped riding. In a sense, he wishes he never had.
“I miss it, oh, yeah, I do,” McCarron said. “More than ever, actually. The camaraderie, the excitement, the exhilaration, just the thought of going out there and riding again is very exciting.
“You learn to value what you had. It’s kind of like the song, ‘You Don’t Know What You’ve Got Till It’s Gone.’ But this is fun. It’s all good.”
GOV. SCHWARZENEGGER TO PRESENT BREEDERS’ CUP CLASSIC TROPHY
Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has announced he will attend the Breeders’ Cup World Championships at Santa Anita Park on Oct. 25, and he will become the first California governor to ever present the winner’s trophy for the $5-million Breeders’ Cup Classic, which will be run as the ninth race at approximately 3:45 p.m. (PDT).
The Breeders’ Cup will be hosted for the fourth time by the Oak Tree Racing Association. The two-day event will be held on Oct. 24 and 25 and will be televised live on ESPN and ABC. This will mark the sixth time the Breeders’ Cup has been held in California, as Hollywood Park has hosted it twice.
“We are extremely pleased that Gov. Schwarzenegger has chosen to attend Breeders’ Cup 25 and present the trophy for the biggest race in North America,” said Oak Tree Director and Executive Vice President Sherwood Chillingworth. “He will be presenting the Classic trophy along with Mrs. John Gaines, whose late husband was instrumental in formulating the Breeders’ Cup concept back in 1984.
“I think the governor recognizes the importance of the Thoroughbred industry here in California, and his presence on Oct. 25 does indeed lend a great deal of prestige to the event,” he added.
The Breeders’ Cup Classic, for 3-year-olds and up at 1 ¼ miles, figures to have a strong international field, with reigning Horse of the Year Curlin set to defend his Classic title and join Tiznow as the only two-time winners of the Classic.
In winning the Grade I Jockey Club Gold Cup at Belmont Park on Sept. 27 for the second consecutive year, Curlin surpassed the $10-million mark in career earnings and became North America’s all-time leading money earner.
Curlin was flown from New York and arrived at Santa Anita the day after the Gold Cup. Under the supervision of majority owner Jess Jackson and trainer Steve Asmussen, he worked five furlongs in an impressive 59.12, breezing, between races here on Monday and was pre-entered in the Classic on Tuesday.
First post time on Friday, Oct. 24, is 11:05 a.m., and Santa Anita’s admission gates will open at 8 a.m. First post time on Saturday, Oct. 25, is 10:10 a.m., with admission gates opening at 7 a.m.
For Breeders’ Cup ticketing information, call (626) 254-1300.
BURBANK ROAD KINGS CAR SHOW ON SUNDAY
Over 400 cars will be on display Sunday throughout the infield, including Hot Rods, Modifieds, Street Rods, Sports Cars, Restored Classics and Muscle Cars. This marks the 56th anniversary of the Burbank Road Kings.
In addition, there will be live entertainment, celebrity and professional judges and special trophy presentations to winning cars. The car show is free with paid admission.
FINISH LINES: Lev Abrams, father of trainer Barry Abrams, died Thursday at 11:45 p.m. in Arcadia Methodist Hospital at the age of 84. “He had congestive heart failure,” Abrams said. “He was the kind of guy who wanted to walk around all the time and eat all the time, and doctors told him to slow down and relax, but he wouldn’t do it. He said he would have plenty of time not to eat and lay down when he died. He pushed himself, and his heart couldn’t take it anymore.” Services will be at El Camino Real Cemetery Monday in Del Mar. Dadsalittleunusual, a 5-year-old gelded son of Unusual Heat that finished second by a nose in Friday’s seventh race, was named for Barry’s father . . . Abrams plans to run three horses in Friday’s Grade III Las Palmas Handicap for fillies and mares at one mile on turf: America’s Friend, Chantal Sutherland; Lightmyfirebaby, Joel Rosario, and Spenditallbaby, no rider . . . Chris McCarron says “Things are going great” at his jockeys’ school in Lexington, Ky. The Hall of Fame jockey is executive director of the North American Racing Academy. “I have eight kids graduating this year, six who came back for their second year, and I have 25 new students this year, so it’s growing,” McCarron said.
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