Monday, October 26, 2009



Belmont, Travers and Jockey Club Gold Cup winner Summer Bird, the leading candidate for an Eclipse Award in the male 3-year-old division, worked five furlongs in 1:00.45 under regular rider Kent Desormeaux Sunday after Oak Tree’s second race. The chestnut son of Birdstone came on the main track at the head of the quarter mile chute, back-tracked to the half mile pole and then jogged and galloped through the stretch and around the Club House turn.

Desormeaux set him down to breeze approaching the five furlong pole and he guided him through splits of 24.42 and 48.56. Summer Bird galloped out six furlongs in 1:13.03 as he continues to prepare for the $5 million Breeders’ Cup Classic at 1 1/4 miles on Nov. 7.

“The work was great,” trainer Tim Ice said after Summer Bird’s drill. “This was exactly what we wanted. He looked super getting over the track and he’s been getting over it very well ever since we got here.

“Kent had a ton of horse under him and he just let him work on his own, within himself. I’m super-happy with how he’s trained here and how he’s handled everything. We’ll walk tomorrow and he’ll go back to the track Tuesday morning.”

Ice said that Summer Bird would have one more breeze prior to the Breeders’ Cup. “He’ll work five eighths next Saturday,” he said.

Desormeaux, who experienced a 3-hour airport runway delay in New York, flew in earlier in the day for the work.

With his son Jacob in tow, Desormeaux simply stated, “He enjoyed it and he galloped out super.”

In other Breeders’ Cup news:

Rainbow Quest jogged on Santa Anita’s Pro-Ride track Saturday. Europe’s 2008 champion 2-year-old filly trained by John Gosden is pointing to the $2 million Filly & Mare Turf at 1 1/4 miles on Nov. 6.


Since retiring nearly three years ago, Joey Steiner has been riding some of the world’s best horses on a regular basis, which is something that for the most part eluded him during a career of more than two decades.

Currently, the former jockey is the regular work rider for Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert, who has enough trust and confidence in Steiner to put him on the likes of Lookin At Lucky, an undefeated colt who is favored in the $2 million Grey Goose Breeders’ Cup Juvenile at Oak Tree on Nov. 7.

Steiner was aboard the son of Unbridled’s Song Wednesday for a six-furlong drill in a bullet 1:11.80 over Santa Anita’s Pro-Ride. “He went real easy,” Steiner said of the Norfolk Stakes winner. “I let him just kind of stretch his legs. That’s all he did. He’s doing things in a good way all the time. He’s really got a terrific attitude.”

Ditto for Steiner.

In April 2005, the 45-year-old native of Renton, Washington, suffered a serious injury in a spill at Santa Anita that ultimately forced his retirement after 967 career wins and purse earnings of $15,232,139.

“I had a herniated disc and bone spurs in my left shoulder area, and I needed a plate and six screws before it was fused together,” Steiner said in March of 2006, when recounting the injury. “Doctors advised me to retire. If I was 20, I wouldn’t care what the doctors said . . . but I’m not going to leave in a wheelchair.”

Thanks to a positive outlook and an ingratiating personality, Steiner, who was Southern California’s leading apprentice in 1981-82, is making the most of his new career. He has no regrets on not winning a Kentucky Derby or a Breeders’ Cup race. He is focused on the present, and loving it.

“This is a time in my life I’m really enjoying,” Steiner said. “I’m at probably the most beautiful place in the world every morning, and I’m on beautiful horses. It’s awesome.”

FINISH LINES: Rafael Bejarano, riding in top form again after recovering from facial injuries in a spill at Del Mar on July 23 that forced him to miss most of that meet, is in a pitched battle with Joel Rosario for the Oak Tree riding title. Entering Sunday’s program, Bejarano and Rosario were dead heated atop the standings with 21 wins. The 27-year-old Bejarano won the Oak Tree crown last year with 30 victories. “He’s got a big chance to win it again,” said agent, Joe Ferrer. “He’ll ride as many horses a day as I can put him on. I just can’t find enough good ones to put him on. I can only find two or three a day. It’s easier on weekends than on weekdays.” Bejarano has been riding in Southern California for two years, coming from the East Coast at the behest of Hall of Fame trainer Bobby Frankel. “(Garrett) Gomez had all the business when I came in,” Ferrer said. “I thought he was the one I had to work on, but once Rafael got on top here, I thought he would be tough.”. . .Pyro drilled a half mile in 48.80 Sunday in preparation for the B.C. Dirt Mile. Other Breeders’ Cup race candidates on the work tabs Sunday included Presious Passion (Turf), a mile in 1:39.80, Indian Blessing (Filly & Mare Sprint), six furlongs in 1:12.80, Girolamo (Dirt Mile), five furlongs in 1:00.20, and Gayego (Sprint), half-mile in :51.20, all on Santa Anita’s main track. Santa Anita turf workouts included Noble Court (Turf Sprint), six furlongs in 1:14.40, Becky’s Kitten(Juvenile Turf) in :58.40, and Cowboy Cal (Mile), half-mile in :48.40. At Hollywood Park, Marsh Side (Turf), went three furlongs on the main track in :37.60…There were 34 participants alive in Oak Tree’s online handicapping contest ShowVivor prior to Sunday’s races.

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