• ESPINOZA HAS INSIDE TRACK ON TEDDY’S PROMISE
Ron Ellis has had Centralinteligence ticketed for the Breeders’ Cup Sprint all year. It was just a matter of how to get there.
The son of 2004 Kentucky Derby winner Smarty Jones is expected to take a major step towards that $2 million goal at Santa Anita on Nov. 2 when he runs in Saturday’s Grade I, “Win and You’re In” Santa Anita Sprint Championship at six furlongs. It will mark his first race since winning the Grade I Triple Bend Handicap at Betfair Hollywood Park on June 29.
“The break was by design,” said Ellis, who trains the 5-year-old chestnut gelding for major owners John and Jerry Amerman, Bob Feld (Bongo Racing) and Gary Finder. “He ran three times in rapid succession at Hollywood (fourth in the Cool Frenchy on May 4 and second in the Los Angeles Handicap on May 27, before the Triple Bend).
“It culminated with a big effort (in the Triple Bend),” Ellis said. “He got a big (Beyer) number (108) and all that. He hasn’t run very well at Del Mar in the past, the one time I tried him down there, and he didn’t train well down there, so we just skipped Del Mar and pointed him for this meet. We worked a minute out of the gate Sunday at Hollywood and he’s ready to go.”
Asked about holding the Breeders’ Cup at Santa Anita for the second of three straight years and the seventh time overall, Ellis said, “It’s a big bonus for us. It’s kind of a home field advantage, so how could you not be for it being here?”
The field for the Santa Anita Sprint Championship, the ninth of 10 races: Gonna Fly Now, Joe Talamo, 12-1; Declassify, Rosie Napravnik, 4-1; Centralinteligence, Victor Espinoza, 4-1; Distintiv Passion, Edwin Maldonado, 12-1; Trinniberg, Jose Valdivia Jr., 4-1; Roman Threat, Gary Stevens, 6-1; Points Offthebench, Mike Smith, 4-1; and Goldencents, Rafael Bejarano, 3-1.
CONSISTENT TEDDY’S PROMISE DRAWS OUTSIDE FOR L.A. WOMAN
Having ridden her in 12 of her 25 career starts, the last six in a row, Victor Espinoza knows the ways of Teddy’s Promise like the back of his hand.
The 5-year-old Salt Lake mare trained by Ron Ellis has a reputation of not favoring running on the inside, but Espinoza says she is maturing with age, which should be a plus when she goes in Saturday’s $100,000 L.A. Woman Stakes for fillies and mares, three year olds and up, at 6 ½ furlongs.
“She ran great at Hollywood (in the Grade II A Gleam Stakes, July 13, finishing second as the 13-10 favorite),” Espinoza said. “I think she’s maturing and has more confidence now being inside horses than before.
“We’d prefer to be outside, and that’s where we are on Saturday. It’s a little bit better post for her. She likes this track, she likes to win and she likes to run fresh, so I’m optimistic.”
The field for the L.A. Woman Stakes: Ismene, Gary Stevens; Sister Kate, Martin Pedroza; Socialbug, Mike Smith; Conkate, Edwin Maldonado; Executiveprivilege, Rafael Bejarano; Teddy’s Promise, Espinoza; and Great Hot, Chantal Sutherland-Kruse.