BLINKERS OFF, BEJARANO ON FAVORED GOLDENCENTS SATURDAY
• OBVIOUSLY, TALAMO ONES TO CATCH AGAIN IN CITY OF HOPE MILE
• ANOTHER DAY AT THE (ZUMA) BEACH FOR DIAMOND BACHELOR?

‘NATURAL ATHLETE’ GOLDENCENTS CHOICE IN SA SPRINT CHAMPIONSHIP

If Goldencents’ game was baseball, he’d be a five-tool player. The 3-year-old son of Into
Mischief won the Grade I Santa Anita Derby going a mile and an eighth on dirt and missed by a head in winning the Grade I Bing Crosby Stakes at six furlongs on Del Mar’s synthetic Polytrack.
In any case, the millionaire bay usually gives his all.

He finished second last out on Aug. 25 in Del Mar’s Grade II Pat O’Brien at seven furlongs. Saturday he returns to dirt in the Grade I, “Win and You’re In” Santa Anita Sprint Championship at six furlongs. The winner receives a fees-paid entry to the Breeders’ Cup at Santa Anita on Nov. 1 and 2.

Trainer Doug O’Neill will remove the blinkers from Goldencents for Saturday’s important prep. Goldencents drew the outside post in a field of 10.

“He’s just a natural athlete,” O’Neill said of Goldencents, owned in part by Glen
Sorgenstein, Josh Kaplan, Dave Kenney and Louisville University head basketball coach Rick Pitino, who races as RAP Racing.

“He’ll run just about anywhere you put him,” O’Neill said. “He’s training great. We’re taking the blinkers off him and Rafael Bejarano rides him for the first time (in a race).

“Raffy worked him the other day and he worked as well as he ever has. We’re real excited. I think he’s going to run huge.

“We put the blinkers on for the two sprints at Del Mar and he actually broke a little worse. He usually leaves the gate with good energy, and he really didn’t with the blinkers on, so we’re taking them off and we should be in good shape.”

The Santa Anita Sprint Championship will mark the 10th straight stakes for Goldencents. Since breaking his maiden in his first start, at Del Mar on Sept. 2, 2012, Goldencents has run in nothing but graded stakes, although he hasn’t won since taking the Santa Anita Derby April 6.
The field for the Santa Anita Sprint Championship, the ninth of 10 races: Gonna Fly Now, Joe Talamo, 10-1; Centralinteligence, Victor Espinoza, 7-2; Distinctiv Passion, Edwin Maldonado, 10-1; Trinniberg, Jose Valdivia Jr., 7-2; Roman Threat, Gary Stevens, 4-1; Points Offthebench, Mike Smith, 7-2; and Goldencents, Rafael Bejarano, 5-2.
Declassify was scratched.


MUM’S THE WORD TO TALAMO WHEN HE RIDES OBVIOUSLY

Here’s a prevue of Mike Mitchell’s pre-race instructions to Joe Talamo when he rides Obviously: “----------------------------------------------------------------.”

That’s right. Nothing. Nada. Zero. Zilch, Bubkes.

That policy of non-communication will be in effect before Mitchell gives Talamo a leg up on Obviously in Saturday’s Grade II City of Hope Mile for 3-year-olds and up on turf, a major prep for the $2 million Breeders’ Cup Mile at Santa Anita on Nov. 2. Obviously, a committed front-runner, was third to last year’s winner and Horse of the Year Wise Dan 11 months ago. Wise Dan, on a nine-race winning streak, is favored to capture the Mile again this year.

Talamo has ridden the Irish-bred Obviously in his last 10 starts, winning six. They go together like mustard and hot dogs, catsup and French fries, “Lady of Spain” and the accordion.

“When I look at Saturday’s race—and it’s a good race—if I’ve got Breeders’ Cup plans we’ve got to go through horses like this,” Mitchell said. “I love how the horse is training and how he’s doing. He’s just a gorilla.

“However they want to try to beat him, let them try. He’s got one style; he just takes off. I never, ever, ever tell Joe how to ride him. From Day One, he’s the one who chose to ride the horse the way he does, and I’m fine with that.”

The field for the City of Hope, race four of 10: Huntsville, Chantal Sutherland-Kruse, 15-1; Starspangled Heat, Patrick Valenzuela, 20-1; Willyconker, Rafael Bejarano, 15-1; No Jet Lag, Mike Smith, 20-1; Obviously, Talamo, 3-5; He Be Fire N Ice, Victor Espinoza, 4-1; Barocci, Corey Nakatani, 8-1; Endorsement, Edwin Maldonado, 8-1; and Polytechnicien, Gary Stevens, 10-1.


DIAMOND BACHELOR SEEKS TO REMAIN PERFECT IN ZUMA BEACH

So far, Diamond Bachelor looks like a bargain. The 2-year-old son of 2000 Breeders’ Cup Mile winner War Chant brought $570,000 at the Barretts March sale, and with two impressive turf wins from two starts, could be worth every penny. Next up: Sunday’s $100,000 Zuma Beach Stakes at one mile on the grass.

“He cost a lot of money and he was very impressive at the sale,” said trainer Patrick Biancone of the Kentucky-bred colt. “When you buy a horse for so much money, you hope it’s going to be good. He looked very well coming to the races and he’s performed accordingly.”

Diamond Bachelor won his maiden at Del Mar by 3 ¼ lengths Aug. 8 going a mile on turf, then came back to take the Oak Tree Juvenile Turf at the same venue on Sept. 4. With the victories, he has earned $105,000.

The field for the Zuma Beach: Aotearoa, Garrett Gomez; Indexical, Mario Gutierrez; Got Shades, Joe Talamo; Diamond Bachelor, Julien Leparoux; Home School, Rafael Bejarano; and Station House, Gary Stevens.


FINISH LINES: Asked if Tiz The Truth, impressive 3 ¼-length winner on opening day, might be a candidate for the Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile, Bob Baffert said Friday morning, “I have no plan for him.” . . . Garrett Gomez, Julien Leparoux and Mike Smith ride at Keeneland today, opening day at the Kentucky track . . . Fernando Hernandez Perez, named to ride 8-1 chance Sams Blue Cat in today’s third race and 10-1 shot Genius in today’s eighth, both for trainer Robertino Diodoro, is a 27-year-old native of Mexico City. His father, Fernando Perez, was a quarter horse rider in Mexico. Perez is a winner of 531 races and rode for six years mainly at Hastings and Northfields Park, according to his agent, Derek Lawson . . . Retired Hall of Fame jockey Laffit Pincay Jr. will participate in a sports panel discussion moderated by the Los Angeles Times’ sports columnist Bill Dwyre Monday following the fifth annual Sowings Seeds for Life charity golf tournament at Glendora Country Club. Other celebrities scheduled to participate include former Dodgers Steve Garvey, Ron Cey, Bill Russell and Al Downing, and UCLA football commentator Matt Stevens. Among the event’s live auction items is an opportunity to visit with Trevor Denman in his booth at Santa Anita and watch him call a race. For further information, call 909 392-5777 or visit http://www.sowingseedsforlife.org . . . Jockey Jose Valdivia Jr., who rides Eclipse Champion Trinniberg in Saturday’s Grade I Santa Anita Sprint Championship, will be Steve Andersen’s guest at Saturday’s Daily Racing Form seminar, 11:45 a.m. to 12:15 p.m. in the East Paddock Gardens . . . After four racing days, 661 players remained alive in ShowVivor entering Friday’s races . . . Saturday is Jockey Autograph Day at Santa Anita. Fans can meet the track’s top riders at the East Paddock Gardens in front of Champions Gift Shop from 11 a.m. to 12 noon and receive a free print of the 2013 Autumn meet jockey colony.