• HOLLADAY ROAD ON COURSE FOR CALIFORNIA CUP CLASSIC
• AMAZOMBIE ‘ON TARGET’ FOR BREEDERS’ CUP SPRINT
Ten-time Southern California riding king Joel Rosario will return to Santa Anita Saturday
to ride on California Cup Day XXIII, agent Ron Anderson said by phone Monday morning from New York.
“We’re looking forward to coming back,” said Anderson, a world-class agent who has represented the likes of Jerry Bailey, Gary Stevens and Garrett Gomez. “We’ll also be at Santa Anita the week of the Breeders’ Cup (World Championships on Nov. 2 and 3).”
Rosario, a native of the Dominican Republic who turns 28 on Jan. 14, has been represented by Anderson for just under two months. During that span, Rosario has won two Grade I, $1 million races, the Pacific Classic on Dullahan and the Jockey Club Gold Cup aboard Flat Out.
“He won three races yesterday (at Belmont Park),” Anderson said. “We’re making progress together and moving forward. He’s a great rider and a very personable kid.”
Among Rosario’s scheduled California Cup mounts are Bert’s Altercation in the Keith E. Card Juvenile Fillies and Tiz Flirtatious in the John Deere Distaff, both for trainer Marty Jones.
Trainer Doug O’Neill, who plans to run Mensa Heat in the Donald Valpredo Sprint, said Monday morning there is a “possibility” Lava Man will lead the post parade for the $175,000 Lava Man California Cup Classic.
The rags-to-riches gelding, now 11, has been a stable pony for the O’Neill barn since his retirement following the San Gabriel Stakes on Dec. 27, 2009.
TESTS UNDERWAY BUT AMAZOMBIE SET FOR BREEDERS’ CUP SPRINT
Bill Spawr confirmed early Monday morning that he was awaiting results of precautionary blood tests on Amazombie that would take several days, following the California-bred gelding’s fourth-place finish by just over a length as the 4-5 favorite in Saturday’s Santa Anita Sprint Championship.
“People are acting like he died,” the trainer and co-owner of last year’s Eclipse Award winner as outstanding male sprinter said. “He came out of the race OK. Results of the tests take five days.
“Mike Smith (Amazombie’s regular rider) loved the race. Unless there’s something unforeseen, the horse is on target (for the Breeders’ Cup).”
CANANI HAS ‘ROAD’ ON RIGHT PATH FOR SATURDAY’S CAL CUP
Holladay Road is not the type of horse that has to carry his track around with
him. That’s why trainer Julio Canani is cautiously optimistic that the 7-year-old Street Cry gelding will perform admirably in Saturday’s $175,000 Lava Man California Cup Classic presented by City National Bank at 1 1/16 miles.
“He won the Crystal Water on this track, so he handles dirt,” Canani said. “I ran him a mile at Del Mar and he finished third (in the Brubaker) and (Joe) Talamo wanted to ride him back. I take that as a good sign.”
Owned by Gary and Wendy Broad, Holladay Road has a 7-1-4 record from 18 career starts, with earnings of $355,252. He was fourth in the Grade I Santa Anita Handicap in March, beaten five lengths by Ron the Greek.
Holladay Road was third by a neck in last year’s Cal Cup Classic, behind Norvsky and Lucky Primo in a blanket finish.
Probable for the Classic: Holladay Road, Joe Talamo; John Scott, Victor Espinoza; Lucky Primo, Tyler Baze; Norvsky, no rider; Rousing Sermon, Rafael Bejarano; and Woodmans Luck, Garrett Gomez. Entries for Cal Cup will be taken Wednesday.
O’NEILL BOBBLEHEAD GIVEAWAY TO COMPLEMENT CAL CUP DAY
Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes-winning trainer Doug O’Neill, a three-time leader at Santa Anita, will loom large on California Cup Day this Saturday, as all fans attending on-track will receive a Doug O’Neill Bobblehead, replete with the Santa Anita cap that O’Neill wore throughout his storied Triple Crown run earlier this year.
“When he won the Santa Anita Derby in April, I’ll Have Another developed into the people’s horse and Doug was the people’s trainer. He was absolutely huge for our sport and for Santa Anita right up until the Belmont in June,” said Santa Anita CEO Mark Verge. “He’s incredibly popular with our fans and he’s been a giant in helping to promote our game.”
In addition to the O’Neill Bobblehead, which is free with paid admission, Santa Anita will offer a $400,000 guaranteed Late Pick 4 on Cal Cup Day.
Cal Cup Day will include five stakes for horses bred or foaled in the Golden State, highlighted by the $175,000 Lava Man Cal Cup Classic, for 3-year-olds and up at 1 1/16 miles.
Lava Man, claimed by O’Neill as a 3-year-old for $50,000, would go on to become racing’s all-time greatest claim, earning more than $5 million subsequent to the purchase. The Slew City Slew gelding also won back-to-back runnings of the Grade I Santa Anita Handicap in 2006 and ’07.
First post time on Cal Cup Day is 1 p.m. For more information or to make reservations, visit http://www.santaanita.com or call (626) 574-RACE.
DAUGHTER OF HORSE FOR COURSE CAMBIOCORSA WINS DOWN THE HILL
Like mother, like daughter. No doubt that is what many fans were thinking after Ran Jan Racing’s Moulin de Mougin won Sunday’s seventh race, a maiden event, in her second career start. Trained by Richard Mandella and ridden by Corey Nakatani, the filly was making her first try down Santa Anita’s unique hillside turf course. She paid $9.
“Moulin de Mougin’s dam, Cambiocorsa, became known as the ‘queen of the hill’ during her racing career,” noted Jon White, who makes Santa Anita’s morning line and provides television commentary from the paddock for the track’s simulcast network. “Cambiocorsa won her first eight starts down the hill. And, like her dam, Ultrafleet, Cambiocorsa is turning into a terrific broodmare in terms of producing winners down the hill.
“Cambiocorsa’s three offspring to race down the hill so far have won four of five starts combined, with one second. Schiaparelli (by 2004 Horse of the Year Ghostzapper) is two for two down the hill. Vionnet (by Street Sense, sire of 2010 Horse of the Year Zenyatta) has a win and a second in two starts down the hill. And now Moulin de Mougin (by 2007 and 2008 Horse of the Year Curlin) is one for one down the hill.”
Vionnet is entered in Thursday’s seventh race. However, it is not a race down the hill. Thursday’s seventh race is an allowance race at one mile on turf.
“Ultrafleet never raced down the hill,” White said. “In fact, she never ran on the turf. She raced four times on dirt and never won. But what Ultrafleet has achieved as a broodmare is really remarkable. Her offspring are a combined 15-21 down the hill. Her two most accomplished hill runners have been Cambiocorsa and California Flag."
California Flag, trained by Brian Koriner, has not started since he won the San Simeon Handicap down the hill last April 21. The 8-year-old Avenue of Flags gelding worked six furlongs on the turf Saturday in 1:14 3/5. He is expected to run down the hill in the Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint on Nov. 3. In 2009, California Flag won the Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint.
NIGHT SCHOOL LESSON TO EXPLORE POOLS AND ODDS
"Understanding Pools and Odds" will be the topic this Tuesday in Night School, the racing industry's national online fan education program. The 90-minute, interactive program gets under way at 5:30 p.m. Pacific Time and features live chat, expert panel discussion, fan Q&A and pertinent videos on the subject matter. This week's lesson will be the 36th of 40 offered on the Night School season, which runs through early November.
The session, hosted by Jeremy Plonk and Joe Kristufek, features an in-depth video with Churchill Downs handicapper Jill Byrne, who provides key points to consider when price shopping at the races. Also, Plonk goes line-by-line through several actual will-pay screens to explain what a discerning horseplayer can read into the betting pools. Kristufek, morning line maker for Arlington Park and Hoosier Park, will share his expertise on opening odds and what they mean to the betting process.
This week's Night School will be followed by another "After Night School Special," featuring live racing from Mountaineer Park, beginning at 7 p.m. Pacific. The segment will cover the evening's final race in real time with free, live-streaming video and complimentary Daily Racing Form past performances.
The Night School Tour traveling troupe of fan educators also will be conducting a live seminar at Keeneland this Friday in conjunction with America's Best Racing and the track's popular College Scholarship Day.
Presenting title sponsors for Night School are the National Thoroughbred Racing Association, American Quarter Horse Association, Keeneland, Churchill Downs, Inc. and Daily Racing Form.
This week's Night School preview video with Joe Kristufek: http://youtu.be/9LC948fIOLE
This week's study materials, courtesy of Horse Player NOW and Daily Racing Form:
FINISH LINES: Eddie D Stakes winner Unbridled’s Note, pointing to the Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint, worked four furlongs on Santa Anita’s main track Monday in 50.40 for Steve Asmussen, while another Asmussen star, 2012 San Fernando Stakes winner Tapizar, went the same distance in 50.60. Justin Phillip, sixth in the Grade I Vosburgh on Sept. 29 and a candidate for the BC Sprint, went four furlongs in 50.80, also for Asmussen . . . This news from Trakus: “Capital Account (24.38, 12.29) had the fastest final splits when second in the Santa Anita Sprint Championship by 0.12s (in the final 1/4) and 0.20s in the final furlong. He covered six feet more than winner Coil, which equates to roughly three-quarters of a length, shorter than his margin of defeat. Japanese shipper Trailblazer, a strong second in the Arroyo Seco Mile, ran the fastest final furlong anyone in the race, home in 11.28 seconds, 0.29 seconds faster than both winner Obviously and (third place) Mr. Commons.