• CECIL HAS FEW COMPLAINTS ABOUT CAL CUP JUVENILE RUNNER
• TASTY TREAT SEEKS FIRST STAKES WIN IN CAL CUP DISTAFF
• VERSATILE MENSA HEAT SET FOR CALIFORNIA CUP SPRINT
• O’NEILL BOBBLEHEAD GIVEAWAY AT SANTA ANITA SATURDAY
• LEADING RIDER TALAMO OFF TO FAST START AT SANTA ANITA
• HOT BAND PEPPER HEADS SATURDAY’S PARTY IN THE PADDOCK
If at first you don’t succeed, the adage goes, try, try again. Mike Puype adheres to that
maxim but hopes to expunge it from his mindset Saturday when Woodmans Luck runs in the $175,000 Lava Man California Cup presented by City National Bank at Santa Anita.
The 4-year-old Lucky Pulpit colt has finished second in his last five starts and eight times in 20 career races, with three thirds. He has only a maiden win.
“He’s honest and he tries hard every time,” said the 46-year-old Puype, who trains Woodmans Luck for owner/breeder Mr. and Mrs. Larry D. Williams of Boise, Idaho. “We’ll see if he’s as good on dirt as he is on synthetic.”
Woodmans Luck’s last 11 races have come on either Del Mar’s Polytrack, Betfair Hollywood Park’s Cushion Track, or on turf. He has had only two races on conventional dirt, finishing fourth each time in seven furlong tests at Santa Anita.
The chestnut does shed seven pounds from his last race for the 1 1/16-mile Cal Cup Classic, carrying 117 instead of the 124 he toted when beaten a head at Del Mar on Sept. 3. In fact, Woodmans Luck has carried 124 in his last three starts.
Despite his aversion to the winner’s circle, Woodmans Luck has earned $174,736. He is a generous 20-1 in the morning line odds.
Two races back when he finished second by a head at Del Mar on Aug. 11, Woodmans Luck tried to bite the winner, Romo Roy, during the stretch run. One might say he’s doing his utmost to taste victory.
Doug O’Neill confirmed that 11-year-old Lava Man, a stable pony at the trainer’s Hollywood Park barn since his retirement in 2009, would lead the post parade for the Classic.
The field for the Classic, race nine of 10: Holladay Road, Joe Talamo, 5-2; Got Even, Brice Blanc, 15-1; Rousing Sermon, Rafael Bejarano, 3-1; Woodmans Luck, Garrett Gomez, 20-1; Lucky Primo, Tyler Baze, 5-1; Thirtyfirststreet, Chantal Sutherland, 8-1; John Scott, Victor Espinoza, 9-5; and Accelerant, Edwin Maldonado, 20-1.
CECIL HAS LITTLE RESENTMENT FOR THE HUMANCOMPLAINT
None of the 10 two-year-olds entered in Saturday’s $250,000 Bob Benoit California Cup Juvenile at 1 1/16 miles has ever raced beyond seven furlongs. Include the incomparably named The Humancomplaint in that grouping.
“Pedigree-wise, there’s a question as to whether he’ll go a distance,” trainer Ben Cecil said of the bay colt by Tribal Rule owned by J. Paul Reddam of I’ll Have Another fame. “But he certainly runs like he should appreciate the distance.”
A maiden in two starts, The Humancomplaint was second each time, closing well through the stretch in two sprints at Del Mar. “He’s a big, backward horse who’s kind of coming around slowly,” Cecil said. “The day he was second at Del Mar (in the I’m Smokin at six furlongs on Sept. 3), the track was pretty speed-favoring but he closed a lot of ground. He had a slow start in his first race and kind of lugged in due to greenness down the lane.
“He’s improving, but two turns is something new. Hopefully, he won’t have a problem with it.”
The name “The Humancomplaint” could serve as a slang moniker for any number of people, but Cecil attributed its origin to one person.
“The horse is named after one of Paul’s friends, who will be at the races Saturday,” Cecil said. “Reddam got him some free tickets to the Kentucky Derby and he complained that they weren’t good enough.”
The field for the Juvenile, which goes as race five: Warren’s Rocky, Alonso Quinonez, 20-1; Strong Wind, Joe Talamo, 3-1; The Humancomplaint, Rafael Bejarano, 7-2; Monument, Martin Garcia, 9-2; Star Rocker, Mario Gutierrez, 6-1; Ballard Ruler, Joel Rosario, 4-1; O Wild West Wind, Amir Cedeno, 50-1; Real Heat, Russell Baze, 6-1; Life a Riley, Garrett Gomez, 12-1; and Lovemeister, Martin Pedroza, 15-1.
TASTY TREAT SHARP FOR PENDER IN CAL CUP DISTAFF
Mike Pender hopes Tasty Treat records her first stakes victory when the 3-year-old daughter of Roar-Vividora runs in the first division of Saturday’s John Deere California Cup Distaff at about 6 ½ furlongs on turf.
“She couldn’t be coming into the race any better,” said the 46-year-old trainer. “She’s a full sister to Obsess, who runs in the (Donald Valpredo) Sprint for (trainer) Hector Palma.”
Pender, who has gained national recognition thanks to multiple stakes winners Jeranimo and Ultimate Eagle, is a strong advocate of California Cup Day, which will present its 23rd edition on Saturday at Santa Anita.
“I love the Cal Cup,” said Pender, who is preparing millionaire Jeranimo, winner of the Grade I Shoemaker Mile on June 30 before finishing third in his most recent start, the Del Mar Mile on Aug. 26, for the Breeders’ Cup Mile at Santa Anita on Nov. 3.
“Jeranimo is breezing every seven days and heading towards the Breeders’ Cup,” Pender said. “(Regular rider Garrett) Gomez says he feels like a 2-year-old under him. He feels real strong.”
Pender reports that his other multiple graded stakes winner, Ultimate Eagle, absent from the races since finishing 10th in the Santa Anita Handicap on March 3, is on the comeback trail. “He’s up to a half-mile (in his breezes),” Pender said. “We’re looking for a start at Santa Anita on opening day, Dec. 26.”
In other Breeders’ Cup news, trainer Brian Koriner said that 8-year-old California-bred California Flag is on course to make his fifth Breeders’ Cup start in the Turf Sprint, a race he won at Santa Anita in 2009.
“He’s training great and everything’s perfect, as of today,” Koriner said. Joe Talamo has the mount.
The field for the first division of the Distaff, race six: Tiz Flirtatious, Joel Rosario, 7-2; Tasty Treat, Martin Pedroza, 12-1; Teddy’s Promise, Edwin Maldonado, 5-2; River Kiss, Kevin Krigger, 15-1; Sizzling Gold, Agapito Delgadillo, 15-1; Warren’s Amber, Mike Smith, 20-1; Miss Becca, Victor Espinoza, 12-1; Logical Single, Martin Garcia, 15-1; Bleach Blonde, Julien Couton, 12-1; Best Present Ever, Russell Baze, 4-1; and Unusual Hottie, Garrett Gomez, 9-2.
VERSATILE MENSA HEAT SET FOR CALIFORNIA CUP SPRINT
Grass, dirt, synthetic: Mensa Heat has won on each surface. Trainer Doug O’Neill is confident the 6-year-old Unusual Heat gelding claimed for $62,500 four races ago will give another solid effort when he runs in Saturday’s $100,000 Donald Valpredo Cal Cup Sprint at six furlongs on conventional dirt Saturday at Santa Anita.
“He’s doing fantastic,” the Kentucky Derby-winning trainer said of Mensa Heat, who has a 9-9-9 record from 48 starts with earnings of $505,718. “He’s honest, he’s versatile, he tries hard; he’s just a gamer.
“He’s one of those who shows up every race, so we’re pumped to see him compete.”
The field for the Sprint, race seven: Maui Mark, Garrett Gomez, 8-1; Bench Points, Chantal Sutherland, 8-1; Mensa Heat, Edwin Maldonado, 5-2; Night Wind, Juan Hernandez, 30-1; Obsess, Joe Talamo, 15-1; Korban, Joel Rosario, 15-1; Ain’t No Other, Rafael Bejarano, 3-1; Shudacudawudya, Julien Couton, 7-2; Derby Gold, Martin Garcia, 6-1; and Legal Separation, Russell Baze, 20-1.
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 be on hand 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 sired in the Golden State, highlighted by the $175,000 Lava Man Cal Cup Classic.
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.
TALAMO SANTA ANITA’S LEADING RIDER THROUGH FIRST NINE DAYS
Joe Talamo is off and running at Santa Anita. Through the first nine days of Santa Anita’s 24-day meet that concludes on Nov. 4, the 22-year-old rider had 15 wins to lead perennial pacesetter Rafael Bejarano, who was in close pursuit in second with 13 victories.
“He works hard, he rides good and he’s getting better every day,” said Talamo's agent, Scott McClellan. “We’re happy with how things are going and hopefully we can continue.
“The competition’s tough, though. They don’t just lie down. You have to keep winning to stay on top.”
SATURDAY’S PARTY IN THE PADDOCK TO FEATURE HOT BAND PEPPER
Santa Anita’s Party in the Paddock following the races on Saturday will feature the popular Reggae/Rock band Pepper. The band has sold more than a half-million records and will be making its first-ever appearance at The Great Race Place.
Admission to Saturday’s Party in the Paddock concert is free with paid race day admission. For those music lovers arriving after 4 p.m., admission is $20.
‘JOCKTAILS’ CELEBRITY JOCKEY BARTENDING EVENT OCT. 29 AT SANTA ANITA
The J Wagner Group will host "Jocktails at the Breeders' Cup,” a Celebrity Jockey Bartending Charity Event with Grey Goose Vodka and the Breeders’ Cup on Monday, Oct. 29, at Santa Anita Park.
Instead of working the rail, some of the world's best-known jockeys will be working the bar for tips, with all proceeds benefiting the Permanently Disabled Jockey Fund. The invitation-only event will take place from 6 to 9 p.m. in Santa Anita’s posh FrontRunner Restaurant.
Racing fans will have an opportunity to come support the event. There will be 100 VIP tickets on sale for $100 (includes drinks and appetizers) as a first come first serve offer. Tickets can be purchased at http://www.breederscup.com/jocktails.
The Permanently Disabled Jockeys Fund (PDJF) is a 501(c) (3) public charity that provides financial assistance to some 60 former jockeys who have suffered catastrophic on-track injuries. Since its founding in 2006, the fund has disbursed over $2.5 million to permanently disabled jockeys, most of whom have sustained paralysis or brain injuries.
FINISH LINES: Track supervisor Andy LaRocco said three-quarters of an inch of rain hit Santa Anita through Thursday, and the main track was “floated,” a process that minimizes water on the surface but is considered less than a complete “seal.” Only three workouts were recorded on Santa Anita’s “good” main track Friday morning . . . Thanks in the main to front-running 14-1 winner Katy’s Kitten, ridden by Edwin Maldonado for trainer Steve Knapp in Thursday’s sixth race, there is a Pick Six carryover of $37,823 into Friday’s races . . . Horse Racing Radio Network (HRRN) will present live coverage of the QEII Challenge Cup, the Canadian International and the E.P. Taylor Stakes from Woodbine Sunday starting at 1:30 p.m. Pacific . . . HRTV’s Scott Hazelton will host HRTV’s Fans’ Forum starting at 12 noon Sunday in the East Paddock Gardens. His guest will be handicapping guru and all-around racing aficionado Jeff Siegel . . . Only 34 survivors remain in ShowVivor entering Friday’s races.
SANTA ANITA STATISTICS
(Current through Thursday, Oct. 11)
Jockey Mts 1st 2nd 3rd Win% Money Won
Joseph Talamo 71 15 11 5 21% $624,532
Rafael Bejarano 47 13 11 4 28% $863,912
Garrett Gomez 42 9 7 7 21% $654,482
Martin Garcia 57 8 6 6 14% $566,290
Martin Pedroza 38 5 5 8 13% $271,964
Agapito Delgadillo 29 5 2 3 17% $128,420
Juan Hernandez 49 4 7 8 8% $243,310
Edwin Maldonado 49 4 4 1 8% $113,344
Corey Nakatani 23 4 1 7 17% $211,698
Aaron Gryder 38 3 3 5 8% $120,340
Tyler Baze 19 3 3 0 16% $86,802
Brice Blanc 22 3 1 1 14% $131,110
Trainer Sts 1st 2nd 3rd Win% Money Won
Bob Baffert 27 9 8 1 33% $906,490
John Sadler 32 5 5 4 16% $215,810
Peter Miller 24 4 1 7 17% $163,398
Richard Mandella 9 4 1 1 44% $184,860
Michael Machowsky 9 3 3 1 33% $64,970
Robert Hess, Jr. 13 3 2 4 23% $125,150
Carla Gaines 14 3 1 2 21% $121,070
Vladimir Cerin 11 3 0 2 27% $51,050
Jeff Mullins 11 3 0 0 27% $60,840