French invader Blue Panis, winner of the Prix de Tourgeville at Deauville in August, arrived in the Leonard Powell stable at Hollywood Park Sunday after clearing quarantine for the $150,000 Oak Tree Derby Saturday.. The Grade II test is at 1 1/8 miles on turf.
Joe Talamo will ride the colt for trainer Fabrice Chappet, who is expected to arrive Tuesday. The colt will be transferred to Powell after the race.
Other probable starters include Fantastic Pick, Haimish Hy (Alonso Quinonez), Jairzihno, Kid Edward (David Flores), Lions Story (Martin Garcia), Make Music for Me, Royal F J and Sebastian Flyte (Corey Nakatani).
Make Music for Me, fourth in the Kentucky Derby, will make his first start since a 10th-place finish in the Belmont Stakes on June 5.
“He lost a shoe in the race and popped a splint,” explained trainer Alexis Barba of the layoff. “I think we’re ready. He worked a good seven furlongs Thursday (in 1:25.20) and galloped out a mile in 1:38 and change.”
Make Music for Me, placed twice in Grade I and once in Grade II competition behind champion Lookin at Lucky last year, broke his maiden in his only grass start--in the Pasadena Stakes at Santa Anita in March.
“Let’s hope he’s two-for-two on turf,” said Barba.
Trainer Jim Cassidy, who won the Oak Tree Derby last year with The Usual Q.T., hopes to win the race again with Kid Edward. Jockey Flores won with Muny in 2008.
English-breds Fantastic Pick and Sebastian Flyte each worked five furlongs on grass: the former in 1:01.20 for trainer Jamie Lloyd, the latter in 1:02 for conditioner Ben Cecil.
“He looks like a different horse now,” said Cecil of Sebastian Flyte, who won his United States debut in an optional claimer on the Del Mar turf September 4. “It took a long time to get him acclimatized. He was only 70 or 80 per cent at Del Mar. He’s filled out since then.”
Jack Carava, trainer of Royal F J, thought the consistent gelding deserved a shot in the race. “He’s always on the board,” said Carava of Royal F J, in the money in 11 of 12 starts and third in the Del Mar Derby in his last outing.
“It’s nice not to see any of the Candy horses nominated,” said Carava of the daunting duo of Sidney’s Candy and Twirling Candy, who combined to sweep the three graded stakes for 3-year-olds on the Del Mar turf.
Trainer John Sadler elected to run Twirling Candy against older horses in the Goodwood Stakes October 2 and entered Sidney’s Candy in the Oak Tree Mile October 9 before he was scratched pending a sale to an undisclosed owner.
RAUL RAMIREZ RETIRES FROM VALET DUTIES
Raul Ramirez, a former jockey who spent the last 22 years as a valet in the jockeys’ room on the Southern California circuit, said he has retired to focus on his jockey supply business.
“I’m retiring with Zenyatta,” said Ramirez with a chuckle. The 62-year-old El Monte resident has worked primarily for Hall of Fame jockey Mike Smith, rider of Zenyatta, since his shift to California in 2001.
Ramirez has also worked for California-based jockeys Gary Stevens, Felipe Martinez, Agapito Delgadillo, Omar Berrio, Victor Navarro and Alex Gonzalez as well as Jerry Bailey, Edgar Prado, Jose Santos, Mike Luzzi and Chantal Sutherland on trips from the East.
Ramirez, a native of Guadalajara, Mexico, rode on this circuit from 1970-81, first under contract to Oak Tree Racing Association co-founder Lou Rowan.
That span was highlighted by Pomona leading-rider titles, a Del Mar track-record six-furlong victory in 1:07 3/5 by King of Cricket in 1973 and a 1977 California Derby score on Cuzwuzwrong.
Ramirez formed Ramirez Jockey Supply and has seen the company flourish. He provides local jockeys as well as some private clients with everything from whips to goggles to stirrups to saddles.
Although he will no longer be seen wearing his uniform in the jockeys’ room, Ramirez still expects to visit the track about twice a week.
GALLAGHER DUO WORKS FOR RAMSER
Berg Bahn and Distinctive worked five furlongs in tandem this morning for the $100,000 Harold Ramser Sr. Handicap next Sunday. The Grade III test for 3-year-old fillies will be run at one mile on turf.
Irish-bred Berg Bahn was clocked in 1:01.60, and English-bred Distinctive in 1:01.80 for trainer Paddy Gallagher. Both will be making their second United States starts after finishing sixth and ninth, respectively, in the Grade I Del Mar Oaks on August 21.
Three other Ramser probables also worked: Malibu Pier five furlongs in 1:00.60 on turf, and Timezone in 1:03.80 for five panels and Westwood Pride in 1:27.60 for seven furlongs on the main track.
Rafael Bejarano has taken a call on Malibu Pier for trainer Carla Gaines, while Alonso Quinonez will be aboard Westwood Pride for Kristin Mulhall.
Other probable starters from a lengthy list of nominations include It Tiz (Joel Rosario) and Conniption (Brice Blanc).
FINISH LINES--Retired Hall of Fame jockey Eddie Delahoussaye was on hand to see his namesake, Delahoosee, work five furlongs on turf for trainer Paddy Gallagher. “My partners named him,” explained Delahoussaye. “At least this one can run. When I was growing up, my father named one after me and one after my brother, and they couldn’t outrun me.”…The Gallagher barn is also home to an unraced 2-year-old Bertrando colt named Nahem, in memory of owner-breeder Ed Nahem. Co-owners Mike and Cory Wellman checked in on the colt. “We’re going to run him against Frankel,” said Cory Wellman kiddingly in reference to the European 2-year-old sensation named for late trainer Bobby Frankel, a long-time friend of Nahem…Hall of Fame jockey Mike Smith notched his 12th Grade I win of the year Saturday in the First Lady Stakes at Keeneland aboard Proviso and seeks No. 13 next Saturday aboard Spice Route in the $2-million Canadian International Stakes at Woodbine. Smith will also ride Amico Fritz in the Nearctic Stakes…Victor Espinoza and Joel Rosario will also be out of town Saturday for the $400,000 Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup at Keeneland. Espinoza will ride Evening Jewel and Rosario has the call on American Oaks winner Harmonious…Two Breeders’ Cup candidates worked on turf: The Usual Q.T. five furlongs in a bullet 1:00 for the Mile, and Beverly D. heroine Éclair de Lune seven furlongs in 1:28 for the Filly & Mare Turf…Liberian Freighter and Colgan’s Chip, one-two finishers in the Oak Tree Mile Saturday, could resume their rivalry in the $100,000 California Cup Mile here October 30. Liberian Freighter, who won by a nose, became the first California-bred to win the race in its 25-year history….The Pamplemousse, a leading 3-year-old candidate early in 2009 before going to the sidelines with an injury, neared a return to the races with a six-furlong bullet work in 1:13.20...Connagher seeks his fifth straight victory Monday in the $100,000 Morvich Handicap, feature race of a special Columbus Day program.