I’ll Have Another and Creative Cause, featured players in the Santa Anita Derby drama that unfolded Saturday in the closest finish in the 3-year-old classic since 1985, when Skywalker nosed out Fast Account, came out of their mano-a-mano in good order and it’s on to Louisville for the Kentucky Derby on May 5, albeit on different paths.
Plans were undecided Sunday morning on when I’ll Have Another will head to Kentucky, but Creative Cause is set to ship on April 28.
“He ate up his dinner and his legs were ice cold this morning,” O’Neill said about I’ll Have Another, a son of Flower Alley ridden by Mario Gutierrez for owner J. Paul Reddam. “I’m not sure whether we’ll ship to Kentucky a few weeks out or a week out. Plans haven’t been finalized.”
Gutierrez, meanwhile, earned the mount on Reddam’s Handsome Mike in next Saturday’s
$1 million Arkansas Derby at Oaklawn Park.
“He looks good this morning,” trainer Mike Harrington said of Creative Cause. “He was a little tired but none the worse for wear. He’ll ship on the 28th.”
In other post-Santa Anita Derby news:
Bob Baffert worked San Felipe Stakes runner-up Bodemeister in company with Saddleranch for next Saturday’s Arkansas Derby, Bodemeister going five furlongs in 1:00.40 under Martin Garcia while Saddleranch was clocked in 1:00.80 with Rafael Bejarano up. Arkansas Derby-bound Secret Circle is scheduled to work Monday, said Baffert, who supervised Sunday’s exercises while sitting in a Santa Anita grandstand seat along with his brother, Bill.
Del Mar Futurity winner Drill also worked for Baffert, going five furlongs in 1:00.80 with Garcia aboard in preparation for next Saturday’s Blue Grass at Keeneland.
“I feel better this morning,” said the Hall of Fame trainer, recovering from a heart attack on March 26. “I was a little weak yesterday. Now I feel like 100 dollars.”
Gutierrez enjoyed a subdued post-Santa Anita Derby victory celebration Saturday evening. “I had dinner with friends,” the 25-year-old native of Mexico said.
Baffert had three starters in Saturday’s Santa Anita Derby in a bid to add to his record sixth win in the race. After third-place Blueskiesnrainbows, 9-1 shot Paynter, making only his second career start, finished fourth, while Liaison ran sixth.
“Paynter stumbled at the start and that sort of took him out,” Baffert said. “I was hoping he’d be sitting second or third. Turning for home, I thought maybe he’d be able to pull it off, but I guess Creative Cause kind of ran by. Liaison just never really got untracked.”
Asked whether Liaison would go on to Kentucky, since he should have enough graded earnings at $393,000, Baffert indicated he planned to ship him, along with fillies Eden’s Moon and Princess Arabella who are candidates for the Kentucky Oaks on May 4.
“Liaison never has liked this track,” Baffert said. “He ran well yesterday. He broke his maiden here. But he ran better at Hollywood Park. (Rafael) Bejarano never really seemed comfortable on him--he got stuck on the inside a little.
“Blueskiesnrainbows is the kind of horse that maybe goes to the Belmont. He could run all day. That was a big improvement for him. Paynter ran a really good race. He had some trouble and still figured it out.
“The winner ran a good race. He was in the same spot all the way, and the kid (Mario Gutierrez) rode a really good race. He was just stalking us, and Creative Cause looked like he was going to open up, and he just cut in between there. He ran fast.”
Impressive maiden winner Holy Candy, who passed the Santa Anita Derby for the Blue Grass, worked six furlongs Sunday for John Sadler in 1:13.40. The son of Candy Ride will ship into Keeneland “about mid-afternoon Tuesday.”
Asked about skipping the Santa Anita Derby, Sadler said, “We thought three weeks would be better than two (following his maiden win) and Candy Rides run well on both surfaces, and he’s done a lot of training on synthetics (Keeneland’s main track is synthetic Polytrack).”
Asked about the Santa Anita Derby outcome: “It was tough; they ran good. It’s a really good group this year, from what I’ve seen.”
Sadler also worked comebacking stakes winners Switch and Zazu five furlongs in 1:00.80 and 101.60, respectively.
Joe Talamo, on a roll in recent weeks, had high praise for Blueskiesnrainbows. “We had an unbelievable trip. He got to the lead and pretty much had the race to himself the whole way. We tried kicking away at the quarter pole and he really responded well. He just got outrun by two really good horses.
“But I think he’s going to get better from there. He really stepped up from his previous form. For me personally, I’m glad I’m finishing strong this meet after a slow start. That’s horse racing, just up and down. You just have to stick with it.”
OPENINGS STILL AVAILABLE FOR GOMEZ CHARITY GOLF EVENT MONDAY
Spots for foursomes are still available for the Garrett Gomez/Winners Foundation Golf Tournament tomorrow at Angeles National Golf Club in Sunland, Gomez said Saturday. Walk ups are welcome.
“It’s a good cause and you never know when you’re going to need help of this sort,” said Gomez, himself aided by the Winners Foundation.
Prizes will be awarded to the top three foursomes, for Hole-in-One opportunities, in addition to golfer goodie bags, lunch, dinner, silent auction and live auction hosted by former Angel and Dodger Jay Johnstone.
There will also be playing appearances by former Dodgers Rudy Law and Bobby Castillo
and former Oakland A’s two-time World Series winner John ‘Blue Moon’ Odom.
Jockey participants include Rafael Bejarano, Joe Talamo, David Flores, Joel Rosario and Alonso Quinonez. Long drive Champion Frank Miller will be in attendance to hit a drive at hole 13.
Each participant will also receive an autographed copy of the upcoming Garrett Gomez autobiography, with Gomez being the keynote speaker for the evening.
SANTA ANITA LATE PICK 4 POOL REACHES $992,602 BEFORE 33,166
A Santa Anita Derby Day crowd of 33,166 were among those who wagered a hefty $992,602 in Santa Anita’s Late Pick 4 Saturday, easily making it the largest Pick 4 pool of the winter/spring meeting.
Santa Anita guaranteed $750,000 in Saturday’s Late Pick 4, which started with race eight, the Grade III, $150,000 Providencia Stakes for 3-year-old fillies at 1 1/8 miles on turf. The Providencia was won by Lady of Shamrock, who paid $3.80 to win.
Race nine was the Grade II, $150,000 Potrero Grande Stakes for older horses at 6 ½ furlongs. Reining Eclipse Award winning sprinter Amazombie provided Hall of Fame jockey Mike Smith with his 5,000th career win and paid $4.60 to win.
The 10th race was the $75,000 added American Beauty Stakes, for older fillies and mares at one mile on turf and it was won by Belle Royale, who paid $4.40 to win.
The 11th race was a maiden $30,000 claimer for 3-year-olds at seven furlongs and it provided the biggest payoff in the sequence as Ron Burgundy paid $21.60.
There were 7,628 winning Late Pick 4 tickets which each paid $99.30
Santa Anita’s on-track Derby Day crowd of 33,166 represented a slight increase over last year’s 31,932.
DARUTY SURPRISES MEN’S FIELD; HOAR DEFENDS WOMEN’S TITLE IN 2012 DERBY DAY 5K
On the day of the largest Derby Day 5K ever, Santa Anita employees and related horse people raced, jogged or walked their way to the 3.1 mile finish on the training track.
Scott Daruty, president of HRTV ambushed the men’s field, as he was a late entrant with little in the way of established form He ran a very speedy 20:19, no doubt paced by his equally accomplished wife Diane, who finished third in the entire Masters (over 40) Women’s field (and second in her age group). Tony Ortega of Security knocked 26 seconds off his time last year in finishing second. And outrider Jesus Camacho left his trusty horse back in the barn to get across the finish line by himself, coming in third.
The food stand on the Mezzanine run by Sandy Hoar is fast becoming a shiny, medal-filled shrine, due to all of her top three finishes over the last 18 years of the race. While not running as fast as she did to win last year’s women’s race for the first time, Hoar did enough to beat longtime nemesis Mary Forney of the TOC. Christine Beer, another Derby Day 5K veteran at age 67, completed the trifecta.
A trio of Santa Anita jockeys was also on the course yesterday. Chantal Sutherland ran a very respectable 22:42, good for 231st place overall, 40th in overall females and 7th in her age group. David Flores cooled his jets this year, walking and enjoying the sights of the Arboretum instead with his wife Dawn, in 58:07. Kayla Stra ran with trainer Gus Headley, but the timing system didn’t pick up the computer chip in her pocket (next year, put it on your shoe, Kayla!), and she did not keep track of her finishing time.
Complete race results are available at http://www.kinaneevents.com.