On a picture-perfect Friday morning, Sham Stakes winner Goldencents had his final
major drill for the Grade I, $750,000 Santa Anita Derby a week from Saturday, going six furlongs on a fast main track in a bullet 1:14 flat.

It was the fastest of nine moves at the distance, the average time of which was 1:16.22. Exercise rider Jonny Garcia was aboard the bay son of Into Mischief, who looks to improve on his disappointing fourth-place finish last out in the San Felipe Stakes March 9.

“Now all we have to do is stay injury-free and gallop into the big one,” trainer Doug O’Neill said. “Jonny’s been doing just a brilliant job of trying to slow him down. The horse has been running well enough that I didn’t put a lot of energy into changing up the morning activities because he kept running good.

“But after the San Felipe, and how the race didn’t unfold perfectly and we didn’t get the results we wanted, I figured, you know what? I really need to start putting some energy into getting him to slow it down.

“If you’re going to experiment, this is the best time to do it. That’s why they call these races preps. We’ve got to learn something now. Hopefully, what we’ve implemented will get the results we want to see in the Santa Anita Derby. That’s the goal.”

With 29 points in the bank for the Kentucky Derby on May 4, Goldencents is well positioned to make the cut of 20 starters under the new qualifying system. The Santa Anita Derby offers 100 points to the winner, 40 for second, 20 for third and 10 for fourth.

“Being the first year, no one really knows what to make of it,” said O’Neill, who was on the verge of possibly winning the Triple Crown in 2012 with I’ll Have Another until a last-minute injury forced him to miss the Belmont Stakes and ultimately be retired.

“But I do think you can’t rest on your laurels as a 2-year-old nowadays,” O’Neill added. “You’ve got to really be productive in these 3-year-old preps. It makes it interesting, and I guess you hope a good horse doesn’t have to scramble to try to get there.”

Probable for the 76th Santa Anita Derby for 3-year-olds at 1 1/8 miles: Flashback,
Garrett Gomez; Hear the Ghost, Corey Nakatani; Goldencents, Kevin Krigger; Super Ninety Nine, Martin Garcia; Power Broker, Rafael Bejarano; Tiz a Minister, Joe Talamo; Storm Fighter, Gary Stevens; and Dirty Swagg, no rider.

In other Santa Anita Derby news:

On Santa Anita Derby Day, Daily Racing Form presents a $750,000 guaranteed Late Pick 4; fans at Santa Anita will be offered a free Santa Anita Derby T-shirt with paid admission, while supplies last; KROQ presents Iration in concert; and there will be more than 50 microbrew/craft beer vendors, in addition to Premium Food Trucks.

First post time on Santa Anita Derby Day is 12 noon.


Alex Bisono is one of a multitude of jockeys competing in the Santa Anita Derby Day 5K run April 6.

“This is the first time I’ll be running in the race,” the Long Island native said, “but I run three miles every day, and that’s the distance of the 5K. I’m ready to go.

“The guy to beat is David Flores, for sure. He’s a runner. He has a high cruising speed. He’s the Game On Dude of jockeys.”

Online and mail-in registration for Santa Anita’s popular Derby Day 5K Run and Walk on is available at

For more information, visit


Marks Mine goes for her fourth win in eight career starts when she runs in Saturday’s $200,000 Evening Jewel Stakes for 3-year-old fillies bred or sired in the Golden State.

Marks Mine is in from Northern California for the 6 ½ furlong test that drew 11 entrants. A winner of three of seven and never worse than third for owners/breeders Mr. and Mrs. Larry D. Williams, the bay daughter of Benchmark comes to Santa Anita off two bullet works following a close second in the California Oaks at Golden Gate Feb. 9.

“She came in Tuesday and she’s doing well,” trainer Steve Specht said. “She runs her heart out every time. She’s plenty fit coming off a mile and a sixteenth and a mile her last two races.”

The field for the Evening Jewel, race six of nine: Tilde, Edwin Maldonado; Sweet Marini, Joe Talamo; Awe Golly Molly, Orlando Mojica; Sacred Delight, Tyler Baze; Marks Mine, Abel Cedillo; Cloudy Moon, Kevin Krigger; Hail Mary, Julien Leparoux; Qiaona, Garrett Gomez; Doinghardtimeagain, Rafael Bejarano; Sweetest Secret, Victor Espinoza; and Good Party, Eswan Flores.


Despite winning at a seven percent clip this meet, Orlando Mojica has caught the eye of serious horse players. His reputation was enhanced after winning Thursday’s second race by a nose on 6-1 shot Secret Genius, who gave trainer Steve Knapp his seventh win this meet.

“She probably got to the lead a little too early,” Knapp said of Secret Genius, a committed stretch runner who rallied from sixth and last in the 6 ½-furlong race for older fillies and mares. “But Orlando kept her going. He’s a strong finisher. From the eighth pole to the wire, he looked like Pincay,” the reference being to retired Hall of Fame great Laffit Pincay Jr.

“If Orlando was getting better mounts, he’d be winning a lot more races.”

Mojica, a 31-year-old from Puerto Rico, is represented by agent Dudley Osborne, who was not concerned about the low win percentage.

“The plan was to ride as many as we can and not be choosy,” Osborne said. “We just wanted to get out there and be seen and let his natural talent get people’s attention. But as we get to Hollywood and go forward, we’ll be a little more selective and not just ride anything that comes our way.

“Once we get in the top 10, we’re going to be looking more at percentages, try to ride better stock and live horses.”

Mojica hopes to register his first Santa Anita stakes win Saturday in the $200,000 Echo Eddie Stakes. He rides Alydidit for trainer Walther Solis in the 6 ½ furlong race for 3-year-olds bred or sired in California.

The field for the Echo Eddie: Back to Bako, Julien Leparoux; Follini, Tyler Baze; Surfcup, Rafael Bejarano; Could Be Troubles, Garrett Gomez; Alydidit, Orlando Mojica; Indian Classic, Eswan Flores; Raised a Secret, Kevin Krigger; I’m Denny Crane, Aaron Gryder; Fighting Hussar, Victor Espinoza; and Lovmeister, Agapito Delgadillo.
Hunger was scratched.


Ben Cecil was not quite “baffled” over Tiger Day’s performance in the Baffle Stakes. The 3-year-old English-bred colt finished sixth, beaten just over four lengths, but was "squeezed” at the start of the about 6 ½ furlong race on Santa Anita’s downhill turf course.

“He was squeezed but it wasn’t that bad and I’m not going to use that as an excuse,” Cecil said of the bay colt by the Danehill stallion Tiger Hill who makes his second U.S. start in today’s Pasadena Stakes.

“The horse doesn’t have to have the lead,” Cecil added. “That poor race in Italy (11th and last by 32 ¼ lengths in the Group 1 Gran Criterium last October), he kind of boiled over in the paddock.”

FINISH LINES: Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies champion Beholder worked seven furlongs in company with stablemate Sarach on Santa Anita’s fast main track Friday. With regular rider Garrett Gomez up, the daughter of Henny Hughes was clocked in 1:26.60, while Sarach got 1:27.60. “She worked a nice, steady seven-eighths,” trainer Richard Mandella said of Beholder, smashing winner of the Las Virgenes Stakes who remains on course for the Grade I Santa Anita Oaks on April 6. “She’s ready to go.” . . . Mike Mitchell sent out three winners Thursday, two of them ridden by Gomez, to take undisputed possession of fifth place in the trainer standings with 16 wins from only 65 starters, 25 percent . . . The following from jockey Joy Scott’s son, Jesse Sanchez, on his mother’s status this morning after surgery on her fractured right femur suffered in a training mishap on March 12: “They put the rod in and she's in great spirits. They will be monitoring her healing and response to the operation very closely for the next two-three days in the hospital before they say much about her prognosis. The doctor made it clear that it is still very much one day at a time, but this is a step forward. Please continue to keep her in your thoughts and prayers.” Trainer Howard Zucker is spearheading a fund-raising drive for Scott, as is the Winners Foundation at Santa Anita. Donations also may be made at Santa Anita’s Racing Department . . . Sunday is Easter Family Fun Day at Santa Anita from 12 noon to 4 p.m. The Great Race Place presents San Gabriel Valley’s biggest egg hunt, with more than 15,000 candy-filled eggs up for grabs on a day which includes pony rides, face painting, carnival games, bounce houses and more. Each hunt is $2, but kids get in free . . . The 13 horses entered in Saturday’s Dubai World Cup have earned a combined $29,574,729, averaging $2,274,979, led by Monterosso’s $7,404,141. The English-bred horse picked up most of that by winning last year’s World Cup . . . With 11 players selecting victorious Wild Media in Thursday’s first race, ShowVivor II had 22 alive entering Friday’s card . . . The devil, you say: Thursday’s first Pick 3 payoff comprised of numbers 6-6-6 in races one through three paid $52.20. According to Wikipedia, “It is not uncommon to see the symbolic role of the integer 666 transferred to the digit sequence 6-6-6. Some people take the Satanic associations of 666 so seriously that they actively avoid things related to 666 or the digits 6-6-6. This is known as hexakosioihexekontahexaphobia.” The string of sixes ended in the fourth race when No. 6, Distorted This, ran third, but resumed in the fifth when Egg Drop (a pre-Easter Sunday hunch?) won the fifth at a $4 payoff . . . Garrett Gomez will throw the first pitch for tonight’s Angels vs. Dodgers game at Dodger Stadium. “GoGo” is set to take the mound at approximately 6:30 p.m.

Santa Anita Statistics

(Current through Thursday, March 28)
Jockey Mts 1st 2nd 3rd Win% Money Won
Rafael Bejarano 272 69 50 28 25% $3,435,270
Edwin Maldonado 301 49 35 43 16% $1,920,152
Garrett Gomez 175 43 27 18 25% $2,441,668
Joe Talamo 300 37 47 49 12% $2,380,905
Tyler Baze 310 34 34 30 11% $1,355,460
Martin Garcia 204 31 32 24 15% $1,706,155
Julien Leparoux 194 28 28 16 14% $1,665,288
Victor Espinoza 137 27 13 21 20% $1,233,180
Martin Pedroza 142 19 14 21 13% $708,330
Kevin Krigger 132 17 20 13 13% $647,934
Agapito Delgadillo 117 16 13 17 14% $463,355
Gary Stevens 87 13 21 14 15% $1,037,964
Mike Smith 76 13 12 14 17% $1,479,376
Mario Gutierrez 135 11 18 23 8% $617,378
Orlando Mojica 155 11 14 22 7% $489,748
Aaron Gryder 106 10 12 8 9% $412,108
David Flores 89 9 7 9 10% $488,808
Corey Nakatani 105 8 9 17 8% $805,685

Trainer Sts 1st 2nd 3rd Win% Money Won
Bob Baffert 145 32 27 13 22% $2,944,120
Jerry Hollendorfer 101 27 19 14 27% $1,592,226
Doug O'Neill 202 23 35 28 11% $1,373,712
John Sadler 166 22 30 23 13% $1,272,587
Mike Mitchell 65 16 10 6 25% $557,224
Peter Miller 88 13 17 11 15% $754,586
Mike Puype 92 13 9 14 14% $681,323
Richard Mandella 44 12 12 3 27% $876,842
Julio Canani 50 12 4 5 24% $396,160
Jorge Gutierrez 54 11 6 12 20% $363,384
William Spawr 45 10 11 6 22% $286,326
Mark Glatt 70 9 8 8 13% $306,160
Peter Eurton 48 8 8 5 17% $343,640
Jeff Bonde 31 8 5 5 26% $349,560
Art Sherman 35 8 3 6 23% $218,480
Ronald Ellis 43 8 3 5 19% $460,970
Thomas Proctor 26 8 2 2 31% $331,788