Mike Smith knows Gayego and Madeo like the back of his hand. Each horse has seven career starts, and the Hall of Fame rider has ridden them every time. He will be aboard again Saturday in the Damascus Stakes and the Oak Tree Derby, respectively.
“Early on he was great, but kind of tailed off,” Smith said of Gayego, who won the Grade II Arkansas Derby on April 12 but was well beaten in both the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness Stakes after that. “He’s had a lot of time since then (May 17) and he’s really been training well. Hopefully, he’ll run well Saturday. He should, the way he’s been working.”
Madeo, owned and bred by Jerry and Ann Moss and trained by John Shirreffs, won the Grade II Del Mar Derby on Aug. 31 and has a 3-1-0 record from seven starts. The son of Mizzen Mast has earned $317,915.
“I haven’t been working Madeo, but I’ve been riding him,” Smith said. “He’s just now coming around. I think you saw his best race in the Del Mar Derby, but he still has room to improve. Hopefully, he takes another step forward.”
Smith says it’s somewhat uncommon to have ridden two horses exclusively 14 times. “Nowadays, you find it unusual, but the people I ride for are pretty loyal,” he said. “They like someone who works with their horses, and it suits us all well.”
The field for the seven-furlong Damascus for 3-year-olds: Dancing in Silks, Joel Rosario, 120; Hatta Fort, Julien Leparoux, 123; D. Double You, Rene Douglas, 116; Gayego, Mike Smith, 123; Blue Chagall, Brice Blanc, 118; Into Mischief, Espinoza, 118; Victor’s Cry, John Velazquez, 116; No Advantage, Rafael Bejarano, 116; Young Joe, Joe Talamo, 118; Signature Move, Michael Baze, 118; Kool Comic, Robby Albarado, 123; Georgie Boy, Garrett Gomez, 123; Leonides, Richard Migliore, 123; and Master Daniel, Frankie Dettori, 116.
The field for the Oak Tree Derby at one mile on turf: Dixie Chatter, Richard Migliore, 118; Muny, David Flores, 118; Tres Borrachos, Tyler Baze, 122; Gallon, Russell Baze, 120; Moral Compass, Eibar Coa, 122; Madeo, Mike Smith, 122; Trevor’s Clever, Joe Talamo, 118; Deal Making, Ramon Dominguez, 118; Woodland Flood, Victor Espinoza, 118; Nownownow, Julien Leparoux, 118; Blue Exit, Rafael Bejarano, 118; Rumba Along, Chantal Sutherland, 118; Ghetto, Kent Desormeaux, 118; and Pearl Fisher, Jose Valdivia Jr., 118.
GENERAL, CLUB HOUSE ADMISSIONS AVAILABLE FOR BREEDERS’ CUP
Admission to Oak Tree at Santa Anita today and Saturday, Breeders’ Cup days, will be available at the entrance gates. General admission is $20 per day and provides access to the Grandstand main floor, trackside apron, Paddock Gardens and Infield. Club House admission is $50 per day and gives access to the Club House main floor and the general admission areas.
First race post time Saturday is 10:10 a.m. Parking lots open at 6:30 a.m. and admission gates at 7 a.m.
Overflow parking will be available on Saturday at the Los Angeles County Arboretum, across Baldwin Avenue just north of Santa Anita, and Arcadia County Park east of Santa Anita at Huntington Drive and Santa Anita Avenue.
Free shuttle buses will run from the Metro Gold Line’s Sierra Madre Villa station in east Pasadena today and on Saturday starting at 7:30 a.m., leaving from berth #4. Shuttles returning from Santa Anita to the Gold Line station begin both days at 1:30 p.m.
Complete train and bus service schedules to and near Santa Anita are on the Metropolitan Transit Authority (MTA) website, http://www.metro.net.
WAGERS ON 2008 BREEDERS’ CUP DAYS
All 10 races will offer Win, Place, Show, Exacta, Trifecta, and Superfecta.
Races 1 through 8 offer Pick 3.
Races 1 through 9 offer Daily Double.
Races 5 and 7 offer Pick 4.
Race 7 offers Super High 5.
The Pick Six is on races 3 through 8.
Saturday, Oct. 25
All 11 races will offer Win, Place, Show, Exacta, Trifecta and Superfecta.
Races 1 through 9 offer Pick 3.
Races 1 through 10 offer Daily Double.
Races 2, 6 and 8 offer Pick 4.
Race 9 offers Super High 5.
The guaranteed $3-million Pick Six is on races 4 through 9. There is a mandatory Pick Six payout.
THURSDAY’S PICK SIX CARRYOVER GOES INTO SUNDAY
Thursday’s Pick Six carryover of $66,214 will not apply to the Breeders’ Cup Pick Six pools today and Saturday but instead will go to Sunday’s Pick Six pool, with a mandatory payout because it is closing day.
FINISH LINES: This Sunday, closing day, is Fan Appreciation Day at Oak Tree. All fans will receive a gift coupon redeemable for a variety of items, including backpacks, picnic jugs, long sleeve T-shirts and polo shirts, one per person while supplies last. First post time Sunday is 12:30 p.m. Gates open at 10:30 a.m. . . . Saturday’s local Weather.com
forecast calls for sunny skies with temperatures from 56 to 89 degrees . . . Rafael Bejarano held a 27-22 lead over Garrett Gomez through Thursday in the race for the Oak Tree riding crown . . . Doug O’Neill and John Sadler were tied for the training lead with 11 wins each and were almost identical in their records, each with seven seconds and O’Neill with 10 thirds and Sadler with nine. O’Neill had 73 starters, Sadler 64. Mike Mitchell was third with 10 wins, eight seconds and four thirds, but with just 37 starters, Mitchell had the best winning average among the three at 27 percent.