Undefeated champion mare Zenyatta and stablemate Life Is Sweet galloped at their Hollywood Park headquarters Friday morning and will ship to Santa Anita tomorrow morning for that afternoon’s Grade I $300,000 Lady’s Secret Stakes at 1 1/16 miles, trainer John Shirreffs said.
Zenyatta won the Lady’s Secret last year prior to capturing the Breeders’ Cup Ladies’ Classic by 1 1/2 lengths as the 1-2 favorite. The 5-year-old Street Cry mare owned by Jerry and Ann Moss has earned $2,594,580 from her 12 victories, eight coming at 1 1/16 miles, which Shirreffs agreed is not her ideal distance.
“It won’t be made ‘til late, sometime after the Lady’s Secret,” Shirreffs said.
The field for the Lady’s Secret, which goes as race eight on a 10-race program: Cocoa Beach, Richard Migliore; Sweet and Flawless, Joel Rosario; Made for Magic, Omar Berrio; Life Is Sweet, Garrett Gomez; Zenyatta, Mike Smith; Lethal Heat, Alex Solis; Briecat, Martin Garcia; and Anabaa’s Creation, Rafael Bejarano. Each carries 123 except the 3-year-old Sweet and Flawless, who totes 120.
COLONEL JOHN SHARP, SET FOR RETURN IN GOODWOOD STAKES
Colonel John had a spectacular 2008 campaign in which he won three of seven starts-- the Sham Stakes, the Santa Anita Derby and the Travers Stakes—but due to illness, this year has been relatively quiet for the 4-year-old son of Tiznow.
But Colonel John has recovered from a virus that knocked him out of this year’s Santa Anita Handicap and sidelined him for the first half of 2009. His July 9 victory in the Wickerr Stakes on turf at Del Mar was a positive first step, and he ran well finishing an eventful fifth in the Pacific Classic on Sept. 6.
“He was very unlucky in his last race, and if he gets lucky on Saturday, he’ll be right there,” trainer Eoin Harty said.
Harty was pleased with Colonel John’s last work on Monday, a five-furlong move in 1:00.40, breezing, calling it “super.”
Garrett Gomez, who was aboard for that work, says the winner of six of 13 career starts seems ready to rebound.
“Hopefully, he’ll bounce back and continue with the way he’s been training and run a really good race for us,” Gomez said.
He’s also not unduly fearful of the Goodwood’s marquee horse, Mine That Bird.
“He’s got one style of running, and the only race he ran here last year, he ran last,” Gomez said. “So it’s not us having to answer the question--it’s him having to answer the question. It’s, ‘How does he beat us?’”
In other Goodwood news:
Kentucky Derby king Mine That Bird galloped his customary two miles Friday morning. “Everything’s super,” trainer Chip Woolley proclaimed. “We’re in good shape.”
The field for the Goodwood, which is the seventh race: Chocolate Candy, Victor Espinoza, 121; Tiago, Mike Smith, 124; Richard’s Kid, Alex Solis, 124; Colonel John, Garrett Gomez, 124; Tres Borrachos, Joe Talamo, 124; Monzante, Joel Rosario, 124; Parading, Rafael Bejarano, 124; Gitano Hernando, Kieren Fallon, 121; Informed, Michael Baze, 124; and Mine That Bird, Calvin Borel, 121.
MAGICAL FANTASY SEEKS FOURTH STRAIGHT IN YELLOW RIBBON
Partnering with Magical Fantasy has been everything the name implies for her regular rider, Alex Solis. The veteran jockey has been aboard the 4-year-old filly in each of her 11 U.S. races, including three straight graded stakes wins dating back to April 9.
Solis is expecting another solid effort in Saturday’s Grade I $300,000 Yellow Ribbon Stakes.
“She’s training good,” he said. “There are a lot of good horses in the race. The good thing about it is she’s improving and running better and better.
“We always knew she had a lot of potential. She’s peaking at the right time. This is the time of year that you want to be 100 percent, and that’s how she seems to be.”
The field for the Yellow Ribbon, the fourth race, at 1 1/4 miles on turf: Magical Fantasy, Alex Solis; Lemonette, Rafael Bejarano; Lemon Chiffon, Kieren Fallon; Black Mamba, Mike Smith; Rosa Grace, Joel Rosario; Charming Legacy, Joe Talamo; Visit, Garrett Gomez; and Internallyflawless, Victor Espinoza. Each carries 123 pounds except the 3-year-old Internallyflawless, who carries 120.
RETURN TO SANTA ANITA SHOULD PERK UP SIR DAVE IN HIRSCH
Trainer Jack Carava hopes Sir Dave benefits from a change of scenery and distance in Sunday’s Grade I $300,000 Clement L. Hirsch Turf Championship at 1 1/4 miles.
“He’s been training super, actually better here than at Del Mar,” Carava said. “He didn’t care for the Polytrack, so he didn’t work very well down there. My only concern is he’s shortening it up a little bit, but he’s doing well.” The 3-year-old won the 1 3/8 mile Del Mar Handicap on turf last out.
Carava added that if Sir Dave runs well in the Hirsch, owner Ron Valenta, who races as La Caňada Stables, would seriously consider the Breeders’ Cup Marathon for the Florida-bred gelding.
“We were considering the Breeders’ Cup Marathon on the main track because it was such a soft race last year,” Carava said. “That plan went by the wayside when Sir Dave ran so poorly on Del Mar’s Polytrack. He has to win or run a good race Saturday for us to even consider the Breeders’ Cup.
“The reason we’re considering the Breeders’ Cup on Pro-Ride at Santa Anita is because he trains so much better on this main track.”
The field for the Hirsch: Medici Code, Garrett Gomez; Presious Passion, Elvis Trujillo; Times Gone By, Victor Espinoza; Sir Dave, Joel Rosario; Rendezvous, Rafael Bejarano; Artiste Royal, Joe Talamo; Quarter Moon, Agapito Delgadillo; Spring House, Alex Solis; and Black Astor, Mike Smith.
O’NEILL HOPES SQUARE EDDIE STEPS UP IN ANCIENT TITLE
Doug O’Neill has held Square Eddie in high esteem ever since the 4-year-old colt arrived at his stable last October. After some undue delays, the trainer feels the son of Smart Strike, owned by J. Paul Reddam, is primed for a return to his best form.
Square Eddie has been in the money in all three of his starts for O’Neill, including a second-place finish to champion Midshipman in last year’s Breeders’ Cup Juvenile. O’Neill is optimistic about the chestnut’s chances in Sunday’s Grade I $300,000 Ancient Title Stakes at six furlongs.
“He has been training fantastic,” O’Neill said. “Obviously, we’ve been excited about him since the first day we brought him over from Europe. The Ancient Title is not our major goal, but we feel he’s ready to put in a good effort, and hopefully it will lead to a big day in the Breeders’ Cup Sprint.”
O’Neill also entered Supreme Summit in the Ancient Title. The 3-year-old son of Cactus Ridge has a 2-1-0 record in four career starts.
“Supreme Summit is a hard-knocking, hard-trying son of a gun, though he lacks stakes experience,” O’Neill said. “We took him to New York, and he had a real cluster of an experience there (fifth and last by nearly 35 lengths in the Grade III Withers Stakes after stumbling at the start). But since then he’s trained great. I thought he ran a big race at Del Mar. On sheer numbers, he fits right in. So, it’s just a matter of if he has enough experience or not.”
The field for the Ancient Title: Atta Boy Roy, Ricky Frazier; Nikki’sgoldensteed, Joe Talamo; Delta Storm, Joel Rosario; Red Arrow, Mike Smith; Gayego, Garrett Gomez; Crown of Thorns, Victor Espinoza; Cost of Freedom, Tyler Baze; Riley Tucker, Martin Garcia; Supreme Summit, Richard Migliore; and Square Eddie, Rafael Bejarano.
WHATSTHESCRIPT SET FOR OAK TREE MILE AFTER R&R
Trainer John Sadler is optimistic that Whatsthescript will appreciate a two-month layoff when the 5-year-old colt returns in Saturday’s Grade II $150,000 Oak Tree Mile on turf. Last year, Whatsthescript was in the money four out of five races, including victories in the Del Mar Mile Handicap and the American Handicap at Hollywood Park.
“He always runs well fresh, and we expect him to run a good race,” Sadler said. “We dislike our outside post position, but he always works well wherever he is. He loves the turf, and we expect him to run well if he has pace in the race and a good closing trip.”
The field for the Oak Tree Mile, the sixth of 10 races: Times Gone By, Victor Espinoza, 119; Skyrush, Martin Pedroza, 119; Polonious, Aaron Gryder, 119; Global Hunter, Corey Nakatani, 123; Victor’s Cry, Brice Blanc, 119; Monterey Jazz, Mike Smith, 123; Allicansayis Wow, Kieren Fallon, 116; Cowboy Cal, Garrett Gomez, 123; and Whatsthescript, Joel Rosario, 119. Blue Chagall was scratched.
ESPN’S BAILEY FANCIES COLONEL JOHN IN GOODWOOD
Jerry Bailey and his ESPN cohorts are on hand at Santa Anita to prepare for the telecast of the 26th Breeders’ Cup World Championship hosted for an unprecedented second straight year by the Oak Tree Racing Association on Nov. 6 and 7.
“It’s always good to be at Santa Anita, especially with the Breeders’ Cup here again,” the seven-time Eclipse Award winner as outstanding jockey said at Clockers’ Corner on a picturesque Friday morning. “It’s a busy weekend for us at ESPN. We’re here Saturday, then fly across country to be at Keeneland on Sunday.”
As prepared for the camera as he was when he was in the saddle, Bailey had a ready response when asked his analysis of Saturday’s Goodwood Stakes.
“It’s a pretty wide open race,” the Hall of Famer said. “Mine That Bird will have his work cut out for him, and there doesn’t seem to be a lot of pace, something he needs. Traffic will be a concern for a horse coming from as far back as he does.
“Tactically, the way the race shapes up, it favors Colonel John. He’s a horse that likes to get loose and make his run from a longer distance. He’s not a horse that punches hard the last quarter. He needs to start his run more like at the half-mile pole. He was unable to do it in the Pacific Classic because he was jammed up in traffic. And if Richard’s Kid can reproduce the effort he showed in winning the Pacific Classic, then he’s got a chance again.”
EYEWITNESS McANALLY SEE ‘STARS’ IN ARC WINNER
Ron McAnally couldn’t have been more impressed with super horse Sea the Stars’ sensational victory in the Qatar Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe at Longchamp last Sunday.
“Wonderful,” the Hall of Fame trainer said when asked about the experience. “He was the main reason I stayed overseas, just to see him race. I was through with my work (on his annual expedition for prospective Thoroughbred purchases) a couple of days before the Arc, but in Ireland, they raved about the horse.
“He’s everything they said he was. I stood in the background before he was saddled, watched him walk for half an hour, and he never turned a hair. Nothing bothered him. In the race, he was taken up several times, threw his head and got jostled around. Everything happened to get him beat
“They had him all boxed in I’d say the first three-quarters of the race, and finally in the last eighth, he got loose and went on. To me, he was everything they said he was.
“The funny thing is, they predicted he wouldn’t run because of inclement weather. It was cloudy every day and looked like it was going to rain anytime. The day after the race, I’m on my way to the airport, and it absolutely poured down rain. So they were pretty lucky.”
FINISH LINES: Hall of Fame jockey Laffit Pincay Jr., who retired as the world's winningest jockey in 2003, visited NASCAR's Auto Club Speedway in Fontana yesterday and jokingly employed some of his own world-renowned "horsepower" while behind the wheel of AAA sprint cup car #10. A winner of the 1984 Kentucky Derby aboard Swale and seven Breeders' Cup world championship races, Pincay also took the occasion to promote his new book, "Laffit: Anatomy of a Winner." Auto Club Speedway will host the Pepsi 500 on Sunday . . . Garrett Gomez rides at Keeneland today. Among his mounts are Past the Point for Eoin Harty in the Grade III Phoenix Stakes and the unbeaten 2-year-old filly She Be Wild for Wayne Catalano in the Grade I Darley Alcibiades Stakes. Each is a “Win and You’re In” event . . . Hollywood Gold Cup winner Rail Trip, prepping for the Breeders’ Cup Classic, worked six furlongs on Hollywood Park’s Cushion Track Friday in 1:14.20, breezing, for Ron Ellis. “He went well,” the trainer said. “Breezing says it all.” . . . David Flores rides undefeated 2-year-old gelding Dixie Band for Catalano Saturday at Keeneland in the Grade I Dixiana Breeders’ Futurity, agent Ron Anderson said . . . Ron McAnally sends out Massone in the $400,000 Oklahoma Derby Saturday at Remington Park. Frank Alvarado rides . . . Jockey Alex Solis is one of several athletes posing nude in ESPN Magazine’s “Body Issue” on newstands today. In the buff Serena Williams graces the cover . . . Oak Tree offers a $200,000 guaranteed Pick Four on weekdays and a $300,000 guaranteed Pick Four on weekends . . . This Monday, the Oak Tree Racing Association presents Columbus Day Dollar Day. General Admission will be $1, along with programs, hot dogs, soft drinks, beer, popcorn and coffee. First post time is 12:30 p.m. Gates open at 10:30 a.m. Monday’s feature races are the $60,000 Swingtime Stakes for fillies and mares at one mile on turf and the $65,000 added Louis R. Rowan Stakes for fillies and mares at 6 1/2 furlongs.