Trainer Beau Greely feels good about Tres Borrachos for Saturday’s Grade I, $500,000 Goodwood Stakes. The trainer expects his horse to bounce back from an anomalous start in the Grade I Travers Stakes on Aug. 23, in which the 3-year-old son of Ecton Park finished 12th and last, beaten 16 ¼ lengths by victorious Colonel John.
“He broke well out of the gate and then just didn’t handle the surface for some reason,” Greely said of Tres Borrachos (“three drunks” in Spanish). “I talked to Tyler (Baze) after the race and he said it felt like he threw a shoe or two out there. The horse acted like he never ran.
Greely took a wait-and-see approach on Santa Anita’s newly reconstituted synthetic surface.
“No one has a clue as to how the new main track is going to play, but I’m confident and
hope Tres Borrachos runs back like he did in (winning) the Swaps Stakes.”
Greely readily acknowledged that the Goodwood looks like a very competitive race.
“There are a lot of good horses in the race, among them Tiago and Well Armed,” Greely said.
The field for the 27th running of the Goodwood: Zappa, Joel Rosario; Tres Borrachos, Tyler Baze; Informed, Martin Garcia; Surf Cat, David Flores; Slew’s Tiznow, Alonso Quinonez; Albertus Maximus, Garrett Gomez; Well Armed, Aaron Gryder; Tiago, Mike Smith; Spirit One, Ioritz Mendizabal; Mostacolli Mort, Martin Pedroza; and Mast Track, John Velazquez. Each horse is assigned 124 pounds, except the 3-year-olds Tres Borrachos and Slew’s Tiznow, who gets 121.
Oak Tree presents five “Win and You’re In” Grade I races Saturday: the $500,000 Goodwood Stakes for 3-year-olds and up at 1 1/8 miles; the $400,000 Yellow Ribbon Stakes for fillies and mares, 3 years old and up, at 1 ¼ miles on turf; the $250,000 Oak Leaf Stakes for 2-year-old fillies at 1 1/16 miles; the $250,000 Lady’s Secret Stakes for fillies and mares, 3 years old and up, at 1 1/16 miles; and the $250,000 Ancient Title Stakes for 3-year-olds and up at six furlongs. A sixth Grade I race, the Clement L. Hirsch Turf Championship at 1 ¼ miles, also will be decided on Saturday.
Oak Tree will card 11 races Saturday and offer a $1-million guaranteed pool in the Pick Six. The first 25,000 fans in attendance will receive a freshly designed Oak Tree polo shirt, free with paid admission. First post time is 12:30 p.m.
Oak Tree will be hosting the Breeders’ Cup for the fourth time and the first time under its two-day format, which features 14 races with total purses of $25.5 million. Oak Tree will also be the first-ever venue to host the Breeders’ Cup in consecutive years. It will present the Championships in 2009 on Nov. 6 and 7.
HYSTERICALADY AT HER BEST FOR SATURDAY’S LADY’S SECRET
The daylight margins by which Hystericalady has won her last three races has raised the eyebrows of even her usually unflappable trainer, Jerry Hollendorfer.
The 5-year-old chestnut mare won those three races--each a Grade II stakes--by a combined margin of 19 ½ lengths. Next up: Saturday’s Grade I $250,000 Lady’s Secret Stakes at 1 1/16 miles, and a showdown with the undefeated Zenyatta.
“Hystericalady is doing real well,” Hollendorfer said by phone Wednesday morning from Golden Gate Fields. “You never expect to win by that much, so I’d have to say yes, the margins have surprised me.”
On paper, Hystericalady would seem to have a tactical advantage over Zenyatta, winner of all seven of her career starts with daunting stretch runs. Hystericalady’s forte is speed.
“I would never say that we have an edge going into a race,” Hollendorfer said, “but I would hope to use her speed to an advantage.”
Hollendorfer, one of four trainers with more than 5,000 career victories, said Hystericalady arrived at Santa Anita Tuesday from Northern California. “I’ll be coming to Santa Anita Thursday and be there through the weekend,” he said.
The field for the Lady’s Secret: Super Freaky, Martin Garcia; Wake Up Maggie, Tyler Baze; Hystericalady, Garrett Gomez; Zenyatta, Mike Smith; and Santa Teresita, Michael Baze. Each carries 123 pounds.
STARDOM BOUND EYES SECOND STRAIGHT GRADE I WIN IN SATURDAY’S OAK LEAF
Trainer Chris Paasch is pleased with Stardom Bound’s workouts since the 2-year-old filly’s 4 ¼-length victory in the Grade I Del Mar Debutante at seven furlongs on Sept. 1.
Paasch hopes the daughter of Tapit takes another step forward in Saturday’s 40th running of the Grade I Oak Leaf Stakes at 1 1/16 miles. The race, a “Win and You’re In” race for the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies, offers a purse of $250,000.
“The difference between one and two turns is … well, let’s just say I think she can do it, but until I see her go two turns, I’ll be a little apprehensive and hope that she can do it,” Paasch said.
Mike Smith, who has ridden Stardom Bound for owner Charles Cono in each of her three races, will be aboard again in the Oak Leaf.
The field for the Oak Leaf: Will O Way, Joel Rosario; Stardom Bound, Smith; Candilejas, Martin Garcia; Palacio de Amor, Victor Espinoza; Montana Fields, John Velazquez; Magic Roberta, Corey Nakatani; Empressive Lady, Tyler Baze; Oro Blanco, Martin Pedroza; Toro Bonito, David Flores; Black Magic Mama, Garrett Gomez; Kinesiology, Michael Baze; and Malusita, Brice Blanc. Each is assigned 122 pounds.
NAKATANI REUNITES WITH SPRING HOUSE IN SATURDAY’S CLEMENT L. HIRSCH
Corey Nakatani is perfect in one ride on Spring House, winning the Grade II Del Mar Handicap on Aug. 23. The 37-year-old Covina native will be aboard the 6-year-old Chester House gelding owned by R.D. Hubbard and trained by Julio Canani again in Saturday’s Grade I, $250,000 Clement L. Hirsch Turf Championship at 1 ¼ miles.
“I just rode him the way Julio wanted me to,” Nakatani said of the Del Mar Handicap. “He ran a tremendous race that afternoon, and Mr. Hubbard was happy with him. What more can you say? I’m looking forward to riding him Saturday and going on to bigger and better things with him.
“He’s a very nice horse. You can sit close to a slow pace or sit back and relax with him and track right behind the leaders. He’s very versatile for being such a big horse, so I’m going to ride him with a lot of confidence. I’m sure he’s going to put his best foot forward.”
The field for the 40th Hirsch: Ferneley, Victor Espinoza; Transduction Gold, Jon Court; Bonjour, Martin Garcia; You Got Me Rocking, Joel Rosario; Out of Control, Garrett Gomez; Red Giant, John Velazquez; and Spring House, Nakatani. Each horse is assigned 124 pounds.
GRYDER ON DELTA STORM AGAIN IN SATURDAY’S ANCIENT TITLE
Aaron Gryder rode Delta Storm earlier this month in the Pirate’s Bounty Handicap at Del Mar without knowing much about the bay gelding, and it turned out to be a good chance to take, as the pair rode to victory.
“Delta Storm was a pleasant surprise last time,” Gryder said. “I’m sure the connections liked him, because they put him in the race, but I wasn’t familiar with him and hadn’t been on him.”
This time around, Gryder will know considerably more--he has the mount on Delta Storm in Saturday’s $250,000 Grade I Ancient Title Stakes for trainer Mike Mitchell. A fifth victory in seven starts this season would vault Delta Storm into the Breeders’ Cup Sprint on Oct. 25.
“The Ancient Title’s going to be an extremely tough race,” Gryder said. “It’s the final prep for the Breeders’ Cup in California, so you’ll probably get some of the favorites. I liked his effort in his last race. Now, let’s take another leap forward.
“I know a little bit about him now, and I’m excited to ride him.”
The field for the 26th running of the Ancient Title at six furlongs: Street Boss, David Flores; Delta Storm, Gryder; Decado, Alex Solis; Idiot Proof, Garrett Gomez; Sailors Sunset, Martin Pedroza; In Summation, Corey Nakatani; Esperamos, Julio Garcia; and Cost of Freedom, Tyler Baze. Each horse is assigned 124 pounds.
BRITISH IMPORT SOLVA SET FOR SATURDAY’S YELLOW RIBBON
Aaron Gryder will ride British import Solva for trainer Ben Cecil in Saturday’s $400,000, Grade I Yellow Ribbon Stakes at 1 ¼ miles on turf, and if the 5-year-old daughter of Singspiel runs anything like she did for Gryder back in June, he’ll be happy.
“She ran really well two races back at Hollywood Park in the (Grade II) Beverly Hills Handicap (June 29),” Gryder said. “She’s pretty steady. She’ll be forwardly placed. If you give her a chance to get in stride, where she doesn’t have to make up a lot of ground--because she doesn’t have that quick acceleration--you’ll just have to hope to get the trip. The day over at Hollywood, I got a great trip.”
Gryder knows where he has to position the bay mare Saturday, and if he gets there, feels good about his chances.
“She needs to be able to extend herself at the three-eighths pole,” Gryder said. “You want to be in full gear by the time you get into the turn, because she’s not going to out-kick horses if she only has a short gap to do it in. I’ll just try to find a spot where I can save some ground and get her in the clear early on, and try to gain my advantage somewhere around the turn.”
The field for the 32nd running of the Yellow Ribbon: High Heel Sneakers, Victor Espinoza; Vacare, Corey Nakatani; I Can See, Joel Rosario; Black Mamba, Garrett Gomez; Valbenny, Alex Solis; Solva, Aaron Gryder; Gula Gold, Michael Baze; Marzelline, Tyler Baze; Live Life, Julien Couton; and Wait a While, John Velazquez. Each carries 123 pounds.
MIDSHIPMAN BREEZES IN FINAL WORK FOR SUNDAY’S NORFOLK STAKES
Midshipman, who was impressive winning his first two career races, including the Grade I Del Mar Futurity on Sept. 3, worked four furlongs at Santa Anita Wednesday in :46.80 for Sunday’s $250,000 Grade I Norfolk Stakes.
“He went really nice, really well,” trainer Bob Baffert said of the son of Unbridled’s Song, owned and bred by Stonerside Stable. “We’re just looking forward to Sunday.
“He’s still green and he’s still learning, but today was probably his best work. I had him behind another horse. He sat perfectly, and when he pushed the button, he just took off perfectly. So I’m really happy with the way he’s coming into this race.”
Midshipman will face a strong field in the 39th running of the Norfolk, but Baffert is confident in how the horse has progressed.
“He’s just learning how to run; he’s a nice horse, there’s a lot of quality there,” Baffert said. “You never know about going two turns until you do it, but he’ll handle it pretty well.
“He’s a very smart horse.”
Baffert will be seeking his fifth victory in the Norfolk.
Probable for the 39th running of the Norfolk: Believe in Hope, Jose Valdivia Jr.; Brushburn, Joe Talamo; Del Conte, Corey Nakatani; Midshipman, Tyler Baze; Regal Ransom, Alan Garcia; and Street Hero, Alex Solis.
GOLDEN BALLS READY TO ROLL IN OAK TREE MILE SUNDAY
Golden Balls, winner of the La Puente Stakes last April 14 in his U.S. debut, is scheduled to make his first start since May 8 in Sunday’s $200,000 Grade II Oak Tree Mile on turf for 3-year-olds and up.
“He broke a splint bone in the (Grade I) Turf Classic at Churchill Downs (on May 3),” trainer Jim Cassidy said. “We had to take it out and give him time, but he’s a very nice horse, and a beautiful horse, too.”
Probable for the 23rd running of the Oak Tree Mile: Awesome Gem, Tyler Baze; Global Hunter, Jose Valdivia Jr.; and Golden Balls, David Flores.
IEAH STABLES TO DONATE A PORTION OF STARTERS’ WINNINGS IN BREEDERS’ CUP
The Breeders’ Cup has announced that International Equine Acquisitions Holdings, Inc. (IEAH Stables), owners of 2008 Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes winner Big Brown, will donate a percentage of winnings of all IEAH starters in next month’s World Championships to Breeders’ Cup Charities.
In addition to Breeders’ Cup Classic contender Big Brown, IEAH Stables is scheduled to start as many as four other horses in the Oct. 24-25 Breeders’ Cup World Championships at Santa Anita, including defending the Breeders’ Cup Mile winner, 5-year-old Kip Deville, and the multiple stakes-winning 3-year-old filly Pure Clan, a candidate for the $2-million Emirates Airline Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Turf.
Primary beneficiaries of Breeders’ Cup Charities are: Susan G. Komen for the Cure and the St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. Breeders’ Cup Charities also will support causes in southern California and Thoroughbred industry charities.
“We are grateful for the generosity of Michael Iavarone and his partners at IEAH Stables in pledging to join us in supporting multiple non-profit organizations at the 25th Breeders’ Cup,” said Greg Avioli, president and chief executive officer of the Breeders’ Cup. “IEAH had great success with Kip Deville at the 2007 Breeders’ Cup, and we wish them the best of luck.”
The pledge by IEAH is the second commitment from the Thoroughbred industry to Breeders’ Cup Charities, which was established this year to further community outreach efforts in conjunction with the 2008 Breeders’ Cup World Championships. Last week, Pamela and Martin Wygod, on behalf of WebMD Health Foundation, made the first contribution to Breeders’ Cup Charities, donating $250,000.
“IEAH Stables is proud to be supporting great charities at our world championships,” said Iavarone, co-president and CEO of IEAH Stables. “Breeders’ Cup’s commitment to St. Jude’s and Susan G. Komen and others shows the importance of utilizing an event of this magnitude to bring awareness to causes which help those who are less fortunate than us.”
FINISH LINES: Danny Sorenson resumed riding today after an absence of a year and a half. The 50-year-old Seattle native rode Jammie Jon for trainer Paddy Gallagher in the second race. “I’ve been on the shelf, but I’m ready to start,” said Sorenson, who was injured in a training mishap at Hollywood Park in March of 2007. “I had hip surgery to put implants in for stabilization to help it heal,” Sorenson said. “I tried to work horses last January to see how I was doing. I went back to the doctors and they had to remove the hardware because it was causing problems. Then we had to go through another surgery, a second rehab, and now everything’s good.” . . . Paul Toscano is considering joining the Oak Tree jockey colony. The veteran rider currently is on hand working horses for trainer Brian Koriner. “I’m trying to stay in the game and move up,” said Toscano, who rode in Florida for five years before returning to California . . . Santa Anita’s popular workout web camera currently is back up and running after being down briefly due to what appeared to be a communication problem between Santa Anita and the hosting company . . . HRTV’s Kurt Hoover and Millie Ball will try to pick as many winners as possible for host Jack Disney at Sunday’s Fans’ Forum handicapping contest, 11:15 a.m., in the East Paddock Gardens . . . .The Thoroughbred Owners of California will conduct its annual Northern California meeting on Saturday, Oct. 4, 10:30 a.m. at Golden Gate Fields. A new format this year will combine a luncheon, business meeting, and handicapping contest in the newly refurbished Bay View Room. Following the business meeting, the TOC Owners Challenge--a members-only handicapping tournament--will begin. TOC members may participate at no charge, with the top finisher receiving a sponsored entry as part of “Team TOC” in the 2009 Daily Racing Form/NTRA National Handicapping Championship in Las Vegas. Participation in the tournament is limited to 200 TOC members, and pre-registration is recommended.