|Edited Santa Anita Release — Memorial Day weekend at Santa Anita could remind Richard Mandella of a Breeders’ Cup in miniature. |
The Hall of Fame trainer, winner of nine Breeders’ Cup races including four of the eight at Santa Anita on Oct. 25, 2003, has 11 nominations to stakes races this holiday weekend starting this Saturday through Memorial Day, Monday, May 31.
He plans to run most of them, two in Grade I events on Memorial Day, Royal Ship in the Hollywood Gold Cup with Mike Smith and Dogtag in the Gamely under Umberto Rispoli.
Multiple graded turf stakes winner United goes in the Grade II Charles Whittingham on Saturday with regular rider Flavien Prat. “He’s doing great,” Mandella said of United, who won the Whittingham by a nose last May.
Winner of eight races with a bankroll surpassing $1.5 million, Mandella refers to the six-year-old Giant’s Causeway gelding as “a big pet” around the barn.
Soothsay, unbeaten in two starts including the Grade II Santa Anita Oaks, goes in next Sunday’s Grade II Summertime Oaks. “She’s doing real well,” Mandella said of the bay daughter of Distorted Humor.
Last but not least, Bombard seeks his first graded stakes win in Saturday’s Grade III Daytona Stakes at 6 ½ furlongs on turf.
“I hope we do the best we can,” Mandella said in anticipation of a successful and prosperous holiday.
Santa Anita presents seven graded stakes on Memorial Day weekend, three of them Grade I’s on May 31: the Hollywood Gold Cup for three-year-olds and up at a mile and a quarter; the Shoemaker Mile, a Breeders’ Cup ‘Win and You’re In’ Challenge Race on turf; and the Gamely for fillies and mares, three and up at 1 1/8 miles on turf.
Next Saturday’s features are the aforementioned Whittingham for three-year-olds and up at 1 ¼ miles on turf, the Grade II Triple Bend Stakes for four-year-olds and up at seven furlongs, and the Grade III Daytona Stakes for four-year-olds and up at 6 ½ furlongs on turf.
Next Sunday’s headliner is the Grade II Summertime Oaks at 1 1/16 miles. In all, seven lucrative stakes will be decided over the holiday weekend offering $1.6 million in purse money.
Mandella’s four Breeders’ Cup winners in 2003 were Action This Day (Juvenile), Halfbridled (Juvenile Fillies), Johar (dead-heat in Turf) and Pleasantly Perfect (Classic).
POWELL MAKES RECORD SANTA ANITA CLAIM
Trainer Leonard Powell made a Santa Anita record claim of $150,000 Saturday for Nimbostratus, a three-year-old French-bred filly that won the third race at six furlongs on turf by a neck under Abel Cedillo in 1:09.28.
The previous Santa Anita record of $125,000 was made in 1997. There have been three claims this meet for $100,000.
Claimed from trainer Peter Miller, the filly’s new owner is Mathilde, wife of Leonard, who comes from an accomplished family of horsemen and as a youth in France rode as an amateur on both the flat and over jumps.
A three-year-old bay daughter of Wootton Bassett out of the Invincible Spirit dam Bahama Spirit, Nimbostratus was third in the restricted Sweet Life Stakes Stakes at Santa Anita on Feb. 14, won an overnight race by a nose on March 6 and was last of 10 in the Grade III Senorita Stakes on May 1.
She has won two of nine career races, breaking her maiden in Ireland on July 3, 2020.
“She has residual value as a broodmare,” said Powell, a 44-year-old native of Deauville, France. “That was the main reason for claiming her. We have no immediate plans (for her next race).
“We’ll see how she comes out and find the best possible spot for her.”
Super agent Ron Anderson confirms Preakness stakes winner Rombauer will be ridden in the Belmont stakes by John Velazquez on June 5th…Dogtag, an eventful second by a half-length to streaking graded stakes winner Charmaine’s Mia in the Grade II Royal Heroine on April 3, worked six furlongs this morning in 1:14.20 for Richard Mandella, who is preparing the five-year-old War Front mare for a likely rematch in this Sunday’s Grade I, $300,000 Gamely Stakes. In all there were 192 recorded workouts Sunday, 32 on the training track . . . Trainer George Papaprodromou, winner of two races on Friday, came within an eyelash Saturday of stunning 2-5 favorite As Time Goes By in the Grade II Santa Maria Stakes with This Tea, at 23-1 the longest shot in the field of four under Kent Desormeaux, who is resurrecting his Hall of Fame career at the age of 51 . . . Leading rider Flavien Prat has won 105 of 369 races this meet for a gaudy winning percentage of 28. He has finished in the money 66 percent of the time . . .