By Ed Golden — Richard Baltas is mulling Monrovia state for Venetian Harbor.
Baltas has three horses nominated to this Saturday’s Grade II Monrovia Stakes for fillies and mares four and up at 6 ½ furlongs on turf, among them Venetian Harbor, winner of the Grade II Raven Run on Keeneland’s main track last year and second in two Grade I’s, the Test at Saratoga and the Ashland at Keeneland. “She’s not probable but possible,” Baltas said of Venetian Harbor, a four-year-old daughter of the Speightstown stallion Munnings that has not raced since last Nov. 7 when eighth and last in the Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Sprint behind eventual Eclipse Award champion female sprinter Gamine.
“We do plan to run Nasty,” Baltas said, referring to the four-year-old Street Sense filly that won the Lady of Shamrock by a head at a mile on Santa Anita’s turf opening day last Dec. 26.
Owned by LNJ Foxwoods, Nasty has been firing bullets at Santa Anita for her return, with best-at-the distance moves of 47.80 for four furlongs on May 23, 59.40 on May 16 and 1:00.40 on May 9, all on the training track.
‘MIRACLE HORSE’ CATEMACO WORKS FOR MULHALL
“Miracle Horse” Catemaco, whose life was saved by his trainer and breeder Kristin Mulhall at the age of four months, had his first breeze Monday since recovering from a lingering cough. The four-year-old California-bred son of Girolamo owned by Twilight Racing and Steve Taub went three furlongs at Santa Anita in 39.80. Bitten by a Black Widow spider in July 2017 and struggling to survive, Mulhall, associates and doctors saved Catemaco’s life and he went on to win his first and only race to date by four lengths at odds of 14-1 on Jan. 1 at Santa Anita.
RIDING TITLE ALL BUT CLINCHED, NOT TRAINERS’ RACE
With a 109-76 lead over runner-up Juan Hernandez, Flavien Prat is well on his way to capturing Santa Anita’s riding title, while the trainers’ race is considerably closer. Trainer Phil D’Amato holds a 42-38 advantage over runner-up Peter Miller, with Bob Baffert third at 37 victories. Umberto Rispoli and Abel Cedillo are in a race for third with 58 and 53 wins, respectively. Tyler Baze (36), apprentice Jessica Pyfer (33) and Mario Gutierrez (31) follow. After today, only nine racing days remain in the meet that concludes on June 20.
FINISH LINES: Today’s $61,000 fifth race for filly and mare allowance maidens three and older at 6 ½ furlongs on turf showcases a plethora of progeny sired by blueblood stallions, among them American Pharoah, Uncle Mo, Medaglia d’Oro Animal Kingdom, Afleet Alex, War Front and Bernardini. LNJ Foxwood’s Speedcuber, a $525,000 daughter of War Front trained by Richard Baltas, is the 5-2 morning line favorite under leading rider Flavien Prat . . . There were 156 recorded workouts at Santa Anita Monday, 26 on the training track, among them a four-furlong breeze in a bullet 49.20 by multiple California-bred stakes winner Leggs Galore for Phil D’Amato . . . Santa Anita will be dark for live racing Tuesday through Thursday. Live racing resumes 1 p.m. Friday, June 4.
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