March 2nd, 2015 by John Scheidt
JOES BLAZING AARON (February 27): 7 year old gelding for Jeff Mullins made his first start in 4
months in Friday’s 7th race, a second condition allowance race at 10 furlongs on the turf. Off at 5/1 in a
9 horse field, “Joe” set sizzling fractions for the distance of 22.45, 45.67, and 1:09.79 for 3/4, and led by
4 down the back stretch. He re-broke again at the 1/8th pole and still had the lead by 3, but the fast
fractions caught up with him, and two late runners nailed him just before the wire. He was beaten a little
over a length but it was a superb effort for being gone 4 months. He has already won this condition back
in Florida in the Spring, so he runs for the optional claiming price of $62,500. He can win running
shorter if necessary, and Mullins has lots of options with this turf runner who has won over $400k in his
career. This barn is off to a very slow start this meet and maybe this guy will give them a lift. Follow.
THE MAN (February 28): Baffert had his second string out in Saturday’s sixth event, a maiden special
weight race at a mile and a sixteenth for three year olds. Baffert saddled three in the race and only one hit
the board, although they were the three betting choices. The Man was the 6/5 favorite with Bejarano up
but proved he wanted no part of two turns. He broke a step slow, settled in fifth down the back side,
moved into to contention at the 1/4 pole, then readily threw in the towel at the top of the lane. Bejarano
did not abuse him down the lane and he finished 7th beaten 7 lengths. He had the blinkers off today and
raced rather sluggishly. Look for Baffert to put the blinkers back on and return him to a sprint in start
number 4. He is still very capable of beating maiden special weights sprinting on the main track.
RATTATAPTAP (February 28): Three year old filly for Jeff Bonde tried the Grade 3 Santa Ysabel
stakes for 3 year old fillies going two turns on the main track Saturday. Off at 5/1 in a field reduced to 7
with two scratches, “Tap” broke awkwardly from the gate, then was rushed up into the first turn, checked
twice as Bejarano had her up on another horse’s heels, then stood up on her, unable to ride her for a good
furlong. She was totally used up by the quarter pole, fell back to last, and was beaten 16 lengths at the
wire in a horrible trip. This daughter of Tapit is a quality filly and has ran two very good sprints. Look
for Bonde to return her to the sprint game and just draw a line through this race. Tab and follow.
SADIE CLARE (March 1): Three year old filly for Phil D’Amato made her debut in Sunday’s 4th race,
a maiden special weight sprint for Cal breds on the main track. Off at 7/1 in a 10 horse field, she
completely missed the start and found herself 20 lengths back of the leaders at the half mile pole. Talamo
got her motoring at the 1/4 pole and she made up 17 of those lengths by the time they hit the wire. Plus
she was 5 and 6 wide the entire trip. She had decent drills coming into the race and was 4/1 on White’s
morning line. She is bred to win early, and with a average start this grey filly will be in the winner’s
circle, next to the bottle of Grey Goose, in the very near
March 2nd, 2015 by John Scheidt
The main track continues to play fair at the Great Race Place with a good mix of front runners and
off the pace horses winning the races. It generally depends on how a race sets up regarding pace and
that’s the way it should be. The turf course has been favoring closers most of the meet but that
changed some this past week as a number of runners were able to win on the front end. There was a
70% chance of rain on both Saturday and Sunday, but the rains held off both days until the racing
had been concluded. The turf course was rated good Sunday but should be back to firm this week.
The weather forecast is very good for the big weekend of racing coming up.
• During the winter/spring meet at Santa Anita they have 3 large, outstanding days with quality fields
of racing. The first is opening day each year December 26. The second is this Saturday, Big Cap
Day, with 4 graded stakes. The third day is Derby Day, for the Santa Anita Derby April 4. The
premier race this Saturday is of course, the Santa Anita Handicap with a $1 million purse. When
they put that much money on the table, you would think they would draw a quality field. But it looks
like Hollendorfer’s Shared Belief has scared away the competition. They will have 10 go postward,
but other than the favorite, the rest of the field is made up of allowance horses. In fact one of the
entries is 1/66 in his career and is eligible for a non winners of two race. Unless the 125 lb. impost
on Shared Belief is an issue, and it probably won’t be, this may just be a workout for the #1 handicap
horse in the country. California Chrome should be in the race and his trainer knows it, but Sherman
just trains the horse, he doesn’t own him. The owners are going for the really big money over in
Dubai on March 28 and I’ll bet it turns out to be a mistake. I don’t think he will win the race, it will
knock the horse out, and Chrome will never be the same the rest of the year. That’s a shame, but
that’s what happens when the owners override the trainer. Jockey Mike Smith will be on Shared
Belief and will be shooting for his third consecutive Big Cap victory. He has won the last two
runnings with Game On Dude. In the history of the race, going back to 1935, no jockey has ever
won this race 3 times in a row. Johnny Longdon, Bill Shoemaker, Gary Stevens, and Corey Nakatani
have all won back to back runnings. The really good competitive races will be the San Felipe for 3
year olds on the main track at a mile and a sixteenth and then the Grade 1 Kilroe Mile for older
runners on the grass. Although Baffert shied away from Shared Belief with Hoppertunity, he is
running the undefeated Dortmund in the San Felipe. That field has come up strong with the
undefeated Ocho Ocho Ocho, the talented turf runner Bolo, the fast improving Prospect Park,
Mandella’s improving Pain and Misery, and Baffert’s other talented 3 year old, Lord Nelson. That is
a race worth watching and worth wagering on. Dortmund will go favored but he is far from a lock.
Chitu heads up the field for the Grade 2 San Carlos, also on Saturday, at 7 furlongs on the main
track for older runners.
• Trainer A.C. Avila was handed down a 60 day suspension and a $10,000 fine this past week by the
California Horse Racing Board when one of his horses, Masochistic, tested in excess of a
tranquilizer way back in March of last year. Masochistic is a very fast sprinter and won the second
allowance condition this past Saturday. This was without a doubt set up as a betting coup by the
trainer, as he purposely held the horse back in his debut, then sent him to Churchill Downs on Derby
Day and run off to win by 10 with a 93 Beyer. Avila says he will appeal the suspension, but I think
this is one time where the trainer will have to pay the price for his actions.
• On a sad note, former jockey Jerry Lambert passed away at age 74 while working at the Magali
Farms Ranch in the Santa Ynez valley. He was one of the great riders on this circuit in the sixties
and seventies, and was the regular rider for the great Native Diver, the first Cal bred to earn $1
million dollars. He was nicknamed “Clyde” and other than Bill Shoemaker, he had the softest hands
in the business and horses just ran for him. He was the leading rider at Del Mar in 67, Santa Anita in
both 67 and 68, and at Oak Tree in 1972. I cashed many a ticket with “Clyde” in the irons.
February 23rd, 2015 by John Scheidt
CAL MCLISH (February 21): Three year old gelding for Steve Miyadi, named for a Cleveland
Indians pitcher from the 50′s/60′s, made his second career start on Saturday in a maiden claiming sprint at
7 furlongs for a tag of $30,000. Off at 8/1 and breaking from the rail slot, McLish broke extremely slow,
was last early in a full field, and soon found himself a good 13 lengths off the pace. He never really got
running until the 1/8th pole and ended up a no threat 4th, beaten about 5 lengths. However, he showed
speed in his debut vs. straight maidens, so he can do much better out of the gate, as long as he avoids the
dreaded rail draw. He had worked well coming into the race, and though no world beater, he appears to
have enough talent to win at this class level. Follow.
SENSITIVELY (February 21): Three year old filly for Phil D’Amato made her debut in Saturday’s 5th
race, a 5.5 furlong sprint for maiden special weights. Off at 7/5 after some early heavy wagering, she
lived up to the hype. She broke with the leaders out of the 11 hole, took over the lead at the half mile pole
through a fast first quarter in 21.98, then slammed the door shut with a final quarter in 24.27. She won
geared down from the sixteenth pole and still was best by 10 lengths. This daughter of Street Sense only
cost $35,000 and they have a future stakes runner. They won’t have any trouble with the first condition,
unless they move her right into a stakes race, she’s a “single” next time to the post.
D’ CHURCH (February 21): Three year old colt for Eric Guillot made his debut in Saturday’s finale, a
6.5 furlong sprint on the main track for Cal bred maiden special weights. Off at 17/1 in a full field, he
broke running from the 10 hole and was amongst the leaders early. Put away the other speed through
good fractions of 22.18 and 45.31 at the top of the lane, dug in gamely through the stretch, but could not
hold off the 3/5 favorite late. He had some awfully fast 5/8 drills coming into the race and he showed he
could carry his speed throughout. “Church” will be much tighter coming out of this race and should get
his diploma in start #2.
ALAMO (February 22): Four year old colt for Richard Mandella was entered for the downhill course
Sunday, but it was switched to the main track due to light rain. Off at 8/1 in this maiden special weight
event for 4 and up, Alamo drew the rail spot and never really got a chance to run his race. He broke a bit
slow, then rushed up by the half mile marker to reach contention, then stayed on the rail through the lane,
got bogged down and finished fifth beaten 3 lengths. They paid $600K for this colt at the Ocala two year
old sale and so far he hasn’t lived up to expectations. Yet he is in the hands of a patient trainer and he
really hasn’t run badly now in 5 trips to the post, never being beaten more than 3 lengths in any of his
starts. He is probably better sprinting than going two turns and being by War Front, the turf is right up his
alley. Look for Mandella to try the hill once again and with any type of decent post, he can get his
diploma, and the price should be square.
February 23rd, 2015 by John Scheidt
For the most part, the main track continues to play fair, while the turf course continues to favor late
runners, especially in the two turn races, regardless of the placement of the inner rails. Light rain fell
Sunday and forced cancellation of the two sprints down the hill, and switching them to the main
track. The course itself was still firm, but the issue is when the horses cross over onto the dirt
portion just prior to entering the stretch. In this case, it absolutely ruined the Joe Hernandez stakes,
causing the scratches of 4 leading contenders in the race.
• The only other stakes over the weekend was the Sensational Star for Cal breds coming down the hill,
and it was a good race. Peter Eurton’s Bettys Bambino ($7.80), a Turfdom Best Bet, ran his win
streak to 4 straight with a one length victory over the favorite, Ambitious Brew. Eurton is one trainer
that always seems to have his horses ready for this sprint down the hill, on this unique course. His
next start will be the San Simeon, a Grade 3 down the hill, on April 19.
• There is only one stakes scheduled this week as racing resumes back to its normal pattern, of
Thursday through Sunday. The Santa Ysabel is a Grade 3 for three year old fillies at a mile and a
sixteenth on the main track Saturday. Leading trainer Jerry Hollendorfer has 3 in the race, led by
Light the City, on our HTW list, Achiever’s Legacy, and Glory. Others expected to compete against
the trio will be Curlin’s Fox (Mike Smith), Rattataptap (Rafael Bejarano), Stellar Wind (Victor
Espinoza), and Enchanting Lady. Kent Desormeaux has the mount on Light the City. The racing
office is saving all of their good stakes for the following weekend when they will have 4 graded
stakes on Saturday, March 7, Big Cap Day. Speaking of the Big Cap Day, for the first time ever, the
track will guarantee $1 million dollars for the late pick 4, a 50 cent wager.
• The big news of the week was TVG buying out HRTV and becoming one entity. Nobody knows
exactly how this is all going to shake out just yet, but that is supposed to be determined in the next
45 days. Unfortunately, there will be many good people hitting the unemployment lines, as there just
aren’t enough jobs to go around for everyone. It’s a matter of opinion, but HRTV had the best
personnel and the best show. But do to their limited distribution, TVG is the one doing the buying.
All in all, it’s in the best interest of the fans, as they will be able to show more races from more
tracks. We’ll keep you posted as it all shakes out.
• One of the really good races on Big Cap Day (March 7) will be the Grade 2 San Felipe for 3 year
olds, a springboard to the Santa Anita Derby. Bob Baffert had Lord Nelson out Thursday for a 3/4
drill in 1:13.40, while Carla Gaines had her good colt Bolo, go 5/8 in 59.60. Jim Cassidy’s
undefeated Ocho Ocho Ocho, will work this Thursday. But Baffert stated his other good 3 year old,
American Pharoah, the Eclipse award winning two year old, will run in the Rebel stakes at Oaklawn
Park March 14 instead. Of course, Baffert is loaded, and he still has the undefeated Dortmund ready
for this race as well. Then there’s the rising star, Prospect Park, and possibly Firing Line also, so it
should be a dynamite race.
• You can’t go to Las Vegas, or any casino for that matter, with $9.60 in your pocket, and walk away
with $363,424. But you can at the race track, and it was done this past week, when one fella at
Golden Gate Fields knocked down the 20 cent Golden Pick Six. The ticket was bought on track
Friday, and he probably stood out like a sore thumb, because nobody goes to Golden Gate on a
Friday. The key to this bet is you have to have the lone winning ticket, and that hadn’t been done in
31 consecutive days. There were no winning favorites in the sequence.
February 17th, 2015 by John Scheidt
SAMMY MANDEVILLE (February 13): Four year old colt for Doug O’Neill added blinkers and tried
the first allowance condition in Friday’s 4th at 9 furlongs on the main track. Off at 8/1 in an 8 horse field,
he broke well with the field, laid 4th down the back side just 4 lengths off the leaders. Started to move at
the 1/4 pole, then took up when in tight on the inside and lost some momentum. Desormeaux had to wait,
then swung him to the outside, and he finished strongly but couldn’t catch the 3/5 favorite. He missed by
only a head but he proved he could handle dirt as well as the turf. The blinkers really woke him up and he
is stakes placed as a 3 year old. He can win this condition on either surface and Desormeaux fits him like
a glove. A clean trip and he’s posing for pictures.
ENTRECHAT (February 14): Three year old filly for Neil Drysdale made her second career start in
Saturday’s 7th event, a maiden special weight sprint at six and a half down the hill. Off at 3/1 in a full 12
horse field, she broke well and settled in mid pack down the hill, advance into contention crossing the
dirt course, and then just exploded at the 1/8th pole and won in hand by six going away. Being by Giant’s
Causeway, she is bred to go long and looks like she could be any type. She cost $280K at the Keeneland
yearling sale and is cut out to be a really nice filly. I wouldn’t be surprised if Drysdale moved right into
stakes company with her off this effort. Wherever he places her, this one looks like a star in the making.
VIVACIOUS BEAUTY (February 15): Four year old filly for Jim Cassidy made her return to the
racing wars in Sunday’s opener, a six furlong dash for maiden special weights. Gone from the races for
18 months, and off at 10/1, she broke running and dueled for the lead with the 3/5 favorite down on the
inside. She kept battling all the way around and didn’t give it up until the sixteenth pole in a race she
surely needed. She ended up third beaten about 3 lengths. She was very fit coming into the race and will
leave it even more fit. If she can stay healthy, she shouldn’t be a maiden much longer.
PAIN AND MISERY (February 15): New shooter in from Zia Park, and now in the Richard Mandella
barn, tried the Baffle stakes on Sunday down the hill at 6.5 furlongs for three year olds. Off at 10/1 in an
8 horse field, “Misery” settled in 5th as Serbian Syclone set very fast fractions and opened up six halfway
down the hill. “Misery” started to reach contention at the top of the lane and inherited the lead at the
1/8th pole, and ran very gamely to the wire, just getting nailed in the last jump by the favorite. This was
his 4th career start, first on the grass, and he has never missed the board. He is also bred to go long and
the Mandella barn has plenty of options with this gelded son of Bob and John. Wherever he is placed, he
is a good one for your stable watch and should hit the winners circle in the near future.
February 17th, 2015 by John Scheidt
The main track played fair this past week, as did the turf course, regardless of where the inner rails
were placed. The long shots came rolling in on Monday and thus created a pick six c/o of $91,365,
even before the final race was run. The favorite won the last race and the 50 cent pick 4 still paid a
whopping $11,549. This week will be just a 3 day race week, Friday through Sunday.
• There were only two graded stakes over this past 3 day weekend and both were for older fillies and
mares. Diversy Harbor ($11.80) took the Grade 2 Buena Vista on Monday at a mile on the grass for
Stevens/Proctor with a big assist from Blingismything. She sacrificed herself up on the front end
putting pressure on the 3/5 favorite, and setting it up for something from off the pace. Trainer Tom
Proctor is always tough in stakes races on the turf. Then on Saturday, Warren’s Veneda ($5.80), took
down the Grade 2 Santa Maria, coming from dead last at a mile and a sixteenth on the main track.
The other co-favorite in the race, Thegirlinthatsong, got a very poor ride from Bejarano and ended
up third. Bejarano, who seldom gets a horse in trouble, had this one mired down on the rail most of
the way and she got bogged down badly in the lane. She might not have beaten “Veneda” anyways,
as she is very sharp these days and will go in the Grade 1 Santa Margarita stakes next on March 14.
The older filly/mare division, especially those racing on the main track, is very weak this year.
Southern California based Metaboss ($15.20) shipped north and won the Grade 3 El Camino Real
Derby for 3 year olds under Alex Solis on Saturday. He had been on our HTW list for trainer Jeff
• Trainer Bob Baffert, who says he has his best crop of three year olds in years, worked his undefeated
American Pharoah an easy 5/8 in 100.40 Sunday morning. His next start will be either the San
Felipe here at Anita on March 7, or the Rebel stakes at Oaklawn Park on March 14. Breeders Cup
Classic winner, Bayern, had his first work since that race on Monday, breezing 3/8 in 36.60.
Impressive allowance winner, Prospect Park, also gearing up for the San Felipe on March 7, went
3/4 in 1:12.20 over the weekend at San Luis Rey. Trainer Clifford Sise says Kent Desormeaux has
the mount for the San Felipe, and they will be tough.
• In jockey news, Gary Stevens rode his 5000th winner this past week at the Great Race Place. He had
been stuck on 4999 for two weeks, and then got 5001 on Monday with Diversy Harbor in the Buena
Vista stakes. Stevens also has 139 other victories in six different countries outside of North America.
Stevens, who turns 52 on March 6, has 55 wins in France, 50 in Britain, 20 in Hong Kong. 10 in
Dubai, and 3 in Japan. That is one hell of a career. On the flip side, you won’t see jockey Irving
Orozco in the entries for awhile. He has been sentenced to 90 days in jail for driving under the
influence and failing to appear in court for two other misdemeanors. The 21 year old was 0/27 at the
meet this winter.
• How tough is this game? I own part of a race horse named Wild Bella, who campaigns up North at
Golden Gate Fields. We claimed her last summer and she hasn’t done much running for us. We gave
her 4.5 months off and she has come back a much better horse. She was in the first race Sunday at
GGF and this was her third start off the layoff, often a horse’s best race. The price was right (9/1),
the field was right, we had the right jockey, and we were set for her best performance. She lay third
down the back side, just behind two dueling front runners, and had the perfect trip. She surged to the
lead on the outside at the top of the stretch and we started to get excited. Then all of a sudden, the
jockeys started to pull their horses up. Lo and behold, the starting gate was still on the race track,
and they couldn’t get it off. The pin attaching the gate tongue to the tractor hitch broke, causing the
malfunction. The race was ruled NO CONTEST and all wagers were refunded. But what about the
owners. We get none of the purse and we have to wait another month to race our horse, yet the
billing process goes on. Whoever said that life was fair, certainly not in horse racing.
February 9th, 2015 by John Scheidt
HARBAUGH (February 6): Four year old colt for Doug O’Neill had not been out since July, and then
had not been seen for a prior six months, but he ran Friday for a $32,000 tag down the hill for older
runners. Off at 31/1 in a full field, he grabbed the lead halfway down the hill, opened up nicely until they
hit the dirt crossing, and then he just lost it, drifted at least 9 wide, and fell back. He did re-gather himself
and finish way out in the middle of the course, only beaten 3.5 lengths at the wire in fifth place. This is
not his cup of tea to begin with and he can win going long on the turf, as he has before and this race may
set him up for that. He fits nicely in the $25,000/$32,000 range and I wouldn’t be surprised to see Trujillo
up next time instead of the apprentice, Boulanger. His kind of speed is always dangerous and O’Neill is
pretty good at reading a condition book and finding the right spot. Tab and follow.
COOL SAMURAI (February 6): Four year old gelding for John Shirreffs tried the second allowance
condition in Friday’s sixth event at a flat mile on the main track. Off at 9/1 in an 8 horse field, he broke
well from the 8 hole, but had to steady momentarily into the clubhouse turn, then settled in nicely in 5th
down the back side. Never too far back of the leaders, he never could reach contention as Baze had him
on the rail where he just wasn’t comfortable. He swung him to the outside at the 1/16th pole and he
gobbled up ground quickly to finish in second beaten 2 lengths to the favorite, and really galloped out
strong. He had just won his first condition back in New York in his last race, and may very well head
back there with Shirreffs when the weather warms up. But for now, he will be here for awhile and this
one is very capable of winning this condition for the “Zenyatta” connections, Mr. and Mrs. Jerry Moss.
He has a touch of class and no doubt needed this race. A good one to follow.
MY SAMURAI WARRIOR (February 7): Six year old gelding for Victor Garcia tried the first
allowance condition Saturday at 7 furlongs on the main track. Off at 27/1 in an 11 horse field, he broke
well and was part of the pace scenario the entire race. He put the other speed away at the top of the lane
and was pretty game down the lane to finish third beaten 3 lengths. 7 furlongs is not his cup of tea, but he
has a good combination of speed and stamina and is approaching his best race. Garcia is a crafty
conditioner who wins his fair share of races and will find a spot for this gelding in the near future. Be
QUEEN CACTUS (February 8): Three year old filly for Peter Eurton made her debut in Sunday’s first,
a six furlong sprint for maiden claimers in for a tag of $50,000. Off at 15/1 in a 7 horse field, she
stumbled badly at the start and fell back to last quickly. She started to move up at the half mile pole and
continued strongly to get the lead at the top of the lane as the leaders backed up quickly. She led all the
way down the stretch and then got caught very late by another first timer who also came from well off
the pace. Considering her stumbling start, this was a good race for the daughter of Cactus Ridge and plus
Eurton seldom fires with a debut runner. She had trained well coming into her debut and as long as they
keep her in for a tag, she should earn her diploma very soon.
February 9th, 2015 by John Scheidt
The main track played fair this past week but the turf course is back to favoring off the pace runners,
even when the rails are out to the max of 30 feet. However, pace still makes the race, and when
you’re the LONE speed in the race, like Birdlover was on Sunday in the Wishing Well stakes, you
can wire the field, especially when you get a slow first quarter of 22.41 (they are going down hill).
The late scratch of speedster Global Hottie was huge in determining the outcome of that race.
Maybe someone told Baffert he is only 1/39 coming down the hill the last 3 years.
• If you like championship racing, then Santa Anita was the place to be this past Saturday, and the
athletes lived up to the hype. Hollendorfer had his star ready to rumble in the San Antonio, and even
when California Chrome opened up a length and a half at the 1/8th pole, you just knew Mike Smith
had more in the tank with Shared Belief, and he came and got him quite easily. Chrome is a true
champion and he was up near the pace most of the race and still ran the last 1/4 in 24.13. That’s
normally good enough to win most 9 furlong races, but Shared Belief ran the final quarter in 23.75.
Belief is probably the best horse in the Country right now, and Smith is riding as good as any rider
in the Country. He just doesn’t make mistakes when the big money is on the line, and that’s why all
the trainers want him. Dorf will wheel Belief back in the Big Cap, a million dollar race, in 4 weeks,
but Chrome is going for the really big money in Dubai, the World Cup, worth $10 million on March
28. Trainer Art Sherman knows this is a mistake, but the owners are all about the money, and
Sherman is just the trainer. These two probably won’t hook up again until the Pacific Classic at Del
Mar this Summer. Dortmund beat Firing Line in the Grade 3 Robert Lewis stakes, but at this stage
of their careers, Firing Line is the better horse. Unfortunately they switched riders from Bejarano to
Stevens, and the Hall of Famer wasn’t up to the task. Firing Line got away slow at the start (mistake)
and then Stevens moved way too soon at the top of the lane (mistake) and the horse hung the final
sixteenth. Dortmund did show some grit by coming back on the inside, and it was a whopping 21
lengths back to the third horse, but Firing Line had the tactical position most of the race. These are
mistakes Bejarano doesn’t make in big races. They will both meet again in the Santa Anita Derby on
April 4th. With a superb ride from Victor Espinoza, who is really riding well these days, Finnegans
Wake won his third consecutive stakes in the Grade 2 San Marcos for trainer Peter Miller. These
two hooked up together on a 70/1 shot the previous race Saturday. Attendance was good Saturday at
21,522, but I thought they would get more. It was double compared to last year and more
importantly, the all sources handle was up a nice 32%, and on track handle was up 33%, so all in all
it was a great day of racing.
• With President’s Day on Monday, this will be a 5 day race week. We will have our sheet out Friday,
Saturday, Sunday, and Monday. Thegirlinthatsong heads up the field for the Grade 2 Santa Maria
stakes on Saturday, and then La Tia will lead the field for the Grade 2 Buena Vista on Monday. Both
races are for older fillies/mares, with the former on the dirt and the latter on the grass.
• Riders on the go: Elvis Trujillo will be at Laurel this Saturday to ride Sam’s Sister (Hollendorfer) in
a Grade 2 stakes at 7 furlongs. Joe Talamo will be at Oaklawn Park Saturday to ride War Story for
trainer Tom Amoss. Mike Smith will be at Golden Gate Saturday to ride Conquest Typhoon in the
El Camino Real stakes. Both Martin Pedroza and Fernando Perez will miss 3 days this week due to
suspensions Saturday through Monday. Finally jockey Alex Canchari is leaving Santa Anita to ride
in the Midwest after going 0 for 27 this meet.
• Recent winners on our HTW list include Fanticola ($16.20), Callback ($7.20), Conquest Two Step
($13.00), Bluegrass Reward ($8.20), Wild at Heart ($4.00), Hot Lightning ($5.60), Easter Fever
($5.80), and Lady Pimpernel ($7.80). We recommend a play on these horses in their next two starts
after making this weekly list, providing the odds dictate.
February 2nd, 2015 by John Scheidt
FANCY SHOES (January 30): Five year old gelding for Dan Hendricks was making his first start in a
year and only the second start of his career in Friday’s second event, a maiden sprint in for a claiming
price of $50,000. Off at 9/2 in a 7 horse field, he ran sort of a strange race. He broke with the field and
was third early just behind the pace setters. Then by the half mile pole he completely dropped out of it
and fell 10 lengths off the pace. He was getting a lot of dirt kicked in his face down the back side and he
probably didn’t like it. However, once they turned for home, Perez swung him to the outside, and once he
got in the clear, he was gobbling up the ground and was only beaten two lengths at the wire. He acts like
a horse that would appreciate two turns and as long as Hendricks keeps him in for a tag, he should be
able to get his diploma quickly. He was training very well coming into this race with some exceptional 6
PROSPECT PARK (January 30): Every once in awhile a horse runs a race that is just really visually
impressive, and that’s what this 3 year old colt for Clifford Sise did on Friday. Off at 7/2 in a small 5
horse field for the first allowance condition on the main for 3 year olds, “Park” broke well and laid third
down the back side on the rail, just two lengths off the leaders. He was caught in tight a number of times
and had to check momentarily but you could tell the rider was loaded, and he just needed somewhere to
run. A seam opened at the top of the lane and he burst through it and in a second or less, the race was
over. Desormeaux hand rode him to the wire and he won by 5, but was geared down from the sixteenth
pole on in. Three year olds at this time of the year can improve dramatically over night and that’s what
happened here. Desormeaux/Sise now have a colt for the Santa Anita Derby, though they might hit the
San Felipe first on March 7. Sise may have to find a new rider as Desormeaux is pretty well locked in to
Texas Red for the Derby on April 4. It should all be very interesting.
Z BESHA (January 31): Three year old Ghostzapper colt for Bob Baffert made his debut in Saturday’s
third, a maiden special weight for 3 year olds at 5.5 furlongs on the main. He did not have the usual fast
Baffert drills, hence he went off at 14/1, and for most of the race he looked like a 14/1 shot. He was
totally void of any speed and quickly fell 12 lengths off the pace. But Espinoza got him to the outside at
the top of the lane and he put in a good run to be third beaten just two and a half at the wire. He definitely
needs more ground to work with and this barn is deadly when they stretch out to two turns, which I think
they will do with this one. He’s bred to go long and should find the winners circle in the very near future.
LIGHT THE CITY (January 31): Three year old filly for Jerry Hollendorfer was one of four fillies he
had in the Grade 1 Las Virgenes Stakes on Saturday. Breaking from the 10 hole at a flat mile, she got
caught a bit wide into the first turn, but then settled nicely in 4th down the back side, but only 2 lengths
off the leaders. Jockey Kent Desormeaux went after the leader at the 1/4 pole and “City” put in a nice run
down the lane, but came up a half length short at the wire. This was her first start going two turns and
after 4 sprints, this seems to be her calling. This daughter of Street Sense out of an A.P. Indy mare, will
probably target the Santa Anita Oaks next on Derby Day, April 4. I think she’ll be tough in that spot.
February 2nd, 2015 by John Scheidt
The main track played pretty fair this past week at Santa Anita as did the turf course. The turf
course had been favoring horses from off the pace for most of the meet but that has now evened out,
as evidenced by Avanzare winning the Arcadia stakes on Saturday. He was on the pace the entire
trip and some pretty good stretch runners couldn’t make any headway down the lane. There were
two pick six c/o this past week and that always helps the overall handle, and the Super High Five
carried over as well on Saturday. That’s a wager I don’t care for, but when it carries over, the pool’s
have been getting large.
• There were 4 very good graded stakes over the weekend and all of them will have some impact
down the road. Lord Nelson ($5.80) edged out Texas Red Sunday in the Grade 2 San Vicente at 7
furlongs for 3 year olds, but Texas Red is the better horse. Baffert says he will stretch Lord Nelson
out after this race but I believe he is best as a sprinter. Meanwhile, “Texas” had not raced in 3
months, and if Desormeaux had him finishing outside instead of down on the rail, the results would
have been reversed. Texas Red will now stretch out in his next start, probably a race back East, and
if he can stay healthy, and that’s a big “if”, he will be a force to reckon with in the Santa Anita Derby
on April 4 and maybe even in Kentucky one month later. Peter Miller’s good 3 year old, Calculator,
who also looked to be a major contender on the Derby trail, got hurt in a workout over the weekend
and will now be out six months. Conquest Two Step ($13.00), a Best Bet by Turfdom, took the
Grade 2 Palos Verdes on Saturday in 1:08.10, the fastest clocking of the meet. He was 7/1 when the
gates opened and crossed the wire at 5/1. This is an issue the tracks can’t seem to figure out and is
very frustrating to players. Talamo was up on this Mark Casse trained sprinter and he won 4 on the
day. Bob Baffert’s Callback ($7.20) took the Grade 1 Las Virgenes for 3 year old fillies (another
Turfdom Best Bet), but he was staggering to get to the wire. This was her first start around two turns,
but Hollendorfer’s Light the City is probably a better bet when these two meet again in the Santa
Anita Oaks on Derby Day, April 4.
• If you’re a true thoroughbred racing fan, and you probably are if you’re reading this column, you
don’t want to miss this Saturday’s San Antonio stakes at the Great Race Place. Horse of the Year
California Chrome squares off against Shared Belief, who has lost only once in 10 starts. Baffert’s
Bayern is out with a foot injury and will miss this race, but showing some real class, he is entering
Hoppertunity to face the Dynamic Duo, and he is no slouch. Hoppertunity was my choice to win the
Kentucky Derby last year before he went down with an injury. This year, as a 4 year old, he went
back East and won the Grade 1 Clark Handicap, and then polished off a good field right here in the
San Pasqual January 10. He came from 8 lengths off the pace that day over a speed favoring track.
Other runners probable for the San Antonio are Bronzo, Alfa Bird, Clubhouse Ride, Oklahoma
Derby winner Tonito M (Bejarano), and Imperative. Blue Tone is on the fence and will race either
here or ship to Florida for the Donn Handicap the same day. The top three are all coming into this
race in top form and are very hard to separate. This will be one hell of a race!! Also on Saturday will
be the Grade 3 Robert Lewis stakes and will feature a number of strong runners on the Derby trail,
i.e. Baffet’s twosome of Dortmund and Punctuate, Firing Line (Stevens), undefeated turf horse Bolo,
and Rock Shandy, Hero Ten All, and Tizcano. Also on the card will be the Grade 2 San Marcos for
older turf runners at 10 furlongs. The Stronach tracks, Gulfstream and Santa Anita, will offer a pick
4 on Saturday that is probably worth playing. It will be the San Antonio and the San Marcos stakes
from Santa Anita and the Donn Handicap and the Gulfstream Turf Handicap from Florida. The pool
will be a guaranteed $500,000.
• Through six weeks of the Santa Anita meet, favorites are winning at a 38% clip, well above the
national average. It’s even higher on the dirt (42%) and (30%) on the grass. Odds on favorites are
winning at a 58% clip.