Santa Anita News
STABLE NOTES BY ED GOLDEN
• CAMP VICTORY READY FOR MONDAY’S GRADE III MORVICH
• CASSIDY EYES GRADE II WIN IN OAK TREE DERBY
• IRREFUTABLE B/C DIRT MILE CANDIDATE, SPRINT ON FOR THE FACTOR
• CELESTIAL KITTEN SAVES HER BEST FOR GRADE III RAMSER
MITCHELL HAS DESIGNS ON WIN FOR CAMP VICTORY IN GRADE III MORVICH
Mike Mitchell hopes to break a string of seconditis with Camp Victory in Monday’s Columbus Day holiday feature, the Grade III, $100,000 Morvich Stakes for 3-year-olds and up at about 6 ½ furlongs on Santa Anita’s downhill turf course.
Camp Victory has been second in four straight graded stakes, including the Grade I Triple Bend and the Grade I Pat O’Brien in his last two.
“He’s doing great,” said Mitchell, who had five horses entered on Sunday’s card, which offered a Pick Six carryover of $86,557.91. “He’s run well down the hill before and I’m hoping he gets a favorable trip and can use this as a prep for the Breeders’ Cup, but I haven’t made up my mind yet on that.”
The versatile Camp Victory, claimed for $40,000 last February, ran second by a nose in the Grade III San Simeon Handicap on the downhill venue three weeks later. His last three starts have been on synthetic surfaces, but the 4-year-old gelded son of Forest Camp has four wins from nine career starts on grass.
The field for the Morvich, race eight of nine: Al Insante, Hector Berrios, 12-1; Ain’t No Other, Garrett Gomez, 9-2; Excessive Passion, Joel Rosario, 8-1; El Gato Malo, David Flores, 8-1; Leroy’s Dynameaux, Rafael Bejarano, 5-1; California Flag, Patrick Valenzuela, 6-1; Camp Victory, Joe Talamo, 6-5; and Posse Power, Leslie Mawing, 20-1.
Monday is Dollar Day at Santa Anita. Beer, hot dogs and sodas will be $1, with two stakes races highlighting the racing card, the $65,000 Jack Goodman Stakes and the Morvich.
SURREY STAR SET FOR GRADE II OAK TREE DERBY NEXT SATURDAY
Surrey Star seeks his first graded stakes win next Saturday in the Grade II Oak Tree Derby at 1 1/8 miles on turf.
Jim Cassidy is encouraged with the Irish-bred colt’s training since finishing fifth by 2 ½ lengths in the Grade II La Jolla Handicap at Del Mar Aug. 13.
“He’s acting well and his works have been consistent,” Cassidy said. Surrey Star, a bay son of Dubawi owned by Class Racing Stable’s Joe Masino of Escondido, won the La Puente Stakes at Santa Anita last April at the same distance as the Oak Tree Derby.
Probable for the Oak Tree Derby: Cloud Man, Mike Smith; Midnight Interlude, Rafael Bejarano; Surrey Star, no rider; Ultimate Eagle, Martin Pedroza; and Venomous, Joel Rosario. Oak Tree Derby nominee Western Aristocrat was a wire-to-wire winner of Saturday’s Jamaica at Belmont and will not run in the Oak Tree Derby for trainer Jeremy Nosada.
THE FACTOR OK FOR BC SPRINT, BAFFERT PONDERS DIRT MILE FOR IRREFUTABLE
Irrefutable, who closed well at 6-1 to finish second behind victorious Amazombie in Saturday’s Grade I Ancient Title Stakes at six furlongs, beating 2-5 favorite The Factor in the process, might have earned himself a spot in the Breeders’ Cup at Churchill Downs on Nov. 5, Bob Baffert said Sunday morning.
“I might try him in the (Dirt) Mile if he can get in there,” the Hall of Fame trainer said of the 5-year-old gray horse owned by Kaleem Shah. “I like the way he ran yesterday. He ran a good race.”
Despite The Factor’s disappointing performance—he finished more than five lengths behind Amazombie after breaking from the No. 1 post position—the Breeders’ Cup Sprint is still on his agenda.
“He came back out of it really good,” Baffert said. “Euroears will go, too, but Coil’s not going (in the Dirt Mile). I’m going to freshen him up. Drill’s going to go (in the Juvenile) and Game on Dude (Classic).”
Baffert added that Prayer for Relief will seek his fourth Derby win in next Sunday’s $400,000 Oklahoma Derby at Remington Park. Rafael Bejarano rides the winner of the Grade III Iowa Derby, the Grade II West Virginia Derby and the Grade II Super Derby.
Railbird and Santa Ysabel winner May Day Rose runs in the Oklahoma Oaks the same day, Baffert said.
CECIL EYES WAKE UP CALL FOR CELESTIAL KITTEN IN GRADE III RAMSER
Fortunately for trainer Ben Cecil, Celestial Kitten saves her best for game day. The 3-year-old Kitten’s Joy filly shows little interest in serious preparation for her races, preferring to save her best for race day.
“She’s very lazy in the mornings,” said Cecil, who supervised a bullet 1:14 2/5 turf drill for six furlongs on Oct. 2. “I wouldn’t tell you it was the prettiest work,” he said. “She never does anything in the mornings, but she seems to wake up in a race.
“When I worked her between the San Clemente and the Del Mar Oaks, she didn’t show me anything. But she ran all right in the Del Mar Oaks (fifth, beaten three lengths). It seems to be when there are horses around (her), she does wake up. She conserves herself.”
NO COMEBACK IN MIND FOR LAFFIT PINCAY JR.
Looking almost riding-fit, retired Hall of Fame jockey Laffit Pincay Jr. was a visitor to Clockers’ Corner Saturday morning. “I keep myself busy,” said Pincay, who turns 65 on Dec. 29. “I visit my mother a lot. She lives in Arcadia about five minutes from my home, so I go there every day. She’s 88 now.
“I’ve been traveling a lot, too. I’ve been to Kentucky for the Secretariat Festival and I just came back from Baltimore and the Maryland Millions, where I signed autographs. Then I went to San Francisco for a golf tournament, so I’ve been busy.”
Despite his physical and mental sharpness, Pincay dismisses the urging of his many fans to return to the saddle.
“I’m around 130 pounds these days,” said Pincay, who tacked 117 pounds late in his career. “A lot of people tell me I should go back to riding. I’m skinny, but I weigh 130 and it would be tough to get the weight off.”
Pincay’s son, Laffit III, regularly offers his expertise and displays his matinee-idol good looks on HRTV and today is at Keeneland broadcasting on the Versus cable network.
FINISH LINES: Thanks in large part to The Factor running fourth as the 2-5 favorite in yesterday’s Ancient Title Stakes, 989 ShowVivor contestants fell by the wayside in Santa Anita’s popular on line handicapping challenge. Saturday began with 1,187 players, but only 198 remained entering today’s card . . . Patrick Valenzuela won Saturday’s first race with Blacky the Bull and was greeted in the winner’s circle by his mother, Teresa, who was celebrating her 77th birthday. Teresa Valenzuela, who is retired, was a long-time employee in Santa Anita’s track kitchen at the El Mercado Restaurant on the track’s main floor . . . Agent Scott McClellan reports that Joe Talamo will be at Keeneland next Saturday to ride Nereid for John Shirreffs in the Queen Elizabeth II Challenge . . . Due to the Chevy Sonic ride and drive event in Top of the Stretch on Monday, Advance Wagering will move to Mainline 4.