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STABLE NOTES BY ED GOLDEN
• POWER BROKER WORKS FOR SATURDAY’S SANTA ANITA DERBY
• WHITE MAKES FLASHBACK SANTA ANITA DERBY FAVORITE
• FROM CASINO TO RACE TRACK, MIKE CURTIS PAID HIS DUES
FOUNDATION SOLID FOR POWER BROKER IN SANTA ANITA DERBY
Power Broker, one of three likely starters for Bob Baffert in next Saturday’s Santa Anita Derby, worked four furlongs in company Sunday morning in 47.40 for the West Coast’s major steppingstone to the Kentucky Derby on May 4. Martin Garcia was up. Stablemate Bank the Eight was clocked in 47.80.
The Santa Anita Derby will be Power Broker’s first race since the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile at Santa Anita last Nov. 3, in which the son of Pulpit owned by Gary and Mary West finished fifth behind eventual 2012 male 2-year-old champion Shanghai Bobby.
“The workout was very nice,” Baffert said. “I got him going out (five furlongs) in 59 4/5. He hasn’t lost any of his conditioning, because he really hasn’t been away. He’s just been away from the action, but he has a really good foundation on him. The Breeders’ Cup race was a disaster. I gave Bejarano bad instructions.”
That could change come Saturday, since Bejarano is again named to ride the chestnut colt he has ridden in each of his five starts, breaking his maiden in the Grade I FrontRunner last Sept. 29 before disappointing as the 2-1 second choice in the Juvenile. One of Baffert’s other Santa Anita Derby contenders, favored Flashback, is scheduled to work Monday. Also owned by the Wests, Flashback suffered his first defeat when he finished second as the even-money favorite in the San Felipe Stakes on March 9.
Super Ninety Nine, winner of a division of the Southwest Stakes on a sloppy Oaklawn Park surface Feb. 18, is the third probable Baffert entrant, hoping to rebound from a fifth-place finish as the 6-5 favorite in the Rebel Stakes on March 16. Baffert has won the Santa Anita Derby six times, most recently with Midnight Interlude in 2011. Nine Santa Anita Derby winners have gone on to win the Run for the Roses, including the improbable I’ll Have Another last year.
Probable for the Santa Anita Derby: Flashback, Garrett Gomez; Hear the Ghost, Corey Nakatani; Goldencents, Kevin Krigger; Super Ninety Nine, Martin Garcia; Power Broker, Rafael Bejarano; Tiz a Minister, Joe Talamo; Storm Fighter, Gary Stevens; and Dirty Swagg, Tyler Baze.
FLASHBACK TO BE INSTALLED DERBY MORNING LINE FAVORITE
Flashback, who finished second as the even-money favorite in the San Felipe Stakes, will be the favorite on Jon’s White 2013 Santa Anita Derby morning line when those odds are issued following Wednesday’s draw for post positions.
“As soon as Hear the Ghost won the San Felipe, I immediately started to think about the morning line for the Santa Anita Derby,” White said. “And my initial thought was, ‘Well, it looks like Hear the Ghost is probably going to be the Santa Anita Derby favorite.’ But as I monitored the reaction to the San Felipe in the days following that race, a lot of people all over the country talked about how well they thought Flashback ran in the San Felipe to lose by only a half-length after getting involved in such a fierce pace duel with Goldencents.
“The reaction to Flashback’s San Felipe performance, coupled with the belief expressed by many people that Hear the Ghost won partly because he was able to benefit from a pace meltdown, swayed me to think there is a strong probability Flashback is going to be the favorite when they exit the starting gate for the Santa Anita Derby.
“But I also expect Flashback and Hear the Ghost to be pretty close in the betting. Keep in mind that in the most recent Kentucky Derby Future Wager pool, Flashback’s price was 15-1 and Hear the Ghost also was 15-1. Goldencents was 49-1.”
White said another factor in deciding to make Flashback the Santa Anita Derby morning line favorite is the strong backing he has received in each of his races.
“Flashback has been a heavy favorite in all three of his races so far,” said White, who again will be making the official morning lines for all of this year’s Breeders’ Cup races at Santa Anita in November. ”Flashback was even money in his career debut, 1-2 when he won the Lewis and even-money again in the San Felipe.
“Hear the Ghost has never been the favorite in his three races. He was 16-1 in his career debut, 7-2 when he ran second in the San Pedro and 5-1 when he won the San Felipe.
“In terms of the Santa Anita Derby, I think it’s kind of a tricky call as to just how strongly Flashback is going to get bet. On the one hand, he has yet to be higher than even money. Based on that, I wouldn’t be surprised to see him start at somewhere around even money in the Santa Anita Derby.
“On the other hand, Flashback did get beat last time and he has yet to earn a big Beyer Speed Figure. His top Beyer has been only a 93. A lot of bettors who emphasize Beyer Speed Figures, Thoro-Graph figures or Ragozin figures probably are not going to be betting on Flashback, especially since he will be lower than 2-1. That’s why I am not inclined to make Flashback as low as even-money or 6-5 for the Santa Anita Derby.
“All things considered, it seems to me the proper morning line price on Flashback is something lower than 2-1 but higher than 6-5. Unless there are any changes with respect to the currently anticipated Santa Anita Derby field of eight, I am thinking 9-5 for Flashback’s morning line price, with Hear the Ghost 5-2.”
In other Santa Anita Derby news:
Daily Racing Form presents a $750,000 guaranteed Late Pick 4 on Santa Anita Derby Day; fans at Santa Anita will be offered a free Santa Anita Derby T-shirt with paid admission, while supplies last; KROQ presents Iration in concert; and there will be more than 50 microbrew/craft beer vendors, in addition to Premium Food Trucks.
BALDWIN AVE. CLOSED EARLY NEXT SATURDAY FOR 5K RUN
Baldwin Ave. will be closed from the 210 Freeway to Huntington Drive temporarily early Saturday morning in order to accommodate Santa Anita’s annual Derby Day 5K Walk and Run. The closure will apply to vehicular traffic from 7:30 a.m. to 9:30 a.m.
Accordingly, Santa Anita’s Gate 8, which adjoins the Westfield Shopping Mall on Baldwin Ave., and Gate 7, at the track’s northeast end, will also be closed to vehicles during the same time frame.
Those wishing to visit Santa Anita’s popular Clockers’ Corner venue at the top of the stretch can enter on Santa Anita’s east end, through Gate 5, or Gate 3, on the track’s southern perimeter. Gates 3 and 5 will be open for easy access to Clockers’ Corner beginning at 5 a.m. and will remain open throughout the day. Santa Anita’s main track will be closed for training at 7:30 a.m.
Gate 3 is located at the intersection of Holly Ave. and Huntington Drive. Gate 5 is located on the east end of the racetrack, at the confluence of Colorado Place and Huntington Drive.
Among the late influx of jockeys participating in the 5K Run are Modesto Linares, Jose Beita, Omar Figueroa, Jose Valdivia Jr., Saul Arias and Amir Cedeno.
Online and mail-in registration for Santa Anita’s popular Derby Day 5K Run and Walk on is available at www.kinaneevents.com or by mail addressed to: Santa Anita Derby Day 5K, c/o Time Management, P.O. Box 131314, Carlsbad, Ca. 92013-1314.
For more information on how to register for the Santa Anita Derby 5K Run and Walk, visit www.kinaneevents.com.
LEGENDARY TRAINERS ON RESUME OF UNSUNG MIKE CURTIS
Meet Mike Curtis. A virtual unknown on the Santa Anita circuit to date, the 59-year-old trainer has an extensive resume, having come up under legends such as Charlie Whittingham, John Gosden and John Sullivan.
These days, the native of Wimbledon (yes, that Wimbledon), England is trying to keep the wolf away from the door with a stable of seven horses at The Great Race Place, where he won his only race this meet March 14 with 2-1 shot Adrenaline Shot. Curtis has sent out seven starters, also finishing second once and third once.
“I worked as a pit boss at the Commerce Casino for 17 years before (the late jockey) Bill Harmatz got me into this business 20 years ago,” Curtis said, “All my horses here are Cal-breds. It’s a battle, but I pay attention to detail and hope it will pay off in the long run.”
FINISH LINES: Agent Tony Matos reports that Garrett Gomez will be at Keeneland April 13 to ride Suwanee River runner-up Abaco the Grade I, $300,000 Jenny Wiley at 8 ½ furlongs on turf for trainer Shug McGaughey . . . Matos is celebrating the pending induction into the International Tennis Hall of Fame of his first cousin, tennis visionary Charles Pasarell, on July 13 . . . Maiden winner Demonic still has an outside chance of getting on the Kentucky Derby trail after losing valuable training time due to a bruised foot. “He worked yesterday at Hollywood (five furlongs in 1:00.40) and is scheduled to work again next Saturday,” trainer John Sadler said. “Obviously, we’ll need points for him to get to the (Kentucky) Derby. The Blue Grass and the Arkansas Derby are possible (for his next race).” . . . Irish O’Brien runner-up Ismene, prepping for the B. Thoughtful at Betfair Hollywood Park, worked four furlongs on Santa Anita’s training track Sunday in 48 seconds flat for Bill Spawr . . . With nine players biting the dust when their pick, 3-5 favorite Sweet Marini, ran eighth in yesterday’s Evening Jewel Stakes, only a lucky seven remain afloat in ShowVivor II entering Sunday’s races.