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STABLE NOTES BY ED GOLDEN
• ‘GENTLEMAN’ DAVE HOFMANS HAS BREEDERS’ CUP HOPES
• LEPAROUX GOES (CHIPS) ALL IN FOR EDDIE D. STAKES
• A ROSE BY ANY OTHER NAME IS STILL A LONGSHOT FOR KNAPP
• BEJARANO BUSY AT SANTA ANITA WITH 19 MOUNTS IN 20 RACES
MAIDEN WINNER HAS ROOM FOR IMPROVEMENT, HOFMANS SAYS
When Leo Durocher said “Nice guys finish last,” he didn’t have David Hofmans in mind.
The 70-year-old Los Angeles native has labored long and hard since starting his career
as a trainer in 1974. His diligence has paid off.
In addition to more than 1,000 career victories, Hofmans has three Breeders’ Cup triumphs. They came with Alphabet Soup in the1996 Classic at Woodbine, Adoration in the 2003 Distaff at Oak Tree, and rank outsider Desert Code in the 2008 Turf Sprint at Oak Tree.
Hofmans hopes to post his fourth Breeders’ Cup win with Schoolofhardrocks, a 2-year-old son of Rock Hard Ten who won his only start, coming from behind going a mile on Del Mar’s Polytrack Aug. 31.
But first things first. Schoolofhardrocks is 4-1 on the morning line for Saturday’s Grade I, Win and You’re In FrontRunner Stakes for 2-year-olds at 1 1/16 miles. It is one of five Grade I prep races for the Breeders’ Cup World Championships to be held for the second of three consecutive years at Santa Anita on Nov. 1 and 2.
The Kentucky-bred is owned by John Amerman and his wife, Jerry, who bred the colt.
“He’s getting better. He’s kind of immature, but he’s coming into himself,” Hofmans said.
The more we do with him, the more he learns and the better he gets, I think.”
The FrontRunner field: Ontology, Corey Nakatani, 10-1; Schoolofhardrocks, Victor Espinoza, 4-1; Even Echo, Felipe Martinez, 50-1; Can the Man, Martin Garcia, 4-1; Roundupthelute, Garrett Gomez, 9-2; Tamarando, Julien Leparoux, 4-1; Dance With Fate, Rafael Bejarano, 7-2; Better Bet, Alberto Delgado, 30-1; Bond Holder, Mario Gutierrez, 12-1; Test Ride, Edwin Maldonado, 15-1; and Flat Gone, Brice Blanc, 30-1.
KNAPP HOPES TO CATCH FAVORITES SLEEPING IN CHANDELIER STAKES
Steve Knapp has been known to light up the tote board on occasion, but if blue collar California-bred filly Harlington’s Rose captures Saturday’s Grade I, $250,000 Chandelier Stakes for 2-year-old fillies at 1 1/16 miles, the illumination would rival the Las Vegas Strip.
Oddsmaker Jon White has her at 30-1 on his morning line.
That didn’t dissuade the 56-year-old Knapp, who captured the Oak Tree training title in 2005 but has never won a Grade I race.
“She was totally wiped out in her last race,” Knapp said, referring to the bay filly’s second by 8 ¾ lengths at odds 24-1 in the Barretts Debutante at Fairplex Park Sept. 14.
“This is a big step up, but she’s bred to run a mile and a quarter. Harlington (her sire) ran a mile and a quarter, and her grandfather, Unbridled, ran a mile and quarter (winning the 1990 Kentucky Derby by 3 ½ lengths), so we figured no horse in the race has run this far yet, so why not take a shot?
“If she doesn’t fire, then we have the Cal Cup race on Nov. 1 ($200,000 Golden State Juvenile Fillies), which is Cal-breds only. But we’re hopeful she runs a big race Saturday.”
The field for the Chandelier: Fascinating, Rafael Bejarano, 2-1; Colonel Joan, Garrett Gomez, 8-1; Antiquity, Victor Espinoza, 5-1; Harlington’s Rose, Corey Nakatani, 30-1; Awesome Baby, Martin Garcia, 4-1; Belle of the Fleet, Joe Talamo, 8-1; Secret Compass, Rosie Napravnik, 12-1; and She’s a Tiger, Gary Stevens, 5-2.
HORSE FOR COURSE CHIPS ALL IN SET FOR EDDIE D. STAKES
With six wins, five seconds and one third from 15 starts, Chips All In is as steady as they come, especially on Santa Anita’s unique downhill turf course at about 6 ½ furlongs, which is where the 4-year-old colt runs at Santa Anita Friday in the Grade III Eddie D. Stakes.
The Kentucky-bred son of North Light was second in last year’s Joe Hernandez Handicap, missing by a nose to Unbridled’s Note, last year’s Eddie D. winner and 7-2 morning line choice to win Friday.
Trained by Jeff Mullins, Chips All In has lost only once in four starts on Santa Anita’s turf course, and has a win and a second in two races going down the hill.
“He loves the downhill course,” said Julien Leparoux, who has ridden the bay in his last two races, each at one mile on Del Mar’s turf course. “He’s very consistent, tries all the time and 6 ½ is probably his best distance.
“He’s got a great shot on Friday.”
The field for the Eddie D.: Et Tu Walker, Mario Gutierrez, 8-1; Huntsville, Victor Espinoza, 30-1; Caracortado, Aaron Gryder, 6-1; Boat Trip, Garrett Gomez, 8-1; Unbridled’s Note, Corey Nakatani, 7-2; Rock Me Baby, Edwin Maldonado, 10-1; Chips All In, Leparoux, 4-1; Rosengold, Martin Garcia, 20-1; Sirocco Strike, Joe Talamo, 8-1; Snowday, Rafael Bejarano, 8-1; Majestic City, Gary Stevens, 15-1; and El Mirage King, Chantal Sutherland-Kruse, 30-1. Handsome Mike and Koast were scratched.
BEJARANO HITS THE GROUND RUNNING AT SANTA ANITA
Rafael Bejarano will barely have time to wash his face between races the first two days at Santa Anita, once action begins tomorrow.
The perennial Southern California riding king was scheduled to ride in eight of nine races Friday and all 11 races Saturday. Bejarano was named on nine horses Friday, but his mount in the fifth race, Judge Carr, was scratched.
“Sometimes it works out,” explained his agent, Joe Ferrer, who also represents Julien Leparoux. “The (condition) book went both days, and I had a call in almost every race.”
Told Bejarano is the kind of guy who can ride 11 a day, with youthful enthusiasm on his side at the age of 31, Ferrer said, “He’s going to have to. I was just thinking about it. He’s working horses this morning and he hasn’t been on a horse in two weeks, because he went to Peru (his native country).
“That’s not a concern because he stays fit. He’s so small, he’s got no problem staying fit. He can eat all he wants and still weigh 105 pounds.”
FINISH LINES: Mizdirection, aiming to defend her title as Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint winner against the boys on Nov. 2, worked four furlongs on Santa Anita’s firm turf course Friday in 47.40 for Mike Puype. The trainer says the downhill turf course specialist will work straight up to the $1 million Turf Sprint on Nov. 2 . . . Jorge Gutierrez reports that rags-to-riches stakes winner Bright Thought is scheduled to work a half-mile on Santa Anita’s turf course Saturday. “Our goal is to get him ready to run,” the trainer said. “We have no race in mind right now.” A former claiming horse, Bright Thought won four straight races before he was given a break after setting a world record of 2:22.72 for a mile and a half on turf in winning the Grade II San Luis Rey Stakes at Santa Anita last March 16 . . . Santa Anita’s popular on line handicapping contest, ShowVivor, begins anew on opening day tomorrow.