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STABLE NOTES BY ED GOLDEN
• JOYFUL VICTORY, STARSTRUCK PREP FOR BC ENGAGEMENTS
• GOMEZ HAS OUTSIDE CHANCE IN AWESOME AGAIN STAKES
• A ‘FASCINATING’ CHOICE IN CHANDELIER: SHE’S A MAIDEN
• LUKAS COMMENTS ON YOUNG TRAINERS, STATE OF THE GAME
JONES SAYS EVERYTHING LOOKS ROSIE FOR BREEDERS’ CUP
Trainer Larry Jones had Joyful Victory and Starstruck out to enjoy the majestic view of Santa Anita on its sun kissed track Friday morning after arriving from Monmouth Park in Oceanport, N.J. yesterday afternoon.
Both Starstruck, a 4-year-old chestnut filly, and Joyful Victory, a 5-year-old gray mare, are on hand for Saturday’s Rodeo Drive Stakes and the Zenyatta Stakes, major preps for the Breeders’ Cup World Championships at Santa Anita Nov. 1 and 2.
Each won her last race at Monmouth, Joyful Victory the Grade II Molly Pitcher by 7 ½ lengths and Starstruck the Grade III Matchmaker by a length and a quarter. It was the first stakes start in the U.S. for the Irish-bred Starstruck.
“They just kind of went and saw the sights, just loosened up,” Jones said of his star equine females’ leisurely Friday morning excursion.
Jones has high praise for the other female star in his employ, jockey Rosie Napravnik, who has ridden Joyful Victory in her last four races, three of them victories, including the Grade I Santa Margarita Invitational here last March.
“She fits Joyful Victory so well,” Jones said. “This filly’s just been a different horse with Rosie. I think other riders tried to tell Joyful Victory what they wanted to do and I think Rosie says, ‘OK, let’s just go out here and we’ll do whatever comes up,’ and I think that really works.”
Starstruck is owned by Calumet Farms, which in its prime and under different ownership more than half a century ago was the premier name in American racing, with Triple Crown champions Citation and Whirlaway leading a plethora of champions and major stakes winners. Legendary trainers Ben A. Jones and later his son, H.A. (Jimmy) Jones, called the shots then.
“Calumet and Jones. Once upon a time they were good names that went together,” Jones said with a chuckle. “We had all the horses we wanted to train, but I got a little selfish taking Starstruck (she’s only had four U.S. starts. She was trained by Dermot Weld in Ireland).
“This horse came along and I said, ‘Calumet and Jones had worked before. Let’s just see if it’ll work again.’”
So far, so good.
GOMEZ HOPES UNFAMILIARITY BREEDS SUCCESS ON SATURDAY
Garrett Gomez knows Chief Havoc will have to step up his game if he’s to win Saturday’s Grade I, Win and You’re In Awesome Again Stakes at Santa Anita, the final major West Coast prep for the $5 million Breeders’ Cup Classic here Nov. 2.
Gomez rode the 3-year-old Giant’s Causeway colt to an eighth-place finish in the grassy Del Mar Derby after prompting the pace. He was aboard the Peter Miller-trained chestnut owned by Paul Makin of Queensland, Australia, when he broke his maiden by 7 ¼ lengths on Santa Anita’s main track last April.
“He just didn’t run on the grass,” Gomez said of the Del Mar Derby effort. “He travels well and he did well when I breezed him on it, but for some reason, he just didn’t quicken in the Del Mar Derby.”
Gomez will have to rely on his experience and his homework in his other stakes mounts Saturday, Colonel Joan in the Chandelier Stakes, Lady of Shamrock in the Rodeo Drive Stakes and Roundupthelute in the FrontRunner Stakes, each a Grade I, “Win and You’re” In prep for the Breeders’ Cup World Championships.
It will be the first ride competitively for Gomez on each horse.
“I look at the (Racing) Form, and if the trainer has something to tell me about the horse, he’ll tell me,” Gomez said. “But riding any horse, whether we’ve been on it before or not, is what we get paid for. That’s what we do. It’s nothing any different from what I would normally do.”
The field for the Awesome Again, race 10 on an 11-race card that starts at 1 p.m.: Liaison, Rafael Bejarano, 6-1; Golden Ticket, Joe Talamo, 5-1; Soi Phet, Irving Orozco, 20-1; Jeranimo, Corey Nakatani, 12-1; You Know I Know, Julien Leparoux, 8-1; Take Control, Rosie Napravnik, 5-1; Paynter, Martin Garcia, 5-2; Chief Havoc, Garrett Gomez, 20-1; Summer Hit, Edwin Maldonado, 8-1; and Mucho Macho Man, Gary Stevens, 3-1.
A FASCINATING CHANDELIER: MAIDEN IS MORNING-LINE FAVORITE
Santa Anita oddsmaker Jon White has installed Fascinating, a maiden, as the 2-1 morning-line favorite for a Grade I race, Saturday’s Chandelier Stakes.
“It was an extremely difficult decision whether to go with Fascinating or She’s a Tiger. I really think favoritism could go either way,” said White, whose morning-line choice was sent off as the actual betting favorite at an impressive 79.6% success rate at Santa Anita’s winter-spring meet. “But my gut tells me there is a good chance the favorite is going to be Fascinating.”
White, who also provides pre-race television commentary from the paddock for Santa Anita’s simulcast network in addition to his morning line duties, has made Fascinating a 2-1 favorite, with She’s a Tiger listed at 5-2.
“The main reason I gave the nod to Fascinating as the favorite is she had such a strong late kick when she ran second in the Del Mar Debutante,” White explained. “She lost by just a half-length to She’s a Tiger that day. And in that race, even though Fascinating was a maiden and She’s a Tiger already was a stakes winner, they were pretty close in the wagering. She’s a Tiger was 9-2 and Fascinating was 6-1.
“Based on Fascinating’s strong late charge in the seven-furlong Debutante around one turn, I expect a lot of people to bet on her in the Chandelier in the belief she can turn the tables on She’s a Tiger going a mile and sixteenth around two turns. And even though Fascinating is still a maiden, she is a maiden who was a $1.3 million yearling. Something else to keep in mind is that Fascinating is a half-sister to Bodemister, who ran so splendidly when he was the runner-up to I’ll Have Another in the Kentucky Derby and Preakness last year.
“As for She’s a Tiger, I think some people are going to be a bit concerned about her at a mile and sixteenth because of her pedigree in that she’s a half-sister to Smiling Tiger, a terrific sprinter. That’s another reason I believe Fascinating might end up being the favorite. But, look, She’s a Tiger does appear to be a very talented filly. Another indication of that was her dandy five-eighths drill the other morning in 58 and change. There is no doubt She’s a Tiger will get a lot of respect in the wagering Saturday, as she should.”
Later this year, White, as Santa Anita’s oddsmaker, will once again be crafting the official morning lines for all the Breeders’ Cup races.
D. WAYNE LUKAS COMMENTS ON YOUNG TRAINERS, STATE OF THE GAME
In a wire report published in today’s Pasadena Star News, Hall of Fame trainer D. Wayne Lukas dishes up some fresh food for thought, opining that it’s tougher now for young trainers to be successful in part due to increased involvement from horse owners.
“Most of the owners now, they put up their money, do not step back,” he said. “They get in on the decision process. They want to run a horse somewhere or they don’t want to run it somewhere because somebody in a publication said this horse has got a speed figure of such and such and he’ll ‘bounce’ if they run in this race.
“They read all that garbage. It makes it difficult to just be old school and just train the horse because they are always saying, ‘What does that mean? What do we gotta do to correct that?’ They almost always get too much information.”
FINISH LINES: Santa Anita Derby winner Goldencents, prepping for the Grade I Santa Anita Sprint Championship on Oct. 5, worked six furlongs on Santa Anita’s main track Friday in a bullet 1:11.40 for Doug O’Neill . . . ShowVivor, Santa Anita’s popular on line handicapping contest, began today at 12:30 p.m. Participants play for $5,000 in prize money by picking a horse at Santa Anita to finish third or better every racing day.