- Live Racing
- Racing Information
- Press Box
- The Park
- Host an Event
- New Fans
- Get Tickets
STABLE NOTES BY ED GOLDEN
• STEVENS EYES FUTURE AFTER BC PREP DAY ‘GRAND SLAM’
• PEDROZA SHOWS HIS COURAGE IN VOSBURGH TRIUMPH
• BAFFERT SEES AN IMPROVING PICTURE FOR PAYNTER
STEVENS HOPES BEST IS YET TO COME IN BREEDERS’ CUP
Despite four important wins and three seconds on Santa Anita’s major Breeders’ Cup program at Santa Anita Saturday, Gary Stevens was not resting on his laurels on a picturesque Sunday morning at The Great Race Place. Far from it.
Nearly a year into his return to the saddle at the age of 50 after a seven-year retirement, Gary Stevens is looking to the future.
And why not? Yesterday he finished second on She’s a Tiger in the Grade I Chandelier Stakes; second aboard Marketing Mix in the Grade I Rodeo Drive Stakes; won the Grade I Zenyatta Stakes on Beholder; won the Grade I Awesome Again Stakes on Mucho Macho Man; and capped his day with a win aboard Ponchatrain in the lost-in-the-shuffle Unzip Me Stakes.
Looking fresh and fit, Stevens was able to capsulize in typically articulate fashion his memorable experience.
“My good friend Mike Tice (former Head Coach, Minnesota Vikings) texted me yesterday and said, ‘I see you’re on a bunch, which ones do you like?’ I said, ‘You know me; all of ‘em,’ so he texted me last night and said, ‘Man, you weren’t lying.’
“I had some tough beats. She’s a Tiger is really going to benefit from yesterday’s race, so I look forward to her coming back in the Breeders’ Cup (Juvenile Fillies on Nov. 1). Obviously, it was a tough loss for Marketing Mix (beaten a head), too. I think she’ll move forward as well.
“They were tough beats but I was able to shake them off and say, ‘Well, I’ve got four more really good chances here, and being able to pull it off was a pretty good feeling.”
Hard to speculate that Beholder and Mucho Macho Man could run any better than they did Saturday, but Stevens said he thinks they, too, will benefit.”
Despite his wondrous day on the race track, the best was yet to come for Stevens Saturday.
“I didn’t sleep at all last night, to be honest with you,” Gary said. “I celebrated a little bit after the races, but when I got home, my son (Tory C., known as T.C.) had a runner (Sultry Warrior) in the 10th race at Churchill Downs last night. I got home in time to see it and he won his first race (as a trainer).
“It paid $104.40 and I think I got more wound up over that than the day I had.”
Proving once again that blood is thicker than water, or money too, for that matter.
TEAM PEDROZA’S NEXT GOAL IS 4,000 VICTORIES
Richie Silverstein and Martin Pedroza have been an “item” for nearly three decades. The durable agent and the unsinkable jockey have maintained a business relationship that has developed into a trusting friendship.
Pedroza, under-rated as a world class rider, has a reputation first and foremost centered on his overwhelming success at Fairplex Park, a five-eighths of a mile course in Pomona 20 miles east of Santa Anita where the 48-year-old Pedroza has won a record 15 riding titles, 14 of them with Silverstein calling the shots.
At the meet that concluded Sept. 22, Pedroza was the leading rider with 25 wins, giving him a career record 730 at the Los Angeles County Fair track. His wins came from 73 mounts for a winning percentage of 34. He had $485,540 in purse earnings.
The 25 victories came despite Pedroza missing three days recovering from a sore knee in a riding mishap in the sixth race on Sept. 14. The pain on his face was beyond a grimace after he worked horses at Santa Anita early this week.
“He got dropped in an unfortunate incident that probably should have never happened, but it did happen,” Silverstein said. “That’s racing. Pomona’s Pomona. This is three years in a row we’ve had to sustain an injury, and it’s unfortunate. They weren’t breakdowns. The track was safe, it was terrific. It was a credit to Martin that he rode the last three days. It’s a miracle.
“It was a good meet, and all in all, we were happy to be back on top again and happy to win the (Ralph M. Hinds) Handicap again (aboard Blueskiesnrainbows for Jerry Hollendorfer).” Last year, Pedroza was dethroned at Fairplex by Edwin Maldonado. Pedroza’s career statistics are remarkably consistent. He has 3,586 firsts, 3,547 seconds and 3,456 thirds.
Any doubters of Pedroza’s grit and determination should watch a replay of Saturday’s Grade I Vosburgh Invitational victory aboard Private Zone at Belmont Park.
Private Zone appeared beaten in deep stretch, but Pedroza would have none of it. Passed on the outside by John Velazquez aboard Justin Phillip, Pedroza called on all his reserve, rousing Private Zone for an unlikely nose victory. Rene Douglas, a former jockey who retired in 2009 after a paralyzing spill at Arlington Park, manages Private Zone for the Good Friends Stable trained by Doug O’Neill.
“Douglas found Private Zone in Panama, and there aren’t too many good horses there,” Silverstein said. “This may be the first American Grade I stakes winner that came from there. I talked to Rene yesterday and he’s very excited, so much so that if all goes well, he definitely will come to Santa Anita to see Private Zone run (in the Breeders’ Cup Sprint Nov. 2). This would be a rare trip, although he did go to Dubai (for the Golden Shaheen). Rene usually does everything at his home in Florida via computer.”
The Vosburgh was only Pedroza’s second ride ever at Belmont. He finished second on Miss Iron Smoke for the late Brian Mayberry in the Grade I Matron in 1991.
“Martin riding for Rene carries extra significance,” Silverstein said. “I like to think that I’m Martin’s best friend, but Rene and Martin went through jockey school together (in their native Panama) and they’ve known each other since their early teens. With Rene’s unfortunate accident, they are closer than ever.”
Silverstein, Pedroza’s agent off and on for the better part of 27 years, has achieved much but still has his sights set on greater things. “My goal was to get him to 3,000 wins,” Silverstein said. “Now we’re close to 3,600 (3,586 through Saturday). My goal was to get him to $100 million in purses, we’ve passed that ($100,686,406). My next goal is to get him to 4,000 winners.
“I’m four years way."
PAYNTER PROVES HIS CLASSIC METTLE TO BAFFERT
Outside of not winning Saturday’s Awesome Again Stakes with Paynter, who finished a game second to 4 ¼-length winner Mucho Macho Man, Bob Baffert couldn’t have been more encouraged with Paynter’s performance.
“He took the worst of it but never quit running,” Baffert said of the 4-year-old son of Awesome Again who almost died from laminitis and colitis in 2012. “He ran hard, and he’s still a little rusty, but I think he caught up yesterday. He never gave it up. He’s a tough horse. That’s the first time he’s ever taken a lot of dirt. He got a pretty good schooling yesterday. He ran well.
“When Mucho Macho Man runs his race, he’s a really good horse. He ran his race yesterday. I watched The Jockey Club Gold Cup (at Belmont Park) and Ron the Greek was very impressive, too.”
Meanwhile, in addition to Paynter, Baffert has Game On Dude sitting at the ready for the Breeders’ Cup Classic, which, after yesterday, became what appears to be the most eagerly anticipated race of the year.
JIM MURRAY BOOK SIGNING AT CHAMPIONS OCT. 12
The Jim Murray Memorial Foundation will hold its annual fundraising event on Saturday, Oct. 12 at Santa Anita with a "Day at the Races & Monte Carlo Night."
In addition, there will be a book signing of “Last King of the Sports Page: The Life and Career of Jim Murray” authored by Murray’s good friend, Dr. Ted Geltner, from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at Champions Gift Shop adjacent to Santa Anita’s walking ring.
FINISH LINES: Trainer Kathy Ritvo said Mucho Macho Man will remain at Santa Anita after his dominating Awesome Again win and train here for the Breeders’ Cup Classic . . . Trainer Larry Jones, on the other hand, plans to ship Joyful Victory back east following her third to Beholder in the Zenyatta. “We’ll head to Churchill and if she comes out of this good, we’ll come back (for the Distaff on Nov. 1).” . . . Richard Mandella said he “couldn’t be happier” with how Beholder ran and how she came out of the race . . . Mike McCarthy, assistant to Todd Pletcher, was on hand at Santa Anita Sunday morning, a day after 3-year-old filly Princess of Sylmar upset champion older mare Royal Delta in the Beldame Invitational. “That was exciting,” McCarthy said. “Anytime you can beat an older horse and a champion, it’s huge.” . . . Agent Tony Matos reports that Garrett Gomez rides at Keeneland on opening day, Friday, Oct. 4, and Saturday, Oct. 5. Gomez’s stakes mounts include Winning Cause in the Phoenix on Friday, and on Saturday, Havelock in the Woodford Reserve, Gypsy Robin for Mike Puype against champion Groupie Doll in the Thoroughbred of America, Hungry Island in the First Lady and Winning Prize for Neil Drysdale in the Shadwell Turf Mile . . . California-bred Harlington’s Rose, who outran her 52-1 odds by finishing fourth in the Grade I Chandelier Stakes, returns next to face Cal-breds in the $200,000 Golden State Juvenile Fillies at one mile on Nov. 1, trainer Steve Knapp said . . . Starting with a bankroll of $2,500 each, four participants struck gold in Santa Anita’s $40 Handicapping Contest, three players reaping more than $30,000. Kenneth McMahan was first with $50,298; Jeannie King was second at $38,425, Brian Chenvert third with $30,680, and Ed Spaunhurst fourth with $12,307. For more details, visit santaanita.com . . . After two days of racing, 2,307 players remained alive in ShowVivor . . . On Santa Anita’s work tab Sunday, there was a five furlong drill by a horse named Drysdale, trained by Julio Canani.