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STABLE NOTES BY ED GOLDEN
• TEAM O’NEILL HAS GOLDENCENTS SHARP FOR DIRT MILE
• BREEDERS’ CUP LURED BAFFERT TO THOROUGHBREDS
• STRONG WIND TRIES DOWNHILL COURSE FOR FIRST TIME
• ‘POP’ GOES THE BREEDERS’ CUP AT SANTA ANITA
GOLDENCENTS, TRINNIBERG WORK FOR BREEDERS’ CUP
Goldencents worked five furlongs on Santa Anita’s main track in 59 seconds flat under leading rider Rafael Bejarano Friday morning as the Santa Anita Derby winner prepares for the $1 million Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile on Nov. 1.
“I thought he looked great,” said trainer Doug O’Neill, who also sent out Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf favorite Clenor a half-mile on turf in 47.20. “Raffy and the horse looked great together.”
O’Neill’s Juvenile hopeful, FrontRunner Stakes winner Bond Holder, worked five furlongs Thursday in 1:00.80.
“He worked great,” O’Neill said. “There was a lot left in the tank. It’s exciting. He really came out of the FrontRunner in great shape. He’ll need to pick it up to win the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile, but he’s heading in the right direction.”
Defending Breeders’ Cup Sprint winner Trinniberg, who disappointed in the Santa Anita Sprint Championship Oct. 5, worked a half-mile Friday in a bullet 46.60 for trainer Bisnath Parboo. “He went very nice without the whip,” Parboo said of the 4-year-old son of Teuflesberg, who has earned more than $1.5 million.
Defending Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint winner Mizdirection worked seven furlongs on turf in 1:24 flat under Hall of Fame rider Mike Smith. “That’s the exact time I got her in,” said trainer Mike Puype. “It was a nice strong work. She’s right on schedule.”
Bob Baffert said if all goes well, Secret Circle would be pre-entered Monday in the Xpressbet Breeders’ Cup Sprint. The 4-year-old son of Eddington was an impressive 1 ½-length winner last Sunday in his first start since the Grade I Arkansas Derby on April 14, 2012.
Secret Circle won the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Sprint at Churchill Downs in 2011, and won a division of the Grade III Southwest Stakes and the Grade II Rebel Stakes before being sidelined after running second in the Arkansas Derby to stablemate Bodemeister.
BREEDERS’ CUP BROUGHT BAFFERT TO THOROUGHBREDS
It’s been nearly three decades since Bob Baffert had a vision that led him to become one of the leading Thoroughbred trainers of his generation.
“The Breeders’ Cup is what got me to switch from Quarter Horses to Thoroughbreds,” said Santa Anita’s 11-time training champion, who sends out probable favorite Game On Dude in this year’s $5 million Classic at The Great Race Place on Nov. 2.
“I watched the first Breeders’ Cup at Hollywood Park (in 1984) on television, and I thought, ‘Man, I’d like that. I could do that.”
And do that he did. The 60-year-old Hall of Fame trainer not only has won the Kentucky Derby three times, he has eight Breeders’ Cup wins on his extensive resume, and hopes to add more when the 30th Breeders’ Cup World Championships are run at Santa Anita Nov. 1 and 2.
STRONG WIND MAKES DOWNHILL TURF DEBUT IN CALIFORNIA FLAG
Strong Wind has never raced on Santa Anita’s unique downhill turf course at about 6 ½ furlongs, but on paper at least, he should appreciate the added furlong-plus over the five furlong grass sprints he’s been competing in when he runs in the $100,000 California Flag Handicap on Saturday.
“I don’t think the extra distance hurts him, let’s put it that way,” said Mark Glatt, who trains the California-bred son of Tribal Rule for Gino Roncelli and Bill and Sue Tomasic.
“Except for the fact that he’s never run on this course, going down the hill and crossing over the dirt, he’s run well in straight turf sprints before. But he’s pretty adaptable.
“He’s a nice little race horse, so I expect he’ll handle it fine.”
Strong Wind had three starts in five-furlong turf sprints at Del Mar, winning once with a second and a third, each time finishing well to be only a neck behind the winner. The chestnut colt has a 3-3-3 record from 13 starts, with earnings of $254,844.
The field for the inaugural California Flag Handicap: Tiz A Minister, Martin Garcia, 6-1; A Toast to You, Mario Gutierrez, 12-1; Circa’sgoldengear, Victor Espinoza, 8-1; Atta Boy Pete, Julien Leparoux, 5-1; Starspangled Heat, Corey Nakatani, 5-1; Mobilized, Joe Talamo, 8-1; Ain’t No Other, Rafael Bejarano, 7-2; Dixieland Blues, Edwin Maldonado, 20-1; Strong Wind, Gary Stevens, 3-1; and Luckarack, Martin Pedroza, 10-1.
BREEDERS’ CUP ENTERTAINS AT SANTA ANITA WITH ‘SONGS IN THE SADDLE’
The Breeders’ Cup has added more horse power to the excitement and enjoyment of the 30th Breeders’ Cup World Championships, with the creation of a star-studded concert in collaboration with Hip Card Productions on Saturday, Nov. 2 at Santa Anita.
Songs in the Saddle: The Infield Music Fest will be an all-day celebration that features a talented line-up of notable R&B, bluegrass and indie rock musicians. Scheduled to appear are Kristin Chenoweth, Toni Braxton, Babyface, Macy Gray, Joan Osborne, Dame and Jenny O.
General Admission tickets for Songs in the Saddle are on sale now at http://www.breederscup.com/festival for $25. There will be walk-up sales available for $40 on Nov. 2, starting at 8 a.m. at Santa Anita. Both the $25 and $40 tickets include access to the Grandstand to watch the Championship races.
Adding to the vibrant concert atmosphere, the infield at Santa Anita will also be the home to a beer garden and more than 30 of Southern California’s most popular food trucks such as The Border Grill, The Grilled Cheese Truck, Komodo and Lobsta Truck.
“We’re thrilled to have such a wide range of musical artists join us for Songs in the Saddle and further enrich everyone’s experience at Santa Anita Park,” said Breeders’ Cup President and CEO Craig Fravel. “This is a wonderful opportunity for those new to the Breeders’ Cup to come and see what we’re all about.”
The concert is scheduled from 2:30 p.m. to 6:15 p.m., or approximately 30 minutes after the running of the Breeder’s Cup Classic, with musical performances taking place between the Championship races.
RALPH SCURFIELD, FORMER CHRB CHAIRMAN, DEAD AT 85
Ralph Scurfield, who served more than eight years on the California Horse Racing Board from January 1991 through September 1999, passed away Tuesday in a Sacramento hospital at the age of 85.
Mr. Scurfield devoted 40 years of his life to public service, including terms with the Sacramento Planning Commission, the Sacramento City Council, and the California State Fair and Exposition Board.
He was greatly respected within the horse racing community during his years of service on the CHRB. He devoted countless hours of his personal time to the business of the Board and the betterment of the California horse racing industry, especially in matters concerning the health and safety of racehorses and workers in the industry.
He was so respected by his fellow commissioners, they elected him chairman for seven consecutive years, making him the second-longest tenured chairman in CHRB history. The Association of Racing Commissioners International also named him chairman in 1998.
Mr. Scurfield is survived by his wife, Barbara; three sons, Donald, David, and Steven; two stepsons, Ken and Chris, and 14 grandchildren. A celebration of his life will be held Tuesday, Oct. 22, beginning at 1 p.m. at the Sutter Lawn Tennis Club in Sacramento.
FINISH LINES: Trainer Eddie Truman, who has won with three of his six starters this meet, including two sired by the late McCann’s Mojave, will be Steve Andersen’s guest at Saturday’s Daily Racing Form seminar, 12 noon in the East Paddock Gardens. “It’s pretty amazing,” Truman said of his .500 batting average, “considering I only have six horses in training and one of them is sidelined.” . . . Patrick Valenzuela is expected to resume riding tomorrow. “He had some headaches but didn’t know why,” said his agent, Tom Knust. “After a couple visits to his doctor, he was advised not to ride, but he was cleared yesterday.” . . . Ted H. West, usually one of the most active campaigners on the circuit, has yet to run a horse through the first 13 days of the 24-day meet. “I’ve got a few babies but only one horse ready to run, and every time I enter, the race doesn’t go,” said the 40-year-old trainer . . . On Saturday, all THOROUGHBREDS members at Santa Anita will receive a practical and attractive Santa Anita Throw Blanket, free with paid admission, while supplies last.