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STABLE NOTES BY ED GOLDEN
• CLOCKER SAYS ‘CHROME’ 50-50 TO WIN TRIPLE CROWN
• FIRST POST TIME AT SANTA ANITA MONDAY IS 1:30 P.M.
• HESS AND DESORMEAUX HAVE WINNING CHEMISTRY
• IMPERATIVE WORKS FOR THE GOLD CUP AT SANTA ANITA
NEW SHOOTERS, DISTANCE TEST CHROME IN BELMONT STAKES
California Chrome went off as the 1-2 post time favorite in the Preakness Stakes, but he could be a more generous price in the Belmont Stakes.
The “Test of Champions,” final jewel in racing’s Triple Crown at a mile and a half on June 7, could draw as many as 13 starters, some fresh challengers from both the May 3 Kentucky Derby and the May 17 Preakness.
“I hope he wins the Belmont, but I’d say he has a 50-50 chance,” offered respected private clocker Gary Young. “He’s the best of his generation, and it would be a really good thing if he won, but horses like Commanding Curve (second in the Derby), Wicked Strong (fourth in the Derby) and Tonalist (winner of the Peter Pan) could pose major threats.”
No horse since Affirmed in 1978 has won the Triple Crown. California Chrome, the first California-bred to win the Run for the Roses since Decidedly in 1962, would be the 12th horse to capture all three legs of the elusive prize, the Kentucky Derby, the Preakness and the Belmont.
MONDAY’S FIRST POST TIME MOVED TO 1:30 P.M. FOR RAINBOW PICK 6
First post time at Santa Anita Monday, Memorial Day, will be 1:30 p.m., not 1 p.m., in order to facilitate wagering on Monday’s Rainbow Pick 6 at Gulfstream Park.
The potential for a life-changing score will highlight Gulfstream’s Memorial Day card if the Rainbow 6 goes unsolved today and Sunday. There will be a record $6,303,426.30 carryover jackpot available heading into today’s card. In order to crack the jackpot, a Rainbow 6 bettor must hold the only unique ticket with the winners of the final six races on the card.
On Monday, the entire pool, which could reach $20 million, must be paid out in full, whether there is a single ticket or multiple tickets with all six winners.
Gulfstream's 10-race Memorial Day program drew full fields and a total of 120 horses. There were a total of 79 horses entered in the Rainbow 6 races. Monday’s Rainbow 6 sequence will start on race five and finish on race 10.
POPULAR DOLLAR DAY RETURNS ON MEMORIAL DAY
Santa Anita presents another of its popular Dollar Days on Memorial Day, this Monday. Beers, hot dogs and sodas will be just a dollar each. First post time is 1:30 p.m. Gates open at 11 a.m. Come one, come all, come hungry!
HESS, DESORMEAUX STILL WINNING AFTER ALL THESE YEARS
Bob Hess Jr. and Kent Desormeaux go back almost 25 years when both were young pups, the trainer 25 and Desormeaux barely old enough to vote but winning races in bunches.
Fast forward to May 2014. The two haven’t missed a beat. Last Sunday, Desormeaux guided a first-time starter named Prodigious to a 3 ¼-length victory for Hess in the third race at a $23 payoff, and Thursday, Desormeaux rode Kadesha, another Hess first-time starter, to a half-length triumph in the eighth race at a $35.40 return.
“I met Kent through a guy named Tad Dowd in the mid-80s at Del Mar when I was there for my father (trainer Bob Hess Sr.) in the summers,” Hess recalled when asked how he and Desormeaux first connected.
“Tad was originally from the East Coast and he was friendly with Kent before Kent became Kent. Tad was sort of a friend and mentor of mine, too, and he said, ‘When Kent comes out (from the East Coast), give him a shot.’
“It just so happened that P. Val (Patrick Valenzuela) was riding everything for me in the month leading up to Kent coming out, and literally the week that Kent came out, P. Val disappeared, so we replaced P. Val with Kent and the rest is history.
“This was the Spring of 1990 at Santa Anita. I want to say when Kent came to California for good, he won his first race for (trainer) Craig Lewis, then he won his second race for me.
“We’ve always had good chemistry, good karma, and there’s mutual trust and respect, which I think allows him to ride with more confidence. I don’t need to really tell him anything (in the way of instructions).”
FINISH LINES: Imperative, prepping for the $500,000, Grade I Gold Cup at Santa Anita on June 28, worked five furlongs in company under Kent Desormeaux on an overcast Saturday morning in 1:01.20. “I got him in the same time,” said trainer George Papaprodromou, who claimed the son of Bernardini for $50,000 and went on to upset Game On Dude in the $1.5 million Charles Town Classic on April 19 . . . Santa Anita Oaks winner Fashion Plate worked four furlongs for Simon Callaghan in 49 flat as she prepares for the Grade I Acorn Stakes at Belmont Park on June 7, while Robert B. Lewis Stakes winner Candy Boy went five furlongs in company for John Sadler in 1:00.20. Gary Stevens was aboard both Fashion Plate and Candy Boy . . . On turf, Frank E. Kilroe Mile winner Winning Prize, a contender for the Grade I Shoemaker Mile on June 14, went four furlongs on a firm turf course in 50.40 for Neil Drysdale . . . Trevor Denman thought he was watching a thrilling race from yesteryear when he called Thursday’s eighth race. The riders of the first five finishers, household names two decades ago but still going strong, are older than the Phillies’ starting lineup but they finished less than 2 ½ lengths apart, producing a Super High 5 payoff of $3,934.90. Kent Desormeaux (age 43) finished first on 16-1 shot Kadesha; Mike Smith (48) was second aboard Burning Arch; Corey Nakatani (43) was third on Sweet as a Rose; Aaron Gryder (43) was fourth on Serene a Melody; and Gary Stevens (51) was fifth on Star Act.