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STABLE NOTES BY ED GOLDEN
• CLUBHOUSE RIDE: THE HORSE THAT KEEPS ON GIVING
• JERRY BAILEY SEES FAST PACE IN GOLD CUP ON NBCSN
• CYCLOMETER READY TO ROLL IN GRADE I TRIPLE BEND
• DUCHESSA MAKES U.S. DEBUT IN ROYAL HEROINE STAKES
• McANALLY SEEKS SECOND STRAIGHT SAN JUAN VICTORY
• QUEEN ELIZABETH GREETS ESPY NOMINEE ESPINOZA
• RESILIENT PEDROZA RIDES AGAIN AFTER UMPEENTH INJURY
LEWIS EYES GOLD CUP UPSET WITH BARGAIN CLUBHOUSE RIDE
Clubhouse Ride is the gift that keeps on giving, although in the mind and heart of Craig Lewis, the horse doesn’t owe him a thing.
Purchased for $22,000, the 6-year-old Candy Ride horse already has won himself out 50 times over, with earnings of $1,220,132. While money isn’t everything, Lewis wouldn’t mind a bit if Clubhouse Ride wins Saturday’s Grade I, $500,000 Gold Cup at Santa Anita and adds another $300,000 to his coffers.
Clubhouse Ride will have to defeat arch-rival Game On Dude and speedy Fury Kapcori, among others, in the mile and a quarter Gold Cup. He defeated the latter in the Grade II Californian at a mile and an eighth on May 31.
“It doesn’t matter,” Lewis said when asked if Clubhouse Ride would benefit from a pace duel between Fury Kapcori and Game On Dude. “Those two have to hook up and go fast,” the trainer said. “We don’t know what’s going to happen.
“Two pretty crafty riders are on those horses (referring to Hall of Fame veterans Gary Stevens on Fury Kapcori and Mike Smith on Game On Dude), so we’ll see. Sometimes it doesn’t unfold as it appears in paper.
“I hope there’s enough pace for Clubhouse Ride, but that said, I know this: If we had another chance to buy him for $22,000, we would do it.”
The field for the Gold Cup, race eight of 10: Game On Dude, Mike Smith, 4-5; Fury Kapcori, Gary Stevens, 9-2; Clubhouse Ride, Joe Talamo, 9-2; Imperative, Kent Desormeaux, 4-1; Salto Del Indio, Brice Blanc, 8-1; Majestic Harbor, Tyler Baze, 12-1; and Lideris, Juan Enriquez, 20-1.
In other Gold Cup news:
Baseball Hall of Famer Joe Torre, part owner of Game On Dude, will be at Santa Anita tomorrow to see his horse run. Torre’s stable name is Diamond Pride, LLC.
Gary Stevens rides Fury Kapcori for the first time, but will do his homework before the gates open.
“I’ll talk to Jerry (trainer Jerry Hollendorfer),” the Hall of Fame rider said. “I’m looking forward to riding the horse. On paper, it is what is, two speed horses drawing next to each other, so we’ll see what happens.”
NBCSN’S BAILEY SEES FAST PACE IN GOLD CUP
Retired Hall of Fame riding great Jerry Bailey, a member of the talent crew from NBCSN which is televising Saturday’s Gold Cup at Santa Anita live from 4 to 5 p.m., had this synopsis of the race:
“You’d have to talk to the riders; I’m not sure how it’s going to shake out, but I would have to think Fury Kapcori is going to be on the lead, but I’m not positive, because obviously Game On Dude is a lead horse as well.
“It should be a fast enough pace to set it up for either Clubhouse Ride or Imperative. He’s certainly gotten awful good of late.”
The Gold Cup is a Breeders’ Cup Challenge race with the winner receiving an automatic berth, and fees paid, into the $5 million Breeders’ Cup Classic on Nov. 1 at Santa Anita, the climactic race of the 31st Breeders’ Cup World Championships.
The Gold Cup will be the second of 11 live telecasts in the series, which will include 18 “Win and You’re In” races on NBC and NBCSN. The Gold Cup is also one of seven Grade I Challenge races for automatic berths into the Classic this year. Moonshine Mullin, winner of the Stephen Foster at Churchill Downs on June 14, was the first to qualify.
The next five televised Classic qualifiers are: William Hill Haskell at Monmouth Park July 27 (NBC); Whitney at Saratoga Aug. 2; TVG Pacific Classic (NBCSN) at Del Mar Aug. 24; and Jockey Club Gold Cup (NBCSN) at Belmont Park and Awesome Again (NBCSN) at Santa Anita Sept. 27.
The complete "Breeders’ Cup Challenge Series” television schedule is available at http://challenge.breederscup.com/schedule.
Saturday’s telecast will be hosted by Laffit Pincay, who will be joined by analysts Bailey and Randy Moss, and reporters Nick Luck, Carolyn Manno and Eddie Olczyk. Olczyk, lead analyst for NBC Sports Group’s hockey coverage and a veteran horse racing enthusiast, makes his on-air horse racing coverage debut on Saturday’s telecast.
CYCLOMETER ONE TO CATCH IN GRADE I TRIPLE BEND
California-bred Cyclometer appears to be the horse to overtake in Saturday’s Grade I, $300,000 Triple Bend Stakes for 3-year-olds and up at seven furlongs.
“He came out of his win the Los Angeles Stakes (May 26) really well,” trainer and part owner/breeder Bruce Headley said of the 6-year-old Cyclotron horse.
“He worked (six furlongs) in 1:11 1/5 and he’s eaten every oat. He’s at the top of his game.”
The field for the Triple Bend: Declassify, Martin Garcia, 5-2; Drill, Mike Smith, 8-1; Gladding, Fernando Perez, 15-1; Sahara Sky, Joe Talamo, 8-5; Indexical, Mario Gutierrez, 15-1; Cyclometer, Edwin Maldonado, 5-2; and Wine Police, Victor Espinoza, 9-2.
DUCHESSA MAKES U.S DEBUT IN ROYAL HEROINE STAKES
Duchessa has been in the Darrell Vienna barn about three weeks since arriving from overseas, where the English-bred mare last raced at Longchamps, emerging with a length-and-a-quarter victory at seven furlongs on turf April 21.
Duchessa makes her U.S. debut in Saturday’s Grade II, $200,000 Royal Heroine Stakes at one mile on turf for fillies three and up.
“She seems to have acclimated well,” said Vienna’s son and assistant, Cris. “She traveled well from Europe and her form there was good.”
Owned by long-time Vienna client Jed Cohen of Los Angeles, who races as Red Baron’s Barn, LLC, Duchessa won five races from 21 starts across the pond.
“He’s a very loyal person,” Darrell Vienna said of Cohen, who is in the equity and investment business. “We’ve been together about 35 years.”
The field for the Royal Heroine: Stormy Lucy, Joe Talamo, 4-1; Dancingtothestars, Mario Gutierrez, 12-1; Wishing Gate, Gary Stevens, 5-1; Redressthebalance, Corey Nakatani, 30-1; Moulin de Mougin, Mike Smith, 12-1; Moone’s My Name, Victor Espinoza, 9-2; Habibi, Brice Blanc, 6-1; Dutchessa, Kent Desormeaux, 8-1; Kathleen Rose, Edwin Maldonado, 6-1; and Parranda, Elvis Trujillo, 3-1.
McANALLY EYES SECOND STRAIGHT SAN JUAN VICTORY
Ron McAnally goes for back-to-back victories in the San Juan Capistrano Stakes when he sends out Quick Casablanca in Santa Anita’s traditional closing-day feature on Sunday.
The Hall of Fame trainer won the marathon turf race last year with the 7-year-old Interaction. McAnally also won the San Juan in 1998 with Amerique and in 1980 with the immortal John Henry.
“I think he’ll get the distance,” McAnally said of Quick Casablanca, a 6-year-old Chilean-bred horse who rallied to finish third by a half-length in the Grade II Charles Whittingham Stakes at a mile and a quarter on May 24.
“He’s a big, long horse, tall, skinny and long-legged,” McAnally said. “Usually, those type of horses get the distance. He won the Chilean Derby at a mile and a half as a 3-year-old (in 2012). He was closing last time like he wants more distance. We’re hoping he can run the way looks and the way he acts.”
The field for the San Juan: Bailoutbobby, Mike Smith; Lideris, Juan Enriquez; Irish Surf, Elvis Trujillo; Dr Action, Martin Pedroza; Big Kick, Victor Espinoza; American Act, Martin Garcia; Black Spirit, Kent Desormeaux; Quick Casablanca, Joe Talamo; and Starspangled Heat, Corey Nakatani.
Retired Hall of Fame riding great Eddie Delahoussaye will present the trophy to the winning connections of Sunday’s San Juan, a race he won three times.
VETERAN PEDROZA BACK IN THE SADDLE AGAIN
Martin Pedroza has made more comebacks than Brett Favre, only not from retirement; from injury.
The unsinkable and resilient jockey resumed riding Sunday after missing more than four months due to a fracture of his left shin in a starting gate mishap on Feb. 7.
“I’m fit, I feel good, I want to win a race today and everybody will be talking about me,” the 48-year-old Panamanian said. “Yes, it’s frustrating overcoming these injuries and coming back, but mostly because I want to ride so much.
“When I’m hurt and recovering, I don’t even watch races until I feel I’m close to coming back. This time, I didn’t watch them until maybe a month before I was coming back. It’s frustrating because you want to be riding, but you can’t, so I just stay away from the races for a while, without even watching replays or things like that.
“When I start working out, I begin watching the races. Riding is my passion. I love what I do. I thought I’d be ready to ride again before this, but when I tried to get on horses, I was still limping, so I had to wait.”
Neither his agent for the better part of 27 years, Richie Silverstein, nor trainers, have any doubt about Pedroza’s will to win or seriousness of purpose on horseback.
“He’s very tough,” said trainer Julio Canani, a long-time Pedroza devotee who gave him a leg up on Martial Law to win the 1989 Santa Anita Handicap at 50-1.
“He works hard in the mornings. If he falls down, he gets right back up.”
ESPY NOMINEE ESPINOZA CHATS WITH QUEEN ELIZABETH
His Wild Triple Crown Ride over, Victor Espinoza will have a lifetime of memories to savor, of winning the Santa Anita Derby, the Kentucky Derby, the Preakness and a near-miss in the Belmont Stakes with California Chrome.
One of the 42-year-old jockey’s memories not related to the Triple Crown will be riding for the first time at Royal Ascot in England on June 17, and a chance meeting with Queen Elizabeth.
“I was coming out of the jockeys’ room and I heard this voice, ‘Victor,’” Espinoza said. “I said, ‘Yeah, what’s up?’ and then I looked and Oh my God, it was the Queen! She called me by name, Victor.
“I talked to her a couple times, actually. We had a long conversation on Thursday of the week I was there, but then I had to leave because I had to get on my horse. I don’t exactly remember what I said, but we were having fun.
“She asked me if I liked it there, if I liked the track, the city. She asked me more questions than I asked her, and I said, ‘Yeah, it’s pretty nice.’ I wanted to ask her more questions but I didn’t have enough time because she kept asking me too many questions.
“The entire experience, the Triple Crown, Royal Ascot, has been really fun. Knowing our plan for the Triple Crown was set early on made this much more enjoyable than in 2002, when I won the Derby and Preakness with War Emblem. That all came about like a surprise, quick, sort of last-minute.
“When you have a horse like California Chrome and the agenda is in place, it was more fun for me. The most exciting thing was winning the Kentucky Derby. There was more pressure for me in that race. After that, it was all a bonus.”
Espinoza is one of four jockeys nominated for an ESPY Award. The winners will be announced on ESPN at 6 p.m. July 16 at the Nokia Theater in Los Angeles. Other finalists are Javier Castellano, Joel Rosario and Mike Smith.
Fans can vote online at espn.go.com/espys/2014/.
HIS MASTER’S VOICE HELPS MIRAHMADI LIVE A DREAM
Frank Mirahmadi has been living a dream since giving Trevor Denman a breather behind the mic at Santa Anita two weeks ago.
“It’s been the ultimate experience for me,” Mirahmadi said. “It’s kind of hard to believe. I look around sometimes and shake my head. Trevor’s the master, and one thing that comes across my mind in this booth is the great races he’s called here.
“It’s a great feeling to think back, in particular about Best Pal’s Big ‘Cap (1992) when Trevor said Kent Desormeaux pushes the button on Best Pal, and then in the stretch when he said, ‘Best Pal in a formality; what a superstar he’s turned out to be.’
“That was a great moment. There is a lot of reflection, but what has been surprising to me is that I have not been nervous up here, which shocks me, because I usually get washed out before big races. Maybe it’s the booth. It’s so calming in here. It’s very different from any other booth in the country.”
Denman returns Saturday and Sunday for the last two days of the meet, while Mirahmadi heads north. “Tonight after the races I drive up to Pleasanton,” he said. “I’ll get in about one in the morning and call the races there Saturday and Sunday. I’ll do the Fairs through October at Fresno, then go back to Oaklawn Park in January.”
FINISH LINES: Saturday’s Late Pick 4 pool is guaranteed at $500,000 . . . Bargain claim Big Macher, winner of the Grade II Potrero Grande Stakes, worked six furlongs on Santa Anita’s main track Friday morning in a bullet 1:12. Trainer Richard Baltas said the California-bred son of Beau Genius is a candidate for the Grade I Bing Crosby Stakes at Del Mar on July 17 . . . Hall of Fame jockey Kent Desormeaux was taken off his final two mounts at Santa Anita yesterday, Heat Du Jour, who ran second in the seventh race, and Dark Timber, who ran fourth in the eighth. “At this time, there’s an open investigation and we can’t comment,” said California Horse Racing Board spokesman Mike Marten . . . Trivia question: what horse holds the record for most Grade I wins at Oak Tree and Santa Anita combined? . . . Santa Anita will present the California Philharmonic tomorrow and again on July 12 and 26, and Aug. 9 and 23. Maestro Victor Vener and his California Philharmonic will perform in Santa Anita’s bucolic Infield. There will be on-site gourmet dining, a full bar, a jumbo video screen and a wide range of seating options to make it an outdoor concert experience beyond compare. For tickets, call 626 304-0333 or visit calphil.com. Use promotional code SEABISCUIT2014 to save 25 percent on select seats . . . Fans can take advantage of mandatory payouts closing day, Sunday, on the Pick 6, the Pick 5, and the Super High 5. First post time is 1 p.m. Gates open at 11 a.m. Santa Anita resumes racing at its Autumn Meet on Friday, Sept. 26, continuing through Nov. 2, highlighted for the third straight year by the Breeders’ Cup World Championships Oct. 31 and Nov. 1 . . . Rosie Ybarra finishes her 35th year as Hostess with the Mostess at Clockers’ Corner on Sunday. “I want to wish everybody good luck at Del Mar and Los Alamitos. Can’t wait till you come back,” she said . . . Trivia answer: John Henry with eight. No surprise there.