Santa Anita Stable Notes Friday, May 12, 2023
STABLE NOTES BY VICTOR RYAN
FRIDAY, MAY 12, 2023
Photo: Ernie Belmonte
- • NATIONAL TREASURE AMONG 4 HEADED TO PIMLICO FOR BAFFERT
- • OFFLEE NAUGHTY LOOKS FOR VALIDATION IN GIII SAN LUIS REY
- • HONG KONG HARRY POINTS TO GI SHOEMAKER AFTER KENTUCKY TRIP
- • GRADE I WINNER QUEEN GODDESS TARGETS THE GI GAMELY
- • TICKETS FOR BREEDERS’ CUP AT SANTA ANITA NOW ON SALE
NATIONAL TREASURE AMONG 4 HEADED TO PIMLICO FOR BAFFERT
Four horses trained by Bob Baffert—National Treasure, Arabian Lion, Faiza and Havnameltdown—are set to fly to Pimlico Saturday after each worked Friday morning at Santa Anita.
For National Treasure, who exits a fourth in the GI Santa Anita Derby April 8, it will be on to next Saturday’s 148th Preakness Stakes going 1 3/16 miles. He drilled four furlongs on a track listed as fast in 47.40 seconds. Last Saturday, the Quality Road colt worked six furlongs in a sharp 1:11.20.
“He had a hard work last week. Today was just a nice steady move,” Baffert said.
National Treasure is winless in four starts since winning his debut at Del Mar last September. Prior to the Santa Anita Derby, he was third in the GIII Sham here Jan. 8 and then was scratched as the morning-line favorite in the GII San Felipe March 4 due to a bruised hoof.
“This is a horse we’ve always been high on,” Baffert said. “He lost some training time ahead of the Santa Anita Derby, but he’s been working well since. The Preakness distance shouldn’t be a problem.”
Baffert will be seeking a record eighth win in the Preakness with National Treasure. His most recent victory in the second jewel of the Triple Crown came in 2018 with Justify, who would sweep that year’s Triple Crown.
Arabian Lion was also under consideration for the Preakness, but Baffert said that as of Friday the plan was to run him in the $100,000 Sir Barton for 3-year-olds at 1 1/16 miles. Arabian Lion’s work Friday came while hooking company with a horse trained by Mark Glatt. He was officially credited with a six-furlong move in 1:12.80.
Arabian Lion has made two starts as a 3-year-old. The Justify colt was fourth in the GII Robert B. Lewis Feb. 4 and was most recently beaten just a half-length in the GII Lexington at Keeneland April 15.
“Coming out of the turn in the Lexington it looked like he was going to be the winner,” Baffert said of Arabian Lion. “We’re going to give him one more chance going two turns. After this we’ll know more about him.”
GII Santa Anita Oaks winner Faiza is ticketed to next Friday’s GII Black-Eyed Susan going 1 1/8 miles. The Girvin filly, who has never been beaten in five starts, worked five furlongs in 1:00.40.
“She’s just a good horse that always does what she needs to do,” said her Hall of Fame trainer.
Baffert has won the Black-Eyed Susan three times with the last being in 2013 with Fiftyshadesofhay.
Havnameltdown will be coming off a nearly three-month layoff when he goes in next Saturday’s GIII Chick Lang for 3-year-olds going six furlongs. He has not started since shipping to Riyadh where he ran second in the GIII Saudi Derby Feb. 25.
On Friday, Havnameltdown worked five furlongs in a bullet 59.60 seconds. Six days earlier the Uncaptured colt blitzed four furlongs here in a bullet 45.60 seconds.
“He worked nice. He went fast last time,” Baffert noted.
Prior to his trip to Saudi Arabia, Havnameltdown won a pair of Grade III stakes going seven furlongs: the San Vicente here on Jan. 29 and the Bob Hope at Del Mar last November.
OFFLEE NAUGHTY AIMS FOR VALIDATION IN SATURDAY’S GIII SAN LUIS REY
After earning his first stakes win with an 11-1 upset in the GII Charles Whittingham here April 8, Offlee Naughty will look to validate that form as the 8-5 morning-line favorite in Saturday’s GIII San Luis Rey going 1 ½-miles on turf.
Trained by Michael McCarthy, Offlee Naughty made his stakes debut in last year’s San Luis Rey and finished fourth. He was subsequently sent east for the remainder of the year where he largely toiled in the allowance ranks. But things started to turn this winter. The 5-year-old Flashback horse set a new track record on the synthetic track at Turfway Park when winning a 1 ¼-mile allowance 2:01.88. That race immediately preceded his win in the Whittingham.
McCarthy attributed Offlee Naughty’s recent run of success to being older and a more mature racehorse. In the 1 ¼-mile Whittingham with John Velazquez in the irons, Offlee Naughty closed with a flourish to win by a length over Dicey Mo Chara, who also returns in the San Luis Rey. Dicey Mo Chara is the 5-2 second choice in the morning line.
“I thought that was a great effort,” McCarthy said of the Whittingham. “Inside the three-sixteenths pole he found another gear and really got his head down. The race before he set a track record. This horse has really been doing well.”
In the San Luis Rey, Offlee Naughty will be ridden by Umberto Rispoli for the first time. Rispoli has been on a roll of his own lately. He has won with 9-of-28 mounts (32 percent) at the Hollywood Meet entering Friday and two weeks ago at Golden Gate on April 29, the native of Italy racked up three stakes wins for trainer Phil D’Amato.
The San Luis Rey attracted a competitive field of eight. It goes as Saturday’s ninth and final race with a scheduled post time of 5:11 p.m. The field in post position order: Explain This Audit, Ramon Vazquez (20-1); Planetario, Hector Berrios (6-1); Dicey Mo Chara, Juan Hernandez (5-2); Offlee Naughty, Umberto Rispoli (8-5); Rimprotector, Kyle Frey (30-1); Agatino, Antonio Fresu (12-1)
HONG KONG HARRY POINTS TO GI SHOEMAKER MILE AFTER KENTUCKY TRIP
Phil D’Amato plans to wheel back Hong Kong Harry in the GI Shoemaker Mile here May 29 following his second-place finish in last Saturday’s GI Turf Classic at Churchill Downs. The Shoemaker Mile is a “Win and You’re In” for the Breeders’ Cup Mile this fall at Santa Anita.
In the 1 1/8-mile Turf Classic, Hong Kong Harry was second-last under Flavien Prat through the opening six furlongs. He launched a rally at the quarter pole but could not catch 5-2 favorite Up to the Mark for trainer Todd Pletcher.
On Friday morning, D’Amato said multiple graded-stakes winner Hong Kong Harry emerged from the race in good order. The Turf Classic was his first start outside of Southern California since his arrival from Europe early last year.
“I thought he ran a good race,” D’Amato said. “He ran up against a really nice Todd Pletcher horse, but he was a valiant second. Hopefully we can get him to the Shoemaker and win a ‘Win and You’re In.’”
D’Amato’s other starter in the Turf Classic, 13-1 longshot Earls Rock, was forwardly placed early but faded to seventh. The 5-year-old Irish-bred gelding will be freshened for races later in the year, D’Amato said.
Also at Churchill Downs last Saturday, D’Amato started Motorious in the GII Turf Sprint going 5 ½ furlongs on the Kentucky Derby undercard. He finished second with Prat aboard. Motorious had just one horse beat early in the 10-horse field before rallying to lose by just three-quarters of a length by 38-1 longshot Nobals.
“I thought he ran a good race,” D’Amato said. “He got into a little traffic trouble at the top of the lane. If he had a little cleaner trip he may have got there. But he ran big. We’ll probably freshen him up now for Del Mar.”
FINISH LINES: After making both of her starts this year at eastern tracks, Grade I winner Queen Goddess will stay home and run in the GI Gamely on May 29, trainer Michael McCarthy said Friday… …Santa Anita-based Henry Q, who was under consideration for next week’s Preakness for trainer Doug O’Neill, is entered in Saturday’s GIII Peter Pan for 3-year-olds going 1 1/8 miles at Belmont Park. Henry Q is owned in part by UCLA football coach Chip Kelly and UCLA men’s basketball coach Mick Cronin… Horseplayer Dave Samarzich will be host Tom Quigley’s handicapping guest Saturday on the Santa Anita simulcast feed starting at 11:50 a.m…Favorites are winning at a 29.12% clip at the Hollywood Meet…There is a Rainbow 6 Jackpot carryover of $58,385 entering Friday’s card…Tickets to this year’s Breeders’ Cup Nov. 3-4 at Santa Anita are now on sale. Tickets can be purchased at BreedersCup.com/ticket.