Santa Anita Stable Notes Friday, May 5, 2023
__- • SKINNER SPIKES FEVER, SCRATCHES FROM KENTUCKY DERBY __ - • AGENT O’BRYAN JOINS FAMILY TRADITION WITH 1ST DERBY STARTER - • FAST AND SHINY, TEENA ELLA REMATCH IN GIII SENORITA - • FRIDAY’S TURF RACES MOVED TO DIRT AFTER RECENT RAINSTORM __- • SOON TO BE HALL OF FAMER NAKATANI WILL BE HONORED FRIDAY __ - • SANTA ANITA WILL HOST KENTUCKY DERBY WATCH PARTY
SKINNER SPIKES FEVER, SCRATCHES FROM KENTUCKY DERBY
Skinner, a close third in the Grade I Santa Anita Derby April 8, became the latest scratch from Saturday’s 149th Kentucky Derby after he was found to have an elevated temperature Friday morning at Churchill Downs. He is the fourth horse to be withdrawn from the 1 ¼-mile classic since entries were taken Monday.
According to Churchill Downs publicity, Skinner galloped a mile Friday during the special training period from 7:45 to 8 a.m. ET that is reserved for Kentucky Derby and Kentucky Oaks starters. When Skinner returned to the barn, a temperature check showed a fever had developed. Trainer John Shirreffs immediately alerted track officials that Skinner would be unable to participate.
Skinner, who was 20-1 on the Derby morning line, was considered by many to be a live longshot on Saturday. He was also slated to be the first Kentucky Derby ride for Santa Anita leading jockey Juan Hernandez.
On Thursday, Santa Anita Derby winner Practical Move was also scratched from the Kentucky Derby due to a fever. There were two additional withdrawals on Thursday: Japanese import Continuar and GII Wood Memorial winner Lord Miles.
With the scratches of both Practical Move and Skinner, the Santa Anita Derby’s lone representative to run on Saturday is runner-up Mandarin Hero. Also imported from Japan, Mandarin Hero was beaten just a nose in the Santa Anita Derby by Practical Move. He will be ridden by Kazushi Kimura, who has never had a Derby mount.
Since the Santa Anita Derby was inaugurated in 1935, 19 horses have gone on to officially win the Kentucky Derby. The most recent was Authentic, who was second in the 2020 Santa Anita Derby before winning that year’s COVID-delayed Kentucky Derby. Medina Spirit also crossed the wire first in the 2021 Kentucky Derby after finishing second in the Santa Anita Derby but was disqualified months later due to a medication overage.
Post time for the 149th Kentucky Derby is scheduled for 3:57 PT. It will be broadcast live on NBC.
AGENT O’BRYAN FOLLOWS FAMILY TRADITION WITH 1ST KENTUCKY DERBY STARTER
Brandon O’Bryan’s grandfather was the legendary jockey agent George O’Bryan. His father, Craig O’Bryan, won two Kentucky Derbies in the early 1980s.
On Saturday, 35-year-old Brandon O’Bryan will become the third generation of O’Bryans to have a rider in the Kentucky Derby when Kazushi Kimura goes postward aboard GI Santa Anita Derby runner-up Mandarin Hero.
“This is the race everyone wants to win,” Brandon O’Bryan said Friday morning from Clocker’s Corner. “It’s taken me longer than I thought, it’s been 17 years, but I’m excited.”
Brandon O’Bryan joined the family business at age 18 shortly after high school when he took the book of Octavio Vergara Jr. in 2005 at Del Mar. O’Bryan noted he always thought he would be a jockey’s agent.
“100 percent. I knew right away college wasn’t going to be in the plan. This is what I wanted to do,” he said.
O’Bryan joined forces with Kimura this winter at Santa Anita. Kimura is the two-time reigning Sovereign Award winner as Canada’s outstanding jockey. Prior to that in 2019, the native of Japan won the Eclipse Award as North America’s outstanding apprentice.
At the Santa Anita Classic Meet that ended April 9, Kimura and O’Bryan teamed for 11 wins from 122 mounts to rank 15th in the jockey’s standings while bagging three stakes wins. While Kimura has since returned to ride full time at Woodbine, where he is represented by Jordan Miller, last weekend he came back to Santa Anita and promptly won the GIII Providencia Stakes with Paris Secret for trainer Phil D’Amato.
O’Bryan said he is scheduled to fly to Louisville Friday afternoon. As for his father Craig, there will be no third Kentucky Derby win in 2023. He represents Santa Anita leading rider Juan Hernandez, who was booked for his first Derby ride on Santa Anita Derby third-place finisher Skinner. Unfortunately, that colt was scratched Friday morning when found to have an elevated temperature. Craig O’Bryan previously teamed with Delahoussaye to win the Kentucky Derby in both 1982 with Gato Del Sol and 1983 Derby with Sunny’s Halo.
FAST AND SHINY, TEENA ELLA MEET FOR ROUND 2 IN SATURDAY’S GIII SENORITA
After being separated by just a half-length in the March 26 Angels Flight on the hillside turf course, winner Fast and Shiny and runner-up Teena Ella meet for a second time in Saturday’s GIII Senorita going down the hill at about 6 ½ furlongs.
In the Angels Flight, Fast and Shiny and Teena Ella ran one-two throughout. Fast and Shiny and jockey Abel Cedillo seized the early lead with Teena Ella pressing that rival under Kazushi Kimura. The critical moment of the race appeared to come when the pair approached the dirt crossing that leads into the stretch. Teena Ella veered out once hitting the dirt, costing her precious ground. She quickly re-engaged but could not catch Fast and Shiny, who would hold on to spring the 7-1 upset for trainer Bob Baffert.
The Angels Flight was Teena Ella’s first try in a stakes. In her previous start, she broke her maiden here when being switched to the turf on Feb. 12.
“I thought it was a very good effort,” Hall of Fame trainer Richard Mandella said of the Angel’s Flight. “She kind of ducked out when crossing the dirt and I think that might have cost her. All we can hope for is improvement on Saturday.”
By War Front, Teena Ella is the third foal out of the Hall of Fame mare Beholder, who was also trained by Mandella. Beholder’s two previous foals, Karin With an I and Q B One, were a combined 0-6 while with Mandella at Santa Anita.
Teena Ella is listed as the slight 5-2 morning-line favorite for the Senorita. With Kimura now relocated to ride at Woodbine full time, jockey Edwin Maldonado will take over in the irons Saturday.
The Senorita goes as the seventh race on Saturday’s 11-race card. Post time is scheduled for 4:37 p.m. The field in post position order: The Wild Grazer, Hector Berrios (3-1); Teena Ella, Edwin Maldonado (5-2); Ag Bullet, Joe Bravo (3-1); Procrastination, Ricardo Gonzalez (8-1); Chismosa, Edgar Payeras (8-1); Tom’s Regret, Kyle Frey (15-1); Fast and Shiny, Abel Cedillo (7-2).
FINISH LINES: After about an inch of rain fell on Santa Anita overnight Wednesday, Friday’s five turf races have all been moved to the main track…Training Friday morning was limited to only joggers on both the main track and training track. Timed workouts will resume on Saturday, according to track officials…Recently minted Hall of Fame jockey Corey Nakatani will be honored at Santa Anita with the Corey Nakatani Hall of Fame Purse which is carded as Race 5 on Friday…Santa Anita will host a Kentucky Derby Trackside Watch Party Saturday. For $55, fans will receive a Practical Move Santa Anita Derby Winner T-Shirt, beverage of your choice which includes Mint Juleps, a reserved picnic table seat, admission and parking, program and tip sheet plus a $5 betting voucher… Every Friday at Santa Anita on-track fans will receive free admission and parking plus $3 beers and $5 margaritas…There is a Rainbow 6 Jackpot carryover of $277,762.26 entering Friday’s card…Ticket to this year’s Breeders’ Cup Nov. 3-4 at Santa Anita on are now on sale. Tickets can be purchased at BreedersCup.com/tickets…Track announcer Frank Mirahmadi will be host Tom Quigley’s guest Saturday on the Santa Anita simulcast feed starting at 11:50 a.m…ADMISSION GATES WILL OPEN ON KENTUCKY DERBY DAY, SATURDAY AT 7:15 A.M. FIRST LIVE RACE POST ON SATURDAY IS 12:30 P.M.