Santa Anita Stable Notes Saturday, December 31, 2022
__STABLE NOTES BY VICTOR RYAN SATURDAY, DEC. 31, 2022 __
• CLASSICAL CAT HAS OPTIONS AFTER EDDIE LOGAN SCORE • HALL OF FAMER BEHOLDER’S THIRD FOAL RUNS SUNDAY • SHAM KICKS OFF SANTA ANITA’S KENTUCKY DERBY TRAIL • GRADE I WINNER HIT THE ROAD GETS COMEBACK SPOT • SATURDAY POST TIMES ACCELERATED DUE TO WEATHER
CLASSICAL CAT HAS OPTIONS FOLLOWING EDDIE LOGAN SCORE
Trainer Phil D’Amato reported Classical Cat, winner of Friday’s one-mile Eddie Logan for 2-year-old males on turf, exited the victory in good order and was doing well Saturday morning.
“He came out of the race in good shape,” said D’Amato, who collected his second stakes win of the meet following his tally in the Grade I American Oaks on opening day. “It was a nice hard-fought victory.”
Classical Cat is from the first crop of Mendelssohn, who won the 2017 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf and then added the Group II UAE Derby on dirt the following spring. Classical Cat started his career on dirt with a debut win sprinting at Del Mar in September followed by a seventh-place effort in the Grade I Del Mar Futurity.
Stretched out to a mile on grass for his third start at Santa Anita in late October, Classical Cat responded with a one-length victory as the favorite.
Many trainers with a top young horse this time of year will often have thoughts of taking a shot on the Kentucky Derby trail. While Classical Cat does own a win on dirt in his debut for owner Michael House, D’Amato indicated he is in no rush to move him off the grass.
“We’ll kind of take it day by day, but we’re very happy with his performance and how he looks today,” D’Amato said. “If the right kind of (dirt) opportunity came along, we could entertain it. But for now we’re thinking of keeping him on the turf and making him a Del Mar Derby kind of a horse.”
HALL OF FAMER BEHOLDER’S THIRD FOAL RUNS SUNDAY
Teen Ella, the third foal out of four-time champion and Hall of Famer Beholder, will make her second start in Sunday’s third race, a six-furlong maiden special weight for 3-year-old fillies.
By War Front, Teen Ella debuted under similar conditions at Del Mar on Nov. 12. Sent off at 2-1, Teen Ella dueled through sharp opening fractions of 21.8 and 44.6 seconds for a half mile before faltering in the stretch and fading to sixth beaten 11 lengths. The winner of that heat, Faiza, came back to win the Grade I Starlet at Los Alamitos on Dec. 10 for Bob Baffert.
Teen Ella is trained by Hall of Famer Richard Mandella and will again have top jockey Juan Hernandez in the irons. She is the co-second choice on the morning line at 5-2.
Mandella, who hits at 19 percent clip with second-time starters, was encouraged by Teen Ella’s debut and is looking for a move forward on Sunday. She has worked five times at Santa Anita since that effort, which includes a bullet four-furlong move on Dec. 1 and stamina-building six-furlong drill in 1:12.6 on Dec. 19. Mandella said Teen Ella could receive a change in tactics for start No. 2.
“She acts like she can run a little bit,” Mandella said Saturday morning. “We might try and save her a little bit early (in the race) and see how that goes.” Sunday’s third race on an eight-race program that will be held exclusively on dirt due to predicted rain, has an assigned post time of 12:59 PT.
Also currently in Mandella’s barn is Beholder’s second foal, Karin With an I. A 2019 foal by Curlin, Karin With an I has not been competitive in two starts. She checked in seventh in both her debut at Santa Anita in April and again at Del Mar on Sept. 11.
Karin With an I has been working steadily since early November and on Saturday she drilled three furlongs in 36.4 seconds.
Earlier this year, Beholder was inducted into the Racing Hall of Fame following a sparkling career on the track. The daughter of Henny Hughes had a record of 18-6-0 from 26 starts and amassed more than $6.1 million in earnings for Spendthrift Farm. She was champion 2-year-old filly in 2012, champion 3-year-old filly the following year and was twice champion older female in 2015 and 2016.
SHAM KICKS OFF SANTA ANITA’S ROAD TO THE KENTUCKY DERBY
The Grade III, $100,000 Sham Stakes scheduled for next Sunday, Jan. 8, marks the first stop on Santa Anita’s road to the 2023 Kentucky Derby.
A total of 19 soon-to-be 3-year-olds were nominated for the one-mile event, which awards Derby qualifying points on a scale of 10-4-3-2-1 to the top five finishers.
Trainer Bob Baffert accounts for nine of the nominees. Leading that group are National Treasure, who exits a third in the Grade I Breeders’ Cup Juvenile; Havnameltdown and Newgate, the one-two finishers in the Grade III Bob Hope; and two-time turf stakes winner Speed Boat Beach, who was scratched from Friday’s Eddie Logan on turf.
Other intriguing nominees include multiple stakes winner Packs a Wahlop and Spun Intended, a flashy maiden winner last month at Del Mar for trainer Mark Glatt.
If Packs a Wahlop were to run, he would be trying dirt for the first time since his debut in June at Gulfstream Park. Trained by Jeff Mullins, the Creative Cause colt was subsequently moved to Southern California where he reeled off three-straight wins on grass including the Grade II Del Mar Juvenile Turf and Grade III Zuma Beach. Most recently, Packs a Wahlop tried the Grade I Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf where he checked in eighth at Keeneland on Nov. 4.
The field for the Sham along with the remainder of Sunday’s card will be drawn on Thursday.
Finish Lines: Due to predicted rain, Santa Anita post times for Saturday will be accelerated as follows. Race 1, 12 noon, Race 2, 12:28, Race 3, 12:56, Race 4, 1:25, Race 5, 1:54, Race 6, 2:23, Race 7, 2:51, Race 8, 3:20 and Race 9, 3:48 p.m. All times Pacific…Jockey Luis Contreras, who arrived in Southern California from Woodbine to ride at Los Alamitos earlier this month, won his first two races of the meet on Saturday. The two-time Sovereign Award winner as Canada’s outstanding jockey booted home Carver ($10.40) on turf in the fifth race and State of the Union ($31.40) on dirt in the eighth race…Santa Anita will host a special New Year’s Day holiday card Monday with 10 races featuring the Grade III, $100,000 Las Cienegas on the downhill turf course…On-track fans Monday will be offered $1 beers and sodas and $2 hot dogs.