Santa Anita Stable Notes Sunday, April 9, 2023
STABLE NOTES BY VICTOR RYAN
SUNDAY, APRIL 9, 2023
• GI SANTA ANITA DERBY: TOP 3 FINISHERS ALL DOING WELL SUNDAY • SA OAKS RUNNER-UP AND TELL ME NOLIES HEADED TO KENTUCKY • D’AMATO SET TO COLLECT ANOTHER SANTA ANITA TRAINER’S TITLE • DETTORI MAY RECONSIDER RETIRING ACCORDING TO ANDERSON • COAST-TO-COAST PICK 5 RETURNS SUNDAY • LEADING OWNER, TRAINER & JOCK TO BE FETED SUNDAY
TOP 3 FINISHERS IN GI SANTA ANITA DERBY ALL DOING WELL Practical Move, Mandarin Hero and Skinner, the top three finishers in a thrilling edition of the GI Runhappy Santa Anita Derby Saturday, were all reported to be doing well Sunday morning by their respective trainers.
Practical Move, the even-money favorite for trainer Tim Yakteen, edged Japanese import Mandarin Hero by a nose in a nail-biting finish to the 1 1/8-mile Santa Anita Derby. Both colts earned a 100 Beyer Speed Figure for the effort.
Yakteen said Practical Move “came out of his race in great shape” Sunday morning, It will now be on to Churchill Downs for Practical Joke colt, where he figures to be among the betting favorites for the 149th Kentucky Derby on May 6.
The Santa Anita Derby was Practical Move’s third-straight graded stakes win following previous tallies in the Grade II Los Alamitos Futurity and GII San Felipe here April 8. All were with jockey Ramon Vazquez in the irons. For Yakteen, he became the eighth trainer to win consecutive runnings of the Santa Anita Derby. Last year, he won his first with Taiba.
Yakteen said he celebrated the victory Saturday night with dinner at a Pasadena steakhouse.
“Winning one is special. Obviously winning two is even twice as nice,” Yakteen said.
The plan now is for Practical Move to complete his major training at Santa Anita before shipping to Kentucky the week of the race.
“If everything works out, we’d like to stay here and get all our foundation then go in later,” said Yakteen, who also plans to run Reincarnate in the Kentucky Derby.
Practical Move is owned by Leslie A. Amestoy, Jean Pierre Amestoy Jr. and Roger K. Beasley.
As for the immediate future of Mandarin Hero and Skinner, things are a bit more cloudy. Both are currently short on points to qualify for the Kentucky Derby, which is limited to 20 starters. Mandarin Hero earned 40 points for the Kentucky Derby with the runner-up finish. That currently ranks 24th on the leaderboard. Skinner earned 30 additional points to give him 45 in all, which ranks 21st.
History says there will likely be a defection or two from the top 20 between now and the first Saturday in May. Given that, Skinner’s trainer John Shirreffs and a representative from Mandarin Hero’s camp both said their colts will be trained as if they’re running in the Kentucky Derby.
“Everyone with Mandarin Hero is still very interested in the Kentucky Derby,” said Sean Toriumi of U.S. Equine, who has served as a liaison for the Mandarin Hero camp. “If we don’t get in, we’ll look at the Preakness. We’re not sure what our schedule will be yet as far as how long he’ll stay at Santa Anita. But we had a flight booked back to Japan for Tuesday. That’s been canceled.”
Saturday’s Santa Anita Derby card attracted an on-track crowd 31,289. Total handle was $21,674,564.
GI SANTA ANITA OAKS AND TELL ME NOLIES HEADED TO KENTUCKY Trainer Peter Miller said it’s on to the May 5 Kentucky Oaks at Churchill Downs for And Tell Me Nolies, who finished second in Saturday’s GII Santa Anita Oaks.
“I thought she ran a good race and she came out of it well. We’ll head to Churchill Downs for the Oaks,” Miller said Sunday morning.
With Ramon Vazquez in the irons for the Santa Anita Oaks, And Tell Me Nolies settled near the rear of the eight-horse field before launching a bid to get up for second by a half length over Window Shopping. She was beaten 6 ½ lengths by winner Faiza, who improved to 5-for-5 for trainer Bob Baffert. Faiza is not eligible to run in the Kentucky Oaks due to Baffert being currently under suspension by Churchill Downs.
The Santa Anita Oaks was And Tell Me Nolies second start following a four-month layoff. She returned in the GIII Santa Ysabel here March 5 where she was also second to Faiza.
By Arrogate, And Tell Me Nolies has a record of 3-2-0 in seven starts and earnings of $472,800 for owner Peter Redekop. Last year, she won the GI Del Mar Debutante and GII Chandelier Stakes here before an eighth-place finish in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies at Keeneland on Nov. 4.
Miller said And Tell Me Nolies would ship to Churchill Downs the week of the Kentucky Oaks.
D’AMATO SET TO COLLECT ANOTHER SANTA ANITA TRAINER’S TITLE Elm Drive’s win in Saturday’s GIII Monrovia Stakes, which was taken off the turf, was trainer Phil D’Amato’s 11th stakes win of the Classic Meet and 32nd victory overall. He enters Sunday’s final card of the stand holding an insurmountable five-win lead over runner-up Bob Baffert (27) in the trainer’s standings.
D’Amato was also the leading trainer the past two Santa Anita Winter-Spring meets, plus in 2015-16, giving him four trainer’s titles overall at Santa Anita.
“You look at this backdrop here and I don’t think there’s a prettier racetrack in the country. It’s a privilege to be able to train here,” D’Amato said. “Luckily I have a great team and owners. It takes everyone.”
D’Amato, 47, has about 120 horses in his stable split between Santa Anita and Los Alamitos. The 47-year-old trainer formerly served as an assistant to the late Mike Mitchell. When Mitchell retired in 2013, D’Amato took over the stable and it has only grown from there.
“At the time I was happy with a one-barn stable,” D’Amato said. “But as times gone on, my owners have allowed me to climb the ladder as far as quality. It’s just been a great ride.”
D’Amato has three horses entered at Santa Anita Sunday including Conclude, the 8-5 morning-line favorite in the featured John Shear Stakes for 3-year-olds on the hillside turf course.
ANDERSON—DETTORI MIGHT RETHINK RETIREMENT AS HE & ‘JOHNNY V’ HEAD EAST
European sensation Frankie Dettori and American Racing Hall of Famer John Velazquez are headed east as planned following the conclusion of Santa Anita’s Classic Meet on Sunday, with Dettori’s schedule for the remainder of the year tentative, while Velazquez will head to Kentucky through Derby Day May 6 and then head to New York for the remainder of the spring and summer.
“As everyone has seen, both of these guys are elite riders, complete professionals,” said agent Ron Anderson by phone Saturday morning. “In Frankie’s case, he brings an enthusiasm to the game that we’ve never even seen. He’s excited about winning, he’s excited for the owners and he gets the crowd going…I still call him a kid because when I first met him he was 15 and I used to sneak him on the backside at Hollywood Park because he wasn’t old enough to be licensed and the rest is history.”
Dettori, who announced in November that 2023 would be his final year in the saddle and that he would call it a career following the Breeders’ Cup World Championships at Santa Anita Nov. 3 & 4, got off to a terrific start on opening day, Dec. 26, winning three races, including the Grade II San Antonio Stakes with Bob Baffert’s Country Grammer and he steams into the Classic Meet finale on Sunday third in the standings with 24 wins and third by stakes-won with six added money tallies while exhibiting a youthful enthusiasm that has many fans and horsemen hoping he’ll reconsider retirement at the end of the year.
“That’s up to him,” said Anderson. “I’m just a good listener at this point. I have to think, if things keep going well, he might reconsider. He is going to be back and forth over to England with some obligations. In an immediate sense, he’ll ride at Keeneland at least through April 17 and then he’ll head over to Newmarket. We’re going to have a 20-horse field in the Derby here on May 6 and I have to think something is going to come loose, so he might have an option to come back on Derby Day. It’s kind of all up in the air, so we’ll see.”
Velazquez, racing’s all-time leading money winning jockey and a winner of three Kentucky Derbies, enters closing day with 17 wins, eighth in the standings along with two stakes wins.
“As for Johnny, he’s heading to Keeneland this week and then Churchill. He’ll be back at Belmont Park the day after the Derby like he’s done for so many years. As far as a mount for the Derby, we’ll check with Tim Yakteen about Reincarnate (third in the Grade I Arkansas Derby April 1) and we’ll just have to wait and see.”
COAST-TO-COAST PICK 5 WITH PLAYER-FRIENDLY TAKEOUT RETURNS SUNDAY The $1 Coast-to-Coast Pick 5 featuring a player-friendly 15 percent takeout returns Sunday with races from Santa Anita and Gulfstream Park. The sequence kicks off at approximately 1 p.m. PT with the third race from Santa Anita, a starter allowance for turf sprinters.
Also in the sequence, which concludes at 3 p.m., are the eighth and ninth races from Gulfstream Park and the fifth and seventh races from Santa Anita. Average field size is 7.4 starters per race before scratches.
Saturday’s Coast-to-Coast Pick 5 returned $5,730.10 to 20 winning tickets.
FINISH LINES: Jockey Kent Desormeaux is off his mounts Sunday due to soreness after being unseated in Saturday’s GII Charles Whittingham…Santa Anita announced shortly after training concluded this morning that all six races carded for the turf today will remain on grass…Kangaroo Court exited his win in Saturday’s Evening Jewel in good order and is possible to run in the GII Pat Day Mile at Churchill Downs on May 6, trainer Tim Yakteen said…All turf races Sunday will be run on the grass as scheduled…With 12 wins entering Sunday’s card, Red Baron’s Barn and Rancho Temescal is poised to be the leading owner at the Classic Meet…On Sunday , the meet’s leading jockey, trainer and owner will all be honored with a ceremony in the Runhappy Winner’s Circle…Following the Classic Meet, racing will resume at Santa Anita with the Hollywood Meet beginning on April 21…