Santa Anita Stable Notes Sunday, June 18, 2023
STABLE NOTES BY VICTOR RYAN
SUNDAY, JUNE 18, 2023
- • DEBUTANTE WINNER GRAND SLAM SMILE A ‘STRONG-WILLED’ FILLY - • SUNDAY’S MANDATORY RAINBOW 6 PAYOUT STARTS AT 3 P.M. -__ • JOCKEY FREY WILL RIDE SUNDAY AFTER GATE MISHAP__ - • WORKS: UNDEFEATED CEILING CRUSHER BACK ON THE TAB - • D’AMATO, HERNANDEZ NEAR HOLLYWOOD MEET TITLES
DEBUTANTE WINNER GRAND SLAM SMILE ‘A STRONG-WILLED’ FILLY
Grand Slam Smile was doing well on Sunday morning and on a van headed north to Pleasanton a little more than 12 hours after winning the five-furlong Fasig-Tipton Debutante at Santa Anita.
Trained by Steve Specht, Grand Slam Smile won the Debutante by a half-length under Frank Alvarado when making her first start on dirt. The Smiling Tiger filly, who won her debut going 4 ½ furlongs on synthetic at Golden Gate May 14, paid $9.40 as the third choice in a four-horse field.
Grand Slam Smile was bred in California by Mr. and Mrs. Larry D. Williams, who also campaign the filly. Specht said Grand Slam Smile was sent to Santa Anita with a high degree of confidence despite having never raced or worked on a dirt surface.
“If a horse is a runner, it’s a runner,” Specht said. “Some tracks might not be to their biggest benefit, but if they have talent it’s going to show.”
Grand Slam Smile’s talent was on display Saturday. After breaking well, she put outside pressure on pacesetter Becky’ Dream until turning into the stretch when, with 3-5 favorite Crazy Hot coming on her outside, Grand Slam Smile lost touch of the leader. It proved to be only momentary. Grand Slam Smile quickly re-engaged and surged to the front inside the sixteenth pole to get the win.
“We were confident going into the race, but I was a little concerned at the head of the lane when Bonde’s horse (Crazy Hot) rolled up and she dropped back,” Specht said. “But Frank was able to get back up in there before it was too late.”
Next up for Grand Slam Smile will likely be the CTBA Stakes for statebreds going 5 ½ furlongs at Del Mar Aug. 6.
“There’s a little stake at Pleasanton coming up, but it’s probably a little too soon. I don’t want to run her back that quick,” Specht said. “The stake at Del Mar is probably the right amount of time for her. You’ll see her there.”
Grand Slam Smile is out of the Grand Slam mare Royal Grand Slam, a two-time winner on the track for Specht and the Williams’s who ha also been prolific in the breeding shed. According to Pedigreequeery.com, Royal Grand Slam has had seven foals to race and all have been winners. Five of her foals have banked more than $100,000 on the track.
As for Grand Slam Smile, Specht said she’s always displayed talent but “she’s not a filly that’s very easy to deal with.
“She’s been a little bit of a chore,” he added. “She has her own disposition. You just have to kind of work with her. She’s not going to let you shove her around. But she’s getting better and she’ll get over that stuff with maturity. She’s not stupid, just strong willed.”
SUNDAY’S MANDATORY RAINBOW 6 PAYOUT BEGINS WITH 7TH RACE AT 3 P.M.
There is a mandatory payout of the Rainbow 6 Jackpot Sunday, closing day of the Santa Anita Hollywood Meet. The sequence starts with the seventh race at approximately 3 p.m. PT.
The Rainbow 6 is a 20-cent minimum wager where bettors select the winners of six straight races. Sunday’s Rainbow 6 pool is likely to exceed $3 million. It will start with a carryover of $346,135 after there were no single winning tickets Saturday.
Sunday’s sequence averages 10.5 starters per race. It consists of three allowance/optional claiming races, two of which are on turf; and three open maiden races, two of which are on turf.
JOCKEY FREY WILL RIDE SUNDAY AFTER GATE MISHAP IN SATURDAY’S DEBUTANTE
Jockey Kyle Frey, who took off his final four mounts Saturday after a starting gate mishap in the Fasig-Tipton Debutante, will be back in the saddle Sunday.
Frey was aboard longshot Motet for trainer Ruben Gomez in the Debutante when the filly acted up momentarily in the gate. According to agent Jack Carava, Frey’s ankle and foot got lodged between the horse and the pontoon where the assistant starter stands. He was stretchered off the track and sent to nearby Methodist Hospital where he was X-rayed and later released. On Sunday morning, Frey informed Carava he felt good enough to ride.
Frey is booked on five mounts Sunday, including 20-1 longshot Rimprotector in the GIII San Juan Capistrano for trainer Tim McCanna.
At the Hollywood Meet, Frey ranks 10th in the jockey’s standings with 12 wins from 108 mounts (11 percent).
WORKS REPORT: UNBEATEN CEILING CRUSHER BACK ON THE TAB FOR O’NEILL
Undefeated Ceiling Crusher returned to the work tab Sunday following her win in the Melair Stakes here May 28. She was among 177 workers combined on the main track and training track at Santa Anita.
Trained by Doug O’Neill, Ceiling Crusher drilled four furlongs in 49.80 seconds. The California-bred 3-year-old filly by Mr. Big is undefeated in four starts. After winning her debut at Santa Anita last June, she returned here Jan. 29 and won a first-level allowance going six furlongs. She then won the 6 ½-furlong Evening Jewel for statebreds by a widening 15 ½ lengths on April 8. When stretched to a mile for the Melair, Ceiling Crusher responded with a 17-length victory.
Also working for O’Neill Sunday was stakes winner Henry Q, most recently third in the GIII Peter Pan at Belmont Park May 13. In what was his fourth work since the Peter Pan Sunday, Henry Q went five furlongs in 59.80 seconds.
Owned by The Del Mar Group, whose principals include UCLA football coach Chip Kelly and UCLA men’s basketball coach Mick Cronin, Henry Q won the Mine That Bird Stakes at Sunland Park on March 26 prior to the Peter Pan.
Trainer Bob Baffert also had multiple workers Sunday including Reincarnate and Eda. Reincarnate, most recently 13th in the Kentucky Derby, went four furlongs in 49.40 seconds.
Grade I winner Eda, who returned from after more than 13 months to win a 6 ½ furlong allowance here April 28, worked five furlongs in 59.40 seconds. It was the second fastest of 51 works at the distance.
Earning the bullet work for five furlongs on the main track Sunday was Elm Drive for trainer Phil D’Amato. The 4-year-old Mohaymen filly, most recently winner of the Mizdirection Stakes on the hillside turf course in her grass debut, was clocked in 58.0 seconds.
Other graded-stakes winners to work included Quattroelle (4f, 49.60) for trainer Jeff Mullins; Dicey Mo Chara (4f, 48.40) for trainer Leonard Powell and Masteroffoxhounds (5f, 1:00.80) for trainer Phil D’Amato.
FINISH LINES: Entering Sunday’s closing day card, Phil D’Amato leads the trainer’s standings with 17 wins, four more than runner-up Doug O’Neill. D’Amato has eight horses entered in five races Sunday while O’Neil has seven horses entered in four races…Juan Hernandez is poised to win another jockey’s title at Santa Anita. He enters Sunday with 39 wins, 14 more than runner-up Ramon Vazquez…Live racing will return to Santa Anita with the Autumn Meet beginning Sept. 29. The six-week stand will be highlighted by the 40th Breeders’ Cup on Nov. 3-4…Tickets to this year’s Breeders’ Cup are available for purchase at BreedersCup.com/tickets.