Honor Code breezes half-mile in advance of return
"I think that one horse in there (Social Inclusion) has got speed, and I would like for him to have a target," McGaughey added. "That's why I wanted to do something sharp with him today, to put him in the game. Hopefully, he'll break well and, even though I want him to have a target, he can't take himself completely out of it."
Jockey Javier Castellano will ride Honor Code on Wednesday.
McGaughey had originally intended to run Top Billing in the Grade 1, $1 million Florida Derby on March 29, but that colt sustained a cannon bone fracture in his right foreleg during a workout on Saturday, and there is a chance Honor Code would take his place in the marquee event.
"The Florida Derby is possibility, especially with what happened yesterday," McGaughey said. "It sure would be nice to get a nice, easy race into him (on Wednesday) and he can move forward from it. It might be pushing him up a little bit, but it's not out of the question."
Top Billing, the third-place finisher in the Fountain of Youth Stakes (G2) on February 22, shipped to Lexington to undergo surgery Sunday.
"He's got a non-displaced cannon bone fracture," McGaughey explained "He got to Kentucky this morning. Dr. (Larry) Bramlage said that he would operate on him at noon today.
"They'll put a couple screws in it and probably a plate, and it should come together. They'll take the plate out, so we're talking about three or four months. (Dr. Bramlage) feels like he should be able to come back fine."
California Chrome's San Felipe win takes the pressure off Sherman
"He's Derby-bound," the Brooklyn-born Sherman said after Saturday's romp. "He looked like Swaps turning down the lane. I was amazed. You think a horse might win by a length or two. I'm not used to seeing him draw off by five or six.
"He's peaking at the right time. The horse has been super, he's putting on weight, he looked excellent in the paddock. I said, 'My, he looks like a race horse today.'"
Sherman, a former jockey who enjoyed his best year as a trainer in 2007 when he won 207 races and gleaned $4,023,669 in purse money, isn't about to be counting his roses before they bloom.
"I still have to go to Kentucky and try the big boys," he said. "So far, all this has been great, not only for me and the horse, but for (owners/breeders) Steve (Coburn) and Perry (Martin). We're just a mom and pop operation."
If luck holds, the family will be growing.
Victor Espinoza had been California Chrome for his past three starts now, all wins, and guided the son of Lucky Pulpit to his 7 1/4-length San Felipe victory, the largest winning margin in the race at the distance of 1 1/16 miles since Premier Pegasus posted a 7 3/4-length romp under Alonso Quinonez for Myung Kwon Cho in 2005.
"Yesterday was his most impressive race since I've been riding him, but I believe he still has more left," Espinoza asserted. "I just took it easy with him yesterday. I think he'll be even better at a mile and a quarter. We'll find out how good he is as we go along, but he's an amazing horse right now."
Game On Dude's Big 'Cap victory was an 'emotional win' for Baffert
"Bob's proud of Game On Dude. He's like family to him," added jockey Mike Smith, who has been aboard Game On Dude for nine of his last 10 starts. "When you knock (Game On Dude), you're walking on the fightin' side of Bob, I guess, like it says in the old country song that Merle Haggard used to sing.
"That's kind of what happened. It kind of struck a nerve a little, and it was fabulous that the horse was able to show that he not only can compete, but beat those kinds of horses.
"He needed to run like that to beat them. When you're dealing with that kind of talent, if you're off your game just a half a step, these horses will beat each other. So you've got to be really 'on' to compete with horses of that quality. Game On Dude was that and a little more yesterday."
In other Big 'Cap news, trainer Kathy Ritvo reported that Mucho Macho Man came out of his fourth-place finish in the race "good" and will look at options this week for his next race. The massive six-year-old son of Macho Uno is scheduled to ship back to Florida on Wednesday.
Game On Dude and three-year-old California Chrome headlined the blockbuster 11-race program at Santa Anita Saturday. By day's end, total Santa Anita Handicap Day handle was $22,589,082, a robust 23 percent increase over last year.
Saturday's on-track handle of $3,716,513.50 was up 11 percent over last year's $3,347,152. The on-track attendance of 27,121 represented a 1 percent increase over last year's 26,901.
Thank You Marylou returns a winner in Any Limit
Thank You Marylou inched closer to the leaders rounding the far turn. By the time they swung into the stretch, Sweet Whiskey was clearly spent, and Whomping Willow took over. But Thank You Marylou was bearing down on the new leader at the six-furlong mark in 1:08 4/5, and quickly dispatched her. Rolling in deep stretch, the chestnut completed seven furlongs in 1:21 2/5 and paid $15.20 to win.
"I had a perfect trip, sitting third on the outside in the clear," Leparoux said. "When I asked her to go, she just took off. She's a very nice filly. It was the first time I've been on her, so it was a good surprise."
"She's been training really well since she came back," assistant trainer Evelio Chavez said. "Mike has done a really good job with her. It's really unbelievable that she could run like that off the layoff. Sometimes horses need the race when they've been off for so long, but she proved that she's a runner. That's her style -- she likes to be behind horses and then run."
Whomping Willow crossed the wire 1 1/2 lengths clear of Sweet Whiskey. There was another 5 3/4-length gap back to Boheme de Lavi in fourth, followed by Naive Enough and Fierce Boots.
Nearly all of the Any Limit contestants (with the lone exception of Boheme da Lavi) are nominated to the Kentucky Oaks. That does not include the two withdrawals, Golden Friendships and Luna Santa.
Thank You Marylou sports a mark of 3-2-1-0, $128,200. Out of the stakes-winning Menifee mare Menifeeque, she hails from the family of multiple Grade 3 queen Indyanne, Grade 3 victor Double Ready and Grade 2-placed multiple stakes scorer Never Wavering.
Bred by Mr. and Mrs. C.W. McNeely III in Virginia, Thank You Marylou was purchased by the Ramseys for $47,000 as a Keeneland November weanling.
Unbridled Forever on course for FG Oaks
Stewart worked West Point Thoroughbreds' Grade 2 Louisiana Derby candidate Commanding Curve and Charles Fipke's Grade 2 New Orleans Handicap candidate Golden Soul in company going three-quarters on Friday to post breezes of 1:13 3/5 over a track rated good. Seven-time Fair Grounds jockey champion Robby Albarado was aboard Commanding Curve and is expected to ride him once again in the Louisiana Derby.
A rider for Golden Soul, who finished second behind Orb in last spring's Kentucky Derby, has not been determined for the upcoming New Orleans Handicap, which will also be contested March 29 as part of the Louisiana Derby Day program.
Paul and Andrena Van Doren's Delta Jackpot winner Rise Up worked with blinkers on when he posted a four-furlong move in :48 1/5 on Mardi Gras morning, and 10-time Fair Grounds trainer champion Tom Amoss advised Saturday afternoon that his colt will have blinkers on for his next start, which has yet to be determined.
The 101st running of the Louisiana Derby remains a possibility but not necessarily a probability for Rise Up's next start.
The Amoss-trained Grand Contender, owned by Maggi Moss,, who breezed four furlongs in :48 3/5 Saturday morning, is being pointed for a next start in the one-mile $75,000 Borgata Stakes at Delta Downs this Saturday. The six-year-old gelding was runner-up in Fair Grounds' Mineshaft Handicap on February 22.
Klaravich Stable and William Lawrence's Sum of the Parts, another Amoss trainee, posted a :48 1/5 half-mile move Saturday in preparation for his start in Fair Grounds' $60,000 Colonel Power Stakes this coming Saturday at about 5 1/2 furlongs over the Stall-Wilson turf course.
Honor Code entered in Gulfstream allowance
As the Remsen winner, Honor Code will carry the top weight of 124 pounds in the $75,000 allowance. Javier Castellano, aboard for both of his stakes efforts, will guide him from post 4.
Fellow Triple Crown nominee Social Inclusion just began his career on the Fountain of Youth undercard, wiring a six-furlong maiden by 7 1/2 lengths. The Manuel Azpurua pupil set fast fractions of :22, :44 3/5 and :56 3/5 en route to finishing in 1:09 1/5. The Pioneerof the Nile colt now steps up in class and trip, but looms as the controlling speed from the rail. Luis Contreras retains the mount.
The only other Triple Crown nominee in the five-horse field is We're All Set, whose most notable result was a distant third in last October's In Reality division of the Florida Stallion Stakes. The Bill Kaplan runner has been well beaten in his last three, all in salty Gulfstream allowances. Fourth to Coup de Grace and Hy Kodiak Warrior in a one-mile contest on December 15, We're All Set was third to Top Billing and Surfing U S A on January 25 and fifth to Constitution, Tonalist and Mexikoma on February 22. The latter two came at this 1 1/16-mile trip.
Rounding out the quintet are Specialnightaction, 10th in a turf event where he ran for a $75,000 tag, and Ta Bueno, sixth in a $25,000 claimer in his latest.
Two-time Eclipse Award winner Beholder (Henny Hughes), moving closer to her four-year-old debut, worked four furlongs in company with Tiz Champ (Tiznow) on Sunday over Santa Anita's fast dirt for Richard Mandella. The bay miss was caught in :48, breezing, while her stablemate was given the same time minus the "breezing." Mandella said Beholder should be race-ready "by the middle of April." She's a Tiger (Tale of the Cat), two-year-old filly champion of 2013, turned a half-mile for Jeff Bonde in :48 2/5 in preparation for her sophomore bow. Multiple Grade 2 queen Pontchatrain (War Front) went the same distance in :50 for Tom Proctor...
Group 1 victress Miss Serendipity (Not For Sale) traveled five furlongs on Santa Anita's firm grass course Sunday with Brice Blanc aboard in 1:02 2/5 for Ron McAnally. The Argentinean-bred six-year-old mare is readying for next Sunday's $200,000 Santa Ana (G2) off fourth-placings in her U.S. races thus far, the Buena Vista H. (G2) and Paseana. Emotional Kitten (Kitten's Joy), also ticketed for the Santa Ana, went the same distance on the green for Wesley Ward in 1:02 4/5 under Victor Espinoza...
Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies winner Ria Antonia (Rockport Harbor), a newcomer to trainer Bob Baffert's barn, worked four furlongs on Santa Anita's fast main track Saturday in company with maiden Lady Regina (Midnight Lute). They were clocked in :47 and :47 1/5, respectively. Ria Antonia, fourth last out in Fair Grounds' Rachel Alexandra (G3), could show up next in the $400,000 Santa Anita Oaks (G1) on April 4. Egg Drop (Alphabet Soup), winner of the Matriarch (G1) and second in the Buena Vista (G2) in her past two, logged five-eighths Saturday for Mike Mitchell in 1:00 2/5...
Neil Drysdale said the $350,000 Shoemaker Mile (G1) at Santa Anita on June 14 is a "possibility" for Saturday's Frank E. Kilroe Mile (G1) victor Winning Prize (Pure Prize), whose final time of 1:32.44 was the second-fastest ever only to the 1:31.89 by Atticus in 1997...
Gulfstream Park will offer horsemen purse incentives for Florida Derby Day on March 29, the track announced Sunday. Highlighted by eight stakes races, seven of them graded, including the $1 million Florida Derby (G1), Gulfstream will increase purses in dirt races with eight starters by $5,000 and with 10 or more starters by $10,000. Purses for turf races with 10 or more starters will be increased by $10,000. The number of starters stated above must leave the paddock for the incentives to be valid. "Florida Derby Day is not only the biggest day in Florida racing but it's one of the biggest in North America," Gulfstream's Vice President of Racing P.J. Campo said. "We want to thank the horsemen for supporting our program throughout the Champions Meet as well as the rest of the year." The Florida Derby program will offer more than $2 million in purses. First race post time Florida Derby Day is noon (EDT)...
Australian Horse of the Horse Lonhro (Octagonal) was amongst 10 racing icons inducted into the Australian Racing Museum & Hall of Fame at a ceremony held at the National Gallery of Australia on Sunday. The winner of 26 of 35 races ranging 1100 to 2000 meters from 2001 through 2004, Lonhro collected 11 Group 1 victories, including the Caulfield Guineas, Queen Elizabeth II, George Main, C.F. Orr, Australian Cup and George Ryder. He was also named champion three-year-old and champion miler during his racing career. Bred and raced by Woodlands Stud and trained by John Hawkes, Lonhro now stands at Darley Australia, and shuttles to Darley America. He was Australia's champion sire of 2010/11. Three other equines were inducted into the Hall of Fame: 1979 Australian champion three-year-old colt Dulcify (NZ), winner of such Group 1s as the Victoria Derby, AJC Derby, Rosehill Guineas, Australian Cup and Cox Plate; back-to-back Melbourne Cup hero and dual Australian champion older horse Rain Lover (Latin Lover); and 1977 Australian champion three-year-old filly Surround (Sovereign Edition), the only filly to win the VRC Oaks, Australian Oaks and Queensland Oaks. A pair of jockeys, Shane Dye and Jim Munro, were inducted, as were trainers Frank Dalton and Leon MacDonald. Inducted under the associates category was journalist Eric Welch, and The Tait Family, highly successful breeders...
In a racing rarity, the seven runners in the San Felipe (G2) finished in order of their betting odds: California Chrome ($1.40-1) first, Midnight Hawk ($2.10-1) second, Kristo ($3.80-1) third, Schoolofhardrocks ($4.50-1) fourth, Unstoppable Colby ($35.40-1) fifth, Recanted ($47.20-1) sixth and Sawyer's Hill ($47.50-1) seventh...
To the World (King Kamehameha) was sent off at 3-5 in the betting for Sunday's Hochi Hai Yayoi Sho (Jpn-G2) at Nakayama and exited the stalls in good order to settle in the second flight. The Yasutoshi Ikee trainee made up ground on the leaders, while several paths off the rail at the 1000-meter mark, and was produced for the drive rounding the final bend. Taken over to the rail by jockey Yuga Kawada, To the World appeared to have the race at his mercy, but lasted just long enough to stave off the futile late rush of One and Only (Heart's Cry). Second in a Hanshin maiden in his first try on September 13, To the World graduated next out on October 19 at the same level at Kyoto. He was first in the November 9 Kigiku Sho S. once again over the Kyoto sod, and duly took the January 25 Wakagoma S. at that venue in his sophomore bow at 1 3/16 miles...
Pioneering Native (Pioneering) used a determined stretch drive under jockey Tracy Hebert to win Saturday night's $70,000 B-Connected at Delta Downs. The Tom Amoss trainee notched his first stakes win with the effort after dueling with stablemate One King's Man (K One King) throughout the homestretch of the one-mile test for older Louisiana-bred horses. Pioneering Native used a sharp break to lead the field of seven early in Saturday night's featured race before settling just off the pace in third racing up the backstretch. When the final turn arrived Hebert asked his mount for his best as he hooked up with a rallying One King's Man to his outside and tenacious longshot Masculino (Lydgate) to his inside. The trio exchanged punches on the way to the finish line where Pioneering Native got the head bob to win by a nose over One King's Man with Masculino finishing another 1 1/4 lengths behind in third. Pioneering Native covered the distance over the good, sealed track in 1:38 4/5. Pioneering Native and One King's Man are both conditioned by Amoss and owned by Maggi Moss. The seven-year-old winner was sent off the 2-1 favorite and improved his career mark to 37-9-7-9, $270,060...
Jockey Colby Hernandez notched his 1,000th career win at Delta Downs on Saturday. The tally came with the W. Bret Calhoun first-time starter Stephanies Wildcat (D'wildcat) in the 5TH race. Stephanies Wildcat dueled in the early part of that five-furlong maiden claimer before taking a short lead in the lane and going on to post a half-length victory in her career debut while stopping the clock in :59 4/5 over the good track. Hernandez comes from a family of jockeys as his father, Brian, has been riding in Louisiana for many years; his brother Brian Hernandez Jr. won the Eclipse Award for outstanding apprentice jockey in 2004 and also won the Breeders' Cup Classic with Fort Larned in 2012; and his younger sister Courtney is just beginning her career in the saddle this season at Delta Downs...
Veteran Louisiana-based jockey John Jacinto, seriously injured in a spill last May at Louisiana Downs, has been galloping horses in the mornings at Fair Grounds. "I'm expecting to be back riding in races on March 20," Jacinto said Sunday morning during training hours. "I'm going to start gradually, taking things a little bit at a time."...
Fans of Fair Grounds are reminded that tickets are still available at $25 per person for Fair Grounds' Hall of Fame ceremonies shortly after the races Wednesday evening. Brereton Jones's Proud Spell, one of five of the last nine Fair Grounds Oaks (G2) winners to go on to victory in the Kentucky Oaks(G1), will join longtime Fair Grounds trainers Bret Calhoun and Larry Robideaux as the Crescent City oval's newest inductees at the ceremonies. Also, the ceremonies will include inductions into Fair Grounds' Press Box Hall of Fame for track photographer Lou Hodges Jr., videographer Glenn Gremillion and chart-caller A. J. Paretti...
For the third year in a row, Sam Houston presented exotic racing featuring camel and ostrich races. Due to its popularity, the family-friendly event was expanded to two nights, Friday and Saturday. Despite showers on Saturday evening, attendance for the two-night event was up 28 percent over last year's festivities. Fans were able to root for their favorite camel and ostrich as they raced a distance of approximately 100 yards. On Friday evening, the winning camel was "CamElvis Presley," ridden confidently by Dinah Powers of KTBZ The Buzz. She donated her $500 winner's check to The Houston Food Bank. Powers was able to hold off fellow competitors Andrea Young, Sam Houston president; Connected K of KGLK, The Eagle; and Samica Knight of KTRK Channel 13. Special K of the Roula and Ryan Show on 104 KRBE was the champion on Saturday night. He guided "Equalacam" to victory and rode for his charity, HRC, the Race for Equality. Chita Johnson of KHOU Channel 11, the 2013 champion; Sarah Pepper of KKHH Hot 95.7; and Lauren of KHMX Mix 96.5 braved the rain and were gracious in defeat. Sam Houston apprentice jockey Victor Briseno won both Friday's and Saturday's ostrich races, breaking cleanly and finishing by daylight over his four rivals. "I had never ridden an ostrich before, but was told to just sit still and keep my balance," the 19-year-old rider explained. "They were really fun to ride."...
Frank Stacks, who has served as the assistant racing secretary for the 2014 Sam Houston Thoroughbred meeting, will take on the role of racing secretary for the upcoming Quarter Horse season. Sam Houston officials made this decision following last week's announcement that Eric Johnston has accepted the director of racing operations role for Penn National. Stacks has served in numerous racing office positions in his 30-year career in the industry at racetracks including Oaklawn Park, Louisiana Downs and Great Lakes Downs. More recently, he served as racing secretary at Presque Isle Downs from 2008-2012. The 2014 Quarter Horse meet begins on March 21 and continues through May 11...
Octavio Vergara is a proud papa, nearly 2,700 miles away ardently following the career of his son, 22-year-old apprentice Octavio Vergara Jr., currently plying his trade at Laurel Park in Maryland. The senior Vergara, a former jockey with a 35-year career who now works for trainer Barry Abrams, hopes one day to have his son riding in Southern California, "when he gains the necessary experience." The young Vergara, who has 16-lifetime wins, said he has eight more months riding with the bug, speaking of the weight allowance that benefits apprentice riders...
Jockey Maichol Severino, a 22-year-old native of the Dominican Republic who tacks 109 pounds, is expected to make his Santa Anita debut shortly. Severino has been riding four years and won more than 200 races...
Next Saturday, Santa Anita will present a "Winner's Circle BBQ Championship" in the infield. Sanctioned by the Kansas City BBQ Society, it will feature samplings from grilling greats. Fans can receive a 50 percent discount off the Family BBQ 4-Pack or the 2-Pack with the promo code SMOKEY.
For Monday or Next Raceday
Judy is a Beauty in Las Flores
Heir Kitty came running late to nip Munnings Sister by a nose on the wire for second, while Warm Breeze and Kinz Funky Monkey completed the order of finish.
Judy the Beauty was the 1-2 favorite in the Las Flores and lived up to those odds to return $3 to her backers. The $60,000 winner's share boosted her lifetime earnings to $825,781 and the five-year-old mare's scorecard stands at 14-6-7-1.
Owned and trained by Wesley Ward, Judy the Beauty now owns three stakes victories. Her first score came in 2011 when she captured the Shady Well at Woodbine in her third career start, which followed a debut maiden win at Keeneland and a trip to Chantilly in France for an allowance victory.
The chestnut has never been worse than third in her career. She racked up seconds in the Spinaway, Prioress and Princess Rooney Handicap, all Grade 1s, as well as the aforementioned Filly & Mare Sprint, Grade 2 Gallant Bloom Handicap and Grade 3 Winning Colors. Her only third came at the hooves of Groupie Doll in the Presque Isle Downs Masters prior to the pair's TCA match.
Bred in Ontario by Adena Springs, Judy the Beauty was a bargain $20,000 purchase for Ward as a Keeneland September yearling. She is out of the stakes-winning Holy Bull mare Holy Blitz, and her third dam is the stakes-scoring Horsafire, who would go on in the breeding shed to produce Grade 2 heroine Incinerate, Grade 3 victor Fan the Flame and Judy the Beauty's second dam, multiple stakes winner Pagofire.
Incinerate is herself the dam of both Grade 1 diva and 2005 Kentucky Oaks runner-up In the Gold as well as three-time stakes scorer High Blitz. Another of Horsafire's grandprogeny is Hemingway's Key, who ran third in the 2006 Preakness Stakes.
Farther back in this female family one can find champions Affectionately, Bridal Flower, Bimelech and Black Helen as well as blue-hen mare *La Troienne.
At a Glance
AT A GLANCE SCHEDULE
*all times Eastern
HANDICAPPER'S EDGE is compiled by Bloodstock Research Information Services. This newsletter may not be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, without the prior written permission of the copyright owner. Copyright 2011, Bloodstock Research Information Services. Information as to the races, race results and earnings was obtained from Equibase Company LLC and is utilized herein with the permission of the copyright owner, Equibase Company LLC.
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