McLAUGHLIN TRIO HERE FOR OPENING DAY STAKES
World-class trainer Kiaran McLaughlin has three for the money at Santa Anita on opening day, Dec. 26: multiple graded stakes winner Cavorting for the Grade I La Brea Stakes, and undefeated Marking and Watershed for the Grade I Malibu Stakes.
All are progeny of Bernardini, three-year-old champion colt of 2006 who stands at Darley Stud in Lexington, Ky. for $100,000. Each is scheduled to breeze Friday morning under the direction of Kiaran’s brother, Neal, who also will saddle the trio on opening day. The horses arrived at Santa Anita last Sunday.
The Malibu and the La Brea each offers $300,000 in purse money and will be decided at seven furlongs, the La Brea restricted to three-year-old fillies and the Malibu to three-year-olds.
Cavorting, owned by Stonestreet Stables LLC, won the Grade I Test Stakes at Saratoga on Aug. 8 and the Grade II Prioress at Saratoga Sept. 6, but was an eventful fourth as the favorite in the Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Sprint at Keeneland on Oct. 31.
“The race shape wasn’t great for her in the Breeders’ Cup,” said Kiaran McLaughlin. “She drew the 14 post position and we thought that would be fine going seven eighths, but she ended up getting shuffled back to last and made a big run while wide to finish a good fourth.
“Marking won his only two races easily and is very talented. He was entered in the (Grade I) Cigar Mile (won by Tonalist on Nov. 28) but drew the one post against older horses, so we decided to scratch and go in the Malibu.”
Marking broke his maiden by 2 ¾ lengths at Belmont on Sept. 23, then won by 5 ½ at Aqueduct on Nov. 4.
“Watershed was fourth in the Kings Bishop,” said McLaughin, 55, who guided the Argentine-bred Invasor to Horse of the Year honors in 2006. “The Malibu is an important race and the timing is good for both horses.”
Both colts are owned by Godolphin Racing. Joel Rosario will ride Watershed.
“All three horses have adapted well since arriving here,” said McLaughlin’s exercise rider of eight years, Pat Correa, a native of Ecuador, who came in from Palm Meadows in Florida. “They’re feeling good and ate up well. They walked Monday after arriving, galloped Tuesday and will work tomorrow, probably a half-mile for Cavorting and five-eighths for the colts.”
First post time opening day is 12 noon. Admission gates open at 10 a.m.
MATHIS BROTHERS GIVE BOOST TO RACING AT SANTA ANITA
The recently inaugurated Mathis Brothers Mile for three-year-olds on opening day is not only proving popular with horsemen, but the Grade II race with $200,000 in purse money is providing Santa Anita with welcome and wider exposure that could bode well for the future.
The newly inaugurated Mathis Brothers Mile for three-year-olds on Opening Day is not only proving popular with horsemen, but the Grade II race with $200,000 in pursed money is providing Santa Anita with welcome exposure that could bode well for the future.
“We are thrilled to continue to grow our Opening Day partnership with Mathis Brothers,” said Nate Newby, Santa Anita’s Vice President of Marketing. “They are sponsoring the race but we’ve also developed a marketing partnership with promotions, contests, and giveaways that drive traffic to Santa Anita as well as the Mathis Brothers’ flagship store just a few miles away in Ontario.
“Plus, we love working with people like Bill Mathis who is a horse owner and enthusiastic racing fan. It makes these types of partnerships more fun and generally more beneficial for both companies.”
Among others, the Mathis Brothers Mile is expected to attract Ocho Ocho Ocho, who also was being considered for the Malibu.
“It wasn’t that it was necessarily an easier spot than the Malibu,” trainer Jim Cassidy said. “It was more about his fitness, and with where he’s at right now in that regard, the turf race will be better for him than the dirt. And besides, a mile turf is right up his alley.”
Ocho Ocho Ocho, a three-year-old son of 2007 Kentucky Derby winner Street Sense, was fourth, beaten a length, in his grass debut, which occurred in his last start, the Penn Mile at Penn National on May 30.
DESORMEAUX EYES SAN VICENTE FOR EXAGGERATOR
Trainer Keith Desormeaux has an itinerary set for several of his stakes horses, including Exaggerator, winner of the $1 million Delta Jackpot.
“We’re planning to run Exaggerator in the San Vicente on Feb. 15,” Desormeaux said, speaking of the Grade II, $200,000 race for three-year-olds at seven furlongs, which Desormeaux won last year with Breeders’ Cup Juvenile winner Texas Red.
“Texas Red is here, but he’s going to need two or three months before he’s ready. Swipe is going to be off for a couple months,” Desormeaux said.
“Right There, who won the Landaluce, could go in an allowance race on Jan. 8. Decked Out, who was third in the Grade III Schuylerville at Saratoga last July, might run in the Santa Ynez on Jan. 2.”
FINISH LINES: Santa Anita will once again give away its popular full color Wall Calendar free on opening day to all fans at the track with paid admission while supplies last. The theme of the 2016 calendar is “What’s in a name,” describing how some Thoroughbreds come by their peculiar monikers . . . The first 20,000 paid attendees will receive a $100 Mathis Brothers Furniture gift certificate, and the first 5,000 kids 17 and under accompanied by a paid adult will get a plush, mini-Thoroughbred toy, courtesy of the Mathis Brothers . . . Santa Anita will offer an opening day Trackside Package that includes special trackside seating, a free first drink, and an officially licensed American Pharoah T-shirt commemorating the first-ever Grand Slam champion of horse racing. Use promo code PHAROAH for $5 off the package price . . . There will be a $1 million guaranteed pool on the Late Pick 4 opening day, and a $150,000 guaranteed pool on the Pick 6. Each Thursday, Friday and on holiday Mondays, there will be $300,000 guaranteed in the Late Pick 4, and Saturdays and Sundays, it will jump up to $500,000, while the Pick 6 guarantee will remain at $150,000 . . . Bad Read Sanchez, last seen in the Santa Anita Derby, is scheduled to start in the Malibu Stakes under jockey Mario Gutierrez, agent Tom Knust reports . . . Santa Anita Derby winner Dortmund, who could face Horse of the Year California Chrome in the Jan. 9 San Pasqual Stakes, worked five furlongs Thursday for Bob Baffert in 1:00.40 . . . Los Angeles Turf Club Chairman Keith Brackpool has announced that all visitors to Clockers’ Corner throughout the meet will receive their first cup of coffee free, cream and sugar included.
Source: Santa Anita Park