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Santa Anita Handicap winner Melatonin, who worked five furlongs Tuesday in a bullet 1:11.80, is on course for the Grade I, $500,000 Gold Cup at Santa Anita at 1 ¼ miles June 25.
“He’s coming up to the race great,” said David Hofmans, who trains the son of Kodiak Kowboy for Susan Osborne’s Tarabilla Farms. “He’s doing really well, he’s fresh, he feels real good and strong.
“I wasn’t so much surprised that he won the Santa Anita Handicap (at a mile and a quarter), but that he handled the distance, because I thought the distances he had been running might be somewhat beyond him.
“But he’s shown now that he can run long, and even (jockey Joe) Talamo thinks the mile and a quarter is better for him than a mile and an eighth. He said he’s a true stayer, and that surprises me.”
EURTON PUTS ‘SUMMER’ AND ‘KOBE’ THROUGH EASY DRILLS
Peter Eurton supervised workouts for two of his stakes stars Sunday morning, budding handicap ace Second Summer and multiple graded stakes-winning sprinter Kobe’s Back.
“I was looking for something easy for both of them,” Eurton said after Californian Stakes winner Second Summer went four furlongs under exercise rider Jose (Pepe) Aragon in 50.40, and Palos Verdes and San Carlos winner Kobe’s Back went five furlongs with regular pilot Gary Stevens aboard in 1:01.
“Summer’s as good as any handicap horse out here that’s ready to run,” said Eurton, enjoying a solid meet with five wins from 19 starters through 19 days. “I don’t claim to say that he’s a California Chrome, but anyway, Chrome is probably shooting for the San Diego (Handicap at Del Mar on July 23).
“All I can worry about is my horse and one race.”
FINISH LINES: Richard Mandella reports Beholder came out of her expected victory in Saturday’s Grade I Vanity Mile “real good” and will be pointed to the Grade I, $300,000, “Win and You’re In” Clement L. Hirsch at Del Mar July 30. The Hirsch is for fillies and mares, three and up, at 1 1/16 miles. The Vanity was the eighth straight win for Beholder, her 13th in 14 starts at Santa Anita, and her 10th Grade I win from 22 career starts. “She’s amazing,” said Mandella in an understatement for the ages . . . Should Santa Anita Derby winner Exaggerator win the Belmont Stakes, it would mark the eighth time in the last nine Triple Crown races a horse headquartered in Southern California has captured one of the three-year-old Spring classics: Los Alamitos-based California Chrome, 2014 Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes; Santa Anita-based American Pharoah, 2015 Kentucky Derby, Preakness and Belmont, becoming the first Triple Crown winner in 37 years; Santa Anita-based Nyquist, 2016 Kentucky Derby; and Santa Anita-based Exaggerator, 2016 Preakness . . . Kona Gold winner Wild Dude, prepping for the Grade I Triple Bend on June 25, worked five furlongs in 1:01 for Jerry Hollendorfer, who also sent Gold Cup candidate Lieutenant Colonel the same distance in 59.40. Laz Barrera winner I Will Score, who runs in the Woody Stephens at Belmont next Saturday for Hollendorfer, went five furlongs in 1:04, while Bob Baffert trainee Justin Squared, also headed to the Woody Stephens, went four furlongs in 47.40 . . . Two-time Shoemaker Mile winner Obviouslyworked five furlongs on the training track in 1:00.40 for Phil D’Amato, who won two races Saturday including the Grade I Shoemaker with Midnight Storm to open a commanding 16-8 lead over runners-up John Sadler and Hollendorfer in the race for training honors . . . Masochistic, whose long-range goal is the Grade I Bing Crosby at Del Mar July 31, worked a half mile Sunday in a bullet 45.80 with Mike Smith up for Ron Ellis. It was the fastest of 46 drills at the distance, the average time of which was 48.85 . . . With his easy 3 ¼-length win aboard Plus Perfect for trainer Hector Palma in yesterday’s first race, Brayan Pena lost his apprentice weight allowance and now rides as full-fledged journeyman . . . Santa Anita’s jockey colony will be depleted next weekend with several riders in New York on Belmont Stakes weekend, namely Kent Desormeaux, Martin Garcia, Mario Gutierrez, Martin Pedroza, Flavien Prat and Mike Smith. Pedroza rides four-time Grade I winner Private Zone Friday for the Good Friends Stable and trainer Brian Lynch in the Grade II, $250,000 True North, and unbeaten Chick Lang winner Justin Squared for Zayat Stables and Bob Baffert in the Grade II, $500,000 Woody Stephens on Saturday. Justin Squared worked four furlongs at Santa Anita Sunday under a strong hold by Pedroza in 47.40 . . . Congrats to Toby Turrell of The Yellow Sheet on tabbing six winners on top Saturday: Plus Perfect ($10.20), Angel Lane(2.60), Too Fast To Pass ($7.20), Beholder, everybody’s free square, ($2.40), Reflected Star ($17.20) and Horse Greedy($11.80) . . . The Golden Pick 6 at Golden Gate Fields stands at a life-changing $1,201,886 going into Sunday. If no one claims the massive prize before next Sunday, June, 12, there will be a mandatory payout that day . . . Live racing at Santa Anita resumes Thursday with a new first post time of 1:30 p.m. . . . First live race post time on Belmont Day, next Saturday, June 11, is 12 noon. Admission gates will open at 8 a.m.
Santa Anita Park
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