MOR SPIRIT ‘FOCUSED’ IN SAN FELIPE WORK
With the Man Upstairs set to unleash a deluge around 8 o’clock tonight, the Men Downstairs flooded the track with horses getting in their final major licks before next Saturday, when Santa Anita presents one of its biggest days of the Winter Meet, featuring the $1 million Santa Anita Handicap presented by San Manuel Indian Bingo & Casino, the Grade II San Felipe Stakes for three-year-olds with Triple Crown aspirations, and the Grade II San Carlos Stakes for some of the nation’s crack sprinters.
Four leading three-year-olds worked for the San Felipe, headed by Mor Spirit, who went six furlongs in company with Dream Team in 1:12.20 under Martin Garcia. Dream Team was timed in 1:12.60.
“I liked the way he went,” Bob Baffert said of Mor Spirit. “He went really well. His company was trying to stay with him, but he did well.
“Martin did a great job keeping him focused. We beat the rain, we’re all set.
“Now we’ve just got to wait.”
The following contenders also worked Saturday for the 1 1/16-mile San Felipe, a major steppingstone to the $1 million Santa Anita Derby at 1 1/8 miles on April 9:
Danzing Candy, five furlongs in 1:01 flat under Mike Smith: “It was good,” trainer Cliff Sise Jr. said. “He’s happy.”
Exaggerator, five furlongs under Kent Desormeaux in 1:00.40: “That’s the same time I got,” trainer Keith Desormeaux said, giving a nod of thanks to Santa Anita’s team of clockers, adding, “I don’t know how those guys can clock 50 horses at the same time. It’s a special skill.
“It was a nice work. He finished in 22 and four. That’s not bad. He was under control, limber, and wasn’t stressed out afterwards, all things you want to see in a horse getting ready for a race, so we’re happy.”
Smokey Image, four furlongs in company with Fourth Watch, 48.60, with Victor Espinoza in the irons for Carla Gaines: “Unbelievable,” Espinoza said. “He’s ready to go.”
Uncle Lino, five furlongs in 59.60 with regular rider Fernando Perez aboard: “I put some horses in front of him,” said trainer Gary Sherlock. “He’s ready.”
IMPERATIVE WORKS ‘GREAT’ FOR BIG ’CAP
Imperative, who lost the San Antonio Stakes by a nose so close even his jockey Mike Smith thought he won, worked five furlongs Saturday in 59.80 for the Santa Anita Handicap.
Jockey Santiago Gonzalez was in the saddle.
“He worked great,” trainer Richard Baltas said. “He went very easy.”
Hard Aces also drilled for the race, going six furlongs for John Sadler in 1:12.20.
East Coast invader Effinex, the likely favorite, galloped a mile and a half Saturday for the Big ’Cap, according to Kent Sweezey, assistant to trainer Jimmy Jerkens.
Fans at Santa Anita on Big Cap Day will receive a free Santa Anita Fleece Blanket
presented by San Manuel Indian Bingo & Casino with paid admission while supplies last.
First post time will be 12 noon. Admission gates open at 10 a.m.
WHAT A VIEW TACKLES GRADE I FOES IN KILROE MILE
What a View goes from an impressive win against state-breds in the California Cup Turf Classic on Jan. 30 to the Grade I Frank E. Kilroe Mile (turf) next Saturday. Trainer Kenny Black knows it won’t be an easy task.
“He worked well on the dirt training track yesterday (four furlongs in 1:01.40) and went well,” Black said, “but I wish we had some place else to run.”
Asked why, Black rattled off, “Obviously, Om, Bolo, Bal a Bali. They’re tough horses, but we have no other spot, so we’ll find out what we have.”
A five-year-old gelded son of Vronsky, What a View won his last two races by more than three lengths, each at a mile and an eighth. He won at a mile here last August and is unbeaten in three starts on Santa Anita’s turf course.
Arcadia Stakes winner Bolo worked five furlongs for the Kilroe with Mike Smith up in 1:02 for trainer Carla Gaines. “He went really nice,” Smith said.
BEHOLDER BREEZES TO BEAT THE RAIN
Three-time Eclipse Award winner Beholder had her second breeze in preparation for her return to the races at age six, going three furlongs Saturday morning in 36.80, breezing, for Richard Mandella, who has the Grade I Vanity Stakes on June 4 as a long-range goal.
“A lot of rain is coming so we went ahead and breezed her,” Mandella said of the daughter of Henny Hughes owned by B. Wayne Hughes who has not raced since winning the Zenyatta Stakes last Sept. 26.
“She couldn’t look any better.”
Beholder, winner of 11 of 12 starts at Santa Anita, has won her last six races and 15 of 20 overall in her brilliant career.
WILD DUDE SEEKS SAN CARLOS REPEAT
Wild Dude makes his first start since the Breeders’ Cup Sprint last Oct. 31 when he runs in next Saturday’s Grade II Palos Verdes Stakes which he won last year by three-quarters of a length over Kobe’s Back.
“He needed the race in the Palos Verdes last year before he won the San Carlos, and he had been off from April,” pointed out Dan Ward, assistant to trainer Jerry Hollendorfer.
“This time he’s only been off since the end of October. It’s not the same kind of layoff. He didn’t miss much training so we should have him ready.”
Wild Dude worked seven furlongs Saturday in 1:26 flat with Rafael Bejarano aboard.
FINISH LINES: There were 357 recorded workouts at Santa Anita Saturday, including 30 on the dirt training track . . . Texas Red, winner of the 2014 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile, worked six furlongs Saturday in 1:14.40 for Keith Desormeaux, who also sent the stakes-winning Swipe five furlongs in 1:02.20, while La Canada winner Taris, prepping for the Grade I Santa Margarita Stakes on March 19, went five furlongs in a bullet 59.20 for Simon Callaghan. Regular rider Gary Stevens was up . . . Trainer John Sadler expects Eclipse Award champion Stellar Wind to be “on the work tab soon, after the weather breaks.” . . . With three wins Friday, Rafael Bejarano has opened a 45-39 lead over runner-up Santiago Gonzalez . . . Doug O’Neill holds a 22-21 lead over Phil D’Amato among trainers . . . Patty Sterling will represent jockey Tiago Pereira with the start of the new condition book out next week, replacing veteran Vince DeGregory.
Source: Santa Anita Park