Published Friday, August 12th, 2022   ( 1 month ago )

Stable Notes
August 12, 2022

ANDIE BIANCONE MULTI-TASKS AS TRAINER AND REPORTER AT DEL MAR

Most people will recognize her from her work as a reporter and race analyst on TVG but if Andie Biancone has her way, more will soon get to know her as a trainer of winning race horses at Del Mar.

The 24-year-old daughter of accomplished horse trainer Patrick Biancone is overseeing a small string of her father’s horses at Del Mar this summer. Small in numbers, big in names. It includes Diamond Oops, a 7-year-old multiple-graded stakes winner with earnings exceeding $1.4 million.

“He was a little disappointing in the Bing Crosby,” Andie says. “I think he was just a little tired after the traveling and the prep race. We’ll probably have to switch him back to the turf which is kinder for him.”

Diamond Oops’ resume includes wins in the 2019 G3 Mr. Prospector Stakes at Gulfstream Park, the 2020 G2 Turf Sprint on Derby Day at Churchill Downs and the 2020 G2 Phoenix at Keeneland. But he hasn’t been back to the winner’s circle since June of last year.

Biancone tends to her horses in the morning, which generally requires a wake-up call before the sun rises. Then she shifts over to her reporter role in the afternoon. It’s a tough schedule, one that fellow trainer, Ron Ellis, can empathize with. He did the same thing with TVG for several years until 2020.

“It’s a little bit of grueling schedule because there’s homework to do for the TV,” Ellis says. “You don’t just go straight from working in the morning to the afternoon. It was a hectic schedule but I enjoyed it so it didn’t seem like work.“

Andie feels the same way. She says while her long-term goal has always been to become a horse trainer, she hopes to continue doing both. Her father couldn’t be more proud.

“My wife was a TV broadcaster for many years,” Biancone says, “and I’m a trainer. So she (Andie) took half and half of us. It’s great and we’re very happy with her.”

Like many out-of-town trainers, Andie Biancone is here in part because of the “Ship & Win” program that rewards trainers who bring horses from other states. Her job at TVG is another reason and then there’s dad.

“My dad always likes to keep the old ball and chain on me,” she jokes. “But I wouldn’t want it any other way; this is what I love to do.”

She also loves being at Del Mar.

“It’s great here, the barns are awesome, the horses are happy, the track’s very bouncy. Yeah, very happy to be here.”


MEET BY NUMBERS: FIELD SIZES CONTINUE TO IMPRESS

The numbers for this summer’s meet at Del Mar continue to outpace last year, especially the field sizes. On average, nine horses-plus have entered the gate per race through the first 11 days of the meet. 9.46 to be exact. The number of starters through the first three weeks of 2022 was 1,022.

“In terms of field size, it’s robust right now,” according to racing secretary, David Jerkens. “We started off really well and hope the momentum carries us through the eight weeks.”

The numbers get even better when you jump onto the turf course: 44% of all the races run so far at Del Mar this summer have been run on the grass, with an average field size of 10.23. That breaks down to 48 races total on the lawn, six more than at this time last year when the average field size was 9.43. Jerkens attributes the uptick to a lengthy gap in turf racing in California prior to the start of the meet.

“We knew from the get-go we would have a lot of turf horses raring to go,” Jerkens says, “but we’re thrilled with both surfaces right now. I like to tell people it shows what California racing can produce when everybody statewide is dialed in on one particular meet.”

Fifty individual trainers have won at least once at Del Mar out of the 108 races run so far this summer. Northern California trainers have won seven races, five alone by Andy Mathis, and six out-of-state trainers have made it to the winner’s circle.

The popular “Ship & Win” program continues to bring a much-needed infusion of ‘invaders’ to Del Mar. Through Sunday, 120 horses had qualified for “S&W” resulting in 14 winners. That’s up from 91 qualifiers at this time in 2021. The program offers cash incentives to trainers who enter horses from out-of-state.

“We’re trying to compete with other racetracks that have additional subsidies from slot revenue that California does not,” Jerkens points out. “This is how we can try to balance and remain competitive around the country. It’s a tool that we feel is necessary to keep our horse population and offer a quality product four days a week.”

Last year a total of 180 horses qualified for “S&W”. This year Jerkens sees that number exceeding 200 by the end of the meet.


O’NEILL ROLLS OUT TRIO OF 2-YEAR OLD FILLIES FOR G2 SORRENTO

While winning the Sorrento Stakes is not a guarantee of racing immortality, it’s certainly a nice jump off point for future stars of the sport. The six furlong sprint for 2-year-old fillies has been won by such gems as Brave Raj, Lite Light, Silverbulletday, Chilukki and Bellafina. Last year’s edition was won by Elm Drive.

The 54th running of Saturday’s G2 Sorrento Stakes has a field of seven, three of whom come from the Doug O’Neill barn. He rolls out Vegas Magic, Satin Doll and Absolute Zero, all undefeated so far in their young careers.

Aldabbagh, Cady or Leatherman’s Vegas Magic broke her maiden at Santa Anita in June and then ventured up to Pleasanton and won the Everett Nevin Stakes by a nose over Fumano’s Girl, who came back last week and ran sixth in the CTBA Stakes at Del Mar.

“She’s shown she can win up near the pace and way off the pace,” O’Neill says. “I’m just excited and optimistic for a big effort.”

O’Neill also saddles Absolutely Zero, who was the likely favorite in last weekend’s CTBA Stakes before she was scratched in favor of running in the Sorrento.

“As a team we just huddle up and look for when she’s best ready and the best opportunity,” O’Neill said. “I think another week did her good and it’s a $200,000 Grade 2. I think that’s a great opportunity for her to get graded placed and a graded win.”

Absolutely Zero defeated the boys in the Fasig Tipton Futurity at Santa Anita in June. The daughter of Nyquist has some heavy hitters in her corner. She’s owned and bred by Paul Reddam of Reddam Racing, she’s trained by O’Neill and she’ll be ridden by two-time Kentucky Derby winner Mario Gutierrez. She’s undefeated after two races and was the favorite in both of her races.

O’Neill also has The Del Mar Group’s Satin Doll, who won a maiden special race at first asking on opening weekend at Del Mar. She’ll have a different rider this time around. Ramon Vasquez takes over for Kyle Frey.

“That was unintentional,” O’Neill pointed out. “I had told the rider (Frey) and his agent that we would wait until the Debutante to run her and then after her last work we switched it up and he had already committed. That was my bad.”

Frey ends up on Rick or Sharon Waller’s Dazzlingdominika, who broke her maiden last out at Churchill Downs. She comes out of the Phillip D’Amato barn and is one of the ones in the field capable of giving the O’Neill trio a good challenge.

There’s also Eclipse Thoroughbred Partners’ Procrastination, from the Michael McCarthy barn. She won by eight lengths at first asking at Los Alamitos.

Diamond 100 Racing Club’s Infinite Diamond finished second in her debut at Gulfstream Park, but according to assistant trainer Andie Biancone, she’s the “bullet” in the barn.

The G2 Sorrento is the ninth race on Saturday’s 10-race card. Here’s the field from the rail with jockeys: Procrastination (Ricky Gonzalez); Vegas Magic (Abel Cedillo); Dazzlingdominika; Classymademoiselle (Tyler Baze); Satin Doll; Absolutely Zero and Infinite Diamond (Ryan Curatolo).


COOLING OUT:  Jockey Tyler Baze is scheduled to appear before the stewards Friday after not showing up for work Thursday. He was taken off his remaining five mounts after he missed the first race and, according to Jay Privman of the Daily Racing Form, failed to call the stewards until the seventh race…Trainer Leonard Powell says his multiple-graded stakes winner Neige Blanche will return to defend her title in the CTT & TOC Stakes next Friday. The French-bred has won four-of-her-last-five races dating back to last fall’s G3 Red Carpet Handicap at Del Mar…Flightline is expected to put in his weekly work Saturday morning. Trainer John Sadler says he will have his undefeated colt out on the track around 6:30 AM. Flightline is being pointed to the G1 TVG Pacific Classic September 3…Notable works for Friday: Dirt – Forbidden Kingdom (3f, 36:40); High Connection (4f, 48.60); Express Train (5f, 1:01.40); Heywoods Beach (5f, 1:01.40); In all, 160 horses put in official works Friday.


Del Mar Statistics

 

Jockey Standings

(Current Through Thursday, August 11, 2022 Inclusive)

Jockey Mts 1st 2nd 3rd Win% In-money% Money Won
Juan Hernandez 85 19 13 14 22% 54% $1,371,096
Umberto Rispoli 63 12 13 8 19% 52% $979,100
Joe Bravo 41 10 3 5 24% 44% $759,656
Ramon Vazquez 74 8 18 15 11% 55% $909,226
Edwin Maldonado 57 7 5 8 12% 35% $428,710
Florent Geroux 52 6 8 8 12% 42% $553,680
Ryan Curatolo 46 6 2 4 13% 26% $268,132
Hector Berrios 20 6 1 0 30% 35% $478,300
Abel Cedillo 68 5 9 7 7% 31% $536,656
Mike Smith 23 5 1 1 22% 30% $470,640

 

Trainer Standings

(Current Through Thursday, August 11, 2022 Inclusive)

Trainer Sts 1st 2nd 3rd Win% In-money% Money Won
Philip D'Amato 57 8 12 15 14% 61% $974,686
Bob Baffert 30 8 5 8 27% 70% $623,330
Peter Miller 49 7 11 6 14% 49% $633,620
Doug F. O'Neill 53 7 6 4 13% 32% $499,540
George Papaprodromou 42 7 5 7 17% 45% $646,540
Andy Mathis 20 6 0 1 30% 35% $234,648
Michael W. McCarthy 27 5 2 4 19% 41% $442,480
Mark Glatt 32 4 8 6 13% 56% $306,576
John W. Sadler 34 3 5 5 9% 38% $287,796
Steve R. Knapp 23 3 3 1 13% 30% $144,780

  

Winning Favorites Report
(Current Through Thursday, August 11, 2022 Inclusive)

Winning favorites -- 37 out of 116 -- 31.90%
Winning favorites on dirt -- 24 out of 65 -- 36.92%
Winning favorites on turf -- 13 out of 51 -- 25.49%
Winning odds-on favorites -- 6 out of 15 -- 40.00%
In-the-Money favorites -- 86 out of 116 -- 74.14%
In-the-Money odds-on favorites -- 14 out of 15 -- 93.33%