Published Wednesday, August 5th, 2015   ( 6 years ago )

Stable Notes
August 5 2015

By Hank Wesch

“Home is where the heart is” – Pliny the Elder
If the equine corollary to that universally known statement is: “Home is where the hooves are,” then American Pharoah is indeed ‘home’ again at Del Mar.
The Triple Crown champion travelled back to Del Mar, his summertime training base, Monday from New Jersey, where he had scored another smashing victory, his eighth in a row, in the $1.75 million Haskell Invitational.
Arriving Monday night, American Pharoah settled in at the barn of Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert and, on Tuesday, resumed a program of walking in the stable area begun a day earlier in New Jersey that will continue through Thursday. American Pharoah’s next appearance on the Del Mar track is expected to occur on Friday in the usual 7:45-8 a.m. time window to resume light training for a yet to be determined next start.
On Monday, owner Ahmed Zayat expressed a preference for the Travers Stakes at Saratoga on August 29. Later, Baffert told Tim Wilkin of the Albany Times-Union: “You know, Ahmed is really excited right now. He has always wanted to run in the Travers. Anything is possible, but nothing is etched in stone.”
Baffert had no further comment here Wednesday morning on a next-start subject which is not expected to be decided until sometime next week.
Baffert was back at his usual spot in the grandstand Wednesday morning, supervising workouts of his horses while chatting with fellow horsemen. One of them was Dan Hendricks, whose Om remains the only horse to win a race in which American Pharoah was a participant. It happened almost a year ago, in the fourth race at Del Mar on Saturday, August 9, 2014, American Pharoah’s racing debut.
“People ask me what was the name of that horse that beat American Pharoah and I say, ‘Umm,’ “ Baffert joked to Hendricks. Om crossed under the wire in the 6 ½-furlong maiden special 9 ¼ lengths ahead of American Pharoah, who might have been experiencing sensory overload in his first racing experience.
Om went wire-to-wire. American Pharoah got within a head of Om at the half-mile point but weakened in the stretch and finished fifth.
One of the three horses besides Om to best American Pharoah was Baffert’s own One Lucky Dane.
“I thought you (American Pharoah) were going to breeze right by me (Om),” Hendricks said to Baffert.
“I ‘m glad he didn’t,” Baffert said. “It would have cooked him. They were going too fast.”
American Pharoah’s perfect performances since leave Hendricks as the only trainer, and Om the only horse to win a race against American Pharoah.
Hendricks, aware of the distinction, said “He (American Pharoah) is going to take me into the Hall of Fame. I’m going to ride his coattails.”
Om, a Kentucky-bred son of Munnings owned by the Sareen Family Trust, was found to have an inflamed growth plate after the maiden victory and didn’t return to racing until last April.
He was fifth in a six-furlong sprint at Santa Anita. “They were a little quick for him, but he ran a decent race, only got beat a few lengths,” Hendricks said.
On May 10, Om notched the second win of his career in his first start on turf at Santa Anita. In June, “because of the timing to Del Mar,” he ran in the Grade III Affirmed on the dirt at Santa Anita and finished third to Gimme Da Lute, winner of Sunday’s Real Good Deal stakes here.
Om will be entered Thursday in Sunday’s Grade III $150,000 La Jolla Handicap, second leg of Del Mar’s turf stakes series for 3-year-olds after the Opening Day Oceanside Stakes and before the $250,000 Grade II Del Mar Derby on Sunday, September 6.
“I feel good about it,” Hendricks said. “If he can run well (Sunday), he’ll come back for the Del Mar Derby. That’s the ultimate goal.”

Undefeated (2-2) Found Money, winner of the Santa Anita Juvenile Stakes in June, is the likely favorite for Saturday’s Grade II $200,000 Best Pal Stakes. A field of six was entered for the 6 ½-furlong race for 2-year-olds that is the major stepping stone to the Grade I $300,000 Del Mar Futurity on Closing Day, September 7.
Those entered Wednesday, in alphabetical order, are:  Annie’s Candy, Bistraya, Found Money, Nyquist, Payne’s Prairie and Swipe.

A field of nine, among them five graded stakes winners, were entered Wednesday for Saturday’s $$250,000 Grade II John C. Mabee Stakes for older fillies and mares at 1 1/8 miles on the turf.
The field, in alphabetical order, is: Blingismything, Elektrum, Fanticola, Gusto Dolce, Notte D’Oro, Personal Diary, Queen of The Sand and Stormy Lucy.
Blingismything, Fanticola, Personal Diary, Queen of The Sand, and Stormy Lucy all have North American graded stakes wins on their resumes. Gusto Dolce has a group stakes win in her native Uruguay. 

Mrazek, one of several highly promising 2-year-olds in the barn of trainer Doug O’Neill, is the 8-5 morning line favorite in a field of six for Wednesday’s $100,000 Graduation Stakes for California-bred 2-year-olds.
Mrazek, a son of Square Eddie owned by Reddam Racing LLC, was a close-up second in both the Santa Anita Juvenile Stakes in June and last month’s Summer Juvenile Championship at Los Alamitos.
The field from the rail out for the Graduation, which goes as the sixth on an eight-race program is: Mrazek (Mario Gutierrez, 8-5), Ralis (Corey Nakaani, 6-1), Getoffmyback (Joe Talamo, 7-2), Xingontothebone (Edwin Maldonado, 6-1), Viviendo El Sueno (Rafael Bejarano, 5-2) and Swiss Minister (Martin Pedroza, 10-1).

The Graduation Stakes, inaugurated in 1952, is an early identifier of the best California-bred 2-year-olds on the grounds. High finishers can “graduate” to the open Grade I Del Mar Futurity, as California Chrome did in 2013, or the state-bred I’m Smokin Stakes, as Wake Up Nick did in 2014.

Tyler Baze and Rafael Bejarano won two races each on Sunday to leapfrog Joe Talamo into a tie for first place in the jockey standings entering Week 3 of the meeting.
Bajarano prevailed by nine wins in 2012, 18 wins in 2013 and 10 last year in becoming the three-time defending riding champion. But separation from an overall deeply-talented group of fellow jockeys is proving more difficult in 2015.
Bejarano and Baze have 13 wins in the first 14 days of the meeting. Talamo remains one win behind the leaders with newcomers Flavien Prat and Santiago Gonzalez and veteran Mario Gutierrez also having achieved double-figure win totals.
Doug O’Neill hasn’t been to the winner’s circle since a Del Mar record five wins a week ago, but still holds a two-win margin over Jerry Hollendorfer.

CLOSERS -- Ship And Win program eligible horses on Wednesday’s program are: Embellishing Bob (1st, Henry Dominguez trainer), Hojas (2nd, Charles Treece), Indian Assault (3rd, J. Keith Desormeaux), Rockport Dancer (5th, Kathy Walsh) and I’ll Show Me (5th, Ron Ellis) … Selected workouts from 302 officially timed over the past three days. Monday – Imperative (1m, 1:40.80), Stellar Wind (6f, 1:15.60), Native Ride (1:13.80), Midnight Storm (1:13.80), Hard Aces (1:13.80), Ashleyluvssugar (5fm, 1:04.00), Pain and Misery (4f, :53.80), Big John B (4f, :48.80); Tuesday – Customer Base (7f, 1:29.60), Diamond Bachelor (5f, :58.60); Wednesday – Dreamcatcher (6f, 1:14.40), Bayern (6f, 1:11.60), Texas Ryano (5f, 1:00.80), Prize Exhibit (5f, 1:00.20), Catch a Flight (4f, :49.60) … Matt Dinerman, first-year announcer at Emerald Downs, is back at  Del Mar for a few days before heading back to the Northwest. A North County resident, Dinerman spent recent summers at Del Mar as a stable hand for John Sadler and press box steward and practicing race calls into a recorder. The latter activity paid off with his hiring by Emerald Downs this spring. 

Jockey Standings
(Current Through Sunday, August 2, 2015 Inclusive)
Jockey Mts 1st 2nd 3rd Win% Money Won
Tyler Baze 86 14 15 12 16% $847,048
Rafael Bejarano 72 14 10 11 19% $837,132
Joseph Talamo 76 13 8 5 17% $725,200
Flavien Prat 80 12 7 13 15% $893,882
Santiago Gonzalez 58 11 4 6 19% $575,894
Mario Gutierrez 41 10 6 1 24% $465,126
Mike Smith 31 5 6 4 16% $590,280
Tiago Pereira 39 5 2 1 13% $196,670
Martin Garcia 56 4 7 7 7% $424,680
Martin Pedroza 49 4 6 4 8% $219,876
Trainer Standings
(Current Through Sunday, August 2, 2015 Inclusive)
Trainer Sts 1st 2nd 3rd Win% Money Won
Doug F. O'Neill 39 9 8 4 23% $460,010
Jerry Hollendorfer 35 7 5 2 20% $524,492
Peter Miller 56 6 7 6 11% $465,896
Richard Baltas 29 6 3 7 21% $294,700
Philip D'Amato 24 5 4 2 21% $337,970
Mike Puype 33 5 2 7 15% $273,930
John W. Sadler 22 5 2 4 23% $151,620
Richard E. Mandella 16 4 3 4 25% $556,610
Jeff Mullins 14 4 2 2 29% $420,842
James M. Cassidy 27 3 4 2 11% $332,440
Winning Favorites Report
(Current Through Sunday, August 2, 2015 Inclusive)
Winning favorites 32  125  25.60%
Winning favorites on dirt 24 88 27.27%
Winning favorites on turf 8 37 21.62%
Winning odds-on favorites 4 12 33.33%
In-the-Money favorites 68 125 54.40%
In-the-Money odds-on favorites 11 12 91.67%

Contact: Dan Smith 858-792-4226/Hank Wesch 858-755-1141 ext. 3793