Friday, November 28th, 2014   ( 6 years ago )

Stable Notes Day 13
November 28 2014

By Hank Wesch
 

 
SHERMAN, CASSE HAVE AMICABLE MEETING ON EVE OF SHOWDOWN
 
Trainers Art Sherman and Mark Casse met for the first time Friday at 7 a.m. trackside at Del Mar. It was an amicable, jovial and from all appearances enjoyable ten minutes or so for both.
 
Those adjectives don’t figure to apply, however, on Saturday afternoon when Sherman’s Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes-winning colt California Chrome faces Casse’s filly Lexie Lou, winner of the Queen’s Plate, first leg of the Canadian Triple Crown series, in the $300,000 Hollywood Derby.
 
Casse, a six-time Sovereign Award winner as Canada’s trainer of the year, had been working in his “office” – the driver’s seat of his SUV with his I-pad propped against the steering wheel – and casually watching California Chrome go through a 1 ½-mile gallop over the Polytrack main course while talking to a reporter through the rolled-down window. Lexie Lou had gone through a similar final pre-race exercise a few moments early.
 
Noticing Sherman approaching on his way back to the stable, Casse got out of the car, saying “I wonder if he knows me?” and  introduced himself to Sherman, who smiled, shook hands and paused to chat. The highlights:
 
They both agreed they were excited about Saturday’s race, which includes four other rivals. They agreed it’s a great thing not only for Del Mar but for horse racing in general. They exchanged compliments about their  respective horses.
 
They laughed about the possibility of a physical attraction between members of the opposite sex. “I hope they don’t fall in love,” Sherman had said Thursday, a reference to the notoriously libidinous California Chrome.
 
“If he tries anything, she’ll tear into him,” Casse said. “She’s not in a loving mood at all at this point.”
 
Casse, who has trained all over North America, said he wasn’t surprised that California Chrome, like many before him, came up a Belmont victory  short in his Triple Crown bid. “There’s no home field advantage in the Kentucky Derby and Preakness, but there is in the Belmont,” Casse said. “I’ve trained at Belmont Park and that track is different than most, it’s deeper and has more sand. I predicted he’d lose the Belmont to a horse stabled at Belmont Park.
 
“And Parx is a lot like Belmont.” Parx Racing, formerly called Philadelphia Park, was the site of California Chrome’s sixth-place finish in the Pennsylvania Derby in his first start after the Belmont Stakes.
 
Casse said he has always been a believer that a horse’s confidence level is a major factor in success. Lexie Lou has it from four wins in her last five starts. California Chrome had it in abundance winning six straight through the Derby and Preakness. He could regain it by ending a three-race losing streak in his first start on grass in the Hollywood Derby.
 
“I’ve watched him train and he looks as good, or better, to me than he did before the (Kentucky) Derby,” Casse said. “Let’s face it, if he brings his ‘A’ game we’re all just watching. But if he doesn’t, I know Lexie is going to be tough and she’ll give a good accounting of herself.”
 
A victory for California Chrome enhances his Horse of the Year chances. A victory for Lexie Lou, Casse pointed out, could win her that honor in Canada.
 
From the rail out the field, with riders and oddsmaker Russ Hudak’s morning line is: Talco (Drayden Van Dyke, 10-1), Lexie Lou (Corey Nakatani, 3-1), Flamboyant (Mike Smith, 6-1), Sawyer’s Hill (Rafael Bejarano, 5-1), California Chrome (Victor Espinoza, 4-5) and Cabral (Kent Desormeaux, 15-1).
 

 
TOM’S TRIBUTE RETURNS IN SEABISCUIT
 
The return of Tom’s Tribute, voted top grass horse of the Del Mar summer meeting off wins in the Grade I Eddie Read Stakes and Grade II Del Mar Mile Handicap, is the focal point of Friday’s featured $200,000 Seabiscuit Handicap.
 
In his only start following the summer meeting, Tom’s Tribute was seventh of 14 in the $2 million Breeders’ Cup Mile on November 1 at Santa Anita.
 
“It’s a good spot,” trainer Jim Cassidy said of the Seabiscuit for Tom’s Tribute. “It’s the only spot (graded 1 1/16 mile turf stakes) until January, so we thought we’d better run him, We’ve got nothing but dirt (racing) now until the first few weeks of Santa Anita.”
 
“He’s looking good and he likes the course. If he runs like he did here last summer, he’ll be tough.” 
 
The field for the Seabiscuit from the rail out is: Lil Bit O’Fun (Aaron Gryder, 20-1), Za Approval (Victor Espinoza, 5-1), Mr. Commons (Brice Blanc, 8-1), Pure Tactics (Rafael Bejarano, 5-1), Kaigun (Corey Nakatani, 6-1), Skyring (Tyler Baze, 20-1), Tom’s Tribute (Mike Smith, 5-2), Big Bane Theory (Joe Talamo, 7-2).
 
Boozer and Avanzare were scratched Friday morning.
 

 
WHAT'S IN A NAME -- SEABISCUIT HANDICAP
 
Formerly the Citation Handicap when run at Hollywood Park from 1997 to 2013, it was renamed for Seabiscuit, the champion runner whose 1938 match race victory over Ligaroti is credited with putting Del Mar on the worldwide horse racing map. Seabiscuit's commoner-to-champion story inspired the nation in a time of depression, a New York Times #1 best seller and an Academy-Award nominated movie.
 

 
JIMMY DURANTE, NATIVE DIVER ADD SIZZLE TO SATURDAY STAKES
 
While the presence of California Chrome places the brightest spotlight Saturday on the Hollywood Derby, two other stakes earlier on the card, the Native Diver and the Jimmy Durante, do not lack for quality and intrigue.
 
The $200,000 Grade II Native Diver, which goes as the third on a nine-race card with first post at 12:30 p.m., is at 1 1/8 miles on the Polytrack main surface. It has Big Cazanova and Blue Tone, impressive double winners here during the summer meeting, and 2013 Del Mar Futurity winner Tamarando. That trio will be  pitted against three newcomers to the track  and Blueskiesnrainbows, whose last run here produced a last-place result in the 2013 Pacific Classic.
 
The field for the Native Diver is: Big Cazanova (Elvis Trujillo, 3-1), Tamarando (Mike Smith, 7-2), Blue Tone (Kent Desormeaux, 2-1), Fleet Eagle (Tiago Pereira, 20-1), Avanzare (Gary Stevens, 5-1), Salto Del Indio (Joe Talamo, 10-1) and Blueskiesnrainbows (Rafael Bejarano, 5-1).
 
The $150,000 Grade III Jimmy Durante, the sixth race on the program, is a mile on the turf for 2-year-old fillies. H. Graham Motion-trained graded stakes winner Rainha Da Bateria, ninth with a wide trip in the $1 million Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies on October 31 at Santa Anita, will take on 10 others of promise but not graded stakes accomplishment.
 
The field, from the rail out: Conquest Artura (Corey Nakatani, 12-1), Rainha Da Bateria (Mike Smith, 5-2), Belle Et Bete (Alex Solis, 6-1), Ol Fashion Gal (Joe Talamo, 8-1), Backstreet Lisa (Edwin Maldonado, 15-1), Paulina’s Love (Kent Desormeaux, 15-1), Bobbi Grace (Drayden Van Dyke, 7-2), Devil’s Beauty (William Antongeorgi III, 20-1), Jaded Glory (Gary Stevens, 6-1), Don’t Blame Me (Tyler Baze, 8-1) and Bennet Jean, 15-1).
 

 
DADDY D T, LA TIA FAVORED IN CLOSING DAY STAKES
 
Hronis Racing LLC’s Daddy D T, trained by John Sadler, is the 5-2 morning line favorite in a field of 10 for the $150,000 Grade III Cecil B. DeMille Stakes and La Tia was tabbed the 5-2 choice against five other entrants in the $300,000 Grade I Matriarch on Sunday, closing day of the Bing Crosby Season.
 
Daddy D T was third in the $1 million Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf on October 31 at Santa Anita, beating Conquest Typhoon, the 3-1 second choice in the DeMille, by a head.
 
The field for the DeMille, which goes as the sixth race, from the rail out: St. Joe Bay (Elvis Trujillo, 6-1), Soul Driver (Tyler Baze, 15-1), Guilty  (Victor Espinoza, 8-1), Sebastian’s Heart (Kent Desormeaux, 20-1), Diamond Majesty (Martin Pedroza, 12-1), Daddy D T (Corey Nakaani, 5-2), Rock Shandy  (Gary Stevens, 15-1), Stormy Liberal (William Antongeorgi III, 12-1), Papacoolpapacool (Joe Talamo, 4-1), Conquest Tycoon (Mike Smith, 3-1).
 
La Tia, owned by Salvador Hernandez and trained by Armando De la cerda, won the Grade III Athenia Stakes at Belmont Park in her last start on October 14. A serious contender is Discreet Marq, who has shipped in from Belmont Park by trainer Christophe Clement. Discreet Marq, a daughter of Discreet Cat, shipped in to  win the Grade I Del Mar Oaks in 2013.
 
The field for the Matriarch, which goes as the eighth race, from the rail out: Queen of The Sand (Mike Smith, 9-2), Strathnaver (Rafael Bejarano, 4-1), La Tia (Joel Rosario, 5-2), Kadaya (Kent Desormeaux, 20-1), Discreet Marq (Irad Ortiz, Jr., 7-2) and Lexie Lou (Corey Nakatani, 3-1).
 
Lexie Lou is cross-entered in Saturday’s Hollywood Derby and is expected to go in that race.
 

 
JOCKEY, TRAINER NEWS
 
By taking the late double on Thursday aboard Finnegans Wake in the Hollywood Turf Cup and 9-1 shot Jazzy Josh in the  final race, Victor Espinoza will take a two-win lead in the jockey standings into the final three days of the meeting. Espinoza, regular rider for California Chrome, has 10 wins.  Elvis Trujillo is next with eight and four riders have six.
 
Declaring Gary Stevens the all-time leader for wins among jockeys with an artificial knee will have to wait for awhile.
 
Stevens, who earlier in the meeting notched his first win since having his left knee replaced, was asked Friday if he knew of other riders of similar circumstance. His answer was surprising.
 
“Mike Baze Sr. did it, and so did Bill Mahorney,” Stevens said.
 
Trainer Peter Miller’s three wins Thursday made for a memorable Thanksgiving for the Carlsbad resident and his family, and separated him by that number from Mike Puype atop the trainer standings. Miller has 12 wins to Puype’s nine.
 
Miller has 16 horses entered the final three days to eight for Puype.
 

 
IT'S ALL ABOUT THE BING
 
For the inaugural Bing Crosby Season at Del Mar, we offer a daily note, quote or anecdote about the track’s founding father for whom the fall meeting is named.
 
The opponent for Seabiscuit, for whom today’s featured stakes is named, in the celebrated 1938 match race at Del Mar was Ligaroti, co-owned by Bing Crosby and Lin Howard who partnered as Binglin Stable and imported the 6-year-old from Argentina. Seabiscuit was owned by Lin’s father, Charles Howard. 
 

 
INAUGURAL FUN RUN DOES WELL
 
Thursday’s inaugural Del Mar Family Mile Fun Run had a field of around 800.
 
Participants proceeded through the starting gate for a one-mile trip around the track with jockeys Mike Smith, Alex Solis and Aaron Gryder participating and providing encouragement along the way.
 
A puppy race was also held with participants, all from the Helen Woodward Animal Center, available for adoption and reportedly stirring considerable interest. Proceeds from the event benefit the Helen Woodward Animal Center and their equestrian therapy program for children and adults with special needs.
 
“We got a late start on (promoting) the event, but we were very pleased with the way it turned out,” said Chris Bahr, Del Mar Thoroughbred Club director of events and promotions. “We’re trying to start a family tradition for Thanksgiving Day and we’ll definitely look forward to doing it again next year.”
 

 
CLOSERS – Del Mar kitchens served 800 Thanksgiving dinners, turkey with all the trimmings, around the track on the holiday … Trainer Mark Casse and his wife will mark their 12th wedding anniversary on Sunday and, with the Bing Crosby Season over, travel to Hawaii on Monday for what Casse said will be his first experience in the islands …Travel delays prevented jockey Corey Nakatani from getting to Del Mar for three scheduled mounts Thursday. Mike Smith turned the pick-up on one of them, Alpha Bird ($3.80) into a victory in the sixth race.
 

 
DEL MAR STATISTICS
 
Jockey Standings
(Current Through Thursday, November 27, 2014 Inclusive)

Jockey

Mts

1st

2nd

3rd

Win%

Money Won

Victor Espinoza

38

10

4

3

26%

$485,608

Elvis Trujillo

61

8

11

7

13%

$392,804

Drayden Van Dyke

59

7

17

8

12%

$429,676

Kent Desormeaux

53

7

11

8

13%

$313,350

Tyler Baze

58

7

4

6

12%

$263,770

Joseph Talamo

39

7

4

2

18%

$319,120

Rafael Bejarano

36

6

8

5

17%

$345,484

Fernando Perez

40

6

2

6

15%

$213,570

Martin Pedroza

38

5

7

4

13%

$227,354

Edwin Maldonado

36

5

4

3

14%

$167,048

 
 
Trainer Standings
(Current Through Thursday, November 27, 2014 Inclusive)

Trainer

Sts

1st

2nd

3rd

Win%

Money Won

Peter Miller

45

12

8

6

27%

$540,878

Mike Puype

32

9

3

2

28%

$357,630

John W. Sadler

28

5

3

3

18%

$207,720

Robert B. Hess, Jr.

26

4

9

1

15%

$152,530

Leandro Mora

43

4

4

8

9%

$182,514

Philip D'Amato

21

4

4

2

19%

$124,828

Peter Eurton

14

4

0

2

29%

$162,710

Bob Baffert

10

3

4

1

30%

$175,920

Richard Baltas

18

3

2

2

17%

$160,760

Patrick Gallagher

8

3

1

2

38%

$102,270

 
 
Winning Favorites Report
(Current Through Thursday, November 27, 2014 Inclusive)
Winning favorites -- 33 out of 103 -- 32.04%
Winning favorites on Polytrack -- 21 out of 67 -- 31.34% 
Winning favorites on turf -- 12 out of 36 -- 33.33%
Winning odds-on favorites -- 3 out of 14 -- 21.43%
In-the-Money favorites -- 69 out of 103 -- 66.99%
In-the-Money odds-on favorites -- 9 out of 14 -- 64.29%
 

 
Friday, November 28, 2014 Contact: Dan Smith 858-792-4226/Hank Wesch 858-755-1141 ext. 3793