By Hank Wesch
PEDROZA’S BACK RUNNING, AND AMONG THE EARLY LEADERS
Posting the first riding triple of a Bing Crosby Season on Saturday, veteran Martin Pedroza finds himself with a share of the lead in the jockey standings with Mike Smith and Tyler Baze.
Pedroza guided Little Jerry ($27.60), Suva Harbor ($14.80) and Itz a Saint ($47.00) under the wire first in the fourth, sixth and seventh races. He enters Sunday’s program, in which he is scheduled for four mounts in the first five races, with a record of three wins, two seconds and a third from six mounts. One hundred percent in-the-money.
Sunday morning he could be found where he had been found since early in the week – the Del Mar stable area. One of, if not the first, jockeys on the grounds, Pedroza doesn’t link his early bird status to early success.
“When Santa Anita was over I came right here, and I hadn’t worked a horse since I got here until Friday, and then just one,” Pedroza said. “And I like to work horses to get my timing and everything.
“But I think that it (inactivity) might have done me some good. Because ever since I came back from breaking my leg, I haven’t taken one day off.”
Pedroza, 49, broke the the tibia and fibula bones in his left leg in a racing accident on February 2 and made his riding return at Santa Anita on June 27. Jockeys, because of their fitness and slight stature, are known to be fast healers. Pedroza’s recovery time added evidence.
“The doctor said it would take longer, six to eight months (to recover) and then more time to get back to normal,” Pedroza said. “When I started to run, I was limping. But I think it is back to normal. The other day I ran probably six miles – from the place where I’m staying, to the beach, to Via de la Valle and all around the track to downtown, and I feel pretty good.”
FALLON’S IRISH EYES ARE SMILING ABOUT BEING AT DEL MAR
Before Friday Kieren Fallon, a six-time British riding champion widely considered the greatest “flat” jockey of his generation and one of the greatest ever, had never been to Del Mar.
But, after his first ride here the 49-year-old took a spot near a table in the jockeys’ room dining area and, with the lilt and brogue of his native County Clare, Ireland, declared how he really liked the place.
"There's no place like it, anywhere in the world,” Fallon said. “It's just lovely. The facilities and everything here for the jockeys is first rate.”
Fallon knows about tracks around the world. His record shows major stakes victories by the score in England, Ireland and France and assorted others in 10 or more other countries. The 2005 Arlington Million, aboard Powerscout, and Breeders’ Cup wins with Islington in 2003 and Ouija Board in 2004 are among his major stakes scores in the U.S.
At various times he served as the stable rider for venerated European trainers Henry Cecil, Sir Michael Stoute and Aiden O’Brien.
Why is he here? He just kind of wanted to see the place and, since Del Mar had a fall meeting …
"I've always just gone home (after the Breeders' Cup) but I've wanted to see more of California,” Fallon said. “Del Mar is just beautiful and hopefully I'll be riding some winners. The thought is to stay for the whole meeting."
Brad Pegram, who also serves as agent for Mike Smith, is lining some up for Fallon.
"It's not going to be easy. It's going to be the toughest place in the world to win,” Fallon said. “The best jockeys are here. But if you're going to improve, you want to ride against the best. If anything, I'll improve my riding from being here with them. I figure this is a window of opportunity and if I don't do it now, it'll be too late."
WHAT’S IN A NAME – BETTY GRABLE STAKES
Called the “Cat’s Cradle” Stakes when run at Hollywood Park, it was renamed to honor Betty Grable, the dancer, singer and 20th Century Fox movie star of the 1940s and ‘50s. Celebrated for having the most beautiful legs in Hollywood, her iconic bathing suit poster was the No.1 pin-up for American G.I.’s in World War II. She was a regular at Del Mar in the early decades with her husband, band leader and trumpeter Harry James.
SHERMAN GETS INTO THE WIN COLUMN –APRES A ‘CHROME CHECK
Saturday morning, about four hours before he would saddle Love Blind ($8.60) to victory in the first race, trainer Art Sherman was asked for an update on Kentucky Derby and Preakness winner California Chrome.
“He came out of the race super,” Sherman said of a third place finish behind Bayern on November 1 in the $5 million Breeders’ Cup Classic. “I just talked to (son and assistant trainer) Alan at Los Alamitos and he said he’s jumping and playing and feeling good. I think he’d run an awesome race if I could get him one before the end of the year.”
There had been much speculation that California Chrome would be headed to Japan for the Champions Cup, formerly the Japan Cup Dirt, on December 7. Sherman and the colt’s owners have all said that, for several reasons, that won’t happen.
It remains to be seen if California Chrome will race again this year. But the door remains open for him to get international experience as a 4-year-old next year in the Dubai World Cup.
ELEVEN ENTERED FOR THURSDAY’S FEATURE
CRK Stable’s Demonica, a wire-to-wire winner in a one-mile turf race in mid-October at Santa Anita, tops a field of 11 entered in Thursday’s feature when live racing returns after three days off with a first post of 12:30 p.m.
The seventh-race, a $58,000 allowance optional claiming event, is 1 1/16 miles on the Jimmy Durante Turf Course for older California-bred fillies and mares.
Demonica, trained by John Sadler, was a 5 ½-length winner on October 19 at Santa Anita covering the turf mile in 1:34.40.
The field, from the rail out: Boller Bomb (Victor Espinoza), Frandontjudge (Drayden Van Dyke), Casey’s Clem (Elvis Trujillo), Market Quote (Corey Nakatani), Tangelo (Mario Gutierrez), Hanserella (Fernando Perez), Demonica (Joe Talamo), Winninginfashion (Edwin Maldonado), Irene’s Cherub (William Antongeorgi III), Van Dien Avenue (Kent Desormeaux) and Kana Flavor (Martin Garcia).
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.
Working for different studios kept Bing and Betty Grable, for whom today’s featured stakes is named, apart on the silver screen. But they shared legendary art director William Edward Flannery on some of their film classics – Million Dollar Legs (1939) for Grable, Going My Way (1944) and Bells of St. Mary’s (1945) for Bing.
CLOSERS – The victory in Saturday’s first race aboard Love Blind was the first at Del Mar for Alex Solis since August 21, 2010 when he guided Charm The Crowd to a 1 ¼ - length maiden victory for Richard Mandella. Solis, inducted into racing’s Hall of Fame last summer, spent four years riding in the East before relocating to Southern California in September. Solis has 4,994 career wins … Fastest works at the distances among 22 on a foggy Sunday morning were: 3 f – Belle Et Bete and Pound Peace :36.60; 4f – Rainbow North :48.00; 5f – Dea, Force, Friendly Banter and Small Moves 1:00.80; 6f – Winning Rhythm 1:15.20.
Sunday, November 9, 2014 Contact: Dan Smith 858-792-4226/Hank Wesch 858-755-1141 ext. 3793