Published Monday, September 7th, 2015   ( 7 years ago )

Stable Notes
September 7 2015

By Hank Wesch

In the waning weeks of the 76th Summer Meeting, which  ends today, there was talk that Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert, winner of a record 12 Del Mar Futurities, might not have  a representative for the race which determines the 2-year-old champion of the meeting.
Then, last week, Baffert entered Nightly News and Mt Veeder. And the talk quieted down.
Monday morning, the two Baffert colts were scratched, Mt Veeder after working five furlongs in 1:00.00, apparently to be part of a stable contingent shipping north to Santa Anita for future racing.
The scratches reduced the field for the Grade I $300,000 Futurity to six. If all go, it would still be the smallest Futurity field since Declan’s Moon defeated three rivals in 2004.
The field from the rail with oddsmaker Russ Hudak’s revised morning line:  Annie’s Candy (Victor Espinoza, 8-1), Swipe (Kent Desormeaux, 3-1),  Nyquist (Mario Gutierrez, 8-5), Archaeo (James Graham, 20-1), Blameitonthelaw (Tyler Baze, 2-1) and Rockin Bayou (Mike Smith, 6-1).
Nyquist was 5-2 on the original morning line. Mt Veeder was the fourth choice at 5-1, Nightly News 8-1.
A year ago, Baffert won his 12th Del Mar Futurity with a maiden colt named American Pharoah who was 4 ¾-lengths clear at the wire.
The more than 3-1 odds and $8.40 win payoff was more than American Pharoah backers would ever see again. He paid $7.80 winning the Kentucky Derby en route  to the Triple Crown Championship.
American Pharoah will be an impossible Del Mar Futurity act to follow. But somebody’s got to do it.

Trainer Dan Hendricks reported Monday morning that Om, winner of Sunday’s Del Mar Derby, had come out of the race in good shape and likely has a couple more  “Derbies” remaining in his 2015 campaign.
“We’ll ship up to Santa Anita, see how he’s doing and go from there,” Hendricks said. “Being conservative, he could go in the Twilight Derby and then come back down here for the Hollywood Derby in the fall.”
The Grade II $200,000 Twilight Derby at Santa Anita on October 24 and the Grade I $300,000 Hollywood Derby on November 28 here, are both 1 1/8-mile turf events. As Hendricks points out, “the same race” in terms of surface and distance as Sunday’s Grade II $250,000 Del Mar Derby which the Kentucky-bred son of Munnings won wire-to-wire under Gary Stevens.
“It’s the same schedule I used with Daytona a few years ago,” Hendricks said. “Then when he turns four, we’ll switch him to the dirt.”
Hendricks, who spent part of his youth in the San Diego area and attended Torrey Pines High, was elated over his first Del Mar Derby victory.
“I’ve won just about every Derby in Southern California – Santa Anita, Hollywood, Oak Tree and now this one,” he said in the winner’s circle afterward. “This was my dream to win this race, and it really means a lot to me. As much as my Santa Anita Derby.”

With neither Jerry Hollendorfer nor Peter Miller saddling a winner on Sunday, defending meeting co-champions remain two wins apart (22-20) entering the final day of the meeting.
Here’s Hollendorfer’s lineup: Nahem (5th, 6-1), Seaside Story (6th, 9-2), C.C. Zipp (6th, 5-1), Dreamarcher (7th, 4-1) and Glory (10th, 7-2).
For Miller it’s: One of the Greats (3rd, 4-1), Notorious Nicole (6th, 4-1), Two Steps of Glory (7th, 12-1) and Annie’s Candy (8th, 8-1).
In 2014, Miller trailed by one entering the final day and managed one victory while Hollendorfer was shut out.
Rafael Bejarano has his fourth straight riding title clinched with a 10-win margin (39-29) over Flavien Prat.

In 25 years of covering horse racing for the San Diego Union and later the Union-Tribune starting in 1985, I was able, on many occasions, to talk about the sport in general and the Triple Crown specifically with Bill Nack, who wrote the book “Secretariat.”
On the subject of Triple Crown winners Bill once offered the opinion, sometime in the late 1980s or early 1990s -- and I’m paraphrasing -- that the world was a better place when there was a living one in residence. And I agreed.
Maudlin? Maybe. But you hang around the sport and the magnificent creatures it’s based upon, especially at the highest levels, and you can get that way.
Count Fleet, the 1943 Derby winner, held on to age 33 in December of 1973,  bridging the 25-year gap in Triple Crown champions from Citation in 1948 to Secretariat in 1973.
But the passing of Secretariat in 1989, Affirmed in 2001 and Seattle Slew in 2002, and the dying of 13 Triple Crown bids at the Belmont over the years, left a 13-year-gap without a living Triple Crown winner. I thought about that when American Pharoah ended the 37-year drought in June.
With that in mind, it’s been a pleasure to briefly chronicle the daily doings of American Pharoah in this space during the meeting. To make the trek to the Baffert barn early in the morning each racing day. To watch the routine and observe how Baffert, assistant Jim Barnes and American Pharoah comported themselves admirably to the onlookers – whether they were family, friends or strangers – who showed up.
“Everybody wants to see something great, and he’s a great horse,” Baffert said.
That said, here’s the final American Pharoah Today from Del Mar:
The Triple Crown champion jogged once around the perimeter of the track under exercise rider George Alvarez.    

CLOSERS – Wonder why Mike Smith was so animated after Sunday’s Yellow Ribbon Handicap? The winner he’d just ridden, She’s Not Here, is a three-quarter sister to Zenyatta … Jockey Edwin Maldonado won’t reach the 1,000 win milestone at the meeting, but a victory on his only mount of the day, favored Unforgettable U (3-1) in the last race, would put him at 999 … Selected works from 115 officially timed Monday morning: Elektrum (6f, 1:14.00), Bayern (6f, 1:11.80), Mt Veeder (5f, 1:00.00), Hoppertunity (5f, :59.40), Famous Alice (5f, 1:00.80), Winning Prize (4f, :50.80), Kobe’s Back (4f, :46.40) … Thanks to all Stable Notes readers. We’ll be back for the Bing Crosby meeting, which starts on Thursday, October 29 and continues through November 29.

Jockey Standings
(Current Through Sunday, September 6, 2015 Inclusive)
Jockey Mts 1st 2nd 3rd Win% Money Won
Rafael Bejarano 216 39 42 30 18% $2,504,258
Flavien Prat 186 29 28 26 16% $2,144,894
Joseph Talamo 189 27 17 16 14% $1,585,948
Tyler Baze 209 26 27 30 12% $1,652,060
Santiago Gonzalez 177 23 18 23 13% $1,356,296
Mario Gutierrez 135 23 15 12 17% $1,314,156
Kent Desormeaux 103 21 12 13 20% $1,083,754
Martin Garcia 139 18 14 17 13% $1,288,930
Corey Nakatani 87 16 11 4 18% $767,246
Victor Espinoza 99 13 15 13 13% $993,606
Trainer Standings
(Current Through Sunday, September 6, 2015 Inclusive)
Trainer Sts 1st 2nd 3rd Win% Money Won
Jerry Hollendorfer 99 22 12 14 22% $1,515,902
Peter Miller 138 20 22 17 14% $1,364,826
Doug F. O'Neill 105 14 21 12 13% $1,227,050
Philip D'Amato 86 14 11 13 16% $1,020,072
Richard Baltas 75 14 7 14 19% $746,946
Bob Baffert 62 12 11 8 19% $1,006,520
Mike Puype 74 12 4 9 16% $660,090
John W. Sadler 59 11 6 5 19% $609,734
Robert B. Hess, Jr. 58 11 4 9 19% $393,202
Richard E. Mandella 40 8 6 9 20% $1,586,976
Winning Favorites Report
(Current Through Sunday, September 6, 2015 Inclusive)
Winning favorites 104 344 30.23%
Winning favorites on dirt 76 233 32.62%
Winning favorites on turf 28 111 25.23%
Winning odds-on favorites 20 41 48.78%
In-the-Money favorites 198 344 57.56%
In-the-Money odds-on favorites 35 41 85.37%

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