SADLER HOPES TO ROCK YOUR WORLD IN KY.
KENTUCKY NEXT FOR BARGAIN MEDINA SPIRIT
CHARMAINE’S MIA EYES THE GRADE I GAMELY
ALL-SOURCES HANDLE IS HIGHEST SINCE 2007
ROCK YOUR WORLD READY FOR CENTER STAGE
Rock Your World was on the wash rack at 7:30 Easter morning cleaning up as readily as he dusted off eight rivals in Saturday’s Grade I Runhappy Santa Anita Derby, earning him a place on racing’s biggest stage, the Kentucky Derby on May 1.
Trained by John Sadler for owners Kosta and Peter Hronis and Talla Racing, and bred by Hall of Fame trainer Ron McAnally and his wife, Debbie, Rock Your World went to the front and never looked back, winning by 4 ¼ lengths, giving two-time Italian riding champion Umberto Rispoli his first Grade I victory in the United States.
Rock Your World, a son of Candy Ride out of the Empire Maker dam Charm the Maker, earned 100 Kentucky Derby qualifying points with the victory and will attempt to become the 20th horse to run in the Runhappy Santa Anita Derby and go on to capture the Kentucky Derby.
“We’re still enjoying this win,” Sadler said. “This is Easter Sunday, so Monday we’ll look at the calendar (for an itinerary), but he would have a traditional California pattern where we’ll train here and go to Kentucky the week of the race.”
It was Rock Your World’s first race on dirt after two victories on turf, but Sadler always seemed confident the colt would make a successful transition to the main track.
“You’re hoping, but it’s one of those things, you don’t know until you do it,” said Sadler, who is seeking his first victory in the Run for the Roses. “We’re thrilled the way things worked out.
“I’ve never won the Derby, but last time I was there (at Churchill Downs) we won the Breeders’ Cup Classic (in 2018 with Accelerate), so I’m looking forward to going back to Louisville.
“We’ve run four horses in the Kentucky Derby before but haven’t won.
“Umberto has been a great addition to our jockey colony . . . I was kind of shocked hearing this was his first Grade I win here. He did so well last year I thought he would have picked up one already. He’s a good kid, very competitive.”
Ditto for Rock Your World.
KENTUCKY AWAITS BARGAIN BATTLER MEDINA SPIRIT
Medina Spirit, a game second as the 9-10 favorite behind Rock Your World in the Runhappy Santa Anita Derby, came out of the race in good order and will attempt to give Bob Baffert his seventh victory in the world’s most famous race on May 1.
“He ran a game race like he always does,” Baffert said of the $35,000 bargain son of Protonico. “The winner was very impressive, but our horse showed up, he ran his race, he came out of it well and we’ve got four weeks to sharpen him up.
“He’ll be right there. He’s always going to be tough; he tries hard all the time.”
Baffert also sent out maiden sprint winner Defunded in the race and the gelded son of Dialed In rallied to finish fourth.
“He got real tired towards the end,” Baffert said. “He wasn’t ready for something like that but we had to take a chance at it. I don’t know where I’ll run him next.”
Meanwhile, Baffert has Rebel winner Concert Tour and runner-up Hozier set for this Saturday’s Arkansas Derby at Oaklawn Park.
GRADE I GAMELY AWAITS CHARMAINE’S MIA
Phil D’Amato is looking to greener and greater pastures for Charmaine’s Mia, the gift that keeps on giving.
After leading her rivals on a merry chase in Saturday’s Grade II Royal Heroine Stakes, winning by a half-length for her third consecutive stakes victory under D’Amato’s tutelage, the trainer has designs on the Grade I Gamely Stakes at a mile and an eighth on grass Memorial Day, Monday, May 31.
A daughter of stakes-winning sprinter The Factor, who won the Grade I Malibu at seven furlongs for Bob Baffert in 2011, Charmaine’s Mia has never raced beyond a mile, so at 1 1/8 miles, the Gamely would be the longest race in which the five-year-old bay mare ever ran, but D’Amato feels the timing is right.
“I would say right now we’ll kind of play it by ear, but the Gamely would definitely be a possibility,” said D’Amato, who won three races Saturday to take a 29-28 lead over Baffert in the battle for training honors.
“It’s a Grade I and we’re looking to get a G-one on her resume. She’s just in a zone right now. I think one race has fed off the other to where her confidence keeps growing.
“Flavien (leading rider Flavien Prat, who has ridden her to victories in her last two races) said you can tell she’s good. When Dogtag came to her, she spurted away again. Flavien said she really wanted it, so when they’re in a zone like that, they’re tough.
“One thing about her, she’s always fast out of the gate. She got a great trip but it wasn’t like she was going easy fractions. She went 22 and change, 46 flat.
“They’re race horse fractions, and she got a masterful ride from Flavien, as always.”
FINISH LINES: With fans returning on a restricted basis this weekend for the first time in more than a year, 8,246 on-track attendees enjoyed exciting world-class competition on Saturday’s 12-race program that produced all-sources pari-mutuel handle of $24,282,400, the highest Runhappy Santa Anita Derby Day handle since 2007 . . . There were 206 recorded workouts Sunday headed by Santa Anita Handicap winner Idol’s four furlong move in 48.60 for Richard Baltas, Grade I Malibu winner Charlatan‘s five furlong drill in 1:00.20 for Bob Baffert and California-bred stakes winner Acclimate‘s four furlong breeze in 49.20 for Phil D’Amato . . . While each has had 273 mounts this meet, Flavien Prat enjoys an 80-50 lead over runner-up Juan Hernandez in pursuit of Santa Anita’s riding title . . .Santa Anita is dark Monday through Friday. Live racing resumes on Saturday, April 10, at 1 p.m.