- EXAULTED RETURNS IN TRIPLE BEND AFTER YEAR
- STIDHAM HOPES TO RUN IN GOLD CUP WITH PROXY
- SPECHT SHIPPING IN TWO FOR SATURDAY STAKES
- MONSTER MEMORIAL DAY ON TAP AT SANTA ANITA
- JUSTIFY’S FIRST FOAL TO RACE TO DEBUT IN RACE FOUR
EXAULTED TRIES TRIPLE BEND AGAIN A YEAR LATER
Exaulted will make his first start in a year next Sunday in the Grade II Triple Bend Stakes. By Twirling Candy and a full horse at age five, Exaulted last raced on May 29, 2021, finishing third in the very same Triple Bend Stakes.
“We just gave him time for some minor stuff,” trainer Peter Eurton explained about the lengthy layoff. “It turned out to be longer than we thought but he’s good to go now.”
Owned by Lee and Susan Searing’s C R K Stable LLC and bred in Kentucky by Jack Swain III, Exaulted worked six furlongs this morning in 1:14 under Edwin Maldonado, who will ride him in the $200,000 Triple Bend at seven furlongs.
“We’re very pleased with the way he’s training,” Eurton said, alluding to a bullet six-furlong breeze in 1:13 on May 15.
“It’s a tough race but we’re all looking forward to it, because he’s pretty tough, too.”
PROXY COULD SEEK FIRST STAKES WIN IN GOLD CUP
Proxy, a consistent son of Tapit, could seek his first stakes win in the Grade I Hollywood Gold Cup on Memorial Day, if the fates allow.
“We’re looking at it and seeing If there’s a possibility of making travel arrangements,” trainer Michael Stidham said by phone this morning from the four-year-old bay colt’s East Coast base, where he was third, beaten just three lengths, in the Grade III Ben Ali at Keeneland on April 23.
Proxy worked five furlongs Friday at Fair Hill in Maryland, recording a bullet 1:02. Prior to the Ben Ali, he was second in the Grade II New Orleans Classic March 26 at the Fair Grounds and won an overnight race there Feb. 25, his first start in 10 months.
“It all depends on if we can make arrangements (for the Gold Cup),” said Stidham, who trains Proxy for owner/breeder Godolphin LLC.
“He’s an honest type that runs good races off layoffs. He’s multiple graded stakes-placed, but we’re looking to win a stakes with him, so we’re going to shop around for the best spot.”
Proxy has a 3-4-1 record from 10 starts with earnings of $399,350. Last year he was second in the Grade III Lecomte and the Grade II Risen Star and fourth in the Louisiana Derby behind Santa Anita-based Hot Rod Charlie, trained by Doug O’Neill.
SPECHT BREEZES PAIR FOR SANTA ANITA STAKES
Royal ‘n Rando and Ellamira, winners of their last starts at Golden Gate Fields, are scheduled to leave their Bay Area base Wednesday for Santa Anita to participate in two stakes Saturday which kick off a three-day Memorial Day weekend that will include 11 stakes.
Both horses are trained by seasoned veteran Steve Specht, Royal ‘n Rando running in the $150,000 Snow Chief Stakes presented by City National Bank, and Ellamira in the Grade III Honeymoon Stakes, each at 1 1/8 miles on turf.
“They both won stakes a couple weeks ago up here,” Specht said by phone Sunday morning from Northern California.
“I worked them five-eighths of a mile together this morning and they went very well. I got them in a minute and three-fifths.”
Royal ‘n Rando, a son of Tamarando owned and bred by Mr. and Mrs. Larry D. Williams, won the restricted Silky Sullivan for state-breds May 1 at Golden Gate, while Ellamira, a daughter of Street Boss owned and bred by Cole Ranch, captured the restricted Campanile at Golden Gate on May 1.
Specht’s go-to jockey, Frank Alvarado, who piloted both horses to the aforementioned victories, will ride them in their Saturday engagements at Santa Anita.
MEMORIAL DAY FESTIVITIES START THIS SATURDAY
Fans can avail themselves of fabulous racing and fun-filled festivities at Santa Anita Memorial Day weekend this Saturday through Monday, traditionally one of the most anticipated on America’s Thoroughbred calendar.
The Hollywood Gold Cup is one of three Grade I events on Memorial Day, the others being the $500,000 Shoemaker Mile on turf and the $400,000 Gamely Stakes for fillies and mares three and up at 1 1/8 miles on turf.
The Shoemaker is a Breeders’ Cup “Win and You’re In” Challenge Race, providing the nominated winner automatic entry into the Breeders’ Cup Mile at Keeneland on Nov.5
The Memorial Day weekend begins Saturday with five state-bred stakes, followed by three graded stakes Sunday, the Grade III Daytona for four-year-olds and up at about 6 ½ furlongs on the hillside turf; the Grade II Triple Bend for four-year-olds and up at seven furlongs; and the Grade III Honeymoon for three-year-old fillies at 1 1/8 miles on turf.
In addition to world class racing over the three-day holiday, Santa Anita’s Infield Carnival returns with a Ferris Wheel, a giant slide, inflatable jumpers and much more.
Memorial Day is also Dollar Day, with $1 beers, sodas and $2 hot dogs offered all day.
Fans are encouraged to get their Santa Anita Memorial Day Weekend Infield Carnival tickets at santaanita.com/events.
FINISH LINES: Triple Crown Champion Justify will be represented by his first foal to race, Tahoma, in today’s fourth race. Trained by Doug O’Neill, Tahoma, who will be ridden by Juan Hernandez, is the 5-2 morning line favorite among eight juveniles going 4 ½ furlongs…Congratulations to trainer George Papaprodromou on winning three races Saturday, giving him 15 for the meet, “That’s the most I ever had in one day,” said Papaprodromou, who breezed Triple Bend nominee American Theorem five furlongs Sunday in a bullet 1:00.20, fastest of 44 drills at the distance, the average time of which was 1:01.90. In all there were 184 recorded workouts this morning, 52 on the training track . . . Santa Anita will be dark for live racing Monday through Thursday. Live racing resumes 1 p.m. Friday, May 27…Jessica Pyfer, who was kicked in a paddock mishap Friday, is off mounts again today.