- SAN FELIPE LOOMS FOR SHAM WINNER GORMLEY
- BALTAS HOPES HIS CLAIMING SUCCESS CONTINUES
- WHAT’S IN A NAME? NO SURPRISE WITH BLABIMIR
- MYSTERY VOUCHER WORTH $1,000 TO DUARTE MAN
GORMLEY ‘LOOKS GOOD’ AFTER SHAM VICTORY
Gormley was as fresh and bright as the dry, sunny Sunday morning after his exciting
head victory over favored American Anthem in Saturday’s Grade III Sham Stakes, the West’s first graded steppingstone to the $1 million Santa Anita Derby on April 8.
“He looked really good this morning,” trainer John Shirreffs said of the son of Malibu Moon owned by Jerry and Ann Moss. “I’m extremely proud of the way he ran and battled it out. It was a great duel down the stretch with both horses.
“Two great jockeys going at it, two promising young horses going at it. That’s what racing is all about.”
Ridden by Victor Espinoza, the regular rider of 2014 Horse of the Year California Chrome and Triple Crown king American Pharoah, Horse of the Year in 2015, Gormley dueled with even-money favorite American Anthem virtually from the start of the one-mile race, prevailing in a stiff drive outside of American Anthem, ridden by Hall of Famer Mike Smith.
American Anthem was in receipt of five pounds from Gormley, who carried 124.
Shirreffs mentioned the Grade II, $400,000 San Felipe Stakes at 1 1/16 miles as a likely spot for Gormley’s next race.
Bob Baffert reported that American Anthem came out of his game effort in good order.
“I was happy with his race,” he said.
BALTAS HOPES CLAIM TO FAME CONTINUES IN LA CANADA
Richard Baltas hopes his skill and luck at the claiming game continues next Saturday when he runs Enduring Erin in the Grade II, $200,000 La Canada Stakes for older fillies and mares at 1 1/16 miles on the main track.
The trainer struck gold yesterday when Watch This Cat, claimed for $32,000 last June, roiled to an 8 ½-length victory in the $100,000 Las Cienegas Stakes under Corey Nakatani. It was the third straight win for the five-year-old daughter of Eskendereya.
“We claimed Enduring Erin for $40,000 (last July) and she’s won two out of three since,” Baltas said. “It looks like a small field so we thought we’d give it a try.”
The La Canada would mark the first stakes start for Enduring Erin, who would be making her 33rd career start. Owned in part by Baltas and Paymaster Racing, the seven-year-old mare sired by Kela in Kentucky has seven wins, three seconds and seven thirds, with earnings of $244,433.
Vale Dori looms a prohibitive favorite in the La Canada, having won the Grade II Bayakoa at Del Mar by three lengths on Dec. 3 and an overnight race by 10 ¼ prior to that. Mike Smith rides the five-year-old Argentine-bred mare for Bob Baffert.
Val Dori worked four furlongs on a “good” training track Sunday in 49.80.
Autumn Flower, sixth in the Bayakoa, also is probable for the La Canada, trainer Dan Hendricks said. Drayden Van Dyke rides the daughter of Flower Alley.
REDDAM’S DRIVER WAS A ‘BLABBERMOUTH!’
Despite rumors to the contrary, Blabimir was not named after sometimes-laconic trainer Vladimir Cerin. However, the three-year-old son of Tapizar was named after a fellow whose first name is Vladimir.
Tom Knust, agent for Mario Gutierrez, the go-to rider for owner Paul Reddam, who has been known to challenge The Jockey Club when submitting names of horses, tells the tale.
“Paul was going to fly with his wife (Zillah) on a surprise birthday trip to San Francisco for dinner,” Knust said, “so he hired a limousine to take them to the airport, and the chauffeur’s name was Vladimir. Paul took him aside and told him, ‘Don’t say ANTHING to my wife about it.
It’s a surprise. Just take us to the airport and I’ll surprise her when we get there.’
“But as soon as they get into the limo, the driver turns around and says, ‘In 20 minutes, we’ll be at the airport!’
“Paul, completely frustrated, blurts out, ‘Blabimir!’
“That’s how the horse got his name.”
FINISH LINES: Congrats to Fredys Saldarriaga of nearby Duarte on winning $1,000 in Santa Anita’s Mystery Mutuel Contest. Saldarriaga has been a patron at Santa Anita since 1984 and loves playing the races. Patrons can join Santa Anita’s THOROUGHBREDS Club for the next Mystery Mutuel Contest. The Main THOROUGHBREDS Center is located on the first floor of the Grandstand . . . With four wins from only nine starters, a 44 percent clip, including Skye Diamonds in Saturday’s eighth race, Bill Spawr is off to a rousing start through the Winter Meet’s first eight days, but the long-time Southern California fixture is taking it in stride. “It goes in streaks,” Spawr said. “It can go the other way, too, but it’s been good so far.” . . . With more rain imminent and the main track closed for training Sunday morning, there were 94 recorded workouts on Santa Anita’s dirt training track, 32 by horses from the Doug O’Neill barn . . . Santa Anita offers holiday racing and Dollar Day on Martin Luther King Jr. Day, Monday, Jan. 16. Beers, sodas and hot dogs will be a buck apiece all day long. The feature race is the Grade III, $100,000 Megahertz Stakes for older fillies and mares at one mile on turf . . . Trainer Steve Knapp reports that 2015 Las Flores Stakes winner Harlington’s Rose recently was sold to WinStar Farm as a broodmare . . . There is a single Pick Six Jackpot ticket carryover of $108,893.75 into Sunday’s races.
|SANTA ANITA STATISTICS|
|(Current Through Saturday, Jan. 7)|
|Norberto Arroyo, Jr.||34||5||2||0||15%||21%||$238,290|
|Drayden Van Dyke||34||4||5||0||12%||26%||$188,900|