By Ed Golden —-
Bolt d’Oro Photo by Zoe Metz/Clockers Corner
• ‘BOLT’ GALLOPS TOWARDS THREE-YEAR-OLD DEBUT
• McKINZIE IN FINE FETTLE AFTER SHAM STAKES ROMP
• QUICK TURNAROUND FOR LASEEN IN THE MEGAHERTZ
SAN FELIPE NEW GOAL FOR BOLT D’ORO
Mick Ruis holds more than a modicum of hope that Bolt d’Oro, one of three finalists for an Eclipse Award as outstanding two-year-old male of 2017, will embark on the Triple Crown trail after missing valuable training time recently due to a pulled muscle.
The $630,000 son of Medaglia d’Oro owned by Ruis and his wife, Wendy, galloped at Santa Anita 9 o’clock this morning and while now unable to make his anticipated three-year-old debut in the seven furlong San Vicente Stakes on Feb. 10, will aim for the Grade II, $400,000 San Felipe Stakes at 1 1/16 miles on March 10, Ruis said by phone early Sunday morning from his ranch in Big Fork, Montana, where he was looking over his yearlings, enthusiastically calling them “a nice bunch of babies.”
Ruis said Bolt d’Oro “was a little stiff and off for three days because we wanted to be really careful and sure nothing was wrong. We gave him a good (nuclear) scan, he came back fine and is back galloping.
“My first preference would be to run in the San Felipe and then the ($1 million, Grade I) Santa Anita Derby (on April 7), because I would love to stay here and run where we’ve been stabled, and it looks like we’d do that, for sure.
“I’d love to get a race in beforehand but I don’t think that’s going to work time wise, so it’s looking like the San Felipe and then the Santa Anita Derby. That was my original plan anyway, until I was going to try and squeeze another race in there to sharpen him up, but it looks like I’ll have to do that with a couple of works in company.”
Understandably, Ruis has a vested interest in the outcome of the Jan. 25 Eclipse Awards, and even though the votes are in but not yet announced, he took a moment to lobby for his two-time Grade I winner.
“Going into the Breeders’ Cup (Juvenile), he was the biggest favorite of the day,” Ruis pointed out. “He ended up having a bad trip, going wide around both turns to where Corey (Nakatani) couldn’t get in, but we were closing at the end and the only ones really finishing.
“It was unfortunate, and it would really be unfortunate, I think, if he loses an Eclipse Award because of one disappointing race. It (the Juvenile victory) was Good Magic’s only win last year, but when these things are left in the hands of the voters, this is what you face.”
BAFFERT MULLS NEXT RACE FOR SHAM STAR McKINZIE
Undefeated McKinzie, smashing 3 ½-length winner of Saturday’s Sham Stakes, an early steppingstone to the Santa Anita Derby on April 7, was in fine fettle Sunday morning, as was his trainer, Bob Baffert, basking in the relief of a job well done by McKinzie, who stamped himself as one of the clear-cut favorites for the Kentucky Derby on May 5.
“He looks great today,” Baffert said at Clockers’ Corner. “Now I can sort of ease off him a little bit, find two spots—it could be here, it could be out of town—I don’t know yet.”
Baffert, a four-time winner of the Run for the Roses, has captured the Santa Anita Derby seven times, with Cavonnier (1996), Indian Charlie (1998), General Challenge (1999), Point Given (2001), Pioneerof the Nile (2009), Midnight Interlude (2011) and Dortmund (2015).
LASEEN RETURNS IN MONDAY’S HOLIDAY FEATURE
Laseen will make an uncharacteristically quick turnaround when she runs in next Monday’s Martin Luther King Jr. holiday feature, the Grade III Megahertz Stakes for fillies and mares, four and up, at one mile on turf.
The seven-year-old Irish-bred mare trained by Jim Cassidy for principal client Deron Pearson finished a troubled third by three-parts of a length in the Grade III Robert J. Frankel Stakes at 1 1/8 miles on grass Dec. 30.
“I’m running back kind of quick, but it’s a good thing for her, I think,” Cassidy said. “She probably should have been unsaddled last time she ran. She had trouble in the race (waiting for room in late stretch), but she’s doing well now so we’ll see how we do.”
Early probables for the Megahertz include Chocolate Coated, Do the Dance, Insta Erma, Juno, Laseen and Thundering Sky.
FINISH LINES: Santa Anita will be dark for live racing next Tuesday and Wednesday, but will offer simulcast wagering Wednesday in the Paddock Room and Sirona’s, with admission gates opening at 10 a.m. Live racing resumes on Thursday, Jan. 11, at 1 p.m. and continues through Monday, Jan. 15, Martin Luther King Jr. Day, which also is Dollar Day, with sodas and beers on sale for a buck apiece . . . Malibu Stacy worked five furlongs Sunday under Flavien Prat for trainer George Weaver in 1:01 for next Sunday’s $75,000 Kalookan Queen Stakes. Also possible for the 6 ½ furlong sprint for fillies and mares, four and older, are Cuddle Alert, Cuyathy, Dis Smart Cat, Princess Karen and Selcourt . . . Mario Gutierrez rides Zia Park Oaks winner Sandy’s Surprise for Doug O’Neill in next Saturday’s Grade II La Canada Stakes for older fillies and mares at one mile. Other likely starters include Madame Stripes, Resky Business and Shenandoah Queen . . . There were 197 recorded workouts at Santa Anita Sunday, 19 on the training track . . . Airfoil, 3-1 morning line chance in today’s sixth race, has been claimed seven times from his last 11 races . . . Congratulations to the great Trevor Denman, as he’ll be inducted into the Southern California Sports Broadcasters Hall of Fame at SCSB’s annual awards luncheon Jan. 22 at Lakeside Golf Club in Toluca Lake. Denman will be joined by fellow inductee and longtime Lakers television analyst Stu Lantz, and the SCSB’s Vin Scully Lifetime Achievement Award will go to the LA Kings’ Bob Miller. For more information on the luncheon, please contact SCSB executive director Rand Elkins atmailto: firstname.lastname@example.org”> email@example.com . . . Link on to the Los Angeles Times horse racing newsletter. Authored by John Cherwa, it offers entries, charts and more at http://www.latimes.com/newsletters/la-newsletter-racing-signup-page-htmlstory.html.
SANTA ANITA STATISTICS
(Current Through Saturday, Jan. 6)
Jockey Mts 1st 2nd 3rd Win% ITM% Money Won
Evin Roman 43 8 8 3 19% 44% $253,269
Rafael Bejarano 34 8 2 8 24% 53% $268,717
Kent Desormeaux 32 7 3 3 22% 41% $376,958
Drayden Van Dyke 33 5 2 3 15% 30% $391,113
Mike Smith 19 4 2 3 21% 47% $536,518
Flavien Prat 30 3 7 2 10% 40% $273,790
Tiago Pereira 16 3 2 0 19% 31% $99,375
Trainer Mts 1st 2nd 3rd Win% ITM% Money Won
Peter Miller 23 5 5 4 22% 61% $238,610
Vladimir Cerin 11 5 3 0 45% 73% $119,285
Mark Glatt 18 4 4 1 22% 50% $182,230
Jerry Hollendorfer 21 4 3 2 19% 43% $293,636
Bob Baffert 17 3 1 2 18% 35% $216,303
Michael McCarthy 10 3 1 1 30% 50% $253,620
William E. Morey 6 3 0 1 50% 67% $65,490
Jeff Mullins 14 3 0 1 21% 29% $193,975
Santa Anita Park is a Stronach Group company, North America’s leading Thoroughbred racetrack owner/operator. The Stronach Group racetracks include Santa Anita Park, Gulfstream Park & Casino, Golden Gate Fields, Portland Meadows, Laurel Park and Pimlico Race Course, home of the world-famous Preakness. The company owns and operates the Palm Meadows Training Center in Florida, and is one of North America’s top race horse breeders through its award-winning Adena Springs operation The Stronach Group is one of the world’s largest suppliers of pari-mutuel wagering systems, technologies and services. Its companies include AmTote, a global leader in wagering technology; Xpressbet, an Internet and telephone account wagering service; and Monarch Content Management, which acts as a simulcast purchase and sales agent of horseracing content for numerous North American racetracks and wagering outlets. The Stronach Group is North America’s premier supplier of virtual online horseracing games, as well as a leading producer of social media content for the horseracing industry.