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Saratoga Opening Day
Umberto Rispoli celebrates aboard Rock Your World after winning the Santa Anita Derby
The major California prep race for the Triple Crown is the $750,000 Runhappy Santa Anita Derby (G1) for 3-year-olds going 1 1/8 miles over the Santa Anita main track just 4 weeks before the Run for the Roses, and worth 100 points to the winner as part of the Kentucky Derby Championship Series. Conditions were excellent for the 8,246 fans at the historic Arcadia oval, with sunny skies and temperatures in the low 80's. A field of just 9 went to post with Robert B. Lewis (G3) winner Medina Spirit sent off as the 9-10 favorite off his 2nd place finish in the San Felipe (G2). In to challenge him included 9-2 second choice Dream Shake, 3rd in the San Felipe, and 5-1 third choice Rock Your World, winner of the Pasadena Stakes.
Rock Your World draws off in the stretch
Pgm Horse Jockey Win Place Show 3 Rock Your World Rispoli 12.40 4.60 3.40 7 Medina Spirit Velazquez 2.80 2.20 2 Dream Shake Prat 2.80 Winning Time: 1:49.17 $1 Exacta 3-7 19.40 $1 Trifecta 3-7-2 60.50 $1 Superfecta 3-7-2-10 173.50
Left: Rock Your World in the winner's circle. Winning owner Kosta Hronis said, Things came together and thank God, John Sadler has done a great job, Juan Leva and Alex Bosano, everybody on the backside they made all this happen. They did a great job with the horse. We told Umberto to be aggressive, but if somebody was going to go let them go. But I think he just felt comfortable, it was just kind of the thing you had to come out and compete right off the bat and he did. He rode a great race, think he knew he had the horse to do it. We get to go to the Kentucky Derby, that's going to be a fun day. We're going to try to enjoy this for today and with three year olds, he's only had three starts, making his fourth start in his career in the Kentucky Derby, I guess we really have nothing to lose. Just go in there and enjoy it."
Right: Rock Your World heads back to the barn.
Left: Rock Your World in the paddock. Winning trainer John Sadler said, "We have been laying in the weeds. I thought it would be good to start this horse off on the turf, much like Omaha Beach, and develop. The plan was to run him a couple of times on the turf and now it was time to get the points. We gotta get the points to think about going to Kentucky. We knew we had to be either one or two today to have enough points to go. Umberto Rispoli has been a great addition to our jockey colony here. The post dictated our strategy. I saw Umberto in the paddock this morning at 8 a.m. and I told him go big or go home. We had to get out of there with the scratch inside of us. It worked out great and I'm very excited."
Right: Rock Your World in the post parade.
Left: Second place finisher and beaten favorite Medina Spirit heads back to the barn. Jockey John Velazquez said, "The horse ran well, but the winner took the lead on a fast track and kept running. My horse kept coming and kept coming but couldn't catch up. He did have some left in the tank at the end and he kept coming, but the other horse got away pretty well and opened up again. It was too hard to catch up."
Right: Third place finisher Dream Shake in the post parade. Jockey Flavien Prat said, "We had a good trip and it was a bit, you know, drawing gate side was not the best spot but the horse was travelling well and the race went well."
Left: The horses break from the gate for the Santa Anita Derby.
Right: After months of no spectators allowed, a limited number were permitted back for Santa Anita Derby day.
The $400,000 Santa Anita Oaks (G1) featured a short field of four 3-year-old fillies (after 1 scratch) going 1 1/16 miles with the winner earning 100 points as part of the Kentucky Oaks Championship Series. Las Virgenes (G3) 4th place finisher Beautiful Gift was sent off as the 9-10 favorite over 9-5 Moraz, 2nd in the Santa Ysabel (G3), 4-1 Soothsay, and 6-1 Javanica, 2nd in the El Camino Real Derby.
Jockey Umberto Rispoli sent Moraz to the lead through fractions of 24.34 and 49.04 while pressed by Beautiful Gift and stalked by Soothsay. On the far turn Soothsay came out to sweep to the lead through 3/4 in 1:13.18. Soothsay held off Beautiful Gift the rest of the way to win by 1/2 a length in 1:44.35. It was a long 5 1/4 lengths back to Moraz third, and 8 1/2 more to Javanica last.
Left: Soothsay in the winner's circle. Winning trainer Richard Mandella said, "We expected a lot of her from the first start and from that start until now she just grew up. You kind of see it happening otherwise we wouldn't do something like this. If you watched her last workout you could see how serious she was. I thought she was something special. I was hoping I was right. We'll see (about the Oaks), we asked a lot of her to do this, so we'll make sure we pare back whatever we need. It's a nice dream."
Right: Soothsay returns after the race.
Left: Soothsay in the paddock. Winning jockey Flavien Prat said, "We had a very good trip. We were really traveling very easy. It was pretty slow, so I thought twice and said let's go. We better go now. I asked her at the three-furlong pole and she went so easy. She responded really great."
Right: Soothsay in the post parade.
Left: Second place finisher and beaten favorite Beautiful Gift returns after the race. Jockey John Velazquez said, "She gave me all she had there at the end. The other horse cut the corner at the top of the stretch and I had to go pretty wide, so that was the difference between winning and losing the race right there. The trip worked out just the way I planned it except for the other horse getting through on the inside at the end."
Right: Third place finisher Moraz in the paddock. The Mike McCarthy trainee improved her record to 1 win, 1 second, and 3 thirds in 5 starts, earning $133,640 for owner-breeder Don Alberto Stable.
The fillies break from the gate for the Santa Anita Oaks.
The $200,000 Royal Heroine Stakes (G2) featured a field of 8 older fillies and mares going 1 mile on the turf. Las Cienegas (G3) and Buena Vista (G2) winner Charmaine's Mia was sent off as the 3-5 favorite over 11-2 Warren's Showtime, 3rd in the Buena Vista, and 13-2 Dogtag, unraced since 5th in the Clement L. Hirsch (G1) in August.
Jockey Flavien Prat sent Charmaine's Mia to the lead first time by and she set fractions of 22.59, 46.02, and 1:09.86 while pressed by 18-1 Laura's Light and stalked by 23-1 Ippodamia's Girl and 11-1 Raymundos Secret. Turning for home Charmaine's Mia opened up a 2 length lead through 7f in 1:21.72. Dogtag put in a strong rally from 6th early but Charmaine's Mia held her off to win by 1/2 a length in 1:33.76. It was another 1 1/4 lengths back to Warren's Showtime third.
Left: Charmaine's Mia in the winner's circle. Winning trainer Phil D'Amato said, "Flavien got her out beautifully and he rated her perfectly. Once he shot out of there like a rocket, he made her relax and he had enough to hold off Dogtag." (What's next?) "We are looking at a Grade 1 race here at Santa Anita about five or six weeks down the road."
Right: Charmaine's Mia in the post parade. Winning jockey Flavien Prat said, "For some reason she's really good out there. She always leaves really fast and she relaxed down the backside and responded when it was time to go. I was hoping she would break like she did and take advantage of it otherwise, I would probably sit and get her to relax. She's really brave and she was training really hard. It's great to have family here and fans.
Left: Second place finisher Dogtag in the paddock before the race. Jockey Umberto Rispoli said, "I mean she was out for a long time to come back in a good race like that, and the winner I think she's a very classy good filly. Flavien broke off and put a good pace on it, and then she give him the kick at the quarter pole. Actually, my plan was to just track him from close, but my filly from way off she break a little bit slower than usual. I got a good trip because I'm just right behind Raymundos Secret and you know, the winner, but at the same time, Flavien has that kick, and that advantage at the top of the stretch took that away from me."
Right: Third place finisher Warren's Showtime in the post parade. The Craig Lewis trainee improved her record to 6 wins, 1 second, and 9 thirds in 18 starts, earning $617,431 for owner-breeder Benjamin and Sally Warren.
The fillies break from the gate for the Royal Heroine.
Kicking off the stakes action was the $100,000 Providencia Stakes (G3) featuring a field of seven 3-year-old fillies going 1 1/8 miles on the turf. Sweet Life and China Doll Stakes winner Going Global was sent off as the 7-10 favorite over 4-1 Closing Remarks, 2nd in the China Doll after winnng the California Cup Oaks, and 11-2 Quattroelle, 3rd ihe China Doll after winning the Blue Norther.
Jockey Juan Hernandez sent 8-1 fourth choice Sensible Cat to the lead first time by through fractions of 24.38, 49.00, and 1:13.35 while pressed by 19-1 Royal Address and stalked by Closing Remarks. Turning for home jockey Flavien Prat sent Going Global to the lead through 1 mile in 1:37.02. Closing Remarks put in a late rally from 3rd but Going Global held her off to win by a neck in 1:48.50. It was another 3 1/4 lengths back to pacesetter Sensible Cat third.
Left: Going Global in the winner's circle. Winning trainer Phil D'Amato said, "I always thought a lot of this filly's ability. It has just kind of been one race after another to assess how far she'd go. Last time when she went a mile, I went down there to watch her cool out and she was just as cool as a cucumber, she wouldn't have blown out a match. I had a good feeling that this race at 1 1/8 was well within her reach."
Right: Going Global in the paddock before the race. Winning jockey Flavien Prat said, "We just broke okay. We got bumped around at the start, but then we settled in and we found a good spot. The pace was slow, but when it was time to run, she responded really great. She keeps getting better and better. We won at six furlongs, a mile and now a mile and an eighth."
Left: Second place finisher Closing Remarks in the paddock. Jockey Umberto Rispoli said, "I took the option to go on the fence right away because she breaks really well. I knew the one (Sensible Cat) was going to lead, so I was tracking her and waiting. Flavien knew where I was and was tracking me, but I wasn't worried because at the top of the stretch I had plenty of room on the inside. Going Global is a very good filly. When she took off, it looked like she was going to win by four or five lengths. She was just waiting for somebody to come by. I think Closing Remarks is the best California bred filly that we have so far. I'm pleased with her, and she deserved to win a graded race."
Right: Third place finisher Sensible Cat in the post parade. The Carla Gaines trainee improved her record to 3 wins, 0 seconds, and 1 third in 6 starts, earning $156,840 for owner Irvin Racing Stable.
The $150,000 Echo Eddie Stakes featured a field of 9 California bred or sired 3-year-olds also sprinting 6 1/2 furlongs on the main track. The Chosen Vron was sent off as the 3-5 favorite over 15-2 Good With People and 17-2 Mister Bold.
Jockey Umberto Rispoli sent 9-1 fourth choice Letsgetlucky to the lead out of the chute through fractions fo 21.84 and 44.87 while pressed by Good With People and stalked by 94-1 longest shot Sabuda. Into the stretch Good With People took over through 3/4 in 1:09.59 but The Chosen Vron, 5th early under Mike Smith, rallied past despite being bumped to win by 1 1/4 lengths over Good With People in 1:15.80. It was another 3 1/4 length back to Letsgetlucky third.
Left: The Chosen Vron in the winner's circle. Winning trainer Eric Kruljac said, "Considering the way the race went about and him not really breaking, you just don't know that a young horse will take the dirt in their face, he got a ton of it, and ran right through it. After we gelded him, he settled right down and has been very professional ever since. Just very easy horse to train. He has always broken well and gone to the front, but today he didn't break very quickly. There was a bit of a ruckus at the start so that might have been why he didn't break as well, but it's nice to know your horse will run through dirt if need be, and he needed to today.
Right: The Chosen Vron heads back to the barn. Winning jockey Mike Smith said, "That is a nice colt there. He's got a good head on his shoulders. He came from off the pace to win. There was a big speed bias today and I think he was the only one to come off the pace. I think this colt can go further and run against open horses. When I asked him, he took dead aim and cruised right past them. This horse has a lot of class. I really like him."
Left: Second place finisher Good With People in the paddock. The Peter Miller trainee improved his record to 3 wins, 3 seconds, and 1 third in 9 starts, earning $271,380 for owner Downstream Racing.
Right: Third place finisher Letsgetlucky returns after the race. The Brian Koriner trainee improved his record to 1 win and 1 third in 2 starts, earning $54,600 for owners Edward Brown Jr., Alan Klein, and Philip Lebherz.
The $150,000 Evening Jewel Stakes featured a field of 9 California bred or sired 3-year-old fillies sprinting 6 1/2 furlongs on the main track. Becca Taylor was the 3-2 favorite over 7-2 Pray For My Owner and 8-1 Pawnee.
Jockey Tyler Baze sent Pray For My Owner to the lead out of the chute through fractions of 21.47 and 44.67 while pressed by Becca Taylor and stalked by Pawnee. Turning for home Flavien Prat sent Becca Taylor out for room and she swept to the front opening a 4 length lead through 3/4 in 1:10.42. 10-1 Fi Fi Pharoah, last early under Mike Smith, put in a strong 4 wide rally but Becca Taylor easily held her off to win by 2 1/4 lengths in 1:17.15. It was another 3 3/4 length back to 12-1 I'm So Anna third.
Becca Taylor in the winner's circle. Winning trainer Nick Alexander said, "I thought this was going to be a tough race for (Becca Taylor). I thought there were three or four other horses in the race that would be tough. We were running against an American Pharoah (Fi Fi Pharoah). Flavien rode her perfectly. He stayed right behind Pray For My Owner and when it came time to run, he took off. Just like we drew it up."
Winning jockey Flavien Prat said, "The trip went really well. She broke well and then I wanted to sit right off of the pace. She gave a good kick when I asked her to go at the end. She seems really responsive whether she is coming from behind or already in front, so I wanted to see how she would break and then go from there. I'm having a great day, I'm really enjoying it. It's a lot of fun especially now that there are some fans back in the stands. It's really nice."
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