Though obviously disappointed by the result, Leandro Mora, assistant trainer to Doug O’Neill, was relieved when Goldencents returned to the barn in good shape after finishing 17th in Saturday’s Kentucky Derby and said the 3-year-old son of Into Mischief would be pointed to the Preakness Stakes May 18.
“He came back A-OK,” said Mora from Louisville. “With all the rain and mud, let’s just say the track was not on our side. (Goldencents) never had to face conditions like that in California.”
“I thought (jockey) Kevin (Krigger) did a great job protecting him. He let Palace Malice go and was in a good position, but when he saw it was hopeless, he eased him up the last part of the race. The track condition made a big difference. The riders saw that speed was doing well earlier in the card and they were all rushing to get position. That’s why the fractions were so fast.”
Rafael Bejarano and Jerry Hollendorfer can only hope the rest of the Spring/Summer meet comes close to the first week.
Bejarano, who entered Thursday seven shy of 3,000 career wins, had 26 mounts the first four days of the meet. He finished with 11 victories, five seconds and three thirds.
The hot streak left the Peruvian native eight winners clear of Tyler Baze and Edwin Maldonado and nine in front of Joe Talamo, Garrett Gomez, Kevin Krigger and Martin Garcia.
Trainer Doug O’Neill, in quest of a second consecutive Kentucky Derby victory, reported that Santa Anita Derby winner Goldencents arrived in Louisville without incident.
“He left LAX at 2 a.m. Saturday morning, got here in fine shape, and so far everything’s gone perfectly,” said O’Neill.” “I arrived in the early evening. The whole crew is here and we are pumped up.” O’Neill added that Goldencents jogged on the Churchill Downs main track Sunday morning.
The son of Into Mischief, whose victories also include the Grade III Delta Jackpot and Grade III Sham Stakes, is following a similar pattern as I’ll Have Another, winner of the 2012 Kentucky Derby for O’Neill.
When Betfair Hollywood Park opens the doors Thursday for its 75th anniversary season, a slew of familiar faces from top management to numerous other departments will be manning their posts.
Vice president and general manager Eual G. Wyatt, Jr. probably has the longest ties to the Inglewood track. Wyatt, Jr.’s father, Eual G. Wyatt, Sr., was the leading trainer at the inaugural Hollywood Park meeting in 1938. Wyatt, Jr. began the first of two stints as Racing Secretary in 1979 and was promoted to his current position in 1994.
When patrons enter the track, generally the first thing they pick up is a program. The multiple page racing guide lists the runners in each race and is a collaboration between Director of Programs Craig Peterson (hired in 1991), who assembles the information, and Randy Pawling, who has printed the program since 1976.
Eblouissante, who was scratched from Saturday’s fourth race following an incident in the receiving barn, has apparently avoided serious injury.
The 3-year-old half-sister to 2010 Horse of the Year Zenyatta appeared fine Sunday, according to trainer John Shirreffs.
“She’s good this morning,” said a relieved Shirreffs. “It was a contusion or abrasion. It took some hair off and it’s bruised. We’re treating it topically now. We iced it about four or five times (Saturday). She’s walking good on it so we’re going to take her out and train her and see how she handles it.”
If the Grade I, $750,000 CashCall Futurity and the Grade II, $250,000 Hollywood Turf Cup are the main courses on Saturday’s Betfair Hollywood Park card, then the return of Zenyattta’s little sister, Eblouissante, in the fourth race – a $48,000 optional claimer at 1 1/16 miles over Cushion Track – is a gourmet appetizer.
The nearly black daughter of Bernardini and Vertigineux, who produced 2010 Horse of the Year Zenyatta and multiple Grade I winner Balance, made her long awaited debut (video) Nov. 16 and didn’t disappoint. Replicating Zenyatta’s patented stretch run, Eblouissante gathered steam into the far turn, swung out for clear sailing and drew away to win by 4 ¼ lengths under jockey Corey Nakatani.
Asked whether she has matured mentally or physically out of the race, trainer John Shirreffs said it’s a little early to say.
As usual, Bob Baffert has his sights set on the Grade I, $750,000-guaranteed CashCall Futurity, which is expected to draw a near capacity field for its 32nd running, Saturday, Dec. 15.
The Hall of Fame trainer, who has won three of the last four Futurities, including the 2011 edition with Liaison, is expected to start four, though final plans and rider assignments for the race, which will be run at 1 1/16 miles over Cushion Track, will be cemented in the next couple of days.
The “final four” of his 26 nominations are Jill Baffert and Bode Miller’s Carving, winner of the Real Quiet Stakes Nov. 10, Westrock Stable LLC’s Den’s Legacy, who captured the Grade III Generous Stakes on turf Nov. 24, Watson, Pegram, et al’s Really Mr Greely, upset winner of the Grade III Hollywood Prevue Nov. 22, and Gary and Mary West’s Title Contender, who set the pace in the Grade I Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Nov. 3.
Trainers are used to getting bills, but the Morey family produces them almost as fast.
Bill Morey, Jr., 72, has been a fixture in Northern California for decades and also has had ample success in this section of the state. When his son, William E. Morey, 38, followed in his footsteps, many couldn’t figure out who was the father and who was the son.
William Morey Jr., known at Bill, is the son of William J. Morey. When Bill’s son was about to be born, an interesting conversation took place in the car en route to the hospital.
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