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.”
Mora said that Goldencents would be shipped to Pimlico Tuesday. O’Neill is scheduled to return to California Monday, followed by Mora Tuesday or Wednesday.
Scarlet Strike, winner of the Grade III Providencia Stakes April 6, tops the field for Saturday’s $100,000 Senorita Stakes for 3-year-old fillies. The Grade III is run at one mile on the Betfair Hollywood Park turf.
Trained by red-hot Jerry Hollendorfer, Scarlet Strike was third in the Grade I Hollywood Starlet during the 2012 Autumn meet and bounced back from her Providencia victory with four solid drills. Leading rider Rafael Bejarano will be aboard.
Jubilant Girl, who is trained by John Sadler, is expected to be Scarlet Strike’s main opponent. The daughter of Henrythenavigator has won three of four and most recently captured the Runway Stakes April 13 at Santa Anita.
The Saturday program will also include the $70,000-added Came Home Stakes for 3-year-olds at seven furlongs. Confirmed starters include Broadway Empire, a 16-length winner in his Turf Paradise debut and the returning Scherer Magic, victorious in the Grade III Hollywood Juvenile Championship during the 2012 Spring/Summer meet.
Trainer Robertino Diodoro, who returns from a suspension Tuesday, said he wasn’t surprised at the margin of Broadway Empire’s maiden victory. “This was one of the few times when I expected a horse to win like that,” revealed Diodoro. “He won even more impressively than I thought he would. Before he ran, he had a few issues at the gate and he’s a big horse anyway, so we gelded him. After that, he settled down.” Victor Espinoza will ride the son of Empire Maker
Sadler is enthusiastic about Scherer Magic off the bench. “He ran on the Breeders’ Cup undercard and came back with a small chip in his right knee,” advised Sadler. “He’s been training really well on this track.”
Also set for the Came Home is Treasury Bill (trainer Ron Ellis, jockey Joe Talamo), runner-up in the Grade II San Vicente Stakes Feb. 17 at Santa Anita.
Trainer Walther Solis has reason to be optimistic about freshman sire Time to Get Even.
Solis, who owns 25 per cent of the stallion, trained two of his offspring for first-out victories this meeting. Time for a Hug, a colt, won the first juvenile race of the Spring/Summer season April 26 and Time for Angie, a filly, was an easy winner May 3.
“He only covered a few mares last year,” said Solis. “He has a lot more this year. The two that won look very similar and they both look like their dad.”
With a triple Saturday, Bob Baffert moved into a tie with fellow Hall of Famer Jerry Hollendorfer atop the Betfair Hollywood Park trainer standings with six victories. Baffert won with first time starter Donelle, Midnight Crooner, and Liaison in the $150,250, Grade II Mervyn LeRoy Handicap.
Heading into Sunday’s card, Mike Puype, Eric Kruljac and Bruce Headley are tied for second with three wins. Headley’s victories have come from just five starters.
Rafael Bejarano, who was out of town to ride in the Kentucky Derby and Oaks, returns to find his eight-winner lead whittled down to three by Joe Talamo, who tripled Saturday. Bejarano, who scored once on the Derby undercard, is now just five away from 3,000 victories. Next in the standings are Tyler Baze (7) and Edwin Maldonado (6).
All winning riders Saturday had more than one victory. Talamo (3), Baze (2), Maldonado (2), Martin Garcia (2) and Alonzo Quinonez (2) accounted for every race on the card.
CLOSING STRIDES— Trainer Paul Aguirre advised that Tiz a Minister, third in the recent Snow Chief Stakes, popped an abscess but has recovered quickly and went to the track Sunday morning. The 3-year-old is being pointed to the $100,000, Grade III Affirmed Handicap June 2…….Mike Marlow, assistant to Bob Baffert, said that Liaison and Guilty Trip, the 1-3 finishers in the Mervyn LeRoy, came out of the race fine. Kettle Corn and Blueskiesnrainbows, second and fourth, respectively, also returned well, according to John Sadler and Jerry Hollendorfer*………Trainer *Peter Miller reported that Comma To the Top, winner of the Cool Frenchy Stakes, emerged from the effort in great shape and is on course for the $100,000, Grade III Los Angeles Handicap May 27. Miller also remarked that Harry Henson Stakes winner Summer Exclusive is nominated for the Came Home Stakes and will either run there or a race on the Preakness undercard……..Dhaamer, winner of the Round Table and Sunset Handicaps at Betfair Hollywood Park in 2012, worked six furlongs in 1:15 1/5 May 3 at Santa Anita. The Irish bred will attempt to repeat in the Round Table crown May 12 for Mike Mitchell. Also on the tab for Mitchell was Obviously, third in the Breeders’ Cup Mile, who worked a half-mile in :48 3/5……..Rafael Bejarano, Julien Leparoux and Garrett Gomez, who rode in the Kentucky Derby, are back at Betfair Hollywood Park for Sunday’s card. Agent Brad Pegram said that Mike Smith, who won the Kentucky Oaks aboard longshot Princess of Sylmar, returns Thursday.
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