All was quiet at Mike Mitchell’s barn Sunday morning after an emotion-charged score by Camp Victory in Saturday’s Grade I, $250,000 Triple Bend Handicap.
Phil D’Amato, Mitchell’s longtime assistant trainer, said the Forest Camp gelding returned in fine order. According to D’Amato, Camp Victory was feeling so good that he tried to kick him. “It was a fairy tale ending,” said the 35-year-old assistant. “I talked to Mike last night and he was just thrilled. He said it was supposed to be quiet time in the ICU (Intensive Care Unit), but they were going crazy and rooting. Everyone wanted to know what was going on”
Second-place finisher The Factor also came back well, according to Bob Baffert’s assistant trainer Mike Marlow. “I thought he ran great,’’ said Marlow. “He put away the other speed and was running strongly at the end. He came back good and sound.”
Jeranimo, explosive winner of the Grade I, $300,000 Shoemaker Mile, emerged from the race “really good,” according to Miguel Gonzalez, who saddled the 6-year-old in place of trainer Mike Pender, who is vacationing in Europe with his wife.
Tammy Fox, wife of trainer Dale Romans, said Little Mike, who finished third as the favorite in the Shoemaker, was fine Sunday. “He ran hard and those were two good horses who beat him,” observed Fox. “He’s leaving for Kentucky at 1 a.m. Tuesday morning.”
BENEFIT FOR OMAR BERRIO SET FOR JULY 8
A dinner/dance to benefit jockey Omar Berrio will be held after the races Sunday, July 8 at Betfair Hollywood Park.
The Turf Club event, which will be hosted by Betfair Hollywood Park, the local jockey colony and the Southern California Race Track Chaplaincy, is scheduled to begin at 6:30 p.m.
Berrio, a rider on this circuit for more than 20 years, suffered his second stroke May 11. A native of Panama City, Panama who won his initial race April 13, 1990 at Santa Anita, Berrio, 43, was first stricken in 2010.
A $100 donation allows fans to enjoy a buffet dinner and meet members of the Southern California jockey community, including Rafael Bejarano, Victor Espinoza, David Flores and Joe Talamo.
For more information and to purchase tickets, call Betfair Hollywood Park’s Group Events Department at 310-419-1529.
PATIENCE PAYS OFF FOR GAINES, BAFFERT
Two talented runners, John Scott and Take Control, registered impressive victories following long layoffs during the Spring/Summer meeting at Betfair Hollywood Park.
John Scott, who had been away since October, 2009, returned in April at Santa Anita and captured both his starts at the current stand. Most recently, the Bertrando gelding held off 2009 Hollywood Gold Cup winner Rail Trip June 28th under allowance conditions.
“He had a condylar fracture and had to have a pin inserted,” said trainer Carla Gaines. “We took our time with him, but when he was ready to come back, he had some incidental issues and we had to turn him out again.
“I thought he was going to be a superb 3-year-old,” Gaines continued. “I had Derby hopes for him.”
Before he left, John Scott ran three times, closing from far back in each race. His two local victories were accomplished in pace-pressing fashion. Asked about the 5-year-old’s drastic change in running styles, Gaines said, “He’s still learning and I think a lot of it has to do with maturation. Also, in the (2009) Norfolk Stakes he had the outside post and was shuffled back.”
Bob Baffert has done an equally masterful job with Take Control, who returned from 30 months off Saturday to win an optional claimer going away. One would be hard-pressed to come up with a better pedigree than Take Control, who is by a champion (A.P. Indy) out of a champion (Azeri). If he stays sound, he could make some serious noise later in the year.
Though Rafael Bejarano’s streak of 18 consecutive days of riding at least one winner came to an end Friday, he continues to dominate the jockey standings. Bejarano picked up his 58th victory of the Spring/Summer meeting Saturday aboard Take Control. Entering Sunday, the Peruvian-born rider leads Joe Talamo 58-36.
Talamo doubled Saturday, including a heart-warming victory astride Camp Victory in the Grade I Triple Bend Handicap for Mike Mitchell, who underwent brain surgery Friday. Talamo tweeted the following message following the race: “So happy to win for Mike Mitchell today. This will definitely be one of my most memorable GI wins. Congratulations to all the connections.”
It didn’t take long for Joel Rosario to get a foothold at Belmont Park, where he began riding regularly Wednesday. The native of Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic won a pair Friday with Almost an Angel at $3.90 and Mizzen Donald, trained by Bob Hess, at $25.20. Rosario came right back Saturday to capture the Grade II Dwyer with Teeth of the Dog for trainer Michael Matz.
Attempting to fill the void left by Rosario will be Aaron Gryder, second to Russell Baze at the Golden Gate Fields meeting which ended June 17th, and Corey Nakatani, a mainstay in the Southern California riding colony before relocating to the East Coast a couple of years ago. Gryder is scheduled to begin riding at Betfair Hollywood Park the week of July 4th, while Nakatani, who will be represented by Brian Beach, will be accepting mounts a week later.
David Flores will be at Monmouth Park July 7th to ride Slim Shadey in the Grade I, $500,000 United Nations Stakes for Simon Callaghan, according to agent Craig O’Brian.
The 4-year-old son of Val Royal was second to Acclamation in the Grade I, $250,000 Charles Whittingham Memorial Handicap June 9 at Betfair Hollywood Park.
CLOSING STRIDES— Betfair Hollywood Park will begin a five-day racing week Wednesday with a special 4th of July program. The feature race is the Grade II $150,000 Swaps Stakes for 3-year-olds at 1 1-8 miles on Cushion Track. Leading contenders are Bob Baffert -trained Liaison, winner of the Grade I CashCall Futurity in 2011, and the Jerry Hollendorfer duo of Nonios and Rousing Sermon. Post time is 1 p.m. Veterans and active duty personnel – with military identification – will receive free general admission and all patrons will be offered a free box seat upgrade…… John Sadler confirmed Kettle Corn a starter in Saturday’s Grade I, $500,000 Hollywood Gold Cup, a Breeders’ Cup Challenge “Win and You’re In’’ race. An interesting side note is Gladding, also nominated to the Gold Cup by Sadler. The Wild Again gelding is entered in Sunday’s Alamedan Handicap at Pleasanton, but the trainer left open the possibility of running the 5-year-old back in the Gold Cup a week later. Gladding’s front-running style could serve to soften up likely favorite Game On Dude while helping Kettle Corn’s stretch bid. In addition to Californian hero Game On Dude, Baffert likely will run multiple Grade I winner Richard’s Kid, who would be ridden by Rafael Bejarano ……… Joel Rosario will return to Betfair Hollywood Park Saturday, July 14th to ride Team Valor and Robert V. La Penta’s Angegreen in the Grade I, $350,000 American Oaks. The Italian bred was runnerup in the prestigious Italian Oaks. Other possible European imports for the American Oaks are Bugie d’Amore, fifth last out in the Grade I Coronation Stakes at Ascot, Prince A A Faisal’s Nayarra, second in a Grade III at Newmarket, and Miss Cato, second in her debut in the Ballymacoll Stakes at Newbury….. John Harris will be presented the ninth annual Laffit Pincay, Jr. Award during the Hollywood Gold Cup Program July 7th. Pincay, a member of racing’s Hall of Fame since 1975, will make the presentation between the fifth and sixth races. The Pincay Award is presented yearly to someone who has served the spot with integrity, extraordinary dedication, determination and distinction.
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