Masochistic works at Santa Anita Park

Masochistic works at Santa Anita Park

Zoe Metz

Masochistic, Richard's Boy to Meet in Sensational Star

Sprinters set to run on grass or dirt, depending on the weather.

Regardless of weather or which surface the $100,000 Sensational Star Stakes is run on March 11 at Santa Anita Park, the connections of the headliners in the overflow field of California-breds say their horses are good to go.

The about 6 1/2-furlong race, which is scheduled to run down Santa Anita's hillside turf course, could very well be moved to the main track Sunday if an expected storm hits Southern California over the weekend, but morning-line favorites Richard's Boy and Masochistic are expected to run on turf, fast dirt, or a wet main track.

"We just want to run," said Masochistic's trainer, Bob Baffert. "We've gotta get him back on track."

In his first start for Baffert Jan. 27 in the Donald Valpredo California Cup Sprint, the 8-year-old Sought After gelding set the early pace and tired harshly to finish a far-back fifth as the 3-5 favorite. Co-owner Will Shamlian indicated in the weeks after the Cal Cup Sprint that Masochistic, needing firmer ground than what his connections feel have been "loose" dirt tracks in Southern California recently, would try turf next, but that try may have to wait.

"He wasn't ready, but now he's ready," Baffert said. "He's been working well, and this surface is so demanding. He just wasn't ready for that. He likes a hard surface."

Six of Masochistic's wins have come on fast dirt, and two have come on a synthetic surface. If the Sensational Star stays on the grass, it would be his first start on the green. Sought After has sired one minor stakes winner on grass (Control Seeker), but Masochistic is out of the unraced Trotinette, a daughter of standout California turf sire Unusual Heat.

Hard-knocking turf sprinter Richard's Boy has also had success on dirt—he won the Cal Cup Sprint to kick off his 2017 season—but had quite a season on the grass. Rockingham Ranch's Idiot Proof gelding only won one other race—the Jim McKay Turf Sprint Stakes at Pimlico Race Course—but placed in five other turf stakes (although he was disqualified from the Pennsylvania Governor's Cup because of a methamphetamine positive). In all five he finished less than a length behind the winner, including his final start of 2017 when he missed by a head to Peter Miller-trained stablemate Stormy Liberal in the Breeders' Cup Turf Sprint (G1T).

BALAN: Richard's Boy Scores in Jim McKay, Ben's Cat Eighth

"Absolutely (he's running if the Sensational Star comes off the turf)," said Rockingham racing manager Brian Trump. "He's done well on the dirt. One of the best (speed figures) he ran was on the dirt. He's never run in the slop, so we don't know how he's going to handle that."

Trump also said, if all goes well in the Sensational Star and Richard's Boy exits the race healthy, he'll head back to Dubai for a second try in the Al Quoz Sprint sponsored by Azizi Developments (G1) March 31. Richard's Boy finished fifth in last year's Al Quoz Sprint.

The field of 11 (and three also eligibles) also includes grade 3 winner Solid Wager, as well as stakes winners Tribal Storm, Jimmy Bouncer, Smokey Image, and B Squared.

Entries: Sensational Star S.

Santa Anita Park, Sunday, March 11, 2018, Race 8

  • STK
  • About 6 1/2f
  • Downhill turf
  • $100,000
  • 4 yo's & up
  • 3:10 PM (local)
11Tribal Storm (CA)Rafael Bejarano122Ed Moger, Jr.15/1
22Anatolian Heat (CA)Geovanni Franco120Peter Miller15/1
33Jimmy Bouncer (CA)Corey S. Nakatani120Michael Pender15/1
44Masochistic (CA)Victor Espinoza124Bob Baffert3/1
55Richard's Boy (CA)Drayden Van Dyke122Peter Miller5/2
66Smokey Image (CA)Tyler Baze120Carla Gaines10/1
77Tough Sunday (CA)Joseph Talamo120Steven Miyadi4/1
88Fly to Mars (CA)Evin A. Roman120Peter Miller6/1
99Chief Hosa (KY)Flavien Prat120Adam Kitchingman20/1
1010B Squared (CA)Mario Gutierrez122Doug F. O'Neill6/1
1111Solid Wager (CA)Martin A. Pedroza124Peter Miller12/1
1212Tony Blackjack (CA)Tiago Josue Pereira120Philip D'Amato15/1
1313Brandothebartender (CA)Brice Blanc120Andrew Lerner20/1
1414Milton Freewater (CA)Tyler Conner120Doug F. O'Neill12/1