Halo Dolly returned to winning form when teamed with Rafael Bejarano for the first time April 28, scoring a 1 1/2-length victory in the $100,000 Wilshire Handicap (gr. IIIT) on firm turf at Betfair Hollywood Park.
Halo Dolly won for the sixth time in nine starts this year when she rallied from off the pace to motor home by 1 1/4 lengths in the $250,000 Yellow Ribbon Handicap (gr. IIT) over the Del Mar turf Sept. 3.
Graded stakes winner Popular came through with his first winner when a daughter, Fashionita, won July 18 at Solano.
Bob Baffert, Santa Anita's leading trainer the last six meets, seeks his second consecutive victory in the $100,000 San Miguel Stakes (gr. III) on Sunday with Echeverria.
Your mission, Jim, should you decide to accept it, is to infiltrate Paco Gonzalez' heavily armed fortress and slip Came Home a major dose of stamina builder. As much as we'd love to accomplish that mission and get this talented colt all the way to Churchill Downs on the first Saturday in May, we can't help seeing all those sprinters and milers staring out at us from his pedigree
Came Home drew off through the Santa Anita stretch to win Saturday's $150,000 San Vicente Stakes (gr. II) by four lengths over maiden Jack's Silver. Pacesetter Werblin was nipped at the wire for second-place money, but finished three lengths clear of Popular.
With the main focus of Saturday's Hutcheson Stakes likely to be on Maybry's Boy and Axis, one horse may very well be overlooked in the wagering. Listed at 9-2 on the Daily Racing Form morning line, is Shadwell Stable's Monthir. Also on Saturday, Popular, Came Home, and Werblin slug it out in the San Vicente Stakes.
All eyes will be on Came Home in Saturday's $150,000 San Vicente Stakes for 3-year-olds at seven furlongs. Last year's Hopeful Stakes winner will be making his first start since finishing seventh in last year's Breeders' Cup Juvenile, but trainer Paco Gonzalez has the homebred son of Gone West ready for a solid performance.
Several 3-year-olds saw action on the work tab Tuesday morning. At Santa Anita, The Thoroughbred Corp's Popular breezed an easy five furlongs in 1:03 for Saturday's seven-furlong Hutcheson Stakes.
Trainer Bob Baffert sent out a trio of 3-year-olds coming off stakes wins for four-furlong works at Santa Anita Wednesday, including Golden Gate Derby (gr. III) winner Danthebluegrassman. All three completed their assignments in :48 3/5 on a fast track.
No, he didn't mix it up with Monarchos and Point Given last spring. Some might say he took the easier road. But it's pretty hard to fault a horse who can lay claim to three Derbys and nearly three-quarters of a million dollars in earnings. Nevertheless, if Western Pride had any lingering naysayers, they got stopped in their tracks on Jan. 12 after the muscle-bound colt ran off with the $214,200 San Fernando Breeders' Cup Stakes (gr. II) at Santa Anita.
The Thoroughbred Corporation's homebred Popular was headed in the stretch by 13-10 favorite Roman Dancer, then fought back to the lead under jockey Victor Espinoza to win Sunday's $107,900 San Miguel Stakes (gr. III) by a nose at Santa Anita.
Trainer Howard Zucker is uncertain whether Bringem Jung, a third-place finished in a Santa Anita allowance race Dec. 26 won by Werblin, will make his next start in the San Miguel Stakes on Sunday or wait until Wednesday for an allowance race. One more likely for the San Miguel is Sunny Slope Stakes winner Roman Dancer.
As the masses congregate at the start of the Kentucky Derby trail, there will, as usual, be lots of pushing and shoving until late February and early March when the contenders begin to separate themselves from the pack. But disappointment and frustration can be prevelant just getting to the Derby trail, as evidenced by the number of highly promising juveniles who stumbled along the way last week.
Remember Tincin, whose connections threatened to enter the maiden in this year's Kentucky Derby before a cough forced his withdrawal? Those who look back on that debacle fondly will want to tune in for the Dec. 15 Hollywood Futurity, when Iowa-bred Warp Speed Scottie will ship in to take on Breeders' Cup Juvenile (gr. I) third-place finisher Siphonic in the 1 1/16-mile grade I race.
Bob Baffert is considering running Popular in the $200,000 Hollywood Futurity (gr. I) rather than multiple graded stakes winner Officer. Hollywood Prevue winner Fonz's is also being pointed toward the Futurity, but trainer and co-owner David LaCroix also has a decision to make regarding his juvenile.
Sure, he looked strong, and there seemed to be some promise in his bloodlines. Then again, the chestnut colt had hind ankles questionable enough that most buyers simply turned their backs. For trainer David LaCroix, the $10,500 price tag represented a bargain, a gamble, a chance. There really was no further reason for him to think, or to dream, any bigger. That horse, Fonz's, returned from a nearly six-month layoff to win the $100,000 Hollywood Prevue Stakes (gr. III) Saturday at Hollywood Park.
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