Santa Anita Millions Recap
SANTA ANITA SUNSHINE MILLIONS RECAP
Bold Chieftain crowned in Classic; Sweet Repent scores fifth straight in Distaff
Dwaine Hall, Langbein Trust, William Morey Jr. and Ken Robinson's veteran BOLD CHIEFTAIN (Chief Seattle) made his first and only Sunshine Millions appearance in 2007, running seventh in the Classic at Santa Anita Park. On Saturday, the seven-year-old returned to the site of that loss to score a gutsy victory for trainer and co-owner Morey in the 2010 Classic by a neck. Jockey Russell Baze guided the dark bay through the nine-furlong Pro-Ride test, finishing up in 1:48 1/5 to return $12.20, $4.80 and $4 as the 5-1 second choice. "There were three veterans out there: the rider, the trainer and the horse," Morey said. "These are the kinds of things that leave you breathless and make the game so much fun, and we're supposed to have fun out here. There's a little bit of money in it, too."
Bold Chieftain was in traffic throughout the Classic, racing between rivals as Enriched (High Brite) set a pressured pace through splits of :23 1/5, :46 3/5, 1:10 4/5 and 1:35 3/5. Making his way three wide around the turn, the eventual winner suddenly found his way blocked and was forced to steady in midstretch. He continued to run in close quarters down the lane, split horses in deep stretch and just got up for the victory.
"This ranks right up there with any race I've ever won, anywhere," Baze said. "We were in some pretty tight straits there turning for home. I didn't know if I was going to get through or not, but a hole presented itself coming to the three-sixteenths and we got through, but then I had to check up and we clipped heels. Even though we got through I had that horse (Unusual Smoke) laying on me and it's hard for a horse to move when he's got horses laying on him like that, but (Bold Chieftain) did it."
Palladio (Lycius) chased Bold Chieftain on a clearer path and just missed to pay $6.60 and $4.40 as the 6-1 fourth choice. It was another length back to 50-1 longshot Unusual Smoke (Unusual Heat), who just edged Jeranimo (Congaree) by a nose to give back $13.40. The $1 exotics were worth $36.80 (exacta), $926.80 (trifecta) and $6,145.20 (9-4-5-1 superfecta). Acclamation (Unusual Heat) was a half-length back in fifth, while Enriched just missed that spot by a neck. Next under the wire were Wicked Style (Macho Uno), Unusual Suspect (Unusual Heat) and even-money favorite The Usual Q. T. (Unusual Heat), who was rank early while forcing the pace and gave way in the stretch. Bad Action (Brahms) and Compari (Redattore [Brz]) were both withdrawn, with the former finishing sixth in Saturday's Sunshine Millions Turf at Gulfstream.
"The race set up badly for us," trainer Jim Cassidy said about The Usual Q. T. "There was too much pressure too early...my horse got rank. We'll discuss whether he'll go back on grass, but right now, that's certainly what I would think."
Bold Chieftain had a three-race win streak broken when making his seasonal bow last out in the San Pasqual H. (G2), running just two lengths behind in fourth. Prior to that, he strung together easy scores in the Governor's H., California Cup Classic and San Quentin S. This win improves his stakes tally to 12, and he's also placed in eight other black-type events, including last year's San Francisco Mile (G2) and Berkeley S. (G3). Having already joined the millionaire's club a few starts back, the dark bay winner's share of the $500,000 purse moved his lifetime earnings to $1,406,411 and his line now reads 34-15-6-4.
"Trips make races," Morey responded when asked if Baze might have moved too soon on Bold Chieftain in the San Pasqual. "I'm not taking anything from the winner, but in that race we might have rushed a little early for second money, plus, he might have need that race a little bit.
"We were really gearing for this one. This is the one we were after. We stayed here. We didn't go back up Highway Five (to his Bay Area headquarters). We camped out here at Santa Anita. He was really going to have to jump up with a monster today to continue thinking of going on (racing), and he came through, so I guess he wants to keep going. He's got the ball. If he doesn't want to do it anymore, just let us know, but when he runs races like this, it's pretty hard not to be looking down the road at another one."
Bred in California by his co-owners, Bold Chieftain is out of the stakes-placed Hooked on Music (Seattle Dancer) and counts as half-siblings multiple Grade 3-placed Hooked on Niners (Mr. Greeley), an unraced sophomore filly named Roman Lady (Roman Ruler), a juvenile filly named Briarbrookes Pride (Malibu Moon) and an unnamed yearling colt by Lemon Drop Kid.
While Bold Chieftain had a rough trip in the Classic, SWEET REPENT (Repent) had a much easier time of it to take the $300,000 Sunshine Millions Distaff at Gulfstream Park earlier on the day. The Buongiorno A Tutti Stable's colorbearer raced just off the rail while stalking the early pace duel of Amazing (Greatness) and Jessica is Back (Put It Back), angled out for the stretch run and easily ran down the latter filly to score a 3 3/4-length victory. Trained by J. David Braddy, Sweet Repent ran 1 1/8 miles on the fast main track in 1:49 1/5.
Jessica is Back was so eager she broke the gate open prior to the start, and immediately moved to the front once the race started. She wasn't alone though, as Amazing challenged for the lead, setting the opening split of :23 2/5 before Jessica is Back took command through a half in :46 4/5. Amazing stuck her head in front through three-quarters in a swift 1:10 4/5, but by this time was beginning to feel the effects of the swift pace. Jessica is Back logged a mile in 1:36 1/5, but Sweet Repent and jockey Manoel Cruz were just winding up. Blowing past the front runner, the pair easily pulled away as the 8-5 favorite in the nine-horse field.
"I was concerned when he (Cruz) was asking her in the far turn and not really getting to the leaders (Jessica is Back and Amazing), but she got going and wore them down," Braddy said. "She had some time off last year (February through July) with some problems with her feet. She was a better three-year-old than a two-year-old and is still maturing. She gets a vacation now, probably about 60 days off."
"I waited to ask my filly for her run because I know that she is game, and I just had to be consistent with her," Cruz explained his strategy. "I knew she would run for me in the final eighth, and that she was going to give me a whole bunch of run. She has improved a lot as she has gotten older and more experienced, and she keeps getting better."
Sweet Repent returned $5.20, $3 and $2.60 to her faithful backers while keying the $16.60 exacta. Jessica is Back held second by 1 1/2 lengths over Even Road (Stephen Got Even), who rallied from last to just get up for third over Amazing. Jessica is Back paid $3.60 and $3 as the 5-2 second choice, while show was worth $6.40 at 17-1. The trifecta gave back $94.60 and the 4-7-6-5 superfecta totaled $343.40. Christmas Ship (Montbrook), who was steadied sharply going into the first turn after diving for a hole on the rail that suddenly closed, dead-heated with Scolara (Quiet American) for fifth, while Unforgotten (Northern Afleet), Cat Can Do (Adcat) and Granted Tiger (Tiger Ridge) completed the order under the line.
Sweet Repent began her four-year-old season the exact same way she ended 2009 -- on a winning note. The dark bay lass began her current five-race win streak with a pair of nose victories at Calder, including the Judy's Red Shoes S., and followed those up with a 3 1/4-length score in the Elmer Heubeck Distaff H. She just held in the Stage Door Betty H. (G3) by a nose once again to conclude her sophomore campaign, and boosted her earnings to $464,190 with this victory, which also improved her career mark to 13-7-2-1.
Bred in Florida by Nikki and Roger Schick, Sweet Repent was an OBS October weanling RNA. She is out of the winning Formal Dinner mare Sweetbabe, who has since produced an unnamed juvenile filly by With Distinction and an unnamed yearling colt by City Place. This is the same family as Grade 3-placed stakes winner Sugar's Image (Valid Appeal), herself the dam of multiple Grade 3-winning sire Halo's Image (Halo).
Propulsion, Precision preserve streaks in Sunshine Millions Turf races
Florida-breds JET PROPULSION (Double Honor) and TIGHT PRECISION (Pure Precision) each extended their winning streaks to three in their respective Sunshine Millions races on Saturday. Jet Propulsion, making his first start off the claim for Farnsworth Stables and Marty Wolfson, capitalized on his role as lone speed to wire the field in the $300,000 Sunshine Millions Turf S. at Gulfstream Park, while E.J. Sukley's Tight Precision employed stalk-and-pounce tactics in the $300,000 Sunshine Millions Filly & Mare Turf S. at Santa Anita.
Although Jet Propulsion was dropped in for a $50,000 tag last out, the seven-year-old gelding had back class. The bay had captured three stakes earlier in his career, including the 2007 Miami Mile H. (G3), and his resume featured a quartet of stakes placings, topped by the 2008 Appleton H. (G3). Jet Propulsion showed that he could still compete on the stakes level as recently as last August, when he finished third in the West Virginia House of Delegates Speakers Cup S.
Dropped in class following a last-of-eight effort in the Red Bank S. (G3) at Monmouth, Jet Propulsion promptly won two in a row at Calder. He disposed of allowance rivals by 2 1/2 lengths in October, then captured the aforementioned optional claimer by the same margin in December. Once haltered by Wolfson, Jet Propulsion promised to take a step forward on the class hike, and he delivered Saturday.
Jet Propulsion rolled straight to the early lead for new rider Julien Leparoux and never saw a challenger. He enjoyed a comfortable lead through an opening quarter in :24 1/5, widened his advantage to six lengths through a half in :48 1/5, and maintained a 3 1/2-length cushion while reaching six furlongs in 1:11.
Four lengths in front through one mile in 1:33 4/5, Jet Propulsion continued to do enough inside the final furlong to keep his stablemate Pickapocket (Mecke) safely at bay. The winner had two lengths to spare at the wire in a final time of 1:45 4/5 for 1 1/8 miles on the firm turf. Sent off as the 3-1 second choice, Jet Propulsion paid $8, $5.40 and $4.00.
"I've been watching this horse for a couple years," Wolfson said. "He's beat up on horses of mine a number of times. I never thought he'd be dropped in for a tag, but when he was, I took him with this race in mind. He's settled down a lot in the last six weeks. I don't have anything in mind for him right now, but I think a mile and an eighth might be his best distance."
"I was happy, but not surprised, that they didn't come with me in the first turn," Leparoux said. "We got an easy lead and that was good for us. At the three-eighths pole I started to go, and I kind of looked back a couple of times on the final turn to see if they were coming, but they weren't. My horse made a big move and we won easily."
Fellow Wolfson trainee Pickapocket, a clear second by three lengths, returned $6.60 and $4.20 at 6-1. Picou (With Approval), also a 6-1 chance, rallied from last for third and gave back $4.60. Defending champion and 9-5 favorite Soldier's Dancer (Lost Soldier), who bided his time at the rear in the early going, lacked his usual punch and checked in another neck back in fourth. The exotics were worth $42.40 (exacta), $170.20 (trifecta) and $656.60 (11-10-1-8 superfecta).
Tie Rod (Old Topper), Bad Action (Brahms), Roman Tiger (Tiger Ridge), Fearless Eagle (Invisible Ink) and Ballonenostrikes (Lost Soldier) completed the order of finish. Wicked Style (Macho Uno) opted to run in Saturday's Sunshine Millions Classic S. at Santa Anita, finishing a troubled seventh, while Duke of Mischief (Graeme Hall) was scratched in favor of next Saturday's Donn H. (G1).
Jet Propulsion, who was also bred by Farnsworth Farms, improved his record to 45-13-10-3 with $564,523 in earnings. Out of the winning Northjet (Ire) mare Her Jet, he is a half-brother to stakes victress J. T.'s Jet Liner (Line in the Sand). This is the family of Belgian champion Ztunami (Hold Your Peace), Grade 2 heroine Shining Light (Simply Majestic) and Grade 3 scorer Withholding (Hold Your Peace).
Several minutes later on the West Coast, Florida shipper Tight Precision drove to a 1 1/2-length victory in the companion race for distaffers, defeating the California-breds on their home turf. Dispatched as the 6-5 favorite off a pair of scores in overnight company, the Tom Proctor mare was earning her first stakes coup after four stakes placings.
Tight Precision was well positioned by Joel Rosario in second, stalking Bootleg Annie (Go for Gin) through splits of :23 1/5, :47 2/5 and 1:11 4/5. Pretty Unusual (Unusual Heat) was full of run as she tracked just off the leader's heels, and swinging into the stretch, she sliced between rivals to put her head in front at the eighth-pole. Meanwhile, Tight Precision was launching her bid on the outside, and Bootleg Annie was still fighting on the rail. Pretty Unusual was unable to outfinish either of them.
Rallying boldly in deep stretch, Tight Precision spurted away to finish 1 1/8 miles in 1:47 1/5 on the firm turf. The five-year-old dark bay rewarded her backers with mutuels of $4.40, $3 and $2.40 while keying the $1 exotics -- $14.50 exacta, $97.30 trifecta and $265.10 superfecta (2-5-3-1).
"The trainer told me to do whatever I wanted," Rosario said. "She's a very classy filly. Going to the top of the stretch, I saw the three (Pretty Unusual) coming inside of me, but I wasn't worried. She's got a real long stride and when I asked her she gave it to me."
The 7-1 Bootleg Annie reclaimed runner-up honors by a nose from Pretty Unusual, paying $5.80 and $4. Show was good for $4.60 at 9-1. Proctor's other runner, Closeout (Repriced), crossed the wire another 1 1/4 lengths back in fourth. Next came You Lift Me Up (Lord Carson), Saucey Evening (More Than Ready), Catsalot (Momentum) and Century Park (General Meeting).
"I thought they both had a nice chance," Proctor said of his contestants. "I thought the filly that won had the better trip. I've got no thoughts right now about what might be next for her. It's just good to win a $300,000 race, and it's nice to win in California. I haven't been that lucky out here. I was here Breeders' Cup day (November 6 and 7), but as far as training on a regular basis, it's been the first part of 2001 or something like that since I left."
Tight Precision now sports a mark of 14-5-3-2, $337,970. All of her prior stakes experience came during her sophomore season in 2008, capped by a terrific runner-up effort behind Acoma (Empire Maker) in the Valley View S. (G3). She was sidelined for nearly one year, and in her second start off the shelf, she swept to a four-length allowance score at Churchill Downs in November. Tight Precision prepped for this engagement with an allowance/optional claiming victory earlier this month at Gulfstream.
Bred by Charles Patton, Tight Precision is a half-sister to a noted Proctor performer of the past, four-time stakes victor and Grade 2-placed Therecomesatiger (Tiger Ridge), as well as the stakes-placed Herecomesacat (Storm Creek). They were all produced by the Artistry (SAf) mare Come Tight. This is the family of Canadian champion turf horse Hasten to Add (Cozzene) and Grade 1 queen See How She Runs (Maria's Mon).
This Ones for Phil, Quisisana win photos in Sunshine Millions sprints
THIS ONES FOR PHIL (Untuttable) and Pashito the Che (Flatter) put on quite a show in the $200,000 Sunshine Millions Sprint at Gulfstream Park, the first in Saturday's six-race Sunshine Millions series that pit Florida-breds against California-breds. Eyeballing each other for more than a quarter-mile, the two turned in a scintillating stretch duel that neither in the end deserved to lose. Ultimately, the photo-finish camera judged This Ones for Phil the winner by a nose after six furlongs were scorched in 1:08 4/5 over the fast main track. Guided by John Velazquez, This Ones for Phil returned $4, $2.40 and $2.20 as the even-money favorite.
Pashito the Che, the 9-5 second choice, burst out to an early advantage of one length through an opening quarter in :21 2/5, but was soon joined by This Ones for Phil, who was only a head behind after a half-mile in :43 1/5. Those two turned the Sprint into a two-horse race early as the remainder of the field lagged far behind as the duel for the win developed. Pashito the Che easily held the place by 10 1/2 lengths and gave back $2.60 and $2.20. Drift King (Concorde's Tune), the 32-1 longest shot, edged 5-1 third choice Accredit (E Dubai) for the show and paid $5.40. The exacta returned $9.40, the trifecta $87.20, and the 6-4-5-3 superfecta returned $247. Farther behind Accredit were Sneaking Uponyou (Snuck In), Machismo (Trippi) and Rockerfeller (Maria's Mon).
This was the second consecutive Sunshine Millions victory for This Ones for Phil, who last year captured the Dash for three-year-olds at Gulfstream, a race that was not renewed this year. He preceded that score with a victory in the Seacliff S. and placings in the Foolish Pleasure S. and Arthur I. Appleton Juvenile Turf in 2008. After a nondescript fifth in the Fountain of Youth S. (G2) following his Dash victory, This Ones for Phil reached the winner's circle via disqualification in the Swale S. (G2) after being interfered with by Big Drama (Montbrook). Subsequently second in the Withers S. (G3), This Ones for Phil was sidelined for nearly six months after a fifth in the Woody Stephens S. (G2) in June due to ankle chips. He returned to the track on November 28 and easily took an allowance/optional claimer at Laurel by more than three lengths.
"We hope for an invitation to Dubai down the straightaway like we did with Benny the Bill a couple years ago," said trainer Richard Dutrow, referring to the March 27 Dubai Golden Shaheen (UAE-G1) at Meydan over six furlongs on Tapeta. Benny the Bull won the 2008 Golden Shaheen at the now-defunct Nad al Sheba on dirt.
Bred in Florida by owner Gilbert Campbell, This Ones for Phil is out of the unraced Septieme Ciel mare Heaven's Gate and counts the stakes winner Tap Dancer (Sword Dance [Ire]) as a half-brother. He also has a juvenile half-brother named Caseros (Candy Ride [Arg]) and a yearling half-brother by Artie Schiller. Heaven's Gate is a half-sister to Grade 2 victress Stolen Beauty (Deputy Minister) and Grade 2 hero Finality (Dehere). This is the female family of Grade 1-winning millionaire Island Sand (Tabasco Cat), who finished second in the 2004 Kentucky Oaks (G1); 2004 Queen's Plate victor Niigon (Unbridled); and three-time Canadian champion Eternal Search (Northern Answer).
This Ones for Phil now sports a record of 15-6-2-1, $493,360.
Speed was not as conducive to victory across the country in the $200,000 Sunshine Millions Filly & Mare Sprint at Santa Anita, as the top three all rallied from midpack. Prevailing by a diminishing nose was Ran Jan Racing's QUISISANA (Decharchy), who gradually advanced from sixth while chasing a wicked pace of :21 2/5 and :43 3/5, then held off the late surge of Dubai Majesty (Essence of Dubai) to stop the clock in 1:08 2/5 for six panels on the Pro-Ride. Ridden by Rafael Bejarano, the 6-1 third choice returned $15, $6.20 and $4.80.
Dubai Majesty, the 3-1 second choice and runner-up in this race a year ago at Gulfstream, settled for bridesmaid status again and gave back $4.40 and $3.40. Dotsy Jean (Lit de Justice), at 9-1, was close to the lead a furlong out but did not have the sufficient kick to fend off the top two and paid $5.80 after finishing 2 1/2 lengths clear of pace presser Miss McCall (Lightnin N Thunder). The $1 exotics were worth $31.80 (exacta), $247.30 (trifecta) and $809.30 (12-10-4-3 superfecta).
Emmy Darling (Graeme Hall), Via Veneto (Orientate), U R All That I Am (Valid Wager), Sleep Tight (Exchange Rate), Rate of Exchange (Exchange Rate), Fearless Leader (Suave Prospect), Libor Lady (Exchange Rate), defending champion High Resolve (Put It Back) and Magdalena's Chase (Cape Town) rounded out the bulky field of 13.
A maiden claiming graduate for $80,000 in late 2007, the five-year-old Quisisana, who is trained by Mike Puype, has had a relatively light career. She earned minor checks in three prior stakes appearances, running third in the 2008 Fleet Treat S., fourth in the 2008 Cascapedia S. and third in the California Cup Distaff last October. She preceded this win with a 2 1/2-length score in an allowance/optional claimer at Hollywood Park on December 13. Her scorecard now reads 10-5-1-2, $275,758.
Bred in California by Todd Gerbovaz, Quisisana was produced from the unraced Mink Kiss (Distinctive Cat) and has an unnamed yearling full sister. This female family is responsible for Grade 3 winner Native Heir (Makin).
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