Adare Manor dominates in the Santa Margarita under Juan Hernandez (Benoit Photo)
Legendary Middle Linebacker Dick Butkus Presents the Trophy
Santa Anita Press Box
ARCADIA, Calif.— On a day when legendary middle linebacker Dick Butkus was poised to present the winner’s trophy, Bob Baffert’s heavily favored Adare Manor didn’t disappoint, as she completely dominated four rivals going a mile and one eighth in Saturday’s Grade II, $200,000 Santa Margarita Stakes at Santa Anita. Ridden to her third consecutive victory by Juan Hernandez, she got the distance in 1:49.79.
Although multiple stakes-winning Desert Dawn was hustled to keep her company early, Adare Manor made a relatively easy lead into the Club House turn, enabling Hernandez to fold over to the rail from his number two post position and from there, the Santa Margarita was never in doubt.
“She moves really smooth,” said Hernandez, who registered his meet-leading 10th stakes win and 34th overall victory on this, the 24th day of Santa Anita’s Hollywood Meeting. “She just takes me there, I just let her go and you don’t feel anything because she was just galloping and moving really smooth. She is really fun.”
A 4 ¾ length winner of the Grade II Santa Maria Stakes on April 29, Adare Manor was off at 1-5 today and returned $2.60, $2.10 and $2.10.
A 4-year-old Kentucky-bred filly by Uncle Mo out of the Giant Gizmo mare Brooklynsway, Adare Manor notched her third graded stakes win and her fifth win from 11 overall starts for owner Michael Lund Petersen. With the winner’s share of $120,000, she increased her earnings to $621,600.
Baffert, who was away to saddle Preakness winner National Treasure in today’s Belmont Stakes, got his third career win in the Santa Margarita which was contested for the 84th time.
Considered by many to be the greatest middle linebacker in the history of the NFL, Butkus was asked to compare jockeys as athletes to professional football players by XBTV’s Millie Ball.
“I think (jockeys) gotta have that attitude that whatever mount he is on, he’s going to naturally try to win it, so I don’t think anybody rides to lose,” he said. “I think that competitive edge is what all athletes do. They want to excel, they want to win. It is a horse race, there are eight to 10 horses, so you gotta go after it…”
In search of her second graded stakes win, Desert Dawn paid the price for chasing the winner early, as she tired a sixteenth of a mile from home, finishing 2 ½ lengths behind Kirstenbosch.
Ridden by Hector Berrios, Kirstenbosch rallied nicely for the place and paid $5.00 and $2.10 while off at 12-1.
The second choice at 5-2, Arizona-bred Desert Dawn paid $2.10 to show while finishing 1 ¼ lengths in front of Smoothlikebuttah.
Fractions on the race were 24.20, 48.47, 1:12.12 and 1:36.64.
JUAN HERNANDEZ, ADARE MANOR, WINNER:
“She moves really smooth. She just takes me there, I just let her go and you don’t feel anything because she was just galloping and moving really smooth. She is really fun.”
DICK BUTKUS, CHICAGO BEARS NFL LINEBACKER:
“Seeing these jockeys, everybody wonders how a little guy of that size can control a big animal like that. If you watch them, they don’t hit that saddle. They may sit in that saddle when they get in the gates, but after that it isn’t until they get to the Winner’s Circle that they get to sit down again. So, if you can imagine, doing squats for whatever the amount of time the horse runs the route, I mean it is brutal on your legs so you gotta hand it to these guys they have to be in shape.
“I think (Jockeys) gotta have that attitude that whatever mount he is on, he’s going to naturally try to win it so, I don’t think anyone rides to lose. I think that competitive edge is what all athletes do. They want to excel, they want to win. It is a horse race there is eight to 10 horses so you gotta go after it. I would consider them athletes, no doubt about it.
“I’ve been here before in the 1963 during a Rose Bowl when were here, like forty years ago and then when we I use to go to the Pro Bowl we use to come here and spend a day at the track. I’ve been here a number of times. It’s a little bit of a jaunt to get here from Santa Monica over here but it is a beautiful place. I can’t bet worth a damn but I just like to come out here like everyone else.”
NOTES: The winning owner is Michael Lund Petersen.