Big ‘Cap winner Idol in Grade I Awesome Again

September 30, 2021

Big ‘Cap winner Idol in Grade I Awesome Again
Baffert optimistic about two-year-olds; Friday’s stakes Lure Johnny V., Rosario; Ida behind him, Eddie D looks to opener

ARCADIA, Calif. – Idol, who has not raced since posting a mild upset in the Grade I Santa Anita Handicap seven months ago on March 6, returns Saturday in the Grade I Awesome Again Stakes, a Breeders’ Cup “Win and You’re In” Challenge Race at 1 1/8 miles for three-year-olds and up.

The Awesome Again is one of 14 stakes to be decided at Santa Anita opening weekend through Sunday,10 of them graded and three of them Grade I’s.

Trained by Richard Baltas for owner Calvin Nguyen, Idol is a four-year-old bay colt by two-time Horse of the Year Curlin who was five-wide winning the Big ’Cap at a mile and a quarter, the same distance as his ultimate goal, the Breeders’ Cup Classic at Del Mar on Nov. 6.

“He worked (six furlongs this past Sunday) in 1:12; he went good,” said Baltas, while candidly admitting he has bigger fish to fry than winning the Awesome Again. “He’s not cranked up. If he wins, he wins, but this is not our goal.”

Idol’s time was the fastest of 10 at the distance. In all, there were 223 recorded workouts Sunday, 50 on the training track.

Addressing the reason for the lengthy layoff, Baltas said: “After he won the Big ’Cap, he came out of a work a little funny, we did all the diagnostics, couldn’t find anything major wrong so we gave him 60 days off.”

Idol had been working steadily at San Luis Rey Downs before returning to Santa Anita.

“We’re getting ready for a big autumn, hopefully have a few horses in the Breeders’ Cup and end the year going in the right direction,” Baltas said.

Bob Baffert celebrates American Pharoah’s 2015 Preakness win.
(By Maryland GovPics – Flickr, CC BY 2.0 via Wikipedia Commons)

Baffert hopes to ‘post’ juvenile victories

Bob Baffert drew the inside posts with two of the three expensive bluebloods he has entered in Friday’s Grade I American Pharoah Stakes and has two fillies in the Grade II Chandelier Stakes, each a Breeders’ Cup “Win and You’re In” Challenge Race Nov. 5 at Del Mar.

Corniche, a $1.5 million son of Quality Road, drew the rail in the American Pharoah at 1 1/16 miles, while stablemate Flying Summer, an $850,000 son of Gun Runner, breaks from the two hole. Rockefeller, a $750,000 son of Medaglia d’Oro, drew post position six in a field of seven.

Undefeated Grace Adler, 11 ¼-length winner of the Grade I Del Mar Debutante at seven furlongs Sept. 5, breaks from post four in a field of seven in the Chandelier at 1 1/16 miles, while Censorship, a daughter of Tonalist who was a troubled second in a mile maiden race Aug. 26 at Del Mar, drew the outside post.

“Once they draw you’ve got to deal with it,” Baffert said, summarily dismissing the Chandelier posts. “The riders will figure it out, so we’ll leave it there. There’s no sense worrying about what you can’t change.

“Going two turns is a test. Censorship (a maiden in three starts) always works so well in the mornings, but she’s had bad luck in the afternoons. Her last race was disastrous.”

Baffert was alluding to the Aug. 26 debacle in which the daughter of Tonalist stumbled badly as the 11-10 favorite but still finished second.

“The Chandelier is a very competitive race, and we’ll find out if they fit,” the two-time Triple Crown-winning trainer said.

Pinehurst also was nominated to the American Pharoah but not entered. Unbeaten in two starts including a 4 ½-length victory in the Grade I Del Mar Futurity on Sept. 6, Baffert plans to train the son of Twirling Candy up to the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile on Nov. 5.

The Chandelier, race six, with a 1 p.m. first post time:

  1. Electric Ride, Joe Bravo, 3-1
  2. Ain’t Easy, Joel Rosario, 5-2
  3. Dance to the Music, Abel Cedillo, 5-1
    4.Grace Adler, Flavien Prat, 9-5
  4. Desert Dawn, Ricardo Gonzalez, 15-1
  5. Elm Drive, Juan Hernandez, 8-1
  6. Censorship, John Velazquez, 12-1

The American Pharoah, race eight:

  1. Corniche, Mike Smith, 6-5
  2. Flying Drummer, John Velazquez, 10-1
  3. Finneus, Tiago Pereira, 12-1
  4. Oviatt Class, Kent Desormeaux, 3-1
  5. Joker Boy, Edwin Maldonado, 15-1
  6. Rockefeller, Flavien Prat, 3-1
  7. Pappacap, Joe Bravo, 8-1

Joel Rosario (Benoit Photos)

Top agent’s top jocks ride at Santa Anita

John Velazquez, solidly entrenched in the Hall of Fame, and Joel Rosario, odds-on to one day join his cohort in racing’s hallowed shrine, will ride at Santa Anita on opening day Friday.

Velazquez, a native of Puerto Rico who turns 50 on Nov. 1, and Rosario, a 36-year-old native of the Dominican Republic, have riding commitments back east following their Santa Anita engagements. Saturday, Rosario pilots Knicks Go for Brad Cox in the Lukas Classic at Churchill Downs.

“Rosario rides Ain’t Easy for Phil D’Amato in the Chandelier Stakes and American Xperiment for Steve Asmussen in the American Pharoah,” said world-class agent Ron Anderson, who represents both jockeys.

Ain’t Easy, a bay daughter of Into Mischief, won her debut race by 5 ¼ lengths under Rosario Aug. 21 at Del Mar, her ability surprisingly concealed to bettors as she went off at 8-1.

Rosario is fresh from setting a record at Kentucky Downs where he won 17 races at the south-central Kentucky meet, breaking the former mark of 12 set three years earlier.

In his stellar career, Anderson also guided the fortunes of Hall of Fame members Jerry Bailey, Gary Stevens, Kent Desormeaux and the late Garrett Gomez, who died on Dec. 14, 2016, and Chris Antley, who died on Dec. 2, 2000. Both are still sorely missed by friends and fans alike

“Joel is an exceptional rider and an exceptional person, too,” Anderson said. “He’s all class and just a really good kid.”

Jealousy and envy are two green monsters benignly not harbored by Rosario in his relationship with Velazquez.

“They’re both very respectful of each other,” Anderson said. “They root for each other and they’re good friends. They want to beat each other on the race track but aside from that, they do root for each other.”

Eddie Delahoussaye on A.P. Indy before the 1992 Belmont Stakes. (via Wikipedia Commons By Jlvsclrk – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0)

Eddie D here in spirit for stakes in his honor

Eddie Delahoussaye turned 70 on Sept. 21.

Time flies.

Seems like yesterday the Hall of Fame member and Louisiana native was roaring down the stretch at Santa Anita to capture another thrilling victory in a photo finish, or winning the Kentucky Derby back-to-back, on Gato Del Sol in 1982 and Sunny’s Halo in 1983.

Delahoussaye is one of only seven jockeys to register consecutive triumphs in 147 editions of the Run for the Roses, the others being Isaac Murphy, Jimmy Winkfield, Ron Turcotte, Calvin Borel, Victor Espinoza and John Velazquez.

Arguably one of the most popular jockeys ever to ride at Santa Anita, Eddie D as he is known among racing aficionados, has been honored at The Great Place by having one of Friday’s stakes races named for him.

The $200,000 Eddie D Stakes, for three-year-olds and up, marks a return to Santa Anita’s unique hillside turf course at about 6 ½ furlongs, that venue having not been used since March 2019.

The Eddie D is one of four opening day stakes, three of them graded, including the Grade I American Pharoah for two-year-olds at a mile and 1 1/16 and the Grade II Chandelier Stakes for two-year-old fillies at 1 1/16 miles. Although not graded, for good measure there’s the $100,000 Speakeasy Stakes for two-year-olds at five furlongs on turf.

The latter three are Breeders’ Cup “Win and You’re In” Challenge events giving the winner a fees-paid berth in their respective Breeders’ Cup races Nov. 5 and 6 at Del Mar.

Due to Covid 19 both last year and this, and Hurricane Ida, a deadly and destructive Category 4 hurricane that ravaged Louisiana a month ago, Delahoussaye will miss being on hand to present a trophy to the winning connections of the Eddie D for the second year in a row.

But he and his family, wife Juanita, sister Rose Anne and daughter Mandy, who has special needs, escaped serious harm from the second-most damaging and intense hurricane ever to strike Louisiana.

“We got lucky,” Delahoussaye said by phone from his home in Lafayette. “People on both sides of us got hit the worst. We were right in the middle and had winds and rain, but nothing serious. Baton Rouge and most of the coast lines really got blasted.”

Meanwhile, Juanita and Mandy, now 46, are recovering from ailments unrelated to Ida, but otherwise, “Everything’s OK. We’re just getting older

“I’m doing all right, but Mandy’s been sick for over a year,” said Delahoussaye, a Hall of Fame member since 1993 who retired early in 2003 with 6,384 victories after suffering head and neck injuries in a spill at Del Mar on Aug. 30, 2002. “She’s still not 100 percent so we’ve been going through a lot with her, and Juanita had a rotator cuff operation six weeks ago, but she’s getting better. I’m lucky my sister and I are healthy to help out.”

Eddie is still “fiddling around” with more than a visceral involvement in the bloodstock business and is a relatively new member of the Louisiana Racing Commission.

“A partner and I have a mare and Juanita and I have another mare, with some babies coming in,” Delahoussaye said. “One’s in training right now and another we’re putting in a two-year-old in training sale. I’ve been on the racing commission for about a year, so it all keeps me busy.”

Eddie still maintains contact with his Hall of Fame peers periodically as well.

“I talk with Chris (McCarron) once in a while, and I spoke with Alex (Solis) a couple months ago,” Eddie said. “He was in Florida with Jose Velez, so we got to chattin’.

“I talk to Pat Day once in a while, but I haven’t talked with Laffit (Pincay Jr.) lately. Usually, I do that once a year, but since the pandemic, I haven’t talked to him at all the last two years.”

As to racing’s future, what with members of the medical field, politicians and lawyers seemingly in the news as much if not more than the horses, Delahoussaye maintains a wait-and-see attitude.

“The way things are right now, with bad tests and so forth, that needs to be cleaned up,” he said with a hint of acuity. “They should reconsider the use of therapeutic medication being measured in picograms and nanograms which are so small it’s almost out of a horse’s system. Either we do with it or we do without it.

“If you do without it completely, we won’t have racing, because let’s face it: football players, baseball players, they all use therapeutic medicine. As long as it’s not a stimulant to enhance performance and it’s just to help them do what comes naturally, it should be used.

“Get rid of the clenbuterol that enhances their performance. Lasix is a diuretic and is not an enhancer, yet they want to do away with that.

“There are a lot of smart people out there and a lot of science. They can put their heads together and do it right.”

The Eddie D, race seven:

  1. Gregorian Chant, Juan Hernandez, 4-1
  2. Caribou Club, Drayden Van Dyke, 6-1
  3. Mesut, Umberto Rispoli, 12-1
  4. Charmaine’s Mia, Flavien Prat, 10-1
  5. Law Abidin Citizen, Abel Cedillo, 5-1
  6. Chaos Theory, Kent Desormeaux, 15-1
  7. Lieutenant Dan, Geovanni Franco, 7-2
    8, Whisper Not, John Velazquez, 6-1
  8. Snapper Sinclair, Joel Rosario, 4-1.

FINISH LINES: Admission gates open Friday at 11 a.m. with free parking and General Admission. On opening day Friday and each Friday throughout the stakes-studded 16-day Autumn meet, Santa Anita will offer free parking and admission in addition to $3 beers and $5 specialty cocktails. Walk-Ups will be welcome at Saturday and Sunday’s (Oct. 2 and 3) Oktoberfest, featuring a free Santa Anita Hat Giveaway sponsored by Yaamava Resort and Casino at San Manuel (available to Thoroughbreds and XB Rewards members). There is free and easy signup for non-members at pickup sites. A $5 Infield admission includes parking and program each weekend through Gate 6 off Colorado Place, with a festive Infield Family Fun Zone and Infield Biegarten included . . . Multiple graded turf stakes winner United, set for Saturday’s Grade II John Henry Turf Championship, had a three-furlong blowout for Richard Mandella this morning in a bullet 36.40, fastest of eight drills at the distance.

Greenbow (Outside) and Q B One (Mandella) 9-27-21
Dream of Jeanne (Shirreffs) 9-27-21
Miss Addie Pray (Gallagher) 9-27-21
Chaos Theory (Hess, Jr.) 9-27-21
Bella D (Outside)(Puype), Tripoli (Middle) and Dubby Dubbie (Sadler)
Tizamagician (Inside) and Explosive (Mandella) 9-26-21
Star Entry (Outside) and At the Spa (Periban) 9-26-21
Eda (Outside) and Flying Drummer (Baffert) 9-25-21
Electric Ride (Outside) and Crew Dragon (Sadler) 9-25-21
Pappacap (Outside) and Laker Mamba (Casse) 9-24-21
Corniche (Outside) and Rockefeller (Baffert) 9-24-21
Charmaine’s Mia (Outside), Gregorian Chant (Middle) and Leisurewear (D’Amato) 9-24-21
Grace Adler (Outside) and Censorship (Baffert) 9-24-21
Micro Share (Outside) and Forbidden Kingdom (Mandella) 9-24-21
Blame It On Rose (Hess, Jr.) 9-23-21
Whisper Not (Baltas) 9-22-21
Lieutenant Dan (Miyadi) 9-22-21
Desert Dawn (Outside) and Ain’t Easy (D’Amato) 9-20-21

For info on the Best Breeders’ Cup Seminar click HERE

Stable Notes by Ed Golden/Santa Anita Press Office
Photo: Idol winning the Santa Anita Handicap G1 under Joel Rosario on March 6, 2021. (Benoit Photos)

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