Conditioner McCarthy Brings His Best for Derby Day

June 1, 2020

ARCADIA, Calif. – Santa Anita has hosted the Breeders’ Cup a record 10 times.

On Saturday, June 6, it presents what might be termed a Breeders’ Cup in miniature, showcasing seven lucrative stakes races highlighted by the Grade I Runhappy Santa Anita Derby, the Grade I Hollywood Gold Cup and the Grade II Santa Anita Oaks.

For added pleasure, there’s the $150,000 Cinema Stakes for three-year-olds at a mile and one eighth on turf; the $100,000 Crystal Water Stakes for California-breds three and up at a mile on turf; the $100,000 Fran’s Valentine Stakes for Cal-bred fillies and mares at a mile on turf; and the $75,000 Desert Code Stakes for three-year-olds at 5 ½ furlongs on turf.

There will be 11 races June 6 with a first post time of 12:30 p.m.

With horses scheduled to run in the Big Three plus one, Michael McCarthy will have more than a passing interest on the prominent program.

The trainer expects to enter Rushie in the Santa Anita Derby; possibly Brown Storm in the Gold Cup; Speech in the Oaks; and Cono in the Crystal Water.

Rushie will be making his stakes debut in the Derby. The gray Florida-bred son of Liam’s Map broke his maiden at Santa Anita going a mile on Feb. 1 and most recently won a 1 1/16-mile allowance race as the 3-1 favorite at Oaklawn Park on May 2.

He worked five furlongs Saturday in a snappy 59.80, a few ticks slower than the bullet 59 flat fired by the George Papaprodromou-trained So Much Happy.

“He won an allowance race at Oaklawn Park, the spacing is nice for the Derby with a potentially small field, the horse seems like he’s going the right way and there’s nowhere else to run,” McCarthy said succinctly in explaining his reasons for elevating to a Grade I.

Leading rider Flavien Prat has the mount.

Brown Storm, a five-year-old Chilean-bred full horse by Scat Daddy, set the pace in the Santa Anita Handicap on March 7 before weakening to fourth, but was beaten only three lengths in the mile and a quarter classic.

It was only his third race on the main track, 14 of his 17 starts having come on turf. Brown Storm won a stake by six lengths under 126 pounds going a mile and a quarter in his native country on Nov. 10, 2018. The Gold Cup will be decided at the same distance.

He worked five furlongs this morning in 1:00.20.

Speech, never out of the money in five races including a second in the Grade III Santa Ysabel Stakes on March 8, worked five furlongs Saturday in 1:01.80.

“I thought she worked very well,” McCarthy said of the Florida-bred daughter of Mr Speaker owned by Eclipse Thoroughbred Partners. “She is on target for the Oaks.” Prat also has the mount.

Cono, a durable five-year-old gelded son of Lucky Pulpit, makes start number 21 in the Crystal Water and is seeking his first stakes victory. He is coming off a handy allowance win as the 3-10 favorite at Golden Gate Fields on March 7 under Kent Desormeaux.

“He’s trained well since winning at Golden Gate,” McCarthy said of the chestnut owned and bred in Kentucky by John and Diane Fradkin.

Cono worked five furlongs this morning in 1:00.40.

With 13 victories from 60 starters, McCarthy is winning at a noteworthy 22 percent clip this meet. He also has eight seconds and seven thirds for purse earnings of $815,225.

Authentic Breezes in 1:12.40 for Santa Anita Derby

Undefeated Authentic worked six furlongs this morning under regular rider Drayden Van Dyke in 1:12.40 as Bob Baffert gave the son of Into Mischief his final major breeze for the Runhappy Santa Anita Derby.

Also working for Baffert were Santa Anita Derby nominee Azul Coast, who went six furlongs in 1:13.80; Gold Cup nominee Ax Man, five furlongs in 1:01.20; and undefeated Oaks contender Gamine, a $1.8 million daughter of Into Mischief, four furlongs in 48.20.

John Shirreffs sent multiple graded stakes winner Midcourt five furlongs in 1:00.40 as he prepares for the Gold Cup.

In all there were 146 recorded works at Santa Anita Sunday morning, including 12 on the training track.

Cedillo Tries to close gap on Prat

Capped by Saturday’s Grade III triumph aboard Laura’s Light for Peter Miller in the Honeymoon Stakes, Abel Cedillo has been winning races in bunches recently in an attempt to overtake double digit leader Flavien Prat for Santa Anita’s Winter Meet riding title.

Towards that pursuit, Cedillo has mounts in all eight races today.

With 10 racing days remaining, Prat holds 65-54 lead, and is ahead by $233,954 in purse earnings, $3,421,804 to $3,187,850.

“We’re taking it day by day,” said Cedillo’s agent, Tom Knust. “We’re also doing well in purse money won. Winning the title would be fine, but it’s important that we’re riding live horses for a lot of different trainers.

“Prat’s a great rider, and this being Cedillo’s first Winter Meet here, he’s done very, very well. He’s shown he can not only compete but win on a consistent basis and in big races.

“We hope to stay safe and keep it going.”

Three knotted in race for Training Crown

With the Winter Meet rolling towards its conclusion on June 21, three were in a flat-footed tie for the training title at 24 victories each: Bob Baffert, Richard Baltas and Peter Miller.

Baffert, a 12-time king at Santa Anita including seven straight campaigns from 1996-97 through 2002-03, has shown remarkable consistency across the board with 24 wins, 22 seconds and 20 thirds from 104 starters, a 23 percent winning average.

He leads in purse earnings with $2,016,512.

Baltas has a 24-20-13 mark from 139 starters with earnings of $1,720,742, while Miller stands at 24-14-9 from 101 starters and earnings of $1,378,794.

Miller’s leading win percentage of 24 is shared by Richard Mandella, who has achieved his number by winning 14 races from 59 starters.


Ollie’s Candy, winner of the Grade I Clement L. Hirsch last July, worked five furlongs this morning in 1:00.20 for John Sadler who is preparing the five-year-old Candy Ride mare for the Grade I Ogden Phipps at Belmont Park on June 13.

Ollie’s Candy (Outside) workout & St. Joe Bay (Sadler) 5-31-20

Morning Line Maker Jon White advises Laura’s Light got an 81 Beyer Speed figure in winning yesterday’s Grade III Honeymoon Stakes.

Department of Corrections: Yesterday’s Santa Anita dispatch recapping the Grade III Honeymoon Stakes, incorrectly stated that Laura’s Light had run on synthetic Tapeta on March 14 at Turfway Park. In fact, she had run on Polytrack.

Santa Anita will be dark for live racing Monday through Thursday, June 1 through June 4, but resume live action Friday, June 5 at 12:30 p.m.

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Additional workouts:

(Shirreffs) 5-30-20

Rookie Mistake (O’Neill) 5-30-20

No Slo Mo (Glatt) 5-29-20

Shadow Sphinx (Baltas) 5-29-20

Santa Anita Press Release 

Photo: Michael McCarthy’s Rushie wins an allowance at Oaklawn May 2, 2020. Credit: Coady Photography 

@jonathanstettin great read as always!

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