D’Amato Sends Out a Trio in John Henry Turf Championship

September 30, 2022

ARCADIA, Calif.— Phil D’Amato has 10 horses entered on Saturday’s lucrative 10-race program, and if he triumphs at his current frequency, he’ll have to double-time it to pose for winner’s circle pictures.

The 46-year-old trainer, fresh from tying Bob Baffert for Del Mar’s training title with 19 victories each, and coming off a rousing 52-win campaign at Santa Anita in 2020-21, has three horses entered in the Grade II John Henry Turf Championship, a race he won in 2014 with Bright Spot and in 2019 with Cleopatra’s Strike.

They are Gold Phoenix, Masteroffoxhounds and Cash Equity, each with imposing credentials good enough to capture the 1 ¼-mile marathon.

“I think Masteroffoxhounds has tactical speed, and should probably be sitting one-two, and the others should come from behind, so I’m going to leave it up to the jockeys to figure it out,” D’Amato said.

The Irish-bred Gold Phoenix rallied from 10th to win the Grade II Del Mar Handicap at 1 3/8 miles by a head on Sept. 3. Masteroffoxhounds set the pace in that race before flattening out to finish fifth, while Cash Equity will be making his first start in more than two months after an eventful eighth in the Grade II Eddie Read on July 31.

“This is his first time as a gelding,” D’Amato said of Cash Equity, a four-year-old gray French-bred seeking his first stakes win in the United States. “We took our time with him.”

Cash Equity will make his first start as a gelding.

Hall of Fame trainer Ron McAnally will present a trophy to the winning connections of the John Henry Turf Championship, named in honor of the legendary gelding.

Now 90, McAnally conditioned John Henry in the late 1970’s and early 1980s, when he won two Horse of the Year titles, in 1981 and 1984.

The John Henry, will be run as race three with the following horses lining up:

Gold Phoenix, Juan Hernandez, 2-1; Breakpoint, Tyler Baze, 9-2; Dicey Mo Chara, Ryan Curatolo, 3-1; Masteroffoxhounds, Umberto Rispoli, 5-2; Tropical Terror, Mike Smith, 20-1; and Cash Equity, Hector Berrios, 4-1.

First post time Saturday is 12:30 p.m.

Santa Anita Park Press Release/Edited

Photo: Phil D’Amato (Benoit Photo)

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