Honest Tripoli finds home on main track

October 1, 2021

‘Hope’ at last for Mo Forza’s Breeders’ Cup; Neige Blanche seeks her first Grade I win; Century-old Shear will be honored Friday

ARCADIA, Calif.— Sired by Kitten’s Joy, America’s leading active turf stallion eight years in a row and the sire of more than 100 stakes winners in 12 crops, it made sense to have Tripoli race exclusively on grass when the chestnut colt began his career at Santa Anita on May 23, 2020.

It was far from an auspicious debut, however, as Tripoli finished 12th and last at 13-1 in the 5 ½ furlong turf sprint. He did a complete turnaround in his next race, winning by a nose over the same venue at odds of 46-1.

Tripoli captured one more turf victory in nine subsequent grass starts, this one going a mile at Santa Anita on May 1. After that, trainer John Sadler and owners Hronis Racing LLC sought greener pastures in the form of three straight runs on the main track, capping them with a victory in the Grade I TVG Pacific Classic at a mile and a quarter on Aug. 21.

If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it, so next up is Saturday’s Grade I Awesome Again Stakes on Santa Anita’s main track, one of five graded events that day, three of them Breeders’ Cup “Win and You’re In” Challenge Races giving the winner a fees-paid berth to their respective Breeders’ Cup races on Nov. 5 and 6 at Del Mar.

“Tripoli won a nice race (on dirt) at Santa Anita in the spring,” Sadler said, referring to an overnight route on June 19. “We took him to Del Mar, and he continued his improvement with a second (by a half-length) in the Grade II San Diego Handicap (July 17).

“Then he came back and won the Pacific Classic. He’s a horse that just loves the dirt right now. He’s honest and consistently runs well. He was unlucky a few times on the turf, but he should run well on Saturday.

“It looks like a good spot.”

A son of the Irish-bred stallion El Prado, Kitten’s Joy stands for $60,000 at Hill ‘n’ Dale farms in Paris, Ky.

Sadler reports that Grade I Santa Anita Derby winner Rock Your World, who was nominated to the Awesome Again, will instead be pointed to the Grade II Twilight Derby at a mile and one eighth on turf closing day, Oct. 31.

 Mo Forza returns in City of Hope Mile.

Mo Forza missed the Breeders’ Cup Mile last year.

Peter Miller was obviously disappointed with the 11th hour decision rendered due to an undisclosed anomaly, as the trainer unabashedly had previously labeled the son of Uncle Mo “the best turf miler in the world.”

Putting things in perspective and looking at the glass as half full, Miller said back then, “What happened is just bad timing. I think he’s the best turf miler in the world and I’m disappointed he won’t be able to prove it this year.”

Fast forward to 2021. The Breeders’ Cup Turf Mile will be run Nov. 6, and a final major steppingstone to that race will be presented at Santa Anita on Saturday in the form of the Grade II City of Hope Mile, which Mo Forza won by nearly two lengths last Oct. 3 as the 11-10 favorite.

“He just needed time” is how Miller explained an absence from the races of more than 10 months between Mo Forza’s 2020 City of Hope victory and his comeback triumph in the Grade II Del Mar Mile on Aug. 21.

“He should move forward off his last race since he’s training better than he was for the Del Mar Mile. When he’s on and he’s himself, I still think he’s the best turf miler in the world. From the standpoint of figures, he is.”

A five-year-old full horse owned in part by the estate of the late trainer Barry Abrams who campaigned as Bardy Farm, and Onofrio Pecoraro who races as OG Boss, Mo Forza’s last three Beyer numbers were 104, 106 and 103. He has been favored in seven of his last eight starts, winning all but the Pegasus World Cup Turf Invitational at Gulfstream Park on Jan. 25, 2020.

Bardy Farms was the nom de course of Abrams, who died at the age 66 last Oct. 9, six days after Mo Forza won the City of Hope Mile.

“Barry was one of a kind,” said Miller, who won both training titles at the recent Del Mar and Los Alamitos meets and is a threat to capture the crown at any meet in which he competes full time.

“He was a true race track character and a great guy. Everyone loved him and Mo Forza kept him going.

“It was an honor that he chose me to train him.”

 Neige Blanche fancies pace in Rodeo Drive.

French-bred filly Neige Blanche seeks her first Grade I victory in the United States Saturday against eight rivals in a salty edition of the Rodeo Drive Stakes at a mile and a quarter on turf.

The Rodeo Drive is a $300,000 Breeders’ Cup “Win and You’re In” Challenge race providing the winner a fees-paid berth to the Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf at Del Mar on Nov. 6.

“She had a bit of a layoff before her last win and we were waiting for that spot,” trainer Leonard Powell said, alluding to her victory Aug. 14 in a restricted stakes at Del Mar, her first race in two months. “Now, she’s ready to go.”

Powell, who celebrated his 45th birthday on Sept. 12, is a native of France who started Neige Blanche (snow white) in three straight Grade I races in 2020 after she arrived from France.

“Those races were restricted to three-year-olds,” Powell pointed out, “so we wanted to take advantage of staying with her age group before we faced elders.

“The main thing for her Saturday is to get enough pace.”

Santa Anita honors century-old Shear Friday John Shear, Santa Anita’s 100-year-old Paddock Captain, who has retired from The Great Race Place following more than 60 years of great memories and dedicated service, will be honored at the track on opening day tomorrow.

Shear, who gained national attention nine years ago when he heroically threw himself between an on-rushing loose horse and a five-year-old girl who was standing beside her father just outside the track’s Seabiscuit Walking Ring, will be feted with a special Paddock dedication.

A commemorative plaque honoring Shear’s decades-long commitment to customer service and safety will be unveiled in Santa Anita’s Paddock Gardens area at 12:05 p.m. and Shear will be lauded in a Winner’s Circle ceremony as well.

“For 60 years, I worked all the Southern California racetracks, met many incredible people and saw the best horses,” the diminutive and immensely popular Shear said upon announcing his retirement recently. “It has been a career I look back (upon) with great pride and wonderful memories. I’m in great health and will visit Santa Anita as a fan.”

Sidelined due to COVID-related restrictions at the track earlier in the year, Shear was reluctant to call it a career, but decided ultimately to contact his union local and at last enjoy the benefits of retirement.

“John really wanted to go back to work this year, but with COVID basically shutting things down, it just wasn’t possible,” said his wife Diane by phone from their home in nearby Sierra Madre.  “He misses the horses and the people so much. 

“The fans, the jockeys, the trainers, everybody, it’s just been his life forever. We’re thrilled to learn that Santa Anita is going to honor him in this way, and we can’t wait to come out on Oct. 1. It should be a great day.”

Orphaned as a young boy in his native England, Shear, at four feet, 11 inches, originally aspired to be a jockey and following service in World War II, he emigrated to Vancouver, B.C., from where he came to Santa Anita for the first time as an exercise boy in 1954.

“I was exercising horses for a guy in Vancouver, and he asked me if I’d like to go with him to Santa Anita that fall,” said Shear when interviewed prior to his 100th birthday this past January.  “I said, ‘Sure,’ and as soon as I stepped off that van in the Stable Area here, is said ‘Lord, this is where I want to be.’  The place was so incredibly beautiful, and I’ve never gotten tired of it.”

A big believer in daily exercise, Shear, who remains a svelte 104 pounds, had this simple advice for a long life prior to his 99th birthday:

“Find something you love, stay positive and exercise!”

Sound advice for from one of Santa Anita’s most deserving and treasured icons.

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 . . . There were 69 recorded workouts Thursday, 22 on the training track, six by horses trained by Hall of Fame member Neil Drysdale.



Preview of The American Pharoah Stakes

Preview of the Chandelier Stakes


Gamine (Baffert) 9-29-21

Rocks and Salt (Gaines) 9-29-21

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) 9-26-21

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: Tiago Pereira makes a gesture of celebration when Tripoli crossed the finish line first in the TVG Pacific Classic at Del Mar on August 21. (Benoit Photos)

Always nice when 1 tip pays for a year's membership

Nelson E @1764Neltron View testimonials