O’ Neill eyes options for Belmont runner-up Hot Rod Charlie

June 12, 2021

Whooping Jay entered in Thor’s Echo; Dogtag one to beat in Possibly Perfect; Purses increased on Fasig-Tipton Stakes

ARCADIA. CALIF. – Hot Rod Charlie, game runner-up to favored Essential Quality in the Belmont Stakes last Saturday, enjoyed his first day back on the track this morning at his home base of Santa Anita.

“He jogged a mile and a half and looked fantastic,” trainer Doug O’Neill said. “He was happy and full of energy.”

The hard-hitting son of Oxbow arrived Wednesday night from the East Coast; now Team O’Neill is pondering the future.

“Deciding on his next race is a group effort,” O’Neill said. “No one wants to say much right now . . . it’s the old cliché, ‘We’ll see where Charlie takes us,’ and we really can’t know that until we see how he is on the track, eating, and all that stuff, so in a couple weeks we’ll have a better idea.

“The Pacific Classic at Del Mar is a possibility (Aug. 21), the Haskell at Monmouth is possible (July 17) as is the Pennsylvania Derby (Sept. 25). There are tons of possibilities and options.”

Whooping Jay entered in Thor’s Echo

Whooping Jay is one of six horses entered in Saturday’s $100,000 Thor’s Echo Stakes for four-year-olds and up at six furlongs. It is one in the Golden State Series for California-bred or sired horses, and the five-year-old gelded son of Square Eddie was supplemented to the race for $25,000.

He won an allowance race at 6 ½ furlongs on turf May 9, his first race in eight months.

“We had him pointed to the Bertrando ($100,000 going a mile on June 26) at Los Alamitos,” said Doug O’Neill, who conditions the five-year-old gelding for principal owner and Santa Anita’s meet leader among owners, J. Paul Reddam.

“But when this race came up short, we decided to supplement him and take a look.”

The Thor’s Echo is named for a son of Swiss Yodeler who won the 2006 Breeders’ Cup Sprint at Churchill Downs under Corey Nakatani when trained by O’Neill.

The Thor’s Echo is the eighth of nine races with a 1 p.m. first post time: 

1. Colt Fiction, Umberto Rispoli, 5-2

2. Whooping Jay, Mario Gutierrez, 8-1

3. Fashionably Fast, Tiago Pereira, 2-1

4. Jamming Eddy, Flavien Prat, 10-1

5. Brickyard Ride, Juan Hernandez, 8-5

6. Loud Mouth, Abel Cedillo, 8-1.

Dogtag one to beat in Possibly Perfect

Dogtag faces softer foes as she pursues her second straight victory in Sunday’s $75,000 Possibly Perfect Stakes for fillies and mares three and up at 1 ¼ miles on turf.

The five-year-old gray daughter of War Front owned and bred by LNJ Foxwoods won the restricted Possibly Perfect as the 4-5 favorite almost a year ago to the day, on June 14, 2020, and will be favored again Sunday.

“She’s working well, doing well, and we expect her to run a big race,” said Hall of Fame trainer Richard Mandella.

Dogtag was second last out to multiple graded turf stakes winner Charmaine’s Mia in the Grade II Royal Heroine, beaten only a half-length at a mile on grass April 3. It was her first race in eight months.

She has been working smartly since, going five furlongs in a bullet 59.40 on June 7. Overall, she has a 4-2-2 record from 11 starts with earnings of $292,511.

The Possibly Perfect is named for the multiple Grade I winner that won 11 of 18 starts with two seconds and four thirds, earning $1,377,634 in the early and mid-1990’s, when trained by the late Bobby Frankel.

The Possibly Perfect is race nine of 10 with a 1 p.m. first post time. The field: 

1. Lady Noguez, Kent Desormeaux, 20-1

2. Go Big Blue Nation, Flavien Prat, 5-2

3. Dogtag, Umberto Rispoli, 9-5

4. Dynapower, Tiago Pereira, 50-1

5. Neige Blanche, Juan Hernandez, 3-1

6. Catch the Eye, Abel Cedillo, 15-1

7. Rideforthecause, Mario Gutierrez, 4-1

8. Kuora (PERU), Trevor McCarthy, 10-1.

Purses increased on Fasig-Tipton Stakes

Two closing day juvenile stakes, the Fasig-Tipton Debutante and the Fasig-Tipton Futurity, will feature purses of $100,000 each, up from the initial amount of $75,000. 

Both races to be run Sunday, June 20, will be contested at five furlongs on Santa Anita’s main track and serve as a prelude to Fasig-Tipton’s two-year-old in training sale at Santa Anita. 

The only North American two-year-old sale to be held on dirt in the month of June, the Fasig-Tipton sale will be conducted on June 23, with an under-tack preview on June 21.

“We boosted the purses on both races to $100,000 because we want to continue to provide tangible incentives for those owners and horsemen that are investing in our future,” said Chris Merz, Santa Anita Director of Racing and Racing Secretary. 

“We’ll have all of these sales horses on the grounds here during our final week of the meet and this is going to attract a great deal of interest. 

“It’s important for everyone to know they can attend the sale, inspect the horses and have opportunities to race not only at Santa Anita in the fall, but at Los Alamitos and Del Mar as well.”

For additional information on the upcoming Fasig-Tipton two-year-olds in training sale on June 23, visit santaanita.com or call the Santa Anita Racing Office at (626) 574-6352.

FINISH LINES: With six racing days remaining in the meet that concludes on June 20, Flavien Prat is the runaway leader among jockeys, holding a 108-73 lead over Juan Hernandez, while trainer Phil D’Amato has a 43-39 lead over runners-up Peter Miller and Bob BaffertReddam Racing LLC tops owners with 18 wins and earnings of $1,053,262. Hronis Racing LLC is second with 13 wins and a bankroll of $619,616 followed by NickAlexander at 12 victories and earnings of $671,114 . . . There were 107 recorded workouts this morning including a four-furlong breeze in 48.20 for Richard Mandella trainee Soothsay, winner of the Grade II Santa Anita Oaks on April 3.

Stable notes by Ed Golden

Photo: Doug O’Neill (Benoit)

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