O’Neill’s Trio in Season’s 1st 2YO Turf Race

May 30, 2024

Doug O’Neill. (Benoit Photo)

+ Endlessly Has 1st Work Since Ky. Derby; New York G1 Next
+ Fresu New Leading Rider After 3-Win Saturday

Stable Notes By Victor Ryan

ARCADIA, Calif.—The first 2-year-old race on turf goes as Friday’s opener on an eight-race card. The five-furlong event for fillies drew a field of seven led by 5-2 morning line favorite Lee’s Baby Girl, who is one of three entered for trainer Doug O’Neill.

Lee’s Baby Girl is by Malibu Moon. Owned by The Del Mar Group, O’Neill plucked Lee’s Baby Girl out of the 2023 Keeneland September yearling sale for $55,000. She has worked four times since May 5, including a half-mile move from the gate in 47.80 seconds on Sunday. It was the fourth-fastest of 72 moves at the distance.

“She’s probably the most advanced of the three,” O’Neill said. “Pretty good gate speed and a lot of class.”

Lee’s Baby Girl will start from post two under Antonio Fresu.

Also set to go for The Del Mar Group is What About Q (3-1), who is from the first crop of 2020 Belmont and Travers winner Tiz the Law. O’Neill purchased What About Q for $50,000 at the same sale as Lee’s Baby Girl.

What About Q has worked five times, including a four-furlong gate move Sunday in 48.20 seconds.

“She’s another nice filly, but my gut tells me she’ll need a race or two to see her best,” O’Neill said.

What About Q, who drew post six, will have Edwin Maldonado aboard.

O’Neill third starter is Press Your Luck, a California-bred by I’ll Have Another for owners Here We Go Brother. Reddam Racing bred the filly. Press Your Luck, who is 15-1 on the morning line, has worked four times for her debut. Last Saturday, she went four furlongs from the gate in 48.80 seconds. Press Your Luck will be ridden by Abdul Alsagoor.

“All three are nice fillies,” O’Neill said.

Post time for Friday’s first race is 1 p.m. PT. 


Endlessly Has 1st Work Since Ky. Derby; New York Grade I Next

Endlessly scoring the GIII Jeff Ruby Stakes. (Jenny Doyle/Past The Wire)
Endlessly scoring the GIII Jeff Ruby Stakes. (Jenny Doyle/Past The Wire)

Endlessly worked for the first time since the Kentucky Derby Thursday at Santa Anita. Trained by Michael McCarthy, the multiple graded stakes winner on turf went four furlongs in 49.60 seconds.

Endlessly finished ninth in the Kentucky Derby when making his first start on dirt. McCarthy Thursday morning said the Oscar Performance colt would return to turf for his next start in the GI Belmont Derby going 1 3/16 miles July 6 at Aqueduct.

Prior to the Kentucky Derby, Endlessly won the El Camino Real Derby at Golden Gate in February and the GIII Jeff Ruby Steaks at Turfway Park March 23, both on synthetic. Last year, he bagged two graded wins on turf in the GIII Del Mar Juvenile Turf Stakes and GIII Zuma Beach on grass at Del Mar.

Endlessly is 7: 5-0-0 with $707,200 in earnings for owner-breeder Amerman Racing.

Fresu Wins 3 On Memorial Day, Back To Top Of Jockey’s Standings

King of Gosford with Antonio Fresu up, Ernie Belmonte, Past the Wire
King of Gosford with Antonio Fresu up, (Ernie Belmonte/Past the Wire)

With three weeks left in the Santa Anita Hollywood Meet, it’s shaping up to be a tight race for leading jockey.    

On Monday, Antonio Fresu won three races –all on longshots—to vault back to the top of the standings with 21 wins at the stand. Hot on his heels are Juan Hernandez with 20 wins, Umberto Rispoli (18) and Kyle Frey (17).

Fresu’s wins on Memorial Day came in the third race with Virat ($16.00) for trainer Juan Landeros, the sixth with L’enfant Dit ($36.20) for trainer Gus Headley and the seventh on Promissio ($41.40) for trainer Doug O’Neill.

Fresu, a 32-year-old native of Sardinia, Italy, started riding at Santa Anita in April 2023 after arriving from Dubai. This would be his first riding title in the U.S.

Fresu has two mounts on Friday, both maidens. He’ll ride 5-2 favorite Lee’s Baby Girl in the opener for O’Neill and Blondzilla (4-1) in the seventh, a $20,000 maiden claimer at one mile on dirt, for trainer Martin Valenzuela III.

On Saturday, Fresu rides all nine races. In the two stakes, he’ll be aboard comebacking Dr. Venkman (9-5) in the GII Triple Bend for trainer Mark Glatt and Circle of Trust (7-2) in the GIII Honeymoon for trainer Phil D’Amato.

FINISH LINES ______________

With just two winning favorites on Monday’s 11-race card, the multi-race payouts were massive. The $1 Pick 6 returned $91,482.50 for two winning tickets. The early 50-cent Pick 5 returned a cool $118,873.55. The early 50-cent Pick 4paid $5,771.60. The middle Pick 4 returned $51,487.50. The late Pick 5, which included winning favorites Eagles Flight ($4.20) and Mr Fisk ($7), paid $1,355.00…

Trainer Joe Herrick got his first win of the meet Monday with huge longshot Princess Midnight, who returned $96.00 when winning the fifth race on turf under Jose Valdivia Jr… 

Mark Glatt and Phil D’Amato are tied atop the trainer’s standings with 11 wins each entering Friday’s action…

Sunday’s feature is the Desert Stormer Stakes for older fillies and mares going six furlongs on dirt. The field will be drawn later Thursday…

Every Friday at the Hollywood Meet, on-track patrons receive free parking and admission plus $3 beers and $5 margaritas. First post is 1 p.m. with admission gate opening at 11 a.m.

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