Rock Your World fires bullet for Belmont; Mandella hopes for memorable Memorial Day

May 28, 2021

Eurton sends double trouble in Triple Bend; Law Abidin Citizen returns in the Daytona

ARCADIA, Calif.—Runhappy Santa Anita Derby winner Rock Your World worked five furlongs Friday in a bullet 58.40, fastest of 32 drills at the distance and quicker by almost three seconds than the average time of 1:01.28.

“It was a good work,” said John Sadler, who trains the son of Candy Ride. “He ships to New York tomorrow.”

Rock Your World won his first two races on turf, then made his main track debut in the Runhappy Santa Anita Derby April 3, leading throughout the mile and one-eighth classic and earning a spot in the Kentucky Derby on May 1.

Unfortunately, he was sandwiched at the start of the Run for Roses, never got untracked and finished 17th of 19.

“We hope to right the ship in the Belmont,” Sadler said.

Mandella hopes for memorable Memorial Day

United, affectionately referred to as “a big pet” around the barn, is also a big money earner, with a bankroll of more than $1.5 million, most of it accumulated under the direction of Richard Mandella, who has trained the six-year-old gelding in 15 straight races, since Feb. 18, 2019.

Prior to that, Roger Attfield conditioned the chestnut son of Giant’s Causeway in his first three starts, all at Woodbine in 2018.

Saturday, United runs in the Grade II Charles Whittingham Stakes for the third straight year. He was second in 2019, won it by a nose last year and has been training forwardly for the 2021 edition, not missing a beat for the mile and one quarter turf marathon.

Winner of eight of 18 starts with four seconds and one third, United’s style has been that of a pace-setter or pace-prompter in recent races as opposed to primarily a stone closer most of 2019.

“That’s just a matter of us learning as we go and United learning what he’s to do,” Mandella said. “He’s learned to rate and stick close in longer races with a slower pace.”

California-bred Acclimate has class and speed from the rail for leading trainer Phil D’Amato in the Whittingham.

Though on paper not in the class of his three rivals and making his stakes debut for trainer David Hofmans, Award Winner is a committed front-runner who will be a pace factor as far as he goes, likely benefitting the styles of United and stone-closer Red King in the compact field of four.

Red King, also trained by D’Amato, rallied from eighth to beat United by a head in the Grade II Del Mar Handicap at 1 3/8 miles last Aug. 22.

As to how the 70-year-old Hall of Fame trainer came by United, bred in Kentucky by Rosemont Farm LLC and owned by LNJ Foxwoods, Mandella labeled the fortuitous reception “a gift on the doorstep.”

Mandella has fond memories of his late peer for which the Whittingham is named, as they were neighbors on Santa Anita’s backstretch for years until the legendary “Bald Eagle” passed away at age 86 on April 20, 1999.

“He was a class act, a man’s man, can’t say enough about him,” Mandella said. “He was great at his profession and also a standout human being.”

Santa presents seven graded stakes on Memorial Day weekend, three of them Grade I’s on Monday, May 31: the Hollywood Gold Cup for three-year-olds and up at a mile and a quarter; the Shoemaker Mile, a Breeders’ Cup ‘Win and You’re In’ Challenge Race on turf; and the Gamely for fillies and mares, three and up at 1 1/8 miles on turf.

Saturday’s features are the Whittingham for three-year-olds and up at 1 ¼ miles on turf, the Grade II Triple Bend Stakes for four-year-olds and up at seven furlongs, and the Grade III Daytona Stakes for four-year-olds and up at 6 ½ furlongs on turf.

Sunday’s main attraction is the Grade II Summertime Oaks at 1 1/16 miles. In all, seven lucrative stakes will be decided over the holiday weekend offering $1.6 million in purse money.

The Whittingham, race seven of nine with a 1 p.m. first post time: 

1. Acclimate, Ricardo Gonzalez, 6-1

2. Award Winner, Juan Hernandez, 8-1

3. Red King, Umberto Rispoli, 8-5

4. United, Flavien Prat, 3-5.

Eurton sends double trouble in Triple Bend

Peter Eurton sends out two horses seeking their first stakes victories in Saturday’s Grade II Triple Bend Stakes, Exaulted and Shooters Shoot.

Exaulted, a Twirling Candy colt owned by C R K Stable LLC, was third last out March 6 in the Grade II San Carlos Stakes at seven furlongs, the same distance as the Triple Bend.

Shooters Shoot, a four-year-old Competitive Edge gelding owned by a partnership, rallied from well back to win an overnight race at seven furlongs on April 24.

“Shooters Shoot is honest most of the time,” Eurton said. “He’s won three races already (from 11 starts). We learned a lot about him in his last race. He doesn’t have to be on the lead.

“The Triple Bend wasn’t in the back of our minds. It just happened because he ran so well (last out). We’re optimistic about both horses.”

Exaulted moves from an outside post to the rail in the Triple Bend, causing little if any concern for Eurton.

“He’s won on the inside before,” Eurton noted, referring to a seven-furlong race at Santa Anita on Feb. 12. “He lost a lot of ground on the outside (in the San Carlos).”

Exaulted gets a new pilot in Abel Cedillo. “He’s worked him several times and was pleased with how he went,” Eurton said.

The Triple Bend, race eight: 

1. Exaulted, Abel Cedillo, 4-1

2. Lambeau, Edwin Maldonado, 5-2

3. Shooters Shoot, Umberto Rispoli, 4-1

4. Magic On Tap, Juan Hernandez, 7-2

5. Eight Rings, Flavien Prat, 9-5.

Law Abidin Citizen returns in the Daytona

Law Abidin Citizen, a versatile and durable son of Twirling Candy, returns to the races after an absence of some nine months in Saturday’s Grade III Daytona Stakes for four-year-olds and up at 6 ½ furlongs on turf.

The seven-year-old gelding last raced on Aug. 29, 2020, finishing third in the Grade II Bing Crosby at seven furlongs on Del Mar’s main track.

Overall, he has a 7-4-6 record from 28 starts, winning three times on dirt and four times on turf. He has won at six furlongs and at one mile, with career earnings of $519,167.

“He’s coming into the race great,” said trainer Mark Glatt. “He’s coming back well after the layoff, and we’re hopeful he’ll be able to run without Lasix. He’s pretty versatile.

“He’s had some hard races and just needed a freshening.”

The field for the Daytona, race five: 

1. Majestic Eagle, Mario Gutierrez, 5-1

2. Bombard, Flavien Prat, 6-5

3. Jamming Eddy, Tyler Baze, 8-1

4. Law Abidin Citizen, Abel Cedillo, 8-5

5. Commander, Juan Hernandez, 5-1.

Santa Anita Barn Notes By Ed Golden

Photo: Rock Your World, (Benoit)

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