ARCADIA, Calif. — Rombauer was 12-1 when he won the Preakness Stakes at Pimlico on May 15.
He’ll be no secret in Saturday’s Belmont Stakes.
The heretofore unheralded son of Twirling Candy trained by Santa Anita-based Michael McCarthy for owners/breeders John and Diane Fradkin of Santa Rosa is deservedly the 3-1 morning line second choice in the final jewel of the Triple Crown as a result of his impressive 3 1/2 -length romp in the 1 3/16-mile Preakness.
Eclipse Award-winning two-year-old male champion of 2020 Essential Quality is the 2-1 morning line favorite in the mile and one-half Belmont.
“Even though we’re lacking in quantity, we’re still maintaining quality at Santa Anita and Southern California,” McCarthy said by phone from New York Wednesday, elaborating on why Rombauer captured the Preakness and Medina Spirit led 18 rivals on a merry chase before crossing the wire first in the Kentucky Derby.
“Rombauer is training very well, as good as he did before the Preakness; I’m very pleased with what I’ve seen,” McCarthy said.
That’s not to imply Pimlico’s racing surface is similar with Belmont’s. It is not.
Pimlico’s main track is one mile in circumference and 1,152 feet from the last turn to the finish line, while Belmont is 1 ½ miles in circumference and 1,099 feet from last turn to the finish line.
“I would think Belmont’s track would play differently than Pimlico’s in the Preakness,” McCarthy said. “It’s a totally different setup with Belmont being a mile and a half race track but I can’t tell for sure until Saturday afternoon. We’re supposed to get rain later in the week.”
Saturday’s weather in Elmont, N.Y. calls for mostly sunny skies, a high of 86 degrees and a 10 percent chance of rain.
The 153rd Belmont Stakes is race 11 on a 13-race program that has an 8:30 a.m. first post, Pacific Time, with Belmont Stakes post time listed at 3:49 p.m. Pacific Time.
The field for the Belmont:
1. Bourbonic, Kendrick Carmouche, 15-1
2. Essential Quality, Luis Saez, 2-1
3. Rombauer, John Velazquez, 3-1
4. Hot Rod Charlie, Flavien Prat, 7-2
5. France Go di Ina, Ricardo Santana Jr., 30-1
6. Known Agenda, no rider, 6-1
7. Rock Your World, Joel Rosario, 9-2
8. Overtook, Manny Franco, 20-1
Irad Ortiz Jr. had been named to ride Known Agenda but was injured in a riding mishap Thursday at Belmont and is expected to be sidelined for two weeks. No replacement had been named at press time.
Clocker batting 1,000 in Triple Crown forecast
“It seems like we say it every year,” Young noted, “but for a place that’s (struggled of late), California does awfully well in the Triple Crown races, and I think it’s positioned to do the same thing this year, too.”— quote from Gary Young in Santa Anita Stable Notes, April 30, 2021.
The celebrated private clocker and bloodstock agent is batting 1.000 in the Triple Crown races so far, two for two, as Medina Spirit led throughout the mile and a quarter of the Kentucky Derby, finishing ahead of 18 rivals, and his neighbor Rombauer posted a 3 ½-length upset in the Preakness Stakes.
Young again has high expectations for the local contingent, as Santa Anita-based Rombauer, Hot Rod Charlie and Runhappy Santa Anita Derby winner Rock Your World are the three program choices after 2-1 morning line favorite Essential Quality.
“Essential Quality is built like a mile-and-a-half horse,” Young remarked when asked his assessment of the one-turn, mile-and-a-half Belmont Stakes.
“He’s the program favorite, so from a gambling standpoint, he might not be the horse to bet, but if you’re betting against him, it’s hard to consider him a weak favorite.
“Hot Rod Charlie works OK in the mornings, but we learned this a long time ago: he steps it up in the afternoon more than most horses do. Both he and Rock Your World took the Preakness off so they should be prepared for a pretty good race in the Belmont.
“Rombauer has developed considerably and at a very rapid rate . . . he’s improved and got a really good setup in the Preakness. He’s a fresh horse running back against two horses that ran in the Derby two weeks previous, and he did crush (in the Preakness), so you can’t throw him out.”
Rombauer is also versatile, having won on turf, dirt and Golden Gate’s synthetic Tapeta surface.
“Rock Your World was a horse I feared the most against Medina Spirit going into the Derby, but he got eliminated (at the start).” Young continued. “His work the other day (a bullet 58.40 at Santa Anita on May 28) was very good. Usually, you don’t go 58 and two before running in a mile and a half race.
“But the way he ran in the Santa Anita Derby and with that recent work, you pretty much know where he’s going to be (on the lead), and (his jockey, Joel) Rosario is a tough man to get by in the stretch, so Rock Your World is definitely a player, too.
“Known Agenda could hit the board, depending on how the rest of the jockeys ride their races. He could wind up being a contender, although usually deep closers don’t win the Belmont.
“I’ve got a tough time seeing past the top three. From a gambling standpoint, I wouldn’t bet on Essential Quality, but if I had to pick the winner to be able to eat Haagen-Dazs the rest of my life, it would probably be him.”
Superstition not wary of Turf Sprints
Superstition, who has found her niche in turf sprints, seeks her first graded stakes victory Saturday in the Grade II Monrovia for fillies and mares four and up at 6 ½ furlongs on grass.
The four-year-old daughter of 2004 Horse of the Year Ghostzapper was fourth in the Grade III Las Cienegas on Jan. 9, won the restricted Wishing Well on Feb. 15, and was second in the restricted Mizdirection on April 17, all at six furlongs on turf.
“She’s doing really well and she’s gotten pretty good at it,” said Hall of Fame trainer Richard Mandella, who will give Abel Cedillo a leg up as Flavien Prat, her rider in all eight previous races, pilots Hot Rod Charlie Saturday in the Belmont Stakes.
The Monrovia, race seven of nine with a 1 p.m. first post time:
1. Nasty, Trevor McCarthy, 5-1
2. Never for Money, Geovanni Franco, 20-1
3. Constantia, Umberto Rispoli, 7-2
4. Gypsy Spirit, Edwin Maldonado, 12-1
5. Trickle In, Tyler Baze, 50-1
6. She’s So Special, Juan Hernandez, 6-1
7. Venetian Harbor, Mario Gutierrez, 9-5
8. Superstition, Abel Cedillo, 5-2
Mandatory Rainbow Pick 6 Payout on Sunday
Santa Anita will offer a mandatory payout in its popular 20 cent Rainbow Pick Six Jackpot this Sunday, June 6. Track officials project the total pool could approach $3 million.
First post time Sunday, the day after the third and final jewel in racing’s Triple Crown, the Belmont Stakes, will be 1 p.m., with the Rainbow Six set to begin with Sunday’s fourth race, with an approximate post time of 2:30 p.m. PT.
Although there is still no walk-up admission, Santa Anita is now open to the public on a limited basis visiting santaanita.com.
FINISH LINES: Multiple Grade II turf stakes winner United, who disappointed and never got involved finishing fourth and last as the 3-10 favorite in the Grade II Charles Whittingham Stakes last Saturday, will undergo further evaluation. “He came out fine, we’ve looked him over, can’t find anything wrong, but I’m going to put him through a bone scan just to make sure we’re not missing something,” Richard Mandella said of the popular six-year-old gelded son of Giant’s Causeway. “He did have a little bit of throat irritation after the race but it was minor and not really that much of an excuse.” . . . Juan Hernandez won the second Grade I stakes of his career and two Grade II races to earn Jockey of the Week honors for May 24 through May 31. The award, voted on by a panel of racing experts, is for jockeys who are members of the Jockeys’ Guild, the organization representing more than 950 active riders in the United States in addition to retired and permanently disabled jockeys. Hernandez, Santa Anita’s second-leading rider, won last Monday’s Grade I Gamely Stakes aboard Maxim Rate for trainer Simon Callaghan.
Santa Anita Press Release
Photo: Rombauer, (Benoit)