(Trainer Peter Miller / Photo by Holly M. Smith)
From the Del Mar Media Team:
FROM ON HIGH, GOLDEN STATE JUVENILE WIN LOOKED GOOD TO MILLER
At post time for Saturday’s $150,000 Golden State Juvenile Stakes, Peter Miller was on owner Gary Barber’s private jet, headed home to California with two days of the Breeders’ Cup championships behind him.
“Somewhere over middle America, about 10,000 feet up,” Miller said Sunday morning. “Fortunately, it had WIFI, so I was able to watch the race.”
If that gives you a mental picture of Miller seated comfortably, adult beverage in hand, unstressed as jockey Ricky Gonzalez popped Good With People smartly out of the gate, opened up a clear lead and was never seriously threatened, well …
“That’s pretty accurate,” Miller said. “It was a glass of red wine. It (the race) got a little close at the end, but it didn’t look like he was ever going to get beat.”
Good With People, a California-bred son of Curlin to Mischief bred and owned by J. Kirk and Judy Robison, made his first three career starts at Del Mar during last summer’s meeting. He was a first-out straight maiden winner, second in the Graduation Stakes and then won the I’m Smokin Stakes in July, August and September, respectively. All of them were against state breds, all on the main track, all under jockey Abel Cedillo.
A subsequent ship to Keeneland for a run in the Indian Summer Stakes on turf and against open company was, as Miller concluded “an experiment gone wrong.” But everything went right Saturday as the Gonzalez/Miller combination completed a sweep of the Golden State Juvenile Fillies and Golden State Juvenile events begun Friday with September Secret in the Juvenile Fillies.
Gonzalez had given Miller cause for concern when September Secret was caught in traffic and had to rally late for a narrow victory Friday. There was nothing to worry about Saturday as the 25-year-old recorded his second stakes victory at Del Mar one day after the first.
“He got the job done and that’s the bottom line,” Miller said. “They don’t pay for style points in this game.”
Miller said he went to Gonzalez after “a little miscommunication between his agent and I,” resulted in Cedillo taking the mount on Ascot Storm (3rd) for John Sadler in the stakes.
While the Breeders’ Cup didn’t produce any wins for Miller – he took the Turf Sprint and Sprint in both 2017 and ’18 with the same horses, Stormy Liberal in the Turf Sprint and Roy H in the Sprint, and the Sprint again in 2019 with Belvoir Bay – but he was proud of the runner-up effort by Pat O’Brien Stakes winner C Z Rocket in the Sprint.
“I felt like he ran a winning race, but didn’t get the best trip,” Miller said. “The post (No. 2) really hurt him because we had to hustle him out of the gate from there. Then, somehow, he wound up running 30 feet more than the winner. I thought he ran his eyeballs out, but the racing gods weren’t with us.”
The private jet touched down at Van Nuys airport at 6 p.m. Miller was at his Encinitas home around 8. He’s got three horses to saddle today at Del Mar.
EIGHT PRIMED TO GO IN NEXT SATURDAY’S DESI ARNAZ
Eight 2-year-old fillies were entered Sunday for next Saturday’s $100,000 Desi Arnaz Stakes, a 7 furlong sprint on the main track. Formerly known as the Moccasin Stakes, and renamed for an early celebrity supporter of the track and founder Bing Crosby – for whom the fall meeting is named – the event will be run for the 33rd time overall and sixth time in seven years of autumn racing at Del Mar.
All eight of the fillies entered will be seeking to make a stakes success the second win on their record.
Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert, who nominated five for the Arnaz, went forward with three – Heels Up, Private Mission and Varda. Heels Up, a daughter of Twirling Candy owned by Mike Pegram, Karl Watson and Paul Weitman, comes in off a maiden victory in September at Santa Anita in her second career start. Private Mission, a daughter of Into Mischief, and Varda, a Distorted Humor filly, are both owned by Baoma Corporation. Private Mission won at first asking at Santa Anita on October 18. Varda broke her maiden at Del Mar in August and was second to Princess Noor in the Grade II Chandelier Stakes at Santa Anita on September 26 in her last outing.
The post position draw was scheduled later today. The field, in alphabetical order with jockeys in parenthesis: Astute (Mike Smith); Canoodling (Umberto Rispoli); Heels Up (Victor Espinoza); Miss Costa Rica (Flavien Prat); Plum Sexy (Humberto Figueroa); Private Mission (Drayden Van Dyke); Queengol (Juan Hernandez), and Varda (Abel Cedillo).
BAFFERT’S CLASSIC 1-2 SALVAGES 2020 ‘CUP FOR DEL MAR CONNECTIONS
The 1-2 finish by Authentic and Improbable for Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert in the $6 million Longines Classic to end the Breeders’ Cup championships on Saturday gave Del Mar followers reason to smile with pride.
Both horses raced and won here in 2019 and trained here over the summer for major out-of-state victories that led up to the Classic domination.
Authentic broke his maiden at the Bing Crosby meeting a year ago (November 9) and was conditioned through the month of August for the September Kentucky Derby victory at Churchill Downs that portended his virtual wire-to-wire run in the Classic at the same 1 ¼-mile distance at Keeneland.
Improbable won the Shared Belief Stakes at Del Mar in August of 2019 and trained here for a wins in the Whitney in August at Saratoga and Awesome Again at Santa Anita in September.
Maximum Security, Baffert’s spotlighted handicap division runner here last summer, winner of both the San Diego Handicap and Pacific Classic, finished fifth in the Breeders’ Cup Classic.
DOUBLES BOOST VAN DYKE AND PEREIRA; CEDILLO SOLID FOR DEFENSE
Drayden Van Dyke and Tiago Pereira won two races each on the Saturday card while defending Bing Crosby Season champion Abel Cedillo also took a pair and holds a four-win advantage as the first third of the meeting concludes today.
Van Dyke notched his first win of the season in the opening race with an impressive Anaconda ($4.00) for Hall of Fame trainer Richard Mandella and followed up in the fourth aboard Strike It Lucky ($19.60) for Doug O’Neill. Van Dyke is one of six riders tied for fifth in the standings with two victories in the first four days.
Pereira doubled his previous win total with scores aboard Take a Leap (2nd, $9.40) for trainer Manuel Ortiz, Sr., and Nasreddine (5th, $17.40) for Mike McCarthy. With four wins for the meet, Pereira is tied with Mike Smith and Tyler Baze behind Cedillo’s eight. Cedillo took the day’s third race on Luxery Liner ($5.40) for trainer Steve Miyadi then came home on top in the eighth-race nightcap on Acting Out ($6.80) for Art Sherman.
O’Neill leads the trainer standings with four victories. Back-to-back stakes scores on Friday and Saturday moved Peter Miller to one behind in a tie with Mandella.
CLOSERS – The first indications of East Coast shipping intentions for the closing week “Turf Festival” have arrived with word that Christophe Clement plans to send a pair of 3-year-olds west for the Grade I Hollywood Derby on November 28. They are: Gufo, winner of the Grade III Kent at Delaware Park in July, runner-up in the Saratoga Derby Invitational in August and winner of the Grade I Belmont Derby as the favorite on October 3; and Decorated Invader, who has two Grade II wins on his record and was most recently second in the Grade II Hill Prince on October 18 at Belmont Park … Due to weather considerations, the track was closed for training this morning, although tack walking was permitted. Normal training is scheduled to take place the rest of the week, including the normally restricted Tuesday.