From the Santa Anita Media Team:
D’AMATO SEEKS SANTA BARBARA UPSET
Carpe Vinum seeks her first stakes victory in Saturday’s G3 Santa Barbara Stakes, and Phil D’Amato realizes the daughter of the Giant’s Causeway stallion Carpe Diem will be an outsider in the mile and a half turf marathon for fillies and mares, three and older.
“She’s going to be a longshot in there, but we’ll give it a go,” said D’Amato, Santa Anita’s leading trainer with 36 victories, three more than Bob Baffert.
Jose Valdivia Jr., who has ridden the four-year-old chestnut filly in her last two starts, retains the mount. They finished fifth, beaten only 3 ½ lengths after attending the pace, in the Grade III Astra Stakes at a mile and a half on Jan. 17.
Meanwhile, D’Amato is pleased with the success he’s enjoying this meet.
“Absolutely,” he said. “Everything’s firing, we’ve got good karma around the barn and it helps to feed off of that, along with having good horses and good owners to get the job done.”
Translated from Latin, Carpe Vinum means “seize the wine.”
Perhaps D’Amato would enjoy a celebratory sip with a victory.
The Santa Barbara is the seventh of nine races with a 1 p.m. first post time.
The field: Catch the Eye, Kent Desormeaux, 12-1; Rideforthecause, Mario Gutierrez, 7-2; Tapwater, Flavien Prat, 9-5; Carpe Vinum, Jose Valdivia Jr., 5-1; Star of Africa, Abel Cedillo, 12-1; Neige Blanche, Juan Hernandez, 4-1; Go Big Blue Nation, Umberto Rispoli, 4-1; and Dynapower, Cesar Ortega, 50-1.
TOP JOCK MAKES SANTA ANITA NEW HOME
There will soon be a new face in the Southern California jockey colony, belonging to Trevor McCarthy.
The native of Wilmington, Delaware, who celebrates his 27th birthday on May 16, was born into racing, following his father Michael McCarthy as a jockey, and made his bones in Maryland, leading several campaigns at Laurel and Pimlico.
Married to jockey Katie Davis, daughter of former top rider Robbie Davis, Trevor was fourth in the standings at Belmont Park through last Sunday, and after due diligence by both he and his new agent, an accord was reached.
If all works out well, McCarthy could follow in the footsteps of other jockeys who began their careers in Maryland before heading for greener pastures, among them Chris McCarron, Kent Desormeaux, Edgar Prado and Ramon Dominguez.
“I needed a rider and was not going to take one away from another agent here,” said Derek Lawson, who will represent McCarthy. “I recruited him. I started looking at riders who might fit out here, called him up, he made calls to trainers to learn about me and here we are.
“This is something he definitely wants to do,” continued Lawson, who got the pink slip from Flavien Prat in mid-February after playing a significant role in developing the 28-year-old Frenchman into a world-class presence.
“Trevor had a great winter at Aqueduct but he wanted to try something completely different, that being California, and he wanted to work with me,” Lawson said. “He will start riding here Memorial Day weekend (May 28 through 31).”
Lawson wasn’t resting on his laurels or smelling the roses during his sudden and enforced absence from the game he loves.
“I wanted to bring in someone new and Trevor filled the bill. I like developing good, young talent.
“I recruited him the best way possible, tried to show him the advantages here, and even though it’s heavy with competition at the top, otherwise he fits right in with everybody else.”
BREEDERS’ CUP CLASSIC LONG-RANGE GOAL FOR IDOL
Santa Anita Handicap winner Idol will miss the Grade I Hollywood Gold Cup at Santa Anita May 31 due to an undisclosed issue that does not appear to be career-threatening.
Trainer Richard Baltas still has the Breeders’ Cup Classic at Del Mar on Nov. 6 as a long-range goal for the four-year-old son of two-time Horse of the Year Curlin.
With his victory in Santa Anita’s marquee race for older horses on March 6, Idol was in line for a $1,870,000 bonanza offered in the inaugural $1 Million Wild West Bonus.
The Gold Cup is leg two and the Big ‘Cap was the first leg of the unique event formed by Santa Anita and Del Mar, which will present the third and final version with the running of the TVG Pacific Classic on Aug. 21.
Each race is run at the North American classic distance of a mile and a quarter, and including the $1 million bonus, any horse winning all three races would earn a total of $1,870,000.
“I wanted to train him up to the Gold Cup, but that’s off,” Baltas said of Idol, owned by Calvin Nguyen. “I wasn’t in a hurry with him because our ultimate goal is the Breeders’ Cup Classic.”
Despite a slow start to Santa Anita’s meet, Baltas currently is fifth in the race for training honors with 23 victories, and third in purse earnings with $1,865,400.
“We’re doing fine,” Baltas said. “Forgetting all about wins, it’s about making money and bringing the right horses in. I’ve got a lot of nice horses coming up for the fall, five or six coming off layoffs that are very talented horses.”
Among them are 2020 San Vicente Stakes runner-up Ginobili and last year’s winner of the Grade II Las Virgenes Stakes, Venetian Harbor.
“I’m looking forward to running them again,” Baltas said.
BREEDERS’ CUP BONANZA HIGHLIGHTS AUTUMN MEET
Seven Breeders’ Cup “Win and You’re In” Challenge Races will highlight the 21 stakes presented at Santa Anita during its Autumn Meet from Friday, Oct. 1 through Oct. 31.
The “Win and You’re In” events will be run on Oct. 1, 2 and 3, and figure prominently over the meet’s first two days for preparation in the two-day Breeders’ Cup World Championships at Del Mar on Nov. 5 and 6.
Santa Anita offers four stakes on opening day, three of them Breeders’ Cup “Win and You’re In’ stakes, the Grade I, $300,000 American Pharoah for two-year-olds at 1 1/16 miles; the Grade II, $200,000 Chandelier Stakes for two-year-old fillies at 1 1/16 miles; and the $100,000 Speakeasy Stakes for two-year-olds at five furlongs on turf.
The Grade II, $200,000 Eddie D Stakes for three-year-olds and up at 6 ½ furlongs on turf also will be run Oct. 1.
On Saturday, Oct. 2, the Awesome Again and the Rodeo Drive will be supported by the Grade II, $200,000 Santa Anita Sprint for three-year-olds and up at six furlongs, which also carries “Win and You’re In” status.
The Grade II, $200,000 City of Hope Mile on turf also will be run on Oct. 2.
An additional “Win and You’re In” event, the Grade II Zenyatta Stakes for fillies and mares three and older at 1 1/16 miles, will be run Sunday. Oct. 3, along with a pair of $200,000 stakes for two-year-olds at a mile on turf, the Surfer Girl and the Zuma Beach.
The Grade III, $100,000 Chillingworth Stakes for fillies and mares three and up at 6 ½ furlongs and the $75,000 Unzip Me Stakes for three-year-old fillies at 6 ½ furlongs on turf complete a five-stakes lineup on Oct. 3.
The Grade III, $100,000 Autumn Miss Stakes for three-year-old fillies at a mile on turf and the Grade II, $200,000 Twilight Derby for three-year-olds at 1 1/8 miles on turf will be offered on closing weekend, Oct. 30 and 31.
FINISH LINES: There were 85 recorded workouts at Santa Anita Friday, including a bullet five-furlong breeze from the gate in 58 seconds by Eight Rings for Bob Baffert, and a five-furlong drill in a minute flat by Grade II Californian Stakes winner Royal Ship for Richard Mandella. Eight Rings, winner of the Grade I American Pharoah Stakes at Santa Anita on Sept. 27, 2019, last raced Aug. 1, 2020, finishing seventh in the Grade I H. Allen Jerkens Memorial at Saratoga. With 70 recorded works on the main track, there were 5 on the training track this morning . . . Not only does Flavien Prat hold a commanding 99-60 lead over runner-up Juan Hernandez for leading jockey, he is on top in win percentage, 30 to 23, over Umberto Rispoli, and in purse money earned, $5,518,854 to Rispoli’s $3,435,748.