(Field Pass / Photo by Courtney Snow)

From the Santa Anita Media


Field Pass was en route from Kentucky to California this morning to compete in next Sunday’s G2, $200,000 Twilight Derby for three-year-olds at 1 1/8 miles on turf.

The gray son of Lemon Drop Kid is one of five horses trainer Michael Maker had nominated to what is shaping up as a race worthy of Grade I consideration down the road.

“He prefers firmer going; that was the main reason bringing him in for the race,” Maker said by phone from the Blue Grass State.

Field Pass has five victories from 13 starts, including the Transylvania at Keeneland on turf and the Jeff Ruby Steaks on Polytrack at Turfway Park, each a Grade III event.

The Twilight Derby drew 21 nominations, eight conditioned by “out of town” trainers, including one by Todd Pletcher and the aforementioned five by Maker.

“Field Pass is very good around the barn but a bit of a handful to gallop,” Maker said. “Other than that, he’s pretty straightforward.”

Louisville native Drayden Van Dyke has the mount.

(Trainer Richard Baltas / Photo Courtesy of Keeneland)


Richard Baltas hopes Taishan wins his first stakes when he runs in next Sunday’s Grade II Twilight Derby for three-year-olds at 1 1/8 miles on turf.

Taishan, a Candy Ride colt, was second last out in the Grade II American Turf at Churchill Downs Sept. 5, losing by only a half-length in the 1 1/16-mile turf race, despite being bothered at the start.

“It was his first time on grass and it was a very good effort,” Baltas said of the Kentucky-bred bay owned by Calvin Nguyen and Joey Tran. “It was a half-million dollar race and there was a lot of speed, so I think it kind of set up for him.

“That being said, I think he was always meant to be on the grass. He ran against some tough horses on dirt at Oaklawn in Nadal (winner of the Grade I Arkansas Derby on July 8).

“Candy Rides are pretty versatile but I think they prefer the turf.”

Taishan’s first three races were in Southern California, but his last seven included stops at Oaklawn Park, Indiana and Churchill Downs.

Florent Giroux, who rode Taishan in the American Derby, was impressed with his performance.

“They wanted me to get a position (near the lead) but they were rolling in front so we went to Plan B,” the Frenchman said after the race. “I set off inside nicely and made one run. He ran a big race, first time on grass. He handled it perfectly.

“He’s a nice horse. He’d been working very well and I’m very happy with the way he ran.”

Taishan was a distant fourth in the Grade III Sham Stakes at a mile on dirt at Santa Anita Jan. 4 behind a horse named Authentic, who would go on to win the Kentucky Derby on Sept. 5.

Anyway it shakes out, the Twilight Derby has the look of a very contentious race.

Baltas has three nominated to the Grade III Autumn Miss Stakes on Saturday but is likely to enter two, Going to Vegas with Mario Gutierrez and Nasty with Ricardo Gonzalez.

Nasty, a daughter of Street Sense owned by Larry, Nanci and Jaime Roth who campaign as LNJ Foxwoods, has been running back east and will make her West Coast debut for Baltas in the Autumn Miss.

Her two victories came at Indiana Grand in Shelbyville, Indiana, where she had been trained by Brad Cox.


In an incredible twist of pari-mutuel fate, Wedding Groom, a handy winner at odds of 4-5 of Santa Anita’s eighth race Sunday, keynoted an unlikely $35,628.60 bonanza as there were two winning tickets in the one-dollar Golden Hour Pick 4, which is comprised of the final two races at both Santa Anita and Golden Gate Fields.

Equally astonishing is that the one-dollar parlay in the four-race sequence would’ve paid, by comparison, a paltry $3,347.

Instituted at the beginning of the current Autumn Meet on Sept. 25, the Golden Hour Pick Four complements the $5 Golden Hour Double and also features a low 15 percent takeout.

With Umberto Rispoli up, Wedding Groom sailed to victory by 8 ¼ lengths and paid $3.80 to win. Leg Two in the Golden Hour Pick 4 was run next at Golden Gate, as Shot of a Lifetime, with Cristobal Herrera riding, won their eighth race at 7-1 paying $16.20.

The Golden Four then shifted back to Arcadia, where longshot I Will Not, with Mario Gutierrez aboard, took the ninth race and paid $22.40.

The Golden Hour Pick 4 concluded with Golden Gate’s ninth race and was won by longshot Southern Thunder. Off at 19-1 under Hugo Herrera, Southern Thunder paid $40 to win.

Beginning with Santa Anita’s eighth race, Sunday’s winning numbers in the Golden Pick 4 were (9) $3.80, (5) $16.20, (1) $22.40 & (6) $40.

Today’s Golden Hour Pick 4 begins with Santa Anita’s seventh race, which has an assigned post time of 4:13 p.m. PT.                                                                                               Mike Willman


If you love horses and jockeys, Santa Anita’s new Virtual Runhappy Winner’s Circle Fan Cut Out is a great way to show your appreciation and benefit retired racehorses and injured riders.

Fans can have their cut-out images appear in Santa Anita’s Runhappy Winner’s Circle with the San Gabriel Mountains serving as a backdrop.

For a donation of $200, one hundred percent of which will go to support the California Retirement Management Account (CARMA) and the Permanently Disabled Jockeys Fund (PDJF), a personalized fan cut out will be displayed throughout the Autumn Meet.

Once a donation is received, Santa Anita will assist in submitting individual pictures within 48 hours.

Headquartered at Santa Anita, CARMA, is a 501(c)(3) non-profit that is dedicated to providing funding for rehabilitation, re-training, and/or retirement of California-raced Thoroughbreds.

Based in Lexington, KY, the PDJF is also a 501(c)(3) public charity that provides financial assistance to jockeys that have suffered catastrophic injuries on the track.  For additional information on the PDJF, please visit

For more information on how to participate in Santa Anita’s Virtual Winner’s Circle Fan Cut Out, please visit santaanita.com.

FINISH LINESCongrats to jockey Umberto Rispoli and his agent Scotty McClellan, as they combined to win three races on Sunday, good for third in the rider standings with eight total…Taking advantage of continued good weather and track conditions, there were 130 recorded workouts at Santa Anita Monday, 18 on the training track . . . Flavien Prat holds a 16-15 edge over onrushing Juan Hernandez in the race for leading jockey, while Peter Miller has a 9-6 advantage over Phil D’Amato among trainers. Bob Baffert and John Sadler are tied for third with five wins each . . . Live racing resumes at The Great Race Place 1 p.m. Friday.