(Honor A.P. works at Santa Anita / Photo Courtesy of Santa Anita)

From the Santa Anita Media Team:

Honor A.P., a leading contender for the Santa Anita Derby, continues to train well for Santa Anita’s marquee three-year-old event on April 4, offering 100 qualifying points to the 146th Kentucky Derby Sept. 5.

“He came out of the San Felipe really well,” said trainer John Shirreffs, referring to the ridgling’s second behind unbeaten Authentic in the Grade II event on March 7. “We’re pointing for the Santa Anita Derby.”

Authentic, too, is set to run in the Grade I, $1 million Santa Anita Derby at 1 1/8 miles, thus forming the likelihood of an appealing rematch.

Authentic, an Into Mischief colt trained by Bob Baffert, led throughout the San Felipe with Drayden Van Dyke aboard, winning by 2 ¼ lengths under a long hold.

Honor A.P., a son of Honor Code, was making his first start in five months, so Shirreffs was pleased considering the circumstances. “He ran really great,” the trainer said. “I was very happy with him.”

DISTANCE ACE SIBERIAN IRIS RETURNS IN SANTA ANA

In her last four races, Siberian Iris has run a combined total of 5 ¼ miles, so there’s little doubt the Irish-bred mare trained by Richard Mandella will fancy the mile and a quarter on turf in Saturday’s G3, $100,000 Santa Ana Stakes for older fillies and mares.

“She hasn’t run in a while but she’s training great and we expect her to run a good race,” Mandella said. Rafael Bejarano, who has ridden the six-year-old bay three times previously, including to victory in the CTT & TOC Stakes at Del Mar last Aug. 16, will be back aboard.

“The distance will be no problem for her,” Mandella said. “She can go three miles if needed.”

Owned by Calumet Farm, Siberian Iris was third in the Grade III  Astra at a mile and a half last out on Jan. 19; fourth in the Grade I Rodeo Drive at a mile and a quarter Sept. 28; won the aforementioned Del Mar stakes at 1 3/8 miles; and fourth in an overnight race at 1 1/8 miles last May 27.

In other news from the Mandella barn, the Hall of Fame trainer recently received a two-year-old colt named Q B One, the first foal from the champion mare he trained, Beholder.

“They always called Beholder the Queen Bee,” Mandella said when asked the significance of the colt’s name, “so I guess that explains Q B One. I thought it meant Quarterback One, but that’s not it.”

Meanwhile San Marcos Stakes winner United, who was scheduled to run in the $6 million Dubai Sheema Classic on March 28, is on standby in the Middle East as the Dubai World Cup event was cancelled early today Pacific Time due to the coronavirus pandemic.

“We’re trying to figure out how to get him home now,” Mandella said.

United was runner-up by a head at 51-1 to Horse of the Year Bricks and Mortar in the Breeders’ Cup Turf at Santa Anita on Nov. 2.

CHRB TELECONFERENCE SET FOR THURSDAY, MARCH 26

The California Horse Racing Board will conduct a teleconference meeting 9:30 a.m. Thursday, March 26. Consistent with the Governor’s recent Executive Order N-29-20, the meeting will be teleconference only and no physical location will be provided.

The public is encouraged to participate in either of two ways: The webcast audio link on the CHRB website will continue to provide a way for the public to listen to the meeting. Furthermore, those wishing to speak during the meeting may dial 888-392-4564 and enter 6896291# when prompted. The operator will provide instructions to those wishing to speak on any agenda item.

Note that for agenda item #17, Public Comment, each person will be limited to two minutes, and no further comments will be permitted after 30 minutes. The agenda and package of materials for this teleconference meeting are available on the CHRB website.

FINISH LINES:  Department of Corrections–Contrary to what had been stated here regarding 9-year-old gelding Ashleyluvssugar running for the fourth time in yesterday’s Grade III San Luis Rey Stakes, this was not the first time a horse has appeared in the same Santa Anita stakes on four occasions.  Daily Racing Form’s Jay Privman advises that a pair of Hall of Famers have completed the quad.  Ron McAnally’s John Henry, ran in two different stakes four times each and Buster Millerick’s Native Diveractually ran in the San Carlos Handicap five years in a row.  And a third horse, Bruce Headley’s Eclipse Award winning sprinter Kona Gold, ran in the Grade I Ancient Title Stakes (now Santa Anita Sprint Championship) a total of four times…Jonathan Hardoon with the Ragozin Sheets, reports Bob Baffert’s Charlatan earned an incredible 3 ½ “Sheet” number in winning a one mile allowance here on March 14 and that his stablemate Nadal earned an 11 in taking the Grade II Rebel Stakes on the same day…Baffert’s Authentic, winner of the Grade II San Felipe on March 7, drilled five furlongs over a fast main track yesterday morning in 1:01.80.