(Storm the Court / Photo Courtesy of Santa Anita)
From the Santa Anita Media Team:
ROSARIO RIDES STORM THE COURT IN SAN FELIPE
Peter Eurton, who has been mulling Saturday’s San Felipe Stakes or the March 14 Rebel at Oaklawn Park for champion Storm the Court’s next race, said this morning the 2019 Eclipse Award winner as outstanding two-year-old male “will probably stay here” for the San Felipe Stakes, a leading steppingstone to the Grade I, $1 million Santa Anita Derby on April 4.
The Grade II, $400,000 San Felipe is one of five attractive events Saturday including the Grade I Santa Anita Handicap, the Grade I Frank E. Kilroe Mile, the Grade II San Carlos Stakes and the $75,000 China Doll Stakes. The San Felipe offers 50 Kentucky Derby qualifying points to the winning horse, 20 to the runner-up, 10 to the third horse and five to the fourth.
With last year’s Kentucky Derby winner Flavien Prat opting to ride undefeated Robert B. Lewis Stakes winner Thousand Words for Bob Baffert in the San Felipe rather than Storm the Court, whom he has ridden in each of his five career starts, Eurton has engaged Joel Rosario to pilot Storm the Court.
“Rosario wasn’t able to work him for me yesterday,” Eurton said, referring to Storm the Court’s five furlong bullet move in 59.40, “but Umberto (Rispoli) worked him for me. I was very pleased with it. He couldn’t look any better. This is his second race back and we’ve still got another two months (before the Kentucky Derby on May 2).
With 22 Kentucky Derby qualifying points already accumulated, Storm the Court is in relatively good stead in that category, although there are ample more up for grabs in the San Felipe, “and everybody needs them,” Eurton said.
Entries for the San Felipe and other Saturday races will be taken on Wednesday. Early San Felipe probables include Authentic, Fast Enough, Honor A.P., Storm the Court and Thousand Words. Honor A.P. worked five furlongs this morning in 1:01.80 for John Shirreffs.
‘OVERNIGHT SENSATION’ RISPOLI SEEKS NEW AGENT
Umberto Rispoli made a sudden and sensational impact with both horsemen and handicappers through 32 days of Santa Anita’s Winter Meet with 27 victories, three of them yesterday, but in a classic example of what have you done for me lately, today he is looking for a new agent.
The 31-year-old two-time champion in his native of Italy took Santa Anita by storm under the sagacious guidance of world class agent Ron Anderson, but when it was announced yesterday that Anderson will now represent Hall of Fame member John Velazquez in addition to future Hall of Famer Joel Rosario, that left Rispoli sans representation and undecided as to whether he will continue in California or go elsewhere.
“At the moment I have no plans,” Rispoli said Sunday morning at Clockers’ Corner between exercising horses. “This happened so fast, I have no idea what I’m going to do or what agent I’m going to take.
“I only got the news two days ago and it’s not easy because it hit me like a thunderstorm fell on my head. Honestly, I still don’t know. I have races to focus on today and will have a break tomorrow to think about what is going to be best for me.
“California has been very kind to me so far and it would be good to stay if I can find a good agent. Going to Kentucky raises the question of people there not knowing me like they do here, but so far, no plan, no decision.
“I feel a little lost but hope to find myself soon, so I’m not worried about that. It was a surprising decision to me, but Ron decided John probably was best for him.
“I’m very grateful to Ron because if it wasn’t for him, I would never be in America and I’m sure he’s going to help me make the right decision for my future.”
Rispoli said he’s had no inquiries from other agents at this early point, although Scotty McClellan, who reached racing’s apex representing Hall of Fame members Chris McCarron and Alex Solis, has been prominently mentioned among prospective agents.
Contacted by phone this morning, McClellan, who has not had a rider since Joe Talamo left California for parts east in early January, said he would be interested in representing Rispoli.
“I want to look around,” Rispoli continued. “I’m new in this country, only been here two months, and this happened so fast I still have to decide what’s best for me as well as my family.
“I’m pretty sure Ron will help me make the right choice in finding a new agent.”
MIDCOURT DRILLS FOR SANTA ANITA HANDICAP
Midcourt, winner of five of seven starts under trainer John Shirreffs, worked five furlongs this morning in 1:01.40 in his last major drill for the Santa Anita Handicap. Regular rider Victor Espinoza was aboard the five-year-old Midnight Lute gelding who captured the Grade II San Pasqual Stakes on Feb. 1. Probable for the 84th edition of the Big ‘Cap include Combatant, Endorsed, last year’s winner Gift Box, Midcourt and Two Thirty Five. Combatant worked five furlongs this morning in a bullet 1:00 flat for John Sadler.
LAW ABIDIN CITIZEN RETURNS IN GRADE II SAN CARLOS
Law Abidin Citizen, a durable and versatile son of Twirling Candy, makes his first start in seven months in Saturday’s San Carlos Stakes for three-year-olds and up at seven furlongs.
“He’s been training well and he’s pretty versatile,” said trainer Mark Glatt of the six-year-old gelding, winner of six of 23 career starts, including last summer’s Grade III Longacre’s Mile and earner of $416,167 thanks to victories at distances from 6 ½ furlongs to a mile and on both dirt and turf.
Probables for the San Carlos: Flagstaff, Law Abidin Citizen, Manhattan Up, Roadster, Sparky Ville and St. Joe Bay.
Sparky Ville worked five furlongs this morning in 1:02.80 for Jeff Bonde, while St. Joe Bay went the same distance in 1:00.80 for John Sadler.
OHIO SEEKS SECOND STRAIGHT WIN IN KILROE MILE
Trainer Michael McCarthy has Ohio at the ready to win the Frank E. Kilroe Mile for the second straight year. Last year, the nine-year-old Brazilian-bred posted a 9-1 upset by a nose over favored Catapult.
Probable for Saturday’s Kilroe include Desert Stone, Frontier Market, Got Stormy, Kingly, Next Shares, Ohio, River Boyne and True Valour.
‘FASHIONABLE FILLIES’ LUNCHEON IN CHANDELIER ROOM MARCH 8
“Go West Young Lady!” A successful event for nearly two decades in Saratoga Springs, New York, Santa Anita will host its first “Fashionable Fillies” Luncheon in the Chandelier Room on Sunday, March 8.
The event is sponsored by The Jockey Club Safety Net Foundation, a charitable trust which provides, on a confidential basis, financial relief and assistance to needy members of the Thoroughbred industry and their families.
The event, which takes place from 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., includes cocktails, lunch and the opportunity to shop from local vendors. Tickets are $150 each and all proceeds will be earmarked by the foundation to benefit the backstretch community of Southern California.
Those interested, please respond to Shannon Kelly, executive director, at (212) 521-5327, or via email at [email protected]