Horse racing notes: Bob Baffert saddles Cowboy Mike in Los Alamitos opener (2024)

SANTA ANITA LEADERS

(Hollywood Meet, final)

Jockeys / Wins

Juan Hernandez / 36

Antonio Fresu / 35

Kyle Frey / 27

Edwin Maldonado / 24

Umberto Rispoli / 22

Hector Berrios / 18

Tiago Pereira / 16

Geovanni Franco / 15

Tyler Baze / 12

Mike Smith / 11

Trainers / Wins

Phil D’Amato / 22

Doug O’Neill / 17

Mark Glatt / 15

Jeff Mullins / 13

John Sadler / 13

Steve Knapp /13

Bob Baffert / 12

Peter Miller / 12

Librado Barocio / 9

Michael McCarthy / 9

WEEKEND STAKES

LOS ALAMITOS

Saturday

• $100,000 Bertrando Stakes, California-bred 3-year-olds and up, 1 mile

• $30,000 Vandy’s Flash Handicap, 3-year-old quarter horses, 350 yards

Sunday

• $35,000 1,000 Yard Summer Championship, quarter-horse 3-year-olds and up, 1,000 yards

• $30,000 1,000 Yard Summer Stake, quarter-horse fillies and mares, 3-year-olds and up, 1,000 yards

DOWN THE STRETCH

• Los Alamitos’ Saturday card begins the first of three short thoroughbred seasons to be held at the Cypress track in 2024. First post is 1 p.m. for each of eight racing days between now and July 7. The Bertrando Stakes is one of three stakes at this meet, followed by the Los Alamitos Derby on June 29 and the Grade II Great Lady M. Stakes on July 6. It drew six horses, including Cowboy Mike for trainer Bob Baffert, whose horses won 15 of 29 starts at Los Al in 2023, and Lovesick Blues and Tom Horn for owner-breeder Nick Alexander and trainer Steve Miyadi, who teamed up to win this race in 2021 and 2022 with favored Desmond Doss.

• Santa Anita had encouraging news with its latest statistics on horse safety, the two deaths from 6,678 starts at the 2023 fall meet and 2024 winter-spring meet marking the Arcadia track’s lowest racing fatality rate on record and the lowest at a North American track of its size and activity. The decline in deaths from racing – from four, four and eight in the corresponding periods the previous three years – is significant because it is seen to reflect stepped-up pre-race veterinary examinations since a 2019 spike in deaths. Add in deaths from training, and Santa Anita’s overall fatalities remained steady: The California Horse Racing Board reports 14 between the start of the ’23 fall meet and end of the ’24 spring meet, compared to 13, 14 and 12 in the same span in recent years, and 17 between the end of the ’23 spring meet and end of ’24 spring meet, compared to 13, 17 and 12. We can hope for overall improvement.

• Santa Anita attendance held steady but betting declined during the Dec. 26-June 16 season compared to the corresponding period a year ago. Based on figures provided by the track, average daily on-track attendance, 6,744, was down 0.6% from last year; average daily all-sources handle, $9.5 million, was down 9.3%; and average daily on-track handle, $8.7 million, was down 7.7%. Santa Anita ran 75 days, four more than last year, and 692 races, 28 more.

• The Ed Burke Million Futurity for quarter horses at Los Al on Sunday night was won by Up To Party – the only filly in the race – and meet-leading jockey Armando Cervantes and trainer Monte Arrossa. With the half-length victory over Ultimate Battle in 17.516 seconds for 350 yards, Up To Party joined her dam, The Partys On Fire, as winner of a million-dollar race at Los Al. Arrossa, whose horses ran 1-2-4-6, will point Up To Party for more million-dollar events in the fall.

• Kazushi Kimura will return from Canada and ride at Del Mar for the first time when the San Diego County track opens July 20, the Japanese jockey told Steve Andersen of the Daily Racing Form. Kimura, 24, finished tied for eighth in the Santa Anita standings in the first part of the recent meet, and rode Mr Fisk to two graded stakes wins for trainer Bob Baffert. He has been champion jockey in Canada the past three years.

• John Sadler-trained Missed the Cut, winner of the San Marcos and San Luis Rey stakes over Planetario on the Santa Anita turf, runs in the 1½-mile Hardwicke Stakes on Saturday (7:05 a.m. PDT) at Britain’s prestigious Royal Ascot meeting. The 5-year-old is ridden by James Doyle and listed at 10-1 in a field headed by Aidan O’Brien-trained group 1 winner Continuous and Ryan Moore. O’Brien’s and Moore’s winners at Ascot this week include Auguste Rodin, the 2023 Breeders’ Cup Turf champion at Santa Anita.

• Trainer Richard Mandella enjoyed closing weekend at Santa Anita, winning the Possibly Perfect Stakes with Linda’s Gift and the San Juan Capistrano with Planetario. The Hall of Famer’s 11 stakes wins in the nearly six-month season ranked third behind Phil D’Amato (16) and Baffert (13). “We had a great first part of the year and then kind of hit a wall. To come back and win a couple of races like this, it’s pretty nice. Keeps an old man from retiring,” said Mandella, 73.

— Kevin Modesti

Horse racing notes: Bob Baffert saddles Cowboy Mike in Los Alamitos opener (2024)
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