Tuesday, March 31, 2015


Any trainer will tell you the promise of receiving a good 2-year-old is reason for hope. They will also tell you that hopes are dashed far more often than dreams are made. But for John Terranova, the expectation of developing a 2-year-old into a top 3-year-old prospect has become a reality.

Terranova's Gotham Stakes (gr. III) winner El Kabeir, owned by Zayat Stables, will be among the favorites when he runs in the April 4 TwinSpires.com Wood Memorial (gr. I) at Aqueduct Racetrack, New York's final prep for the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I). In his final prep for the Wood, El Kabeir breezed five furlongs March 30 over Belmont Park's training track in 1:01.12, the fastest of 27 works at the distance.
The Scat Daddy   colt—who was bred in Florida by Rustlewood Farm and purchased for $250,000 from the Ocala Breeders' Sales Co.'s 2013 August yearling sale by Patrice Miller's EQB for the Zayats—has been a force to be reckoned with this winter at Aqueduct. Prior to the Gotham, El Kabeir won the Jerome Stakes (gr. III) and was second in the Withers (gr. III). And his success has not been restricted to New York; last year he won the Kentucky Jockey Club (gr. II) at Churchill Downs.
Terranova and his wife Tonja, who works as his assistant, had never trained a Zayat-owned runner of their own until El Kabeir and five other 2-year-olds came into their barn last year, but the couple had a relationship with the Zayats through Hall of Famer Bob Baffert. A former assistant to Baffert, Tonja and her husband still work as caretakers for the California-based horseman's runners when they ship from the West coast to compete in New York.
Among the 2-year-olds the Zayats were divvying up between trainers last spring were El Kabeir, American Pharoah, and Mr. Z. American Pharoah went to Baffert and was last year's champion 2-year-old male and after winning the Rebel (gr. II) in his seasonal debut on March 14 the Pioneerof the Nile   homebred is now being pointed to the Arkansas Derby (gr. I). Mr. Z went to Hall of Famer D. Wayne Lukas, who saddled the multiple graded stakes-placed Malibu Moon  colt in the March 28 Louisiana Derby (gr. II).
Baffert and Lukas' combined win record in the Kentucky Derby is seven, while Terranova has started just one horse in the race—longshot Falling Sky, who finished 19th and last in 2013.
But the Zayats, who have had runners finish second in the Derby on three occasions, weren't hung-up on stats when they pegged Terranova to train El Kabeir.
"I had respect for John, Tonja, and their team," Ahmed Zayat said. "They are incredible horsemen. Their work ethics are phenomenal. They are great caretakers of their horses. I've witnessed their work for years, when they were taking care of the horses I would have with Baffert, who shipped to New York and were stabled in their barn. I admired their work, and I was waiting for the right opportunity to add an additional trainer in New York. It really came natural, because I like the Terranovas.
"I try to be fair when I allocate horses to different trainers," Zayat added. "I try to give them at least what I call the potential to be a stakes or star horse when allocating our crop. We knew we gave the (Terranovas) a good one, but it is extremely gratifying and thrilling seeing your original thoughts come true. El Kabeir has proven to be a very solid horse."
A native of Long Island, N.Y., Terranova has been training since 1992. He is best known for his success with the popular New York-bred Gander, who earned $1.8 million during his 60-race career, making 46 of those starts while in Terranova's care. The trainer has won four grade I races: the 2008 Hollywood Starlet with Laragh; 2009 Darley Alcibiades with Negligee; 2010 Prioress with Franny Freud; and the 2011 Central Bank Ashland with Lilacs and Lace.

"I would say he is the best horse I've trained as far as his development as a 2-year-old into a 3-year-old," Terranova said. "The Gotham, the Wood, these races are tremendous races to have a shot in, particularly with a horse who is going into them well, and who is possibly going to reach the Classics. That's something (our barn) doesn't get too often."

The Terranovas both said El Kabeir thrived in New York during one of the harshest winters on record. Even on the third day of spring, the morning El Kabeir worked five furlongs in a sizzling :59 4/5 at Belmont Park in preparation for the Wood Memorial, the temperature was barely 30 degrees.

With exercise rider Simon Harris on his back, El Kabeir, a muscle-bound gray, had a bounce in his step as he entered Barn 14 following the March 22 breeze. He worked with stablemate Instructor Kunu, who was ridden by jockey C.C. Lopez.  At 54 years old, Lopez will be looking for the first grade I victory of his career aboard El Kabeir in the Wood Memorial.

Both Harris and Lopez, who were rosy-cheeked from the cold, were grinning when they returned to the barn.

"He looked good, didn't he?" Harris asked. "He likes to play. But he's at the mature end now. Earlier in his career, he wanted to take you on a lot, he liked to rear up and jump around. That was just being young. But in the last couple of months, he has really settled down, come around, and relaxed."

Harris, 47, has worked for the Terranovas for 22 years. When Baffert runners ship to New York for stakes, Harris serves as their exercise rider. He has swung his right leg over some fabulous horses, including Breeders' Cup Classic (gr. I) winner Bayern and multiple grade I winners Congaree  Point Given  , and Silverbulletday.

"It's nice to get on the horses for Bob when he sends them in, but they usually only stay a week before going right back to California," Harris said. "But to get on a really nice horse, every single day, is something really special."

While John Terranova has been overseeing a division of horses he sent to Tampa Bay Downs in Florida this winter, Tonja has been the point person in New York. After El Kabeir's bullet work on March 22, his first since winning the Gotham, she marveled at how much the colt has blossomed from his 2-year-old season to now.

"Since he ran at Churchill, he really started to change," she said. "What's amazing is that out of each race—you know, sometimes horses will lose weight or conditioning—his hind end has just developed. Simon said he looked down the other day while galloping him and couldn't believe how big his neck has gotten. It's amazing how this horse has kept going forward, while braving the brutal winter we had."

John Terranova uses words such as "good vibe" and "karma" when talking about the phone call he received from the Zayats in 2014, and the subsequent story El Kabeir has scripted for him and his team.
"We've known the Zayat family for a while, and always had a good time with them when they came to the races in New York," he said. "When Justin Zayat and his father called us up to take six 2-year-olds last year, we didn't hesitate. That was a really nice thing, and we're happy to have had that happen. The Zayats have a great understanding of the game and what it takes.They are very committed and enthusiastic about their horses, which always makes it a pleasure for a trainer."

Read more on BloodHorse.com: http://www.bloodhorse.com/horse-racing/articles/90863/terranovas-seek-derby-success-with-el-kabeir#ixzz3VxyCM2K2

Monday, March 30, 2015


Dortmund recorded his final workout March 28 in preparation for the $1 million Santa Anita Derby (gr. I).

The undefeated son of Big Brown   breezed six furlongs in 1:11 3/5, the third-fastest time of 31 moves at that distance at Santa Anita Park, just behind Bob Baffert stablemates Fame and Power (1:11) and Fantastic Style (1:11 2/5).

"He looked great," Baffert said of Dortmund. "I was really happy with his work."

Dortmund's preparations for the 1 1/8-mile Triple Crown prep April 4 have been similar to those leading up to his win last time out in the March 7 San Felipe Stakes (gr. II), when he had two workouts in the month between that race and the Robert B. Lewis Stakes (gr. III) Feb. 7.  His first work after the San Felipe was six furlongs in 1:12 March 21.

"He's right on schedule," Baffert said. "We're very happy with him and very fortunate to have a horse like him. We're happy the way he came out of last race and the way he's heading into the next one." 

Prospect Park, who was second by 1 1/4 lengths to Dortmund in the San Felipe and is also likely to be entered in the Santa Anita Derby, was also working out Saturday morning, covering five furlongs in 1:01 1/5. The move was the 48th best of 83 moves at the distance Saturday, but trainer Cliff Sise indicated earlier that he would have the colt breeze easily for his final workout, after running six furlongs in 1:11 at his San Luis Rey Training Center home base last week

Read more on BloodHorse.com: http://www.bloodhorse.com/horse-racing/articles/90947/dortmund-logs-final-work-for-sa-derby#ixzz3VrteWIhm


American Pharoah returned to training in impressive fashion March 29 at Santa Anita Park, recording a five-furlong breeze in :58 3/5 in his first timed workout since a commanding victory in the Rebel Stakes (gr. II) March 14 at Oaklawn Park.

The son of Pioneerof the Nile  , who owner Ahmed Zayat said will be heading back to Oaklawn for the the Arkansas Derby (gr. I) April 11, galloped out to six furlongs in 1:10 4/5, after clocking opening fractions of :23 2/5 for a quarter-mile and :47 1/5 through a half. The five-furlong time ranked the second-fastest move at the distance Sundayjust a tick slower than the bullet (:58 2/5) set by Alfredo Marquez-trained Camryn Kate.

BLOOD-HORSE STAFF: American Pharoah Pointed to Arkansas Derby

"He cruised around there impressive as ever," trainer Bob Baffert said.

Another Baffert-trained 3-year-old hopeful, One Lucky Dane, also worked Sunday morning, covering six furlongs in 1:13 2/5 in his first timed move since a 9 3/4-length victory in a mile allowance/optional claiming race at Santa Anita March 19.

By Lookin At Lucky  , One Lucky Dane worked in tandem with 3-year-old stablemate Whiskey Ticket, who also won March 19 in his debut in a maiden special weight race. Baffert said previously that One Lucky Dane will probably take on another stablemate, unbeaten grade I winner Dortmund, in the Santa Anita Derby (gr. I) April 4.

Read more on BloodHorse.com: http://www.bloodhorse.com/horse-racing/articles/90974/pharoah-speedy-in-first-workout-after-rebel#ixzz3VrsQJXUt




            American Pharoah, the cleanup hitter in Bob Baffert’s Murderers’ Row lineup of Triple Crown contenders, worked five furlongs Sunday morning in 58.60 for the Arkansas Derby on April 11, while One Lucky Dane, flying below the radar until his mile romp by nearly 10 lengths last Thursday, went six furlongs in 1:13.40 under Rafael Bejarano, who rides the son of Lookin At Lucky in next Saturday’s Grade I, $1 million Santa Anita Derby.

One Lucky Dane worked in company with Whiskey Ticket, who was clocked in 1:13.40.
Santa Anita clockers caught American Pharoah in fractions of 23 2/5, 47 1/5 and 58 3/5, with a gallop out time of 1:10 4/5.

“Pharoah went really nice,” Baffert said. “He just cruised around there. One Lucky Dane went really nice, he looked really good. He was finishing up nice, so it looks like the race (on April 19) didn’t take anything out of him.”

Bad Read Sanchez, who figures to be an outsider, also worked Sunday, going five furlongs from the gate in 59.20 in company with One More for Doug O’Neill, who has won the Santa Anita Derby twice in the last three years, with Goldencents in 2013 and I’ll Have Another in 2012. Mario Gutierrez was aboard Bad Read Sanchez.

“We got him in 59 and three,” O’Neill said. “He looked great, good energy, so we’re excited. It’s exactly what we were looking for.”

Probable for the 1 1/8-mile Santa Anita Derby, one of six stakes on a blockbuster card next Saturday that includes the Grade I Santa Anita Oaks: Dortmund, Martin Garcia; Prospect Park, Kent Desormeaux; Bolo, Mike Smith; One Lucky Dane, Rafael Bejarano; Cross the Line, Juan Hernandez; and Bad Read Sanchez, Mario Gutierrez.

In other Santa Anita Derby news:

Jerry Hollendorfer said California Derby winner and El Camino Real Derby runner-up Cross the Line is scheduled to work a half mile Tuesday morning at Santa Anita where the son of Line of David already is bedded down.

“We’re planning on running,” Hollendorfer said. “We’re going to blow him out Tuesday.”
Juan Hernandez, the third-leading rider at Golden Gate with 53 wins through Saturday, has ridden Cross the Line in his last three races, two of them victories, and retains the mount in the Santa Anita Derby.


            Santa Anita Handicap winner Shared Belief will make his first start outside of California and have his first flight when he runs in the $1.5 million Charles Town Classic on April 18.

His previous 11 starts were in the Golden State, 10 of them victories. Only a horrid start in the Breeders’ Cup Classic, where he ran fourth, besmirches his record. His longest journeys have been by van from Golden Gate Fields in Albany to Del Mar just north of San Diego.

“There’s always that element of doing something new,” Hollendorfer said of “the best race horse in the country” and the champion 2-year-old male of 2013, “but so far, we’ve shipped him up and down the coast and he hasn’t seemed to mind.

“Flying is different, but we think he’ll do that just fine also.”

(Current Through Saturday, March 28)
JockeyMts1st2nd3rdWin%Money Won
Rafael Bejarano25163353325%$2,903,706
Tyler Baze28537363313%$2,225,944
Kent Desormeaux18232322218%$1,852,500
Victor Espinoza16731322419%$2,024,226
Martin Garcia12725161520%$1,814,830
Elvis Trujillo20824272112%$1,396,250
Joseph Talamo23424264010%$1,671,598
Drayden Van Dyke19322242311%$1,396,187
Mike Smith10121201521%$2,301,211
Corey Nakatani11419111617%$933,348
Santiago Gonzalez12317142014%$742,174
Martin Pedroza15916241910%$697,234
Gary Stevens9416141817%$1,495,818
Fernando Perez1791524188%$763,098
Edwin Maldonado11715111413%$528,154
Tiago Pereira1171491512%$456,532
Flavien Prat13213161510%$733,754
Felipe Valdez7811111314%$357,311
Mario Gutierrez10391599%$469,894
Brice Blanc5272413%$298,810
TrainerSts1st2nd3rdWin%Money Won
Jerry Hollendorfer15429202319%$3,207,292
Peter Miller14226271618%$1,337,516
Bob Baffert9723161324%$1,894,852
Doug O’Neill15920152313%$958,402
John Sadler12217181714%$1,052,764
Richard Baltas741513720%$655,135
Philip D’Amato6715111022%$695,090
Mark Glatt7514141119%$589,942
Peter Eurton8214131417%$842,206
Richard Mandella551191020%$684,616
Ron Ellis57114919%$433,690
Mark Casse57106818%$797,378
Mike Puype99914139%$459,086
James Cassidy67981213%$382,290
Jeff Bonde3491426%$336,640
Steven Miyadi4085420%$249,180
Thomas Proctor4876315%$529,778
Hector Palma2974224%$181,010
A. C. Avila2572328%$208,298
Steve Knapp3772319%$281,140
Jack Carava49610812%$197,850
Michael Pender4668513%$187,080
J. Eric Kruljac5166712%$313,560
William Spawr4866613%$188,890
Eddie Truman1961232%$258,790
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