Me­la­tonin can state his case in Gold Cup

Daily Racing Form Saturday Stakes Preview - - FRONT PAGE - – Steve An­der­sen – Mar­cus Hersh – Mar­cus Hersh

AR­CA­DIA, Calif. – In ap­prox­i­mately two min­utes on Satur­day, Me­la­tonin can show where he stands in the na­tion’s older horse di­vi­sion at the start of the sum­mer.

Me­la­tonin will start as a con­tender in Satur­day’s $500,000 Gold Cup at Santa Anita af­ter ex­cel­lent re­sults in his last two starts. Me­la­tonin won the $1 mil­lion Santa Anita Hand­i­cap in a 16-1 up­set in March and was sec­ond in the Grade 2 Oak­lawn Hand­i­cap in Arkansas on April 16, los­ing by a length to Effinex, a five-time stakes win­ner.

The Grade 1 Gold Cup at Santa Anita is the lead­ing race for older horses at the cur­rent spring-sum­mer meet­ing and an im­por­tant one in the buildup to the $6 mil­lion Breed­ers’ Cup Clas­sic here on Nov. 5. The win­ner of the Gold Cup re­ceives a fees-paid berth in the BC Clas­sic through the Breed­ers’ Cup Win and You’re In pro­gram.

Me­la­tonin is ca­pa­ble of a vic­tory. Owned by Su­san Os­borne’s Tara­billa Farms, Me­la­tonin has won 4 of 12 starts and $918,552. This year, he has earned $786,000.

Me­la­tonin’s cam­paign in the last two months has been geared to­ward the Gold Cup at Santa Anita. Trainer David Hof­mans held Me­la­tonin out of the Grade 2 Cal­i­for­nian Stakes on May 22 to fo­cus on Satur­day’s race, which is run at 1 1/4 miles.

“He’s bet­ter now than he was af­ter the Oak­lawn Park race,” Hof­mans said. “He tucked up a lit­tle bit af­ter that race, but now he has his weight on.”

Me­la­tonin had his fi­nal ma­jor ex­er­cise be­fore the Gold Cup on Wed­nes­day, work­ing a half-mile in 49.20 sec­onds.

“I did it that way the last time,” Hof­mans said, re­fer­ring to the days be­fore the Big Cap.

Me­la­tonin is likely to race near the front. He held an early lead in the Big Cap at 1 1/4 miles and won by 4 1/4 lengths. In the Oak­lawn Hand­i­cap, Me­la­tonin led early and gave way even­tu­ally to Effinex.

The Gold Cup field con­sists en­tirely of Cal­i­for­nia-based run­ners. The race has a pro­jected field of nine, in­clud­ing Bal a Bali, Fol­low Me Crev, Hard Aces, Hop­per­tu­nity, Im­per­a­tive, Lieu­tenant Colonel, Sec­ond Sum­mer, and Win the Space.

Hop­per­tu­nity, third in the $10 mil­lion Dubai World Cup in the United Arab Emi­rates on March 26 in his last start, will be fa­vored over Sec­ond Sum­mer and Hard Aces, the first two fin­ish­ers of the Cal­i­for­nian Stakes.

Hard Aces won the 2015 Gold Cup at Santa Anita but is win­less in eight sub­se­quent starts.

The Gold Cup at Santa Anita will be the first start on the main track for Bal a Bali, who has won 13 of 21 starts and earned $763,478 on turf in Brazil and Cal­i­for­nia. On Wed­nes­day, Bal a Bali had his fi­nal blowout for the Gold Cup, work­ing three fur­longs in 36.40 sec­onds.

Thistledown: Ohio Derby

The Ohio Derby con­tin­ues its rise back to­ward graded-stakes sta­tus Satur­day with a solid field of 10 en­tered in the $500,000 race at Thistledown.

Head­ing the entries is Mo Tom, the GMB Rac­ing-owned colt trained by Tom Amoss who ex­its a cred­itable eighth-place fin­ish in the Ken­tucky Derby. Mo Tom, as has been the case nearly all sea­son, found trou­ble in the Derby, los­ing mo­men­tum and ground when stead­ied on the far turn be­fore com­ing home with de­cent en­ergy.

Mo Tom had even worse trou­ble when fin­ish­ing fourth in the Louisiana Derby, in which at worst he’d have been sec­ond to Gun Run­ner with a clean run, and sec­ond in the Risen Star, where he ap­peared to be on his way to a win over Gun Run­ner when he was stopped cold in mid­stretch. Jockey Javier Castel­lano re­places Corey Lanerie in the irons.

Mo Tom was con­sid­ered for the Bel­mont Stakes fol­low­ing the Ken­tucky Derby, but his con­nec­tions took a more con­ser­va­tive ap­proach to point to the Ohio Derby. Mo Tom de­serves to win his first race since the Le­comte Stakes in Jan­uary with all his poor luck this year and fig­ures to be a short­er­priced fa­vorite to do so than his 5-2 morn­ing-line odds.

Also in the 1 1/8-mile dirt race are the third-, fourth-, and fifth­place fin­ish­ers from the May 14 Peter Pan Stakes – Wild About Deb, Ad­ven­tist, and Dec­o­rated Sol­dier.

Wild About Deb, an­other horse who was con­sid­ered for the Bel­mont Stakes, has been work­ing at Churchill Downs for trainer Phil D’am­ato, whose main string is based in Cal­i­for­nia. Wild About Deb is the likely sec­ond bet­ting choice in the race and might even chal­lenge Mo Tom for fa­voritism if bet­tors over­look Mo Tom’s trou­bled trips.

The rest of the Ohio Derby field in­cludes That­lookonyer­face, Mo Don’t No, Van Damme, Dis­creet Lover, Rid­ing in the Wind, and Cocked and Loaded.

The Ohio Derby, long the feature of the Thistledown sea­son, lost its graded sta­tus in 2014 but, with a purse boost to $500,000 last year, likely is on the way back to be­ing a Grade 3.

A field of 10 was en­tered for Satur­day’s Grade 3, $100,000 Chicago Hand­i­cap for fil­lies and mares over seven fur­longs on Poly­track.

The en­trants, from the rail out, are Run Zippy Run, City of Trix, You Bought Her, Sweet­south­ern­dame, Sarah Sis, Kath­ballu, Athena, Minks Aprise, Seek­ing Trea­sure, and Tiz Lately. Kath­ballu and Athena are cross-en­tered in an overnight stakes at Churchill. Minks Aprise is trained by Michael Dickinson, who has not run a horse at Ar­ling­ton since 2003.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.