Coli­seum can’t de­feat Sparky Ville

Los Angeles Times - - SPORTS - By Eric Sond­heimer

A lit­tle more than an hour be­fore Sun­day’s $200,000 San Vi­cente Stakes for 3year-old horses at Santa Anita, the Ken­tucky Derby Future Pool 2 was closed to bet­tors. You could have put down a wa­ger on Coli­seum and got­ten 15-1 odds.

Those who de­cided to wait to see how the highly re­garded son of Tapit did in the San Vi­cente might have been the smart ones. Sent off at odds of 3-5, Coli­seum flopped for the sec­ond con­sec­u­tive race as the odds-on fa­vorite.

Sparky Ville, a son of Candy Ride who’s not nom­i­nated to the Derby, ral­lied for a nose vic­tory over the Bob Baf­fert-trained Dess­man on a track sur­face listed as sloppy. Coli­seum was 61⁄2 lengths be­hind in third place in the seven-fur­long race.

Hall of Fame jockey Mike Smith, who re­placed Joe Talamo in rid­ing Coli­seum for the first time, tried to ex­plain to Baf­fert what he thought hap­pened.

“He was just do­ing this,” Smith said waiv­ing his hands up and down.

Said Baf­fert: “He broke bet­ter. He was strug­gling in the mud. He never looked com­fort­able.”

Coli­seum al­ways works fast in the morn­ing, but Baf­fert has been try­ing to get him to re­lax in the af­ter­noon. Coli­seum won his de­but Nov. 17 by 63⁄4 lengths at Del Mar, cre­at­ing a buzz. Then he fin­ished sixth in the Sham Stakes at one mile Jan. 5 af­ter break­ing poorly.

Now it’s back to the draw­ing board, but Baf­fert isn’t giv­ing up on Coli­seum’s potential.

“We’re still get­ting there,” he said. “They’re like lit­tle kids. You have to learn their routes.”

As for Sparky Ville, the com­bi­na­tion of trainer Jeff Bonde and jockey Joel Rosario cel­e­brated the way the race turned out.

Sav­agery went to the lead in the five-horse field. Coli­seum rushed up af­ter the start to be sec­ond. Go­ing into the far turn, the two Baf­fert horses took off as a tan­dem. Rosario bided his time along the rail in fourth po­si­tion, then moved Sparky Ville to the out­side and ran down Dess­man and jockey Flavien Prat in the stretch.

“I was try­ing to be pa­tient,” Rosario said.

Said Bonde: “We are very happy with the way our horse had trained for this race, but it’s al­ways scary when you get a look at those Baf­fert Maser­atis.”

Rosario is also the rider of the Derby Future Book horse with the low­est in­di­vid­ual odds, Game Win­ner. He won’t need to worry about choos­ing between Sparky Ville and Game Win­ner, since seven fur­longs or less might be Sparky Ville’s best dis­tances.

In the $100,000 Sweet Life Stakes that was changed from turf to dirt, Apache Princess ral­lied for a 31⁄4-length vic­tory un­der Kent De­sormeaux, who ac­ci­den­tally dropped his whip in the stretch.

Thriv­ing fin­ished sec­ond and Splashy Kisses was third in the race for 3-yearold fil­lies.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.