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Bluesthestandard not done yet
ARCADIA, Calif. - A funny thing about the 9-year-old Bluesthestandard is that no one wants to ride him. That is, no one except apprentice Juan Ochoa.
Trainer Bill Spawr speculates that many riders fear the horse is unsound. Kerwin John and Omar Berrio both rode him "safe" by taking him extremely wide, Victor Espinoza pulled him up at Del Mar the day Spawr claimed him last summer, and Garrett Gomez later declined the mount.
"The word is that he's broken down, but that's a fallacy," Spawr said.
And to prove the point, Bluesthestandard won for the 18th time Sunday, racing for an $18,000 claiming price under a clever ride by Ochoa.
After the race, Spawr asked Ochoa, "How did he feel?" Ochoa answered, "Like a 2-year-old."
Bluesthestandard began his career in 2001, winning his debut in a $25,000 maiden claiming race, and also winning his next two starts, for $10,000 and $12,500. He worked his way up the ladder, won three graded stakes, and finished second in the 2003 Breeders' Cup Sprint while trained by Ted H. West, and now competes near the bottom for owners Debi and Edward Brown of Irvine, Calif.
Bred in Georgia, Bluesthestandard has earned $1,030,218 from 46 starts and is closing in on the all-time leading Georgia-bred money earner, Vivace. A graded-stakes-winning mare who won 20 races and $1,037,671 from 40 starts, Vivace retired in 1999. Meanwhile, plans call for Bluesthestandard to continue racing.
"He loves to eat and train," Spawr said, adding that his next start will be in a similar claiming race. "When will we run him next? Probably four to six weeks. To me, he's claim-proof."
Bordonaro may travel again for next
The Spawr-trained Bordonaro is ready to resume serious training, and could ship out of town again for his next start. Bordonaro emerged as one of the country's elite sprinters when he won the Grade 3 Vernon Underwood in December at Hollywood Park and the $300,000 Sunshine Millions Sprint in January at Gulfstream Park. But the last trip knocked him out.
"He finally put his weight back on," Spawr said Tuesday. "He didn't look like this when he got home."
Bordonaro is expected to breeze later this week, and Spawr said the Grade 1 Carter Handicap in New York is being considered instead of the Grade 2 Potrero Grande Handicap on April 2 at Santa Anita. Bordonaro is not Breeders' Cup-eligible, and would be racing for only $100,000 of the $200,000 purse in the Potrero Grande. A 5-year-old gelding, Bordonaro has won seven races and $372,164 from nine starts.
Willow O Wisp joins Kilroe cast
As many as 17 horses will enter the Grade 1 Frank Kilroe Mile on Saturday, a mile turf race in which Cacique will start as the 117-pound topweight. Santa Anita racing officials said 14 would be allowed to start. The latest addition to the Kilroe field is Del Mar Derby winner Willow O Wisp, whose last two starts, both out of town, were poor.
"He's training really well, and he's probably better on his home court," trainer Vladimir Cerin said.
Willow O Wisp, one of four weighted at 116 pounds, is currently without a rider. The expected entrants include Cacique, Aragorn, Senor Swinger, Toasted, Willow O Wisp, Buckland Manor, Chinese Dragon, Terroplane, Charmo, Drum Major, McCann's Mojave, Milk It Mick, Runaway Dancer, Helm Bank, Hendrix, Apache Wings, and Blue Torpedo.
Two and a half inches of rain fell Monday night at Santa Anita, but track superintendent Steve Wood said the forecast calls for clear, fast, and firm when the Grade 1 Santa Anita Handicap is run Saturday. High Limit is the 120-pound highweight and likely favorite.
T.H. Approval to try Capistrano repeat
T.H. Approval fell short by less than a length Sunday in the Grade 2 San Luis Obispo Handicap, but the runner-up finish in the turf marathon felt like victory for one of the best-liked trainers at Santa Anita. Eduardo Inda brought back T.H. Approval from a seven-month layoff in the 1 1/2-mile San Luis Obispo, and the 5-year-old will aim for a repeat victory later this meet in the Grade 2 San Juan Capistrano Handicap.
"I knew he was going to need the start," Inda said, adding that he was more worried about the eventual third-place finisher, King's Drama, than he was about Atlando, who won.
Inda said T.H. Approval was given a break last summer when he had a minor injury to his left hind leg.
"He did not need an operation, and the vet said to give him three months off and you'll have a fresh horse," he said.
T.H. Approval will run March 25 in the Grade 2 San Luis Rey, then try to become the first horse to repeat in the San Juan since Niarkos in 1968. Inda currently has three horses in training.
Hess thinks sprint with Private World
Private World, second in the 1 1/16-mile California Oaks on Feb. 11 at Golden Gate, is one of the 23 individual betting interests in Pool 2 of the Kentucky Oaks Future Wager. Trainer Bob Hess, however, speculates that her future will be as a sprinter.
"Her sprints are so much better than her routes," Hess said, while not eliminating another try at two turns. "If she crushes in her next two, we could try her two turns again."
Private World won the Anoakia Stakes and Moccasin Stakes last fall, and is aiming for the six-furlong Tapestry Stakes on Sunday at Santa Anita.
Lukas still has Oaks plans
Folklore "wrenched a knee" finishing third in the Grade 2 Santa Ynez Stakes on Jan. 16, according to trainer D. Wayne Lukas, but Lukas said she should remain on the list of 23 fillies in the Kentucky Oaks Future Wager.
"I don't want to mislead, but I would leave her on there," he said Tuesday. "This is only the first of March."
Lukas said that if Folklore has a prep for the Kentucky Oaks, it would be at Keeneland.
"We're jogging her, but we're taking it easy," he said. "If she makes it, it's going to be at Keeneland."
Folklore has not worked since the Santa Ynez.
Meanwhile, Lukas said Ex Caelis is ready to resume serious training. Runner-up in graded stakes last fall at Arlington and Keeneland, Ex Caelis has not raced since finishing fourth in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies. Lukas said Ex Caelis breezed a quarter-mile last week, and remains an Oaks candidate.
"The Derby, you need a couple preps," he said, "but I think you can get by with one prep for the Oaks."
Surf Cat to go in Potrero Grande
Surf Cat, romping winner of the Grade 2 San Carlos Handicap at seven furlongs on Feb. 18, will sprint one more time before stretching back out to two turns.
"He's not fit enough to run in any of the big distance races yet," trainer Bruce Headley said.
When he runs in the 6 1/2-furlong Potrero Grande, Surf Cat will try to give Headley his sixth win in the race.
Winner of the Grade 2 Swaps at 1 1/8 miles at Hollywood Park last summer, Surf Cat will aim for a series of route races this summer, including the Californian and Hollywood Gold Cup at Hollywood, and the Pacific Classic at Del Mar.