04/02/2015 12:55PM

Talco one to watch in Thunder Road

Benoit & Associates
Moulin de Mougin, winning the Grade 2 John Mabee last August, is a mare taking on males in the Thunder Road.

ARCADIA, Calif. – The best betting race on Saturday’s 11-race program at Santa Anita might be the last – the $75,000 Thunder Road Stakes at a mile on turf.

The 12 runners are a diverse group, including the 4-year-old Talco, who was third in two turf derbies last year and won an optional claimer March 12; the mare Moulin de Mougin, who won the Grade 2 John Mabee Stakes last August; Ganesh, a Group 1 winner in Argentina last September; and Quick Casablanca, unraced since finishing second in the Grade 2 San Juan Capistrano Stakes at about 1 3/4 miles on turf last June.

The program, which begins at noon Pacific, also has two $200,000 races for California-bred 3-year-olds at 6 1/2 furlongs – the Evening Jewel Stakes for fillies and the Echo Eddie Stakes for both sexes.

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Talco, imported from France last summer, won for the first time in the United States in the recent optional claimer. He was third to California Chrome in the Hollywood Derby at Del Mar last November.

“We’ve had high hopes for him all along,” trainer John Sadler said. “He wants to be a miler with pace in front of him.”

The Thunder Road is a prep race for future stakes for Ganesh and Moulin de Mougin, both trained by Richard Mandella.

The Thunder Road will be the U.S. debut for Ganesh and could lead to a start in the $200,000 Charles Whittingham Stakes at 1 1/2 miles on May 24.

“He wants to go a mile and a half,” Mandella said. “I would say this would be short for him.”

Moulin de Mougin fell in the Grade 1 Rodeo Drive Stakes here last September after clipping heels with a rival. She drew post 12 and will race from off the pace, Mandella said.

“I don’t have anywhere else to run her,” Mandella said. “She’s ready to go a mile, but I won’t say she’s at her best.”


Richard’s Boy is the only undefeated runner in a field of nine in the Echo Eddie, which will be his stakes debut. The gelding by Idiot Proof was bought by Rockingham Ranch and sent to trainer Peter Miller a few days after winning an optional claimer on the hillside turf course March 13.

Richard’s Boy was supplemented to the Echo Eddie for $25,000 on Wednesday. The supplemental fee makes him eligible for the Golden State Series of stakes for California-breds for the rest of his career.

“I expect him to run well,” Miller said. “I think he has to move forward a bit. Winning is not out of the question.”

Richard’s Boy’s main rivals are Grazen Sky, who won an optional claimer for California-breds on March 5, and Gimme Da Lute, a sharp maiden race winner for trainer Bob Baffert on Feb. 21.

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Long Hot Summer will be favored to win her second stakes in the Evening Jewel. Trained by Phil D’Amato, Long Hot Summer won the Generous Portion Stakes for 2-year-old California-bred fillies at Del Mar last August and was second in an optional claimer against open company in her return to action March 19.

Long Hot Summer has the rail in a field of 13. She will be in pursuit of the speedy Bad Ju Ju, who has won her last two starts, and Easter Fever, who was second in an optional claimer against California-breds on March 6.

D’Amato also starts Sheer Pleasure, who was fourth in the California Cup Oaks on turf in January and unseated jockey Martin Garcia at the start of an optional claimer March 6.