Santa Anita’s meet delayed

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Santa Anita can’t seem to catch a break.

Massive wildfires throughout the state of California, and in particular the Bobcat Fire in the hills above Arcadia, have resulted in Santa Anita postponing its autumn meet opening day from Saturday until Sept. 25.

The lingering poor air quality throughout the state caused Golden Gate Fields in Northern California to cancel racing last Friday, Saturday, and Sunday.

“The current weather pattern has kept the smoke in the valley and the air quality is quite poor right now,” said Aidan Butler, Executive Director of California Operations for The Stronach Group, owners of Santa Anita.

The Bobcat Fire started on Sept. 6, and had burned over 33,000 acres as of Monday morning. Poor air quality during the period has limited the ability of trainers to work their horses prior to the start of the meet.

Last Friday, only 12 workouts were recorded. Saturday, just 33 horses recorded official works at Santa Anita. On Sunday, there were 36 timed workouts. Normally, there are between 100-200 recorded works per weekend day.

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The Stakes races originally scheduled this weekend will be pushed back until next weekend, creating a deep menu of important Breeders’ Cup “Win and You’re In” Stakes. On Saturday Sept. 26, the Grade I American Pharoah winner will earn a starting birth in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile. Other Stakes races with Breeders’ Cup implications include the Grade I Awesome Again (Breeders’ Cup Classic), the Grade I Rodeo Drive (Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Turf), and Grade II Chandelier (Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies).

On Sept. 27, the winner of the Grade II City of Hope Mile earns a starting birth in the Breeders’ Cup Mile, while the Grade II Zenyatta Stakes winner will secure a spot in the Breeders’ Cup Distaff.

Belmont opens

The Belmont Park fall meet starts on Friday, and like Santa Anita, is front-loaded with Stakes that have Breeders’ Cup implications. The majority of the Breeders’ Cup prep races will be run Oct. 3 and Oct. 10.

On Oct. 3, the Gr. II Belmont Derby includes an expenses paid spot in the Breeders’ Cup Turf, part of five Graded Stakes on the program. On Oct. 10, the Grade I Champagne will produce a starter for the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile, while the Gr. I Flower Bowl holds a spot in the starting gate for the Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Turf. The Gr. I Frizette is a “Win and You’re In” for the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies.

No fans at Breeders’ Cup

To the surprise of nobody, the Breeders’ Cup announced the two-day event scheduled for Nov. 6-7 at Keeneland in Lexington, Kentucky, will be held spectator-free due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The Breeders’ Cup also announced that Keeneland will once again host the event in 2022. Del Mar is the scheduled host in 2021.

“Lexington’s local community of racing fans, businesses, and members of the Thoroughbred industry are the backbone of the sport, and we believe they deserve a second opportunity, in short order, to experience the event at its full potential,” said Fred Hertrich, chairman of the Breeders’ Cup board.

Preakness field taking shape

Authentic, winner of the Kentucky Derby, returned to training at Churchill Downs earlier this week with his next target being the Oct. 3 Preakness Stakes at Pimlico. Stablemate Thousand Words, who was a late scratch from the Derby when he flipped in the saddling paddock, came out of the incident no worse for wear and is also pointing to the Preakness. Trainer Bob Baffert has both horses currently stabled with D. Wayne Lukas at Churchill Downs and both are expected to work over the weekend.

Derby runner-up Tiz the Law’s status for the Preakness has yet to be determined.

“He’s come out of most of his other races better than he came out (the Derby),” Barclay Tagg, trainer of Tiz the Law, told the Daily Racing Form. “It’s pretty obvious he doesn’t care for (Churchill Downs).”

A determination of Tiz the Law’s next race is not expected for several days at the least. Tiz the Law is currently stabled at Belmont Park.

Honor A.P., who finished fourth in the Derby after a slow start and very wide trip, reportedly injured his left front tendon in the race and was retired on Monday. The injury was detected after Honor A.P. returned to his home base at Santa Anita.

The current list of probable starters for the Preakness: Authentic, Art Collector, Dr Post, Happy Saver, King Guillermo, Lebda, Liveyourbeastlife, Mongolian Wind, Mr. Big News, Mystic Guide, Pneumatic and Thousand Words.

Lindo Report Play for Gaming Today: Golden Gate, Friday, Race 4 — Arno’s Mane Man (No. 5). Course specialist should get plenty of pace to set up his late run and his win spirit (he has won seven races from 17 starts in 2019-2020) tells you he is genuine and consistent.

About the Author

Jon Lindo

Jon Lindo is a syndicated handicapper, long-time thoroughbred owner, and publisher of the Lindo Report. Jon is also a regular contributor to Race Day Las Vegas Radio show on KSHP 1400 in Las Vegas and Thoroughbred Los Angeles Radio show, heard in Las Vegas at thoroughbredla.com.

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