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    Horse racing notes: Cal-bred champ faces challenge
    • March 14, 2024


    (Through Thursday)

    Jockeys / Wins

    Juan Hernandez / 45

    Flavien Prat / 38

    Antonio Fresu / 35

    Frankie Dettori / 26

    Umberto Rispoli / 19

    Trainers / Wins

    Doug O’Neill / 25

    Mark Glatt / 21

    Bob Baffert / 20

    Phil D’Amato / 19

    Steve Knapp / 16



    • $100,000 Grade III San Carlos Stakes, 4-year-olds and up, 7 furlongs

    • $100,000 The Pasadena, 3-year-olds, 1 mile on turf


    • $100,000 Irish O’Brien Stakes, Cal-bred fillies and mares, 4 and up, about 6 1/2 furlongs on turf


    • The Chosen Vron, just named 2023 California-bred Horse of the Year, starts from the sometimes tricky No. 1 post and faces streaking Elwood Blues and Ghost of Midnight in Saturday’s San Carlos Stakes. The 6-year-old gelding, winner of 13 of 17 races, started from the the rail in sprints twice previously, producing a minor stakes win and a defeat at odds-on.

    • Nysos, the top-ranked North American 3-year-old, is out of training for a month, the Thoroughbred Daily News was first to report. Trainer Bob Baffert told TDN the colt had a minor setback. He was scratched from the March 3 San Felipe Stakes after running his record to 3 for 3 by winning the Feb. 3 Robert B. Lewis.

    • Official future betting on the May 4 Kentucky Derby is open Friday through 3 p.m. Sunday. Sierra Leone (5-1), Timberlake (8-1), Dornoch (12-1) and Fierceness (12-1) top the morning line among 39 individual horses listed, and there’s an “all other 3-year-olds” option (15-1). California-based horses are longshots: Michael McCarthy-trained Endlessly (50-1), winner of the El Camino Real Derby at Golden Gate Fields, and Phil D’Amato’s Stronghold (80-1), first in the Sunland Derby in New Mexico.

    • Fans at Santa Anita can cheer the memory of Jerry Antonucci on Sunday. The sixth will be named in honor of the popular Los Angeles Herald Examiner and Orange County Register handicapper who died Feb. 6 at age 77.

    • Los Alamitos management opted to cancel its sixth race last Sunday – and connected multi-race bets – after five of the six entrants were scratched. It was a 1,000-yard race, with a $15,000 purse, open to thoroughbreds and quarter horses. Steward Tom Ward said he’d never seen a race scratch down to one horse in his 54 years on the job.

    • Purse increases of $1 million were announced for the Breeders’ Cup Classic (to $7 million) and Turf (to $5 million) to be run at Del Mar on Nov. 1-2. Those races already were the two richest in America.

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    • Failure of primary and backup broadband links were blamed for the AmTote totalizator system outage across the nation Saturday that forced the Tampa Bay Derby to be run without betting and caused delays in payouts at Santa Anita. Tampa Bay Downs’ biggest race handled more than $2.6 million in single-race bets in 2023.

    • In England, Galopin Des Champs and jockey Paul Townend are favored to win Friday’s Cheltenham Gold Cup. They’re trying to repeat their 2023 win for trainer Willie Mullins and cap a week of Irish domination at Cheltenham’s famous jump-racing festival.

    — Kevin Modesti

    ​ Orange County Register