Talamo on Carson Daly tonight

Joe Talamo, who will ride one of the favorites, I Want Revenge, in the Kentucky Derby on May 2, is going to be on television tonight. A news release from the National Thoroughbred Racing Association:

TALAMO TO APPEAR TONIGHT ON LAST CALL WITH CARSON DALY

Joe Talamo, the 19-year-old jockey of top Kentucky Derby contender I Want Revenge, will be featured tonight on “Last Call with Carson Daly”, a popular talk and variety show on NBC that airs at 1:35 a.m. ET. (Check local listings.)

Talamo, who has garnered much media attention this year for his role on the Animal Planet series “Jockeys” and for his recent exploits on Twitter, will appear in a special segment taped last week at Santa Anita Park with Daly.

A little nightcap fun at Hollywood Park

See what a 10-horse field at Hollywood Park does? It gets me eager to bet, and I really like a horse in the eighth today, a $25,000 maiden claimer going 1 1/16 miles on Cushion Track.

Take a look at Fever Reliever. I know, he’s had 11 tries and still hasn’t been able to get the job done, but I liked his last race when he closed and narrowly missed getting third and I think trainer Frank Lucarelli, not a household name in these parts, has the 4-year-old filly ready to find the winner’s circle. She adds blinkers and is a healthy 8-1 on the morning line.

Joel Rosario is off to a nice start at the 65-day meet, scoring four times Wednesday. He would appear to be the only threat to Rafael Bejarano’s bid for a record seventh consecutive SoCal riding title since Hollywood Park’s autumn meet began in 1981.

Good luck today!!

Hollywood Park meet opens today

It won’t take you long to handicap today’s opening-day card at Hollywood Park. Let’s see, six horses in the first, five in the second, five in the third, six in the fourth … 53 in the eight races. You’re not going to get a lot of value with so few horses running, but get used to it. This meet figures to have a lot of short fields what with many trainers transferring horses out of state in search of either dirt tracks or larger purses.

I am going to bet a couple of horses today:
MEN’S MAGAZINE in the third gets the services of Tyler Baze. The 5-year-old son of Dr Devious won three of six on the turf in Italy as a 2-year-old and appears to be rounding into form for trainer Ron McAnally.

JULIA M has found her spot today in the fourth race, a six-furlong sprint for $8,000 claimers. The 5-year-old mare has flashed early speed for $12,500 twice since February and faded badly. She also flashed early lick against $10,000 claimers on March 11 at Santa Anita and stuck around for third, beaten only 1 1/2 lengths. She’s running against even cheaper today and has a great shot to go gate to wire on a Cushion Track that in the past has been kinder to speed horses than Santa Anita’s Pro-Ride surface.

Good luck today!!

Updated Kentucky Derby Top 10

Here’s my latest Kentucky Derby rankings that I submitted to The Paulick Report on Monday evening:

1. I Want Revenge — Mullins making more news off track than his colt
2. Pioneerof the Nile — Baffert’s now a Hall of Famer; fourth Derby win next?
3. Friesan Fire — Larry Jones’ final shot at winning a Derby
4. Quality Road — Many think Elusive Quality colt is most talented of the bunch
5. Chocolate Candy — Capable of outrunning what figures to be double-digit odds
6. Papa Clem — Can Gary Stute win the Derby his dad couldn’t?
7. Dunkirk — Prado climbs aboard when Gomez chooses Pioneerof the Nile
8. Musket Man — Illinois Derby winner closes at 25-1 in final Future Wager pool
9. Hold Me Back — Distance should be no problem for son of Giant’s Causeway
10. Square Eddie — Can Doug O’Neill really pull this off?

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Silverbulletday was one talented filly

When Silverbulletday was announced as the choice in the contemporary female division to join the 2009 class in the National Museum of Racing’s Hall of Fame, my first reaction was pretty limited. I mean, even though I covered some of her races in 1999, I guess I never fully appreciated how great a filly she was because she raced so many times outside of California.

This is a filly who won the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies in 1998 and came back to win the Kentucky Oaks the following spring. It’s becoming more and more apparent that 2-year-old champions, particularly fillies, just don’t seem to carry over their brilliant form as juveniles to their 3-year-old campaigns. Halfbridled and Sweet Catomine are two that come to mind, and this year Stardom Bound has not looked like the same filly she was in 2008. Whether it be injuries or whatever, they just are not transferring their greatness from one year to the next.

But Silverbulletday, trained by new Hall of Fame member Bob Baffert and owned by Mike Pegram, was the exception to the rule. She was brilliant as a juvenile and equally as illuminating as a sophomore when she won, among other races, the Ashland at Keeneland, the Gazelle at Belmont Park and the Alabama at Saratoga to go with her Kentucky Oaks score. That’s four Grade I victories at four different race tracks.

Overall, the daughter of Silver Deputy won 15 of 23 starts for earnings of a little more than $3 million. She was a true champion, one that I obviously didn’t appreciate enough when she was racing.

Pegram was unable to attend Monday’s Hall of Fame announcement because of a previous commitment, but he issued a statement concerning Silverbulletday.

“She was a gift from heaven to me,” he said. “You always dream to have a great one like this, but she’s going to be very hard to reproduce in the future because she was just that good. She’s just one of those once-in-a-lifetime horses, and I was lucky enough to get one.”

And most of us were lucky enough to have seen her run.

Baffert voted into Hall of Fame; Solis snubbed again

Bob Baffert, who’s won three Kentucky Derbies and a record five Santa Anita Derbies, is now a Hall of Famer. Baffert beat out Robert Wheeler. On a conference call Monday morning to announce the inductees to the National Museum of Racing’s Hall of Fame, Baffert credited his mom and dad and owner Mike Pegram for his success.

Jockey Alex Solis lost out in the voting to former jockey Eddie Maple. Randy Romero was also up for induction. Both Maple and Romero were fine riders, but I think Solis got robbed here. He’s won more races than either Maple or Romero did and accomplished more.

Tiznow, the only two-time winner of the Breeders’ Cup Classic, was voted in as contemporary male horse, beating out 2001 Horse of the Year Point Given and Best Pal, one of the best Cal-bred horses of all time who won the inaugural running of the Pacific Classic at Del Mar.

Silverbulletday, trained by Baffert and owned by Pegram, edged Open Mind and Sky Beauty to gain induction.

Santa Anita 2008-09 Winter/Spring Media Poll

The award winners for the 2008-09 Santa Anita meet:

Horse of the Meet — Pioneerof the Nile
Older Horse — Einstein
Older Filly/Mare — Life Is Sweet
Grass Horse — Midships
Grass Filly/Mare — Magical Fantasy
3-Year-Old — Pioneerof the Nile
3-Year-Old Filly — Stardom Bound
Sprinter — Georgie Boy
Claimer — Bootleg Annie
Trainer — John Sadler
Jockey — Rafael Bejarano
Race — La Canada Stakes
Achievement — Bejarano, six titles

Not much to argue with. All solid choices.
Any thoughts?

Sadler moves ahead of Mitchell

John Sadler just saddled the winner of today’s seventh race at Santa Anita, 7-2 shot Oil Man, and leads Mike Mitchell in the battle for top trainer of the meeting, 40-39. Sadler has overcome a 39-35 deficit by winning twice both Thursday and Friday and with his only entry today.

Mitchell is still alive to at least share the title. He has Sensational Score, currently 5-2 with seven minutes before post time, in the eighth and two horses in the San Juan Capistrano Handicap — defending champ Big Booster and Church Service.

Rafael Bejarano, who had already clinched his sixth consecutive SoCal riding title, has won once today and has 99 wins for the meet in his bid to become the first jockey since Kent Desormeaux (112) in 1995 to surpass the century mark. He has mounts in the final three races.

Hollywood Park coming up short

Just received the entries for the first two days of Hollywood Park’s spring-summer meet, and they’re not pretty folks. In fact, they’re worse than we could have imagined — six horses in the first race on opening day Wednesday, five horses in both the second and third races and six in the fourth. Overall, 53 horses are entered in the eight races — an average of about 6 1/2 per race. Wow.

It doesn’t get much better Thursday, either. Six in the first, five in the second, seven in the third, seven in the fourth. Overall, 57 horses are entered in the eight races — an average of about seven per race.

The horse population is low. Very, very low. Less mares are being bred every year because the sales are just not producing results like in past years. I was told that in the past, 50,000 race horses on the average were born each year, and about half of that total — 25,000 — made it to the tracks. Now, the number of foals each year is closer to 30,000, and it doesn’t figure to get much better in the immediate future.

This Hollywood Park meet could be one of the darkest in years, perhaps ever.