Phil D'Amato

'Moon' Shines Over Rivals in American Oaks

Rhea Moon (Ire) (Starspangledbanner {Aus}) was produced by the hot-riding Juan Hernandez approaching the final furlong and fought her way past pace-pressing stablemate School Dance (Animal Kingdom) in the final couple of jumps to win Monday's GI American Oaks at Santa Anita. A 6-1 gamble exiting a 1 1/4-length success in the GIII Autumn Miss S. going a mile over this course Oct. 29, Rhea Moon was one of the last away, but improved along the inside while tugging a bit for her head and raced fourth-last with a circuit...

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Fasig Bound Going Global Adds Another Graded Tally

Just minutes after her stablemate Balnikhov (Ire) (Adaay {Ire}) took Keeneland's GIII Bryan Station S., millionaire Going Global added another graded tally to her CV in what is likely to be the final start of her career. The bay is set to be offered next Sunday as hip 292 at Fasig-Tipton's Night of the Stars. The Irish import won six of her first seven Stateside starts, including the GI Del Mar Oaks last August followed by a score in this event last term when it was held at Del Mar...

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Not Her First 'Rodeo'

For the second year in a row, Going To Vegas (Goldencents) led past every pole and proved an easy winner of the GI Rodeo Drive S. at Santa Anita, punching her ticket to the GI Breeders' Cup Filly and Mare Turf in Lexington four weeks down the road. Kentucky raider Family Way (Uncle Mo), narrowly second in the wagering ahead of Going To Vegas, ran on late to complete the exacta, while longshot Bellamore (Empire Maker) spiced up the exotics in third. Fluffy Socks (Slumber {GB}), the 3-2 chalk, could...

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Del Mar Summer Meet Set New Records on Multiple Fronts

Highlighted by the buzz around Flightline (Tapit)'s stellar GI TVG Pacific Classic performance in the track's signature event, Del Mar had record wagering and field size for the 31-day summer meet that ended Sunday, as well as a continued excellent safety record for the fourth consecutive year. There were no catastrophic injuries among 2,688 starters in the meet's 294 races. The 83rd summer meet at Del Mar Thoroughbred Club (DMTC) set new records for average daily handle with $18.69 million a day, an increase of 1.5% from last year's $18.41...

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Imports a Key Pillar of Phil D'Amato's Winning Strategy

Plenty of imports into the clogged Southern California shipping terminals of Los Angeles and Long Beach have been left idle these past few months, collateral damage in a supply-side bottle-neck. Imports into the Southern California stable of Phil D'Amato, on the other hand, have been far more effectively commandeered. "It's a really good strategy for owners to help them make money and have fun in the process," says D'Amato, caught mid-morning between scrutinizing his trainees jog a dusty Santa Anita horse-path under a blazing hot sun and a scouting trip...

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Smooth Like Strait 'On Top of His Game,' Seeking Shoemaker Repeat

Cannon Thoroughbreds' Smooth Like Strait (Midnight Lute) will attempt to defend his title in the GI Shoemaker Mile--a Win and You're In event for the GI Breeders' Cup Mile--when he faces five rivals in the Santa Anita contest Monday. The 5-year-old, the 4-5 morning-line favorite, was runner-up in four graded events following last year's Shoemaker, setting the pace before getting past late by Space Blues in the Nov. 6 GI Breeders' Cup Mile. Making his 2022 debut, he set the pace before ending up third in a blanket finish in...

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'Memories' Meets 'Love' in Honeymoon

The top two 3-year-old turf fillies in California will face off for the first time along with five other foes in Sunday's nine-furlong GIII Honeymoon S. on the Santa Anita lawn. Cairo Memories (Cairo Prince), named a 'TDN Rising Star' for a 4 1/2-length debut victory Sept. 5 at Del Mar, the $50,000 Keeneland September purchase backed that up with 2 1/4-length tally in the local Surfer Girl S. before finishing ninth with a troubled trip in the GI Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf. Switched to dirt, the gray was...

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Oaks Finishers All Well on Saturday; Preakness Next for Oath?

More than 12 hours after winning his fifth GI Kentucky Oaks with Briland Farm's Secret Oath (Arrogate), Hall of Fame trainer D. Wayne Lukas was back on his pony leading his horses out to train Saturday morning at 5:15 a.m. He reported that his star filly came out of the race well and now has several options ahead of her, including the GII Black-Eyed Susan S. and the GI Preakness Stakes May 20 and 21, respectively at Pimlico. "She bounced back very quickly last night and she's very sharp here...

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Cupid Filly Plays Santa Anita Oaks Spoiler

While Saturday's GII Santa Anita Oaks seemed all but a procession for 13-length GIII Las Virgenes S. romper Adare Manor (Uncle Mo) in her first start since being transferred from Bob Baffert to Tim Yakteen, Desert Dawn (Cupid)--the longest shot in the field of five at higher than 14-1 odds--had other ideas. Desert Dawn broke well from the fence before tucking in to sit third as her seemingly much more formidable stablemate Ain't Easy (Into Mischief) set off to show the way with the imposing presence of Adare Manor looming...

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Lucky Girl Looks To Stay Hot in Providencia

The progressive Lucky Girl (Ire) (Exceed and Excel {Aus}) looks to make it three on the trot as the likely favorite in a competitive renewal of the GIII Providencia S. at Santa Anita. Third in a single European appearance at Ireland's Gowran Park for trainer Andrew Slattery, the bay was fractionally disappointing when off the board in each of her first three U.S. appaearances, including a troubled fifth in a one-mile maiden here Dec. 27. Connections nevertheless swung for the fences and gave their filly a try in the Jan....

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Count Again Up in Time in Kilroe Mile

Making just his 15th start at the age of seven, Agave Racing Stable and Sam-Son Farm's Count Again (Awesome Again) uncorked his usual late run to come out on top of a tight finish in Santa Anita's GI Frank E. Kilroe Mile S. A close third in last year's Kilroe and most recently a winner of the GIII Thunder Road S. here Feb. 5, the Ontario-bred gelding sat in a joint second last around the first turn while scraping paint. He continued to draft from a nice spot as GISW...

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Going to Vegas Ready to Roll in the Buena Vista

Trainer Richard Baltas sends out expected favorite GI Rodeo Drive S. winner Going to Vegas (Goldencents) in Saturday's GII Buena Vista S. at Santa Anita. Last seen finishing 11th in a 12-horse field after setting the early pace in the GI Maker's Mark Breeders' Cup Filly and Mare Turf, Going to Vegas shook off the rust with a five-furlong drill in 1:00 (2/20) Feb. 26 in Arcadia. Flavien Prat, who won the GII John C. Mabee S. aboard the 5-year-old mare last September, has the mount. To win, she'll have...

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