Horse racing notes: Hot Rod Charlie back at it Saturday

SANTA ANITA LEADERS

(Through Thursday)

JOCKEYS / WINS

Juan Hernandez / 100

Flavien Prat / 73

Tyler Baze / 50

Abel Cedillo / 45

Diego Herrera / 33

TRAINERS / WINS

Philip D’Amato / 55

Doug O’Neill / 39

John Sadler / 36

Mark Glatt / 34

Bob Baffert / 27

WEEKEND STAKES AT SANTA ANITA

Saturday

• $200,000 Grade II Santa Maria Stakes, fillies and mares, 3-year-olds and up, 1 1/16 miles

• $100,000 Fasig-Tipton Futurity, 2-year-olds, 5 furlongs

• $100,000 Fasig-Tipton Debutante, 2-year-old fillies, 5 furlongs

Sunday

• $125,000 Grade III San Juan Capistrano, 3-year-olds and up, 1 3/4 furlongs (turf)

• $100,000 Grade III American Stakes, 3-year-olds and up, 1 mile (turf)

• $100,000 Possibly Perfect Stakes, fillies and mares, 3-year-olds and up, 1 1/4 miles (turf)

DOWN THE STRETCH

• Philip D’Amato, shooting for his second consecutive Santa Anita training title and third overall, remembers going to the track at a young age. “When I was about 8 or 9, my grandfather would have to watch me on the holidays and he’d drag me along, and I think that’s how I got hooked,” he said. “Probably in my teens is when my grandparents and my parents started owning race horses and then I really got hooked into the game.” Cigar was D’Amato’s favorite horse. “I couldn’t wait to watch him wherever it was he was running in the country,” he said.

• Hot Rod Charlie is scheduled to make his first start since his second-place finish in the $12 million Dubai World Cup in Saturday’s $150,000 Grade III Salvatore Mile at Monmouth Park. “We intentionally gave him time off after Dubai and he’s come back really strong,” O’Neill told the Bloodhorse. “We have the Breeders’ Cup Classic circled as our ultimate goal. Saturday is the first step toward getting there.” The Salvatore Mile drew a field of seven, including 3-1 second choice Mind Control. Hot Rod Charlie, with Mike Smith subbing for regular jockey Flavien Prat, is the 4-5 morning-line favorite.

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• Juan Hernandez long ago clinched Santa Anita’s riding title for the 2021-22 meet, heading into closing weekend with 100 victories. He’s only the second rider – joining Prat (2020-21) – to hit the century mark in the past 27 years. Before Prat last year, Kent Desormeaux was the last jockey to win 100 or more races (112 in 1994-95). Laffit Pincay Jr. holds the record for most victories during a single meet, winning 138 times in 1970-71 during a stretch when he won the riding title six consecutive years. The legendary Bill Shoemaker won an amazing 17 consecutive riding titles (1950-51 through 1966-67).

— Art Wilson