Idle since running fourth at 3-1 in the Grade I Santa Anita Derby, Pamela and Martin Wygod’s homebred Prospect Park heads a talented field of five 3-year-olds going 1 1/16 miles in Sunday’s Grade III, $100,000 Affirmed Stakes at Santa Anita.
Trained by Clifford Sise, Prospect Park was a dazzling 5 ¼ length allowance winner at a flat mile three starts back on Jan. 30 and was subsequently second, beaten 1 ¼ lengths by eventual Santa Anita Derby winner Dortmund in the prestigious Grade II San Felipe Stakes on March 7.
Although he had accumulated a sufficient amount of qualifying points, Sise withdrew Prospect Park from Kentucky Derby consideration shortly after the Santa Anita Derby, citing a fever and an irregular blood count. A Kentucky-bred colt by Tapit out of the Bertrando mare Quiet Romance, Prospect Park was returned to his base at San Luis Rey Downs, where he has had five recorded works. Shipped to Santa Anita last week, Prospect Park drilled five furlongs here in 1:01.60 on May 31.
“It was a little slow,” said Sise this past Sunday. “But he came home the last three eighths in 36. He had some kind of viral thing going on in the Santa Anita Derby. Two days later, he popped a temperature…This will be a good starting point back. He’s doing great, fantastic.”
With an overall mark of 7-2-2-1, Prospect Park has earnings of $216,570.
Trainer Dan Hendricks’ Om, who has the distinction of handing American Pharoah his only loss, a 9 ¼ length maiden drubbing last August at Del Mar, comes off a dominating 2 ¼ allowance win on turf May 10 and may merit second billing in the Affirmed.
In explaining the return to the main track this Sunday, Hendricks said “We thought he would be a good grass horse, and he might be, but this time of the year I wanted to try the dirt and either get another option for him, or go back to the turf if he doesn’t like it…It’s a good time to try him, before Del Mar.”
Owned by the Sareen Family Trust, Om, a Kentucky-bred colt by Munnings, will try a route of ground on dirt for the first time. With two wins from four starts, he has earnings of $82,500.
California-bred Gimme Da Lute, who ran a disappointing third as the 9-5 favorite in Pimlico’s six furlong Chick Lang Stakes May 16, returns to his home base where he annihilated eight state-bred rivals in the 6 ½ furlong Echo Eddie Stakes three starts back on April 4.
Owned by his breeders, Mike Pegram, Karl Watson and Paul Weitman, the bay colt by Midnight Lute was third, beaten six lengths, two races back in the Grade III, Pat Day Mile on May 2 at Churchill Downs. With two sprint wins at Santa Anita, Gimme Da Lute could be winging up front along with speedy Om. Gimme Da Lute is 5-2-1-2 overall with earnings of $187,560.
A bona fide router, trainer Jerry Hollendorfer is well represented by Cyrus Alexander, who comes off a 2 ½ length allowance win at a flat mile April 16 and is a neck away from being unbeaten in his last three starts. Owned by Spendthrift Farm, LLC and Stonestreet Farm, the Kentucky-bred colt by Medaglia d’Oro will be ridden back by Rafael Bejarano. “Cy” has a win and a second at the Affirmed distance and with an overall mark of 7-2-3-2, he has earnings of $115,840.
Hollendorfer will also be represented by Cross the Line, who was a well beaten fifth in the Grade III, 1 1/8 miles Illinois Derby April 18. A Kentucky-bred colt by Line of David, Cross the Line is winless since taking the 1 1/16 miles California Derby four starts back on Jan. 17 at Golden Gate Fields and will hope to get a stalking trip in the Affirmed. Owned by Red Cap Thoroughbreds, LLC, Michael Sigband, George Todaro and partners, Cross the Line is 7-2-2-1 with earnings of $155,920.
With all horses assigned 118 pounds, here is the complete field for the Grade III Affirmed Stakes, to be run Sunday as the third race on a nine-race card, with jockeys in post position order: Gimme Da Lute, Martin Garcia; Cyrus Alexander, Rafael Bejarano; Cross the Line, Corey Nakatani; Om, Fernando Perez, and Prospect Park, Kent Desormeaux.
Unedited Santa Anita release