Rispoli Wins Two Grade 1s, Baffert Runs 1-2 in Hollywood Gold Cup

Jockey Umberto Rispoli posted a pair of Grade 1 wins and Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert ran 1-2 in the Hollywood Gold Cup (G2) to cap off the Memorial Day weekend at Santa Anita Park.

Rispoli guided Anisette, coming off a six-month layoff, to a half-length victory over Olivia Maralda in Monday’s $300,000 Gamely Stakes at 1 1/8 miles on the turf.

Anisette. Benoit Photo

Adare Manor, The Chosen Vron also win over Santa Anita holiday weekend

Sent off at 5-2, Anisette ($7.60) added a third Grade 1 to her resume that now reads: 10-6-3-0 and earnings of $786,871 for Eclipse Thoroughbred Partners.

“I could see that Umberto was biding his time and he had a lot of confidence in her, and she got the job done,’’ trainer Leonard Powell said. “At the quarter pole I thought if she makes it, she is a champion.”

Two races later, it was Rispoli again, this time in the $300,000 Shoemaker Mile on the turf. He piloted 2-1 Johannes to a half-length victory of Funtastic Again and fellow-Italian rider Frankie Dettori.

Johannes. Benoit Photo

Johannes made his move at the quarter-pole and was able to catch and pass 11-1 Funtastic Again for his first xxx stakes win. Du Jour, the slight favorite, was third.

“That was fantastic. I beat my idol,” said 35-year-old Rispoli of Dettori. “I have so much respect for Frankie. Having my second Gamely and Shoemaker Mile on the same day is just a dream come true.”

Johannes ($6.40), trained by Tim Yakteen, made his first two starts on dirt as a 2-year-old, then was moved to the turf where his record is five wins in six starts.

“He showed talent from the start, but to develop into this. I didn’t expect it in the early stages, but I’m very thankful for him and appreciative,” Yakteen said of the 4-year-old son of Nyquist.

Baffert’s Mr Fisk, Reincarnate 1-2 in Gold Cup

Mr. Fisk. Benoit Photo

In between Rispoli’s big wins. Baffert pulled off a 1-2 finish with Mr. Fisk and Reincarnate in the Gold Cup. It was Baffert’s record-extending 10th win in the race, and the 350th stakes win at Santa Anita.

Mr. Fisk, ridden by Kazushi Kimura, outran his pace-setting stablemate by 2 1/4 lengths in the 1 ¼-mile Gold Cup. Judge Miller was third.

Mr Fisk ($7) completed 1 ¼ miles in 2:03.01. His record improved to 11-5-2-0 with $369,700 in earnings. After the race, Kimura said he felt something slightly off with Mr Fisk when he was being pulled up. The 4-year-old Arrogate colt was taken by equine ambulance back to the barn for further evaluation.


“We are just being cautious,’’ Baffert said after the race. “He was a little bit off so hopefully it’s a foot or something. My horses ran great, both of them, one and two like that. But hopefully we will get him back to the barn and right now it sounds minor.”

Santa Margarita: Baffert’s Adare Manor Rolls

On Sunday (May 26), Baffert-trained Adare Manor (1-9) rolled to a 4 ½-length victory in the $200,000 Santa Margarita Stakes (G2) for a second straight win in the 1 1/8-mile race. The 5-year-old mare is 17-9-5-0 with earnings of $1,856,600.

The Chosen Vron, of course, wins again

The Chosen Vron. Benoit Photo

On Saturday (May 25), the holiday weekend kicked off with The Chosen Vron scoring his 17th stakes win with an easy time of it in the $100,000 Thor’s Echo Stakes for Cal-breds going 6 furlongs.

The Chosen Vron went off at 1-9 odds under regular rider Hector Berrios and won by 2 ¼ lengths.

“That was exactly the same as our practice run,” Berrios said. “Taking the inside post bothered me because I wanted to go outside. But he settled well. I thought he felt comfortable. He made everything easy. I wasn’t stressed at all. He’s a nice horse.”

Trainer and co-owner Eric Kruljac said: “He is a cool horse. I’m really truly speechless when you think about the whole three years of racing, what he has been through and what he has done.”

The Chosen Vron is now 23-18-1-2 with earnings of $1,419,678.

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