Paulick Report Staff

Apprentice Espinoza Awaiting Driver’s License, Tied For Fifth In Santa Anita Standings

Asa Espinoza is far and away the meet’s leading apprentice rider, and with 21 victories, is tied for fifth overall at Santa Anita Park’s Spring Meet which ends today. Not bad for an 18-year-old kid who doesn’t even have his driver’s license yet. “He’s done really well for a guy who started from scratch here […]

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O’Neill, Prat Clinch Santa Anita Titles

Congratulations are in order for Doug O’Neill and Flavien Prat, as both have clinched titles in their respective categories. O’Neill, who coming into today had saddled by far the most horses of any trainer, 136, through 40 racing days, enjoyed a five-length advantage over both Phil D’Amato and Peter Miller with 31 wins. O’Neill thus […]

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Thousands Line Up For Smith’s Justify Poster Signing At Santa Anita

Five minutes after Santa Anita’s admission gates opened at 10 a.m. Saturday, a line estimated at more than 3,000 people had formed as racing devotees flocked to get a quick word with Justify’s Hall of Fame jockey Mike Smith as he signed Triple Crown posters adjacent to the Kingsbury Fountain in the West Paddock Gardens. “We’ve never […]

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Smith: Triple Crown ‘Memories Always Will Stay With You’

Mike Smith may not be fined for excessive use of the riding crop, but he could be fined for excessive use of the Sharpie come Saturday. That’s when the Hall of Fame jockey and regular rider of Triple Crown champion Justify will be signing posters depicting the undefeated colt’s sweep of the Kentucky Derby, Preakness and […]

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Assistant Trainer Barnes Savoring Baffert Stable’s Second Triple Crown

Appropriately, Bob Baffert was center stage during Justify’s Triple Crown sweep this spring, but on call in the wings, there was Jim Barnes, appropriately playing Jimmy Olsen to Baffert’s Clark Kent. Justify handled the role of Superman just fine, thank you, giving Team Baffert its second Triple Crown triumph in four years, on the fleet […]

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Prat Poised To Take Santa Anita Riding Title, Then Head To New York

One of the nation’s leading trainers has called Flavien Prat a difference maker, as in difference maker when it comes to winning or losing a race. That’s a supreme but deserved compliment for the 25-year-old Frenchman, currently poised to win Santa Anita’s Spring Meet riding title, as he leads co-runners-up Joe Talamo and Geovanni Franco, […]

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Smith ‘Can’t Help But Daydream’ About Riding Justify For The Triple Crown

Mike Smith is not one to count his chickens before they’re hatched, or his victories before the race is official, for that matter. But the 52-year-old riding great, a member of the Hall of Fame since 2003, realizes full well that undefeated Justify is heavily favored and thus expected to become history’s 13th Triple Crown winner when […]

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Unique Bella Ready For ‘A Big Race’ In Beholder Mile

Unique Bella, the latest in a seemingly endless line of stalwarts from the barn of Jerry Hollendorfer, will be favored for the 10th time in 11 career races Saturday in the Beholder Mile. Santa Anita linemaker Jon White has the striking four-year-old gray daughter of Tapit listed at 3-5 against five rivals in the Grade I event, but […]

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Smith: ‘If I’d Have Kept My Foot On The Gas, He’d Have Won By Farther’

“Big Money” Mike Smith, who has now guided Justify to four out of his five wins, including Saturday’s Grade 1 Preakness Stakes at Pimlico in Baltimore, Md., offered up a detailed analysis of his eventful trip in yesterday’s 1 3/16 miles classic in a radio interview Sunday morning on “Thoroughbred Los Angeles,” which airs locally […]

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‘A Tough Ask’: Elliott Recalls Smarty Jones’ Belmont Bid

Nobody could see Justify losing the Preakness yesterday. Turns out, nobody could see him winning, either. It was Erroll Garner weather at Pimlico Saturday, as The Man Upstairs stole a page from the jazz composer and piano legend’s songbook and unfurled “Misty,” festooning Old Hilltop in a fountain of fog. But Justify did his thing anyway, […]

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