Melatonin, racing's newest “overnight sensation,” was resting on his expanding laurels Sunday at Santa Anita, where the son of Kodiak Kowboy is unbeaten in four races, including two Grade I's, the Santa Anita Handicap and yesterday's Gold Cup at Santa Anita.
The growing fan base of the five-year-old gelding trained by David Hofmans for Susan Osborne's Tarabilla Farms may have to wait three months to see their hero race again.
“So far he looks good,” said Hofmans, back on the beat as usual with his assistant and nephew, Brent Fabbri. “He ate up last night which is a key thing, because horses that run as hard as he did sometimes don't eat up.
“I was very proud of him. That was his best race. He ran two seconds faster than his last race at a mile and a quarter (1:59.79 for the Gold Cup; 2:02 flat for the Santa Anita Handicap on March 12). I was very pleased with his effort yesterday.
“I don't have a race in mind for him right now. I've got to give him time, because he's not that big a horse. Maybe the Awesome Again here. I don't know. We'll see.”
The Awesome Again will be run at Santa Anita on Oct. 1.
Melatonin had not raced for two months before the Gold Cup, having finished second to Effinex in the Oaklawn Handicap April 16.
For the 73-year-old Hofmans, who celebrated his fourth wedding anniversary Saturday with his wife, Linda Murray, widow of the late, great Los Angeles Times columnist, Jim Murray, Melatonin's surprising success was but one in the 42-year racetrack run for the Los Angeles native.
Hofmans won the 2003 Breeders' Cup Distaff with 40-1 shot Adoration; the 2008 Turf Sprint at 36-1 with Desert Code; and the $4 million Classic in 1996 with Alphabet Soup, who paid $41.70 in upsetting two-time Horse of the Year Cigar. Hofmans also saddled Touch Gold for Frank Stronach to win the 1997 Belmont Stakes, costing Silver Charm the Triple Crown.
The Gold Cup was a Breeders' Cup “Win and You're In” race, insuring a fees-paid berth to the $6 million Breeders' Cup Classic at Santa Anita on Nov. 5, waiving a $150,000 entry fee.
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