Opinions and speculation were there for the taking Sunday morning on
the San Felipe Stakes, in which favored Flashback suffered his first
defeat and jockey Kevin Krigger, who rode fourth-place finisher
Goldencents in the Grade II race for 3-year-olds at 1 1/16 miles, was
critical of the tactics used by Julien Leparoux, who rode Flashback.
Hear the Ghost came from fifth in a field of eight at the
half-mile pole to win by a half-length under Corey Nakatani. Flashback,
favored at even money, held on to be second, a half-length in front of
Tiz a Minister, who roared from 17 lengths behind at the half-mile
marker to finish third by a length under Garrett Gomez.
Goldencents, who held the lead on Flashback into the stretch, weakened slightly late to wind up fourth, beaten 2 ¼ lengths.
Krigger’s post-race quotes questioned Leparoux’s strategy. “. . .
I was surprised, as good a rider as Julien is supposed to be, the move
he made around the turn to make us have a dogfight race all the way
around,” Krigger said. “Turning into the backstretch, that’s like
committing suicide, you know?
“If we’re going that fast easily, it’s understandable, but to
pressure a race like that . . . being on a favorite, that’s not a
favorite’s ride at all . . . ”
Leparoux was back on the beat Sunday morning, as usual. “You
know what,” the two-time Eclipse Award-winning jockey said. “I watched
the replay. You make a decision on the first turn; I made mine . . . I
thought the decision I made on the first turn was good. I wish I could
have made him relax a little bit more on the backside.
“Other than that, nothing (would have changed). It (the loss)
might be a good thing for the horse (Flashback) in the long run. Time
In other post-San Felipe news:
Leandro Mora, assistant to Doug O’Neill, said Goldencents came out of the race in good shape, other than perhaps a bruised ego.
“He came out really good,” Mora said. “He ate well, but I would
say he knows, that in his mind, he was upset that he got beat . . . He
was pinning his ears back a little bit and he never does that.
“He’s just a kid. He’s learning the basics right now, I think.”
Asked about the Santa Anita Derby: “That’s up to the owners. I
guess they’re going to have a meeting and talk about it, but they’ll
decide whether to run in the Santa Anita Derby or try somewhere else.”
Trainer Paul Aguirre’s post-race comments on his Tiz a
Minister’s monster race, in which he was 9 ½ lengths behind the
next-to-last horse at the half-mile pole: “If it weren’t Garrett Gomez
(riding), I’d be waiting over here for the ambulance. But Garrett’s got a
way with those horses.
“That’s a victory to me, to be in the same category as Flashback and Goldencents.”
Corey Nakatani was understandably delighted with his victory for
Jerry Hollendorfer aboard Hear the Ghost, who was coming off two sprint
races, a maiden win and a second in the San Pedro Stakes, each at six
“To do what he did yesterday was impressive to me,” Nakatani
said Sunday morning. “You don’t see too many horses do what he’s done
and not turn out to be a pretty good horse. He’s got a lot of ability.”