Race of the Week 2017

Talamo Reconnects with China Prince

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Joe Talamo reconnects with China Prince in Saturday’s $125,000 Tiznow Stakes for 4-year-olds and up at one mile on the main track. The second-leading rider at the recently concluded Winter Meet, Talamo last rode China Prince on March 1 of 2013, finishing second in an allowance race on the grass.

But Talamo has worked the gelded son of Peppered Cat for trainer Craig Dollase in preparation for the Tiznow, named for the back-to-back Breeders’ Cup Classic winner and Horse of the Year in 2000.

“China Prince worked real well and he galloped out real strong,” Talamo said. “He’s only had one race on the main track, but the track was pretty bad that day (finishing sixth on a wet/fast surface in the California Breeders’ Championship Stakes last Jan. 26).

“Hopefully, he’ll get over the track Saturday real well. He should be in a good spot, too. He drew outside.”

Talamo has the utmost respect for Warren’s Veneda, his mount in the $125,000 Spring Fever for older fillies and mares at six furlongs. Warren’s Veneda is a consistent 4-year-old Affirmative filly trained by Craig Lewis for owner/breeder Benjamin Warren.

“She’s a real, real nice filly,” Talamo said. “I know she’s honest. She’s coming off a slight layoff (last raced on Dec. 7, finishing third in the Grade II Bayakoa Stakes). She wants to go a little further than six (furlongs), but I know there’s a lot of speed in there, so it should set up pretty well.”

The field for the Tiznow: Rousing Sermon, Rafael Bejarano. 6-5; Soi Phet, Julien Couton, 5-2; Storm Fighter, Edwin Maldonado, 5-1; Lakerville, Brice Blanc, 3-1; Kate’s Event, Corey Nakatani, 4-1; and China Prince, Joe Talamo, 6-1. Toledo Eddie was scratched.

The field for the Spring Fever: Marks Mine, Frank Alvarado, 3-1; Could Be Trouble, Edwin Maldonado, 8-1; Sudden Sunday, Victor Espinoza, 8-1; Yes She’s Unusual, Tyler Baze, 20-1; Quizzical, Drayden Van Dyke, 8-1; Our Pure Creation, Rafael Bejarano, 3-1; Warren’s Veneda, Joe Talamo, 5-2; and Top Kisser, Corey Nakatani, 4-1.


Doug O’Neill will send out a longshot and a contender in Saturday’s Snow Chief Stakes and Fran’s Valentine Stakes, respectively.

The trainer of 2012 Kentucky Derby winner I’ll Have Another has maiden Frensham in the $250,000 Snow Chief for 3-year-olds at a mile and an eighth, and the steady filly Danceingtothestars in the $100,000 Fran’s Valentine at one mile on turf.

“Frensham is a really nice Cal-bred with a lot of upside,” O’Neill said of the son of Square Eddie owned by Zillah Reddam. “There’s only one Snow Chief and it’s worth a lot of money. The horse is doing super. It’s a tough spot, but he’s a tough horse.”

Frensham was second in a grassy maiden allowance race March 9, before prompting the pace in the Echo Eddie at 6 ½ furlongs on dirt, fading to seventh, beaten only 5 ½ lengths.

Dancingtothestars, on the other hand, is a consistent 6-year-old Good Journey mare who was third by a length in the Irish O’Brien on March 15. In 22 starts, she has a 6-4-5 record with earnings of $413,122. She won the Megahertz at one mile on turf on Jan. 18.

“She’s real honest,” O’Neill said of Dancingtothestars. “She’s a hard-knocking mare.”

The field for the Snow Chief: Frensham, Mario Gutierrez, 20-1; Alert Bay, Tyler Baze, 3-1; Aotearoa, Mike Smith, 6-1; Awesome Return, Joe Talamo, 4-1; Kukaluka, Victor Espinoza, 15-1; Tamarando, Rafael Bejarano, 2-1; Pray Hard, Corey Nakatani, 6-1; and Patriots Rule, Fernando Perez, 9-2.

The Fran’s Valentine: Ciao Bella Luna, Victor Espinoza, 8-1; Unusual Hottie, Tyler Baze, 5-2; Unusual Way, Rafael Bejarano, 5-2; Halo Dolly, Corey Nakatani, 2-1; Kathleen Rose, Brice Blanc, 8-1; Journey On, Mike Smith, 12-1; and Dancingtothestars, Mario Gutierrez, 5-1. O’Neill said Journey On likely would scratch to run in Sunday’s Wilshire Stakes.



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