Breeders’ Cup Notes: Wellman Partners Live It Out After Aloha West Win


After each Breeders’ Cup race in Del Mar over the weekend, the winning horse’s relations were escorted to a room on the grass club side of the grandstand that features an vibe more akin to the Vegas Strip than the San Diego beach. There were plush purple sofas and young women in purple polka-dot aprons, straight out of the Hollywood cast, serving bottomless glasses of champagne.

There was no happier place on Saturday in Del Mar, and no louder group than the one that filled the place after Aloha West ($ 24.60) and jockey Jose Ortiz beat Dr. Schivel and Flavien Prat from a fraction of a nostril in the $ 2 million breeders. ‘Sprint Cup.

Aloha West, 4, coached by Wayne Catalano, had won four times in eight previous starts, but none in the stakes races. Still, he carried the hopes of a large group of investors that includes Eclipse Thoroughbred Partners – including former Kansas City Chiefs chief executive Carl Peterson and Paul Orefice, retired CEO of Dow Chemical. It’s an eclectic bunch, with some players funding their very first racing adventure.

They were rewarded with a salary of $ 1.04 million.

And in their euphoria, they all wanted to hug and shake hands with San Diegan Aron Wellman, who grew up in LA but spent all his summers on the Del Mar Trail and leads the owner group.

“It’s extremely rewarding,” Wellman said. “It’s not just about the victory or the financial advantage of the moment. It’s seeing these families embrace, with tears in their eyes, the euphoria that everyone is feeling right now. This is the grandeur of horse racing. It takes you to different places.

Wellman choked a bit when he considered the fact that he had first gone to Del Mar as a newborn in his mother’s backpack, that he had moved the stalls to the age 8 and was ultimately the protégé of trainer Jude Feld throughout Wellman’s graduation. faculty of Law. Wellman got married and started raising a family of his own 14 years ago, just minutes from Del Mar in Rancho Santa Fe.

After stopping to pull himself together, Wellman said, “To have a win of this magnitude at Del Mar, with my family here, on my home track, it’s magic.”

Friday follow-up

In the aftermath of Friday’s Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf, in which the eventual winner Modern Games was withdrawn and then allowed to return to racing, officials from the California Horse Racing Board, Del Mar and the Breeders’ Cup have adjusted communication procedures for veterinary scratches.

According to a statement released by the three groups, after examining the circumstances on Friday evening and Saturday morning, Dr. Dana stead, Del Mar’s chief veterinarian, was tasked with making the final decision on recommended scratches at the departure gate and “has sole authority to communicate these recommendations to the Stewards.”

The release says Modern Games, who grew up in the gate on Friday and was released from the front by an assistant starter, was struck off on the recommendation of track vet Dr. Chuck jenkins at 5.35 p.m. But upon closer examination, Stead determined that the colt was not injured and could run.

Then, according to the press release, “due to poor communication between the commissioners and the Del Mar mutuals department, Modern Games was reinserted into the pari-mutuel pool at 5:37 pm”. before it is deleted again. The race then started four minutes later at 5:47 p.m.

All bets on modern games to win, place, show, exacta, trifecta, superfecta and super high five pools were subject to refund. Daily Double and Pick 3 bets received a consolation payout. In all other multi-stage bets ending in the 10th race, under CHRB rules, tickets including modern games and stable mate Albahr, which was scratched after also having problems in the door, received Dakota Gold, the after-time favorite who finished fifth (fourth in the pari-mutuel pool).

There was an incident at the door on Saturday, when Master of the seas high before the Mile. He was backed out of the door and unsealed, and after about a minute an announcement was made that he had been scratched. Tickets on him in multi-stage betting have been transferred to the favorite, Space blues, who won the race.

Life is really good

Once upon a time, in March, Life is Beautiful beat a teammate named Medina Spirit by 8 lengths in the San Felipe Stakes in Santa Anita and was the coach’s first Kentucky Derby favorite Bob baffert. But the in evil Colt suffered a hindquarters injury in training and was in California when Baffert and Medina spirit won the derby.

Then Medina Spirit tested positive for excess betamethasone after winning the Derby, and when Baffert was banned from Churchill Downs – and questions were raised as to whether other leads or organizations would do the same – some owners have removed their horses from the trainer.

One of them was Life is Good.

“Well, Baffert had some issues, we were a bit worried that he might not be able to participate in the race and that’s why we decided to do it,” said Kenny troutt from WinStar Farm, who sent Life is Good to Todd pletcher.

On Saturday, Life is Good showed the same skill it showed in its first three races, pulling away for a 5¾-long victory in the Dirt Mile. He established quick fractions (1: 08.76 for 6 stages) but instead of collapsing at the top of the stretch, he extended his lead.

“He’s super fast,” said Pletcher, “but what we’ve seen from him in his training is that he has the ability to go fast and keep going and I think that’s what it is all about. the world could see today. “

Prat goes 2-for-3

Victor Espinoza (Filly & Jument Sprint) and Mike smith (Juvenile) were the only jockeys in Southern California to win one of the Breeders’ Cup races – Irad Ortiz Jr. and Guillaume Buick led with three apiece – but reigning Jockeys champion Del Mar Flavien Prat notched two wins and a second in Saturday’s three-race undercard.

Prat won the $ 300,000 Goldikova Stakes Grade II aboard the Irish-bred Go global ($ 7.60) and an allowance race on Dicey mo chara ($ 10.20). He finished second on board Tizamagician behind Lonely rock (RAmon Vazquez) in the $ 250,000 Grade II Thoroughbred Aftercare Alliance Stakes.

Lone Rock’s time of 2: 42.61 broke Ormolu’s 64-year-old track record of 2:45 at the rarely traveled distance of 1 5/8 miles.

Back to normal

With the Breeders’ Cup coming to an end, Del Mar will host a regular nine-race program today with the first post at 12:30 p.m.

Warren’s Show Time, who has finished in the silver in 20 of 22 career starts, is the first favorite in the $ 100,000 Betty Grable Stakes, a 7-stage race for fillies and mares.

Freelance writer Bill Center and sports writer Jay Posner contributed to this report. Leonard is a freelance writer.

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