Tarabilla Farms’ Melatonin and jockey Joseph Talamo win the Grade I, $ 500,000 Gold Cup at Santa Anita
Melatonin proved his victory at 16-1 in the Grade I Santa Anita Handicap on March 12 was no fluke by winning the Grade I Gold Cup at Santa Anita on June 25 as the 9-5 favorite and was thus named Horse of the Meet in Santa Anita’s annual Spring Meet Media Poll.
A five-year-old gelded son of Kodiak Kowboy trained by David Hofmans for long-time client Susan Osborne, who campaigns as Tarabilla Farms, Melatonin’s ultimate goal is the $ 6 million Breeders’ Cup Classic Nov. 5 at Santa Anita, where he is unbeaten in three starts, all under jockey Joe Talamo.
Melatonin also was named Outstanding Older Male, and the Gold Cup, in which he repulsed the longest shot in the race, Win the Space at 24-1, was awarded Race of the Meet.
“We are proud and pleased with the recognition,” said the 73-year-old Hofmans, who has trained for Mrs. Osborne going on two decades. “We hope to continue our successful run through the Breeders’ Cup Classic.”
Rafael Bejarano and Phil D’Amato repeated as Outstanding Jockey and Trainer, respectively, each having captured honors at Santa Anita’s Winter Meet, where D’Amato won his first-ever training title with 41 victories. D’Amato won the Spring Meet crown with 25 victories, well ahead of runner-up Bob Baffert who had 18.
Bejarano, a perennial Southern California leader since coming West in November of 2007 at the behest of the late Bobby Frankel, won the Spring Meet crown over runner-up Flavien Prat, 46-40. It marked the 15th title at Santa Anita for the 34-year-old Bejarano, his 27th in Southern California and his 32nd overall.
Champions dominated two categories in the voting. Eclipse Award winner as best Two-Year-Old Filly of 2015, Songbird was voted Outstanding Three-Year-Old Filly, while three-time Eclipse Award winner Beholder was named Outstanding Older Filly or Mare. Unbeaten Songbird won the Grade II Summertime Oaks on June 18 for her eighth straight triumph, while Beholder took the Grade I Vanity Mile on June 4 for her 13th victory from 14 starts at Santa Anita.
Lord Nelson was named Sprinter of the Meet thanks to his half-length victory in the Grade I Triple Bend Stakes on June 25; Affirmed Stakes winner Dalmore was voted Outstanding Three-Year-Old Male; Midnight Storm was named Outstanding Grass Male off his win in the Grade I Shoemaker Mile; and Illuminant became Outstanding Grass Filly or Mare by capturing the Grade I Gamely Stakes.
California Diamond and Theonewewaitedfor were named Outstanding Two-Year-old Male and Female, respectively, after capturing the Santa Anita Juvenile and the Landaluce Stakes, each youngster remaining unbeaten in two starts.
Chad Lindsay, a 23-year-old Texas native, was voted the meet’s Outstanding Apprentice rider by virtue of his 13 victories from 75 mounts, placing him among the top 10 in the standings.
Navy Hymn, a three-year-old son of Songandaprayer, reeled off three straight victories to be named Claiming Horse of the Meet. The Kentucky-bred won for $ 25,000 at six furlongs May 8; for $ 40,000 at 6 ½ furlongs May 21; and by four-and-three-quarter lengths in an optional claimer on June 5.
Brothers Kosta and Peter Hronis, who campaign as Hronis Racing, LLC, were named Owners of the Meet. They led in most wins, seven, and purse money earned, $ 634,068. Michael Wrona’s performance after being named Santa Anita’s new announcer was voted Achievement of the Meet.
2016 Santa Anita Spring Media Poll
Horse of Meet: Melatonin
Sprinter: Lord Nelson
Older Horse: Melatonin
Older Filly/Mare: Beholder
Claimer: Navy Hymn
Grass Male: Midnight Storm
Grass Filly/Mare: Illuminant
3-Year-Old Male: Dalmore
3-Year-Old Filly: Songbird
2-Year-Old Male: California Diamond
2-Year-Old Filly: Theonewewaitedfor
Trainer: Phil D’Amato
Jockey: Rafael Bejarano
Apprentice: Chad Lindsay
Race: Gold Cup at Santa Anita
Owner: Hronis Racing
Achievement: Michael Wrona New Voice of Santa Anita
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