Kathleen Amaya and Raffaele Centofanti’s Musical Flair, the adjudged runner-up of the $55,000 Mambo Meister Stakes in his last start, posted his first official work since that troubled effort on Saturday when covering five furlongs in 1:00. One day later, trainer Sal Santoro spoke about that move and mapped out the upcoming schedule for the 3-year-old son of Songandaprayer.
“He’s been training all along; going to the track to jog and doing some two-minute licks,” trainer Sal Santoro said. “But we wanted to sharpen him up a little yesterday, so off a two-minute lick we had (jockey) John (Delgado) work him. He went well, he came back happy, and he was his usual self all day, diving into his feed like he normally does. So it was all encouraging.”
Santoro plans to run Musical Flair in next Saturday’s $55,000 American Dream Stakes, a one-mile main track affair restricted to 3-year-olds.
“Our mid-term goal is to aim for a stake at Saratoga in August, and the timing of the American Dreamer is perfect for that plan,” Santoro said. “And I like the fact that it’s straight 3-year-olds.”
The Saratoga race Santoro refers to is the Grade 2 National Museum of Racing Hall of Fame Stakes on August 10, run over1 1/16 miles of upstate New York turf.
“He’s already won two stakes on the grass, so we know he likes the surface,” Santoro said. “And he’s run well in some of his two-turn dirt races, so I don’t see distance being a problem either. Besides, he’s the kind of horse that will go wherever you put him.”
Musical Flair won the $75,000 Fasig-Tipton Turf Dash at Calder last year, and his most recent trip to the winner’s circle came following a victory in the $60,000 Needles Stakes at Gulfstream Park in early February. But in his five subsequent starts, the colt has encountered all sorts of trouble, of which Santoro has little trouble rattling off.
“Where should I start,” Santoro said good-naturedly. “He got completely shut off in his last. Before that in the Champali he got slammed around on the backstretch. The race before that he didn’t get out of the gate. And before that, when we took him to Tampa, the whole trip was a disaster.
“But if you don’t have an optimistic nature, you’re probably in the wrong game and need to get out of the business,” Santoro continued. “Because it doesn’t matter how perfect things are going before a race, once you send him to the gate, anything can happen, and it usually does. I just know we’re due a little good luck for a change.”
INJURED RIDER BOCACHICA PROGRESSING WELL
Jockey Orlando Bocachica, third in the Calder riding table back on May 18 when suffering a displaced fracture of his collarbone in a last-race spill, is nearing a return to the races, although patience is being preached by his agent Jay Rushing.
“He’s probably three weeks to a month away from coming back,” Jay Rushing said. “I hope I’m overestimating that timeframe just a bit, but we’re going to make sure he’s well and good before we even think about a return.”
Bocachica was in the wrong place at the wrong time back on that mid-May day, as his mount, Solar d’Oro, fell while trying to avoid Lil John Paul, who had dropped his rider Jonathan Gonzales after stumbling badly at the top of the stretch. Gonzales escaped the incident unharmed, while Bocachica would end up in the operating room.
“Two weeks after the fall he went in for surgery,” Rushing said. “He was in a cast for a while but that’s come off and he’s just in a sling right now. He’s going to therapy three times a week, and as a result his condition has definitely improved.
“It was the first bone he’s ever broken, so he’s still a little down right now,” Rushing added. “He wants to get back to riding as soon as he can, but we need to make sure that he’s one-hundred percent before we even think about coming back.”