After four decades, trainer Ed Moger gets his first Triple Crown starter

John Cherwa, Los Angeles Times on

Published in Horse Racing

LOS ANGELES — Horse racing is all about the Triple Crown, three races for 3-year-olds held over a five-week period. The vast majority of trainers never get there, but it doesn't keep them from trying.

Ed Moger Jr., 67, has been a trainer for more than four decades. He's had more than 15,000 starts and is approaching 2,000 winners. His horses have won more than $36 million. But he's never started a horse in either the Kentucky Derby, Preakness Stakes or Belmont Stakes.

Until this year.

His horse, Chase the Chaos, got an all-expenses paid trip to the Preakness last month by winning the El Camino Real Derby at Golden Gate Fields. He also received 10 Kentucky Derby qualifying points by winning the race. Not that he's getting greedy, but now he's thinking about, just maybe, qualifying for the best known horse race in the world.

"I've never had a horse come this close," said Moger, who started training in 1976. "I'm just one race away."

Chase the Chaos will be one of 10 horses expected to go to post Saturday in the Grade 2 $400,000 San Felipe Stakes at Santa Anita Park, with the winner gaining 50 Derby qualifying points and a virtually assured spot in the Kentucky Derby. Second place is worth 20 points and, if you have another 10 points in the bank, you are right on the bubble to qualify for the field.


Moger is content no matter how Chase the Chaos does Saturday. He won't be chasing more Derby points.

"In the back of my mind, after this race, I'll likely just wait for the Derby or Preakness before running him again," Moger said. "I just need to find out where we're at against better horses."

The San Felipe is one of four graded stakes on Saturday's 12-race card. The headliner, at least historically, is the Santa Anita Handicap, known better as the Big 'Cap. It was the first $1 million race in the country, but being sandwiched between the $20 million Saudi Cup and $12 million Dubai World Cup has lessened the quality of the field and its purse has shrunk to $500,000.

And Moger has a horse entered there, too. Stilleto Boy has made a career out of running second and third behind some of the best older horses in the country, including the retired Flightline and Country Grammer. He finished third the last two years in the Pegasus World Cup and he's still looking for his first Grade 1 win.


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