Tom Knust has heard the lines about how “Elvis has left the building” umpteen times.
The agent who represents jockey Elvis Trujillo is used to it, same as he’s becoming accustomed to the 30-year-old Panamanian making a mark for himself on the highly competitive Southern California circuit, finishing high in the standings at every meet since the two paired up a couple years ago.
Trujillo (yes, his mother named him after The King) scored his second stakes win of the 11-day old meet Saturday when he rode Calculator to an impressive victory in the Grade III Sham Stakes for 3-year-olds at one mile. This could be his Derby horse.
“He’s got a good combination,” Knust said: “A very sound work ethic and talent as a rider. Put those two things together and you’re going to be successful here.
“He rides for Jerry Hollendorfer, Peter Miller and Doug O’Neill, but we also win races for smaller stables, like Bobby Wayne Grayson, Jorge Periban and Rafael Becerra. We’re riding for some good people and we’re very happy with where we’re at right now.”
Miller echoed Knust’s sentiments after Trujillo rode 3-5 favorite Calculator to his maiden victory in the Sham, overcoming the risk of a wide trip throughout to score by 4 ¼ lengths.
The Equibase chart read: “CALCULATOR five wide into the first turn, stalked outside foes on the backstretch, bid three deep leaving the second turn to gain the lead and won clear under urging.”
Added Miller, who also saddled Rock Shandy to finish second and St. Joe Bay to finish fourth in the Sham: “I was very concerned with where Calculator was on the first turn, because it looked like five or six of them were sending, and I said, ‘Oh, no. We’re going to be 10-wide.’
“But Elvis saw the same thing and he adjusted and brought the horse back into maybe the three or four path. We had a wide trip, but there’s less trouble out wide.”
Through Saturday, Trujillo was tied for second in Santa Anita’s standings with eight victories, five behind perennial leader Rafael Bejarano.