Friday, March 13 2009


JUSTWHISTEDIXIE SOLID CHOICE OVER STARDOM BOUND, RACHEL ALEXANDRA IN OAKS FUTURES OPENER


LOUISVILLE, Ky. (March 12, 2009) – Justwhistledixie, an easy winner of the Davona Dale (Grade II) at Gulfstream Park, was a surprise favorite over morning line choices Stardom Bound and Rachel Alexandra following Thursday’s opening day of betting in Churchill Downs’ 2009 Kentucky Oaks Future Wager (“KOFW”).

West Point Thoroughbreds, Lakland Farm and Dee Hubbard’s daughter of Dixie Union stood as the 9-5 fan’s choice after the opening session of the four-day wager. The Kiaran McLaughlin-trained filly won the March 1 Davona Dale by 3 3/4 lengths for her fourth consecutive victory. She had been listed as a 12-1 risk in Churchill Downs oddsmaker Mike Battaglia’s morning line odds for the Kentucky Oaks Future Wager. Stardom Bound, a five-time Grade I stakes winner and the champion 2-year-old filly of 2008, was the 9-2 second choice and Rachel Alexandra, winner of the Golden Rod (GII) at Churchill Downs and a heavy favorite in Saturday’s Fair Grounds Oaks (GII), was the 5-1 third choice at the conclusion of Thursday’s betting.





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PICK SIX CARRYOVER OF $81,584 INTO FRIDAY


ARCADIA, Calif. (Mar. 12, 2009)—On a day that saw former San Diego Charger and Dallas Cowboy offensive coordinator Ernie Zampese celebrate his 73rd birthday, plenty of long-distance bombs were the rule of the pari-mutuel day, resulting in a Pick Six carryover of $81,584 into Friday at Santa Anita. The carryover is the 22nd in 56 racing days and it’s expected Friday’s total pool will reach $500,000.

The Pick Six got underway in race three, with Warrens Stormalert prevailing under Michael Baze. Conditioned by Jorge Gutierrez, the 3-year-old California-bred colt by Stormed returned $7.20 to win. He’s owned by his breeder, Benjamin Warren.





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MADEO IS BACK, RUNS OFF WITH THURSDAY’S KINGS HIGHWAY PURSE


ARCADIA, Calif. (March 12, 2009) – Pulled up by jockey Mike Smith after taking a bad step in the Grade II San Fernando Stakes on Jan. 17, Madeo got back in stride Thursday with a powerful triumph in Santa Anita’s $64,200 King’s Highway Purse at one mile on turf.

The 4-year-old gelding, who had taken last summer’s Grade II Del Mar Derby, seemed to explode on the far outside through the stretch while racing to a two-length victory over Sky Cape with Safety Zone another half-length back in third.





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Thursday, March 12 2009


Any Limit vs. Game Face Round 3 in Inside Information Sunday


The ‘Rubber Match’ between Joseph V. Shields, Jr’s 6-year-old mare Any Limit and Zabeel Racing International’s 4-year-old filly Game Face is set for Sunday’s $150,000 Inside Information Stakes (G2) at Gulfstream Park after the two traded trips to the winners’ circle in a pair Graded stakes sprints earlier in the meet.

A field of six fillies and mares was drawn for the Inside Information, formerly known as the Shirley Jones Handicap, and the seven-furlong test will share the spotlight on Sunday’s program with the $150,000 Herecomesthebride Stakes (G3) for 3-year-old fillies on turf.





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Barn Notes 3-12


Zito Hot for Cool Coal Man in the Gulfstream Park Handicap

With an undefeated record at Gulfstream Park and one of the fastest performances of the year already under his belt, Robert LaPenta’s 4-year-old colt Cool Coal Man is poised for a big effort in the $300,000 Gulfstream Park Handicap (G2) Saturday.

Hall of Fame trainer Nick Zito is excited to send the son of Mineshaft into the 65th running of the storied race as it shifts to one mile for the first time this year. He eagerly points out how impressive Cool Coal Man ran in his 2009 debut winning an optional/allowance race by 2 ¼ lengths going 6 ½ furlongs here Jan. 28.





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JOCKEY BAZE RECORDS ANOTHER TRIPLE AT GOLDEN GATE FIELD


ALBANY -- Leading jockey Russell Baze recorded another riding triple at Golden Gate Fields Thursday.

Baze closed last week's racing with a hat trick on Sunday and then opened this week's racing by riding three winners on Wednesday.

Thursday, Baze made it three straight three-win afternoons when he captured the second race with Green Card James ($2.80), the fourth with Cantankerous Clyde ($4.00) and the sixth with Penuche Royale ($3.20). Green Card James and Cantankerous Clyde are both trained by Southern California-based Craig Dollase.





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PUSKITA FAVORED IN DEEP CONNIVER STAKES


LAUREL, MD. 03-12-09---Maryland-bred fillies and mares are featured in Saturday’s $50,000 Conniver Stakes, the Saturday headliner at Laurel Park.

Nine runners will race seven furlongs topped by morning line favorite Puskita (5-2), who in just four starts has won three times in Maryland along with a runner-up finish in the Beautiful Day Stakes at Delaware Park. Larry Murray trains the 4-year-old daughter of Indian Charlie and Malcolm Franklin is the only rider she has ever known. After missing six months with a cracked splint bone, the daughter of Indian Charlie won a pair of allowance starts at Laurel in a five-week period. Since her last start on January 22, Puskita posted a bullet workout at Laurel.





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GOMEZ COULD REACH STAKES RECORD WITH SUNDAY MOUNTS


ARCADIA, Calif. (March 12, 2009) – Jockey Garrett Gomez, the national leader in purse earnings and Eclipse Award winner the last two years, could reach the Santa Anita meet record for stakes victories with his mounts in Sunday’s pair of stakes races.

Gomez will ride probable favorite Bel Air Sizzle among nine entrants in the $125,000 Irish O’Brien Stakes for California-bred fillies and mares at 6 ½ furlongs on turf, and he will be aboard contender Hype among 13 entrants in the $75,000 Pasadena Stakes for 3-year-olds at one mile on turf.





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STABLE NOTES, THURSDAY, MARCH 12TH, 2009


GOMEZ FAVORED TO NEAR SANTA ANITA STAKES RECORD SATURDAY

Life is sweet for Garrett Gomez, and not just because he rides a filly by that name in Saturday’s Santa Margarita Handicap. The Eclipse Award winner the last two years as the nation’s outstanding jockey, Gomez also rides prohibitive favorite Pioneerof the Nile Saturday in the San Felipe Stakes.

Victories in those races would give Gomez 17 stakes wins at Santa Anita this meet, putting him within two of tying the record shared by Laffit Pincay Jr. (1982-83) and Corey Nakatani (1996-97) for most in a single Santa Anita campaign. Gomez, a 37-year-old native of Tucson, also is seeking his fourth consecutive national title in purse earnings. He currently is on top with more than $3 million. He also leads the standings at Santa Anita through 55 days of the 84-day session with 68 victories, 10 more than runner-up Rafael Bejarano.





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CARLOS CRUZ NAMED HITLON GARDEN INN JOCKEY OF THE MONTH


OLDSMAR, Fla. (March 12, 2009) Carlos M. Cruz was born on October 14, 1962 in Toa Baja, Puerto Rico. He attended jockey school there before coming to the United States to ride. He won his first race in 2001 at the Finger Lakes Race Track, and has since ridden at venues such as Philadelphia Park and Monmouth Park in New Jersey.

This is Cruz’s first year riding at Tampa Bay Downs, and the reinsman has already made an impact on the riding colony here. In the week of March 3—March 8, Cruz booted home 3 winners, 2 seconds and 2 third-place finishers from only 12 mounts at average odds of 7.28-1. Through the current meet, Cruz has won 15 races, come in second 15 times and third 10 times as of March 11, 2009; he also has $163,218 in purse earnings through 61 days of racing.





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Woodbine main track open for business


TORONTO, March 12 - Woodbine's main track opened for training on Thursday morning, a key sign that the start of the 2009 thoroughbred season is just around the corner.

The 167-day meet opens in less than a month, on Saturday, April 4.

Since the backstretch opened in early February, training has taken place on the quarter-mile sand ring and the one-mile dirt training track.





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CIANI OBIT


Father Francis Ciani, a Roman Catholic priest who was one of the biggest fans of New York racing, died at Our Lady of Mercy Life Center in Guilderland, N.Y. on March 7. He was 95.

A regular on the backstretch and on the front side at Aqueduct, Belmont Park and Saratoga, “Father Quinella” was a beloved man who listed God, family and country as his priorities. Racing was a close fourth.





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