Friday, December 26, 2008



Indyanne has never been worse than second in seven career starts. The daughter of 1998 Santa Anita Derby winner Indian Charlie has five victories, two in Grade III events, and has shown a world of speed in each race.

Still, trainer Greg Gilchrist knows the gray filly owned by John Sikura of Lexington, Ky., faces a daunting task in Saturday’s Grade I La Brea Stakes at seven furlongs.

“It will be a very challenging race, especially with the presence of Indian Blessing,” said Gilchrist, referring to the 2-year-old Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Filly champion of last year, whose forte also is speed. “But Grade I’s are never easy. Indyanne is not the kind of horse you can take back and make one run, but she trains like a horse that is ratable. If another horse wants the lead, I believe she could be second or third and still be comfortable enough to win.”

Indyanne had two bullet works at Golden Gate before arriving at Santa Anita, where she’s been galloping over the Pro-Ride surface.

“My filly came in Tuesday from Northern California and she’s settled in well,” said Gilchrist, who plans to school her during today’s fourth race.

The field for the 36th running of the La Brea: Country Star, Rafael Bejarano, 117, 5-1; Laureldean Gale, Joe Talamo, 115, 20-1; Never Retreat, Michael Baze, 119, 20-1; Indian Blessing, John Velazquez, 123, 8-5; Foxy Danseur, Mike Smith, 119, 15-1; Indyanne, Russell Baze, 123,

5-1; Ginger Pop, Jose Valdivia Jr., 117, 30-1; Accopela Choir, Alonso Quinonez, 117, 30-1; She’s Cheeky, Alex Solis, 119, 15-1; and Bsharpsonata, Garrett Gomez, 119, 5-2.


Stretchinthelimits seeks her third victory in as many starts Saturday when she runs in the 29th California Breeders’ Champion Stakes for 2-year-old fillies at seven furlongs.

“She’s a little bitty thing,” said Mike Mitchell, Santa Anita’s training champion last season with 33 victories. “But she’s full of guts. If Go Go (Garrett Gomez) didn’t have that horse he’s riding (2-1 morning line second choice Saucey Evening), who looks like a standout, he’d have stayed with my filly.”

Gomez was aboard Stretchinthelimits for her two victories. “She’s honest,” Mitchell said of the daughter of In Excess, owned and bred by Vessels Stallion Farm. “We landed (Rafael) Bejarano on her to replace Gomez, so we could have done worse.”

The field for the California Breeders’ Champion Stakes for fillies: Spanish Ice, David Flores, 115, 12-1; Gold Goddess, Jose Valdivia Jr., 117, 20-1; Saucey Evening, Gomez, 122, 2-1; Stretchinthelimits, Bejarano, 119, 4-1; Chalula One, Victor Espinoza, 117, 4-1; Steam Iron, Alex Solis, 115, 20-1; and Ten Churros, John Velazquez, 122, 9-5.


Becrux, a well-traveled gelding owned by Team Valor and Gary Barber, makes his third start for trainer John Sadler in Sunday’s Grade II San Gabriel Handicap at 1 1/8 miles on turf.

“We got him during the middle of Del Mar,” Sadler said of the 6-year-old Italian-bred son of Glen Jordan. “They just wanted to change the scenery for him. He’s done real well for us. We’re very happy with him. He won a nice race at Oak Tree on Breeders’ Cup Friday (Oct. 24, at seven furlongs) and showed a little versatility winning on the synthetic.

“Then he came back in the (Grade I) Citation (on turf at Hollywood Park) and was a good third, finishing well, so in a couple starts for us, he’s looked good, and we’re trying the San Gabriel. You don’t see too many Italian-breds here with that kind of record.”

In 32 career starts, five in Italy, three in Dubai, one in Japan and 23 in the United States, Becrux has 10 wins, two seconds and six thirds, with earnings of $1,106,487.

The field for the 62nd running of the San Gabriel, which goes as race eight on a nine-race program: Medici Code, Martin Pedroza, 114; Proudinsky, Garrett Gomez, 116; Sartorial, Corey Nakatani, 112; Silent Soul, Ignacio Puglisi, 112; Ferenely, Victor Espinoza, 114; Porfido, David Flores, 116; Swift Winds, Alonso Quinonez, 113; Obrigado, Joel Rosario, 117; and Becrux, Mike Smith, 117.


With the exception of opening day, fans will be admitted free to the grandstand every Friday at Santa Anita throughout the 84-day meet.

“We want our fans to know that we intend to offer them outstanding value across the board, and particularly on Fridays,” said Santa Anita President Ron Charles. “This is the most comprehensively competitive pricing schedule we’ve ever embarked upon, and we believe it’s going to be very popular with fans and provide them with a fun way to begin their weekend.”

In addition to general admission, box seating will be available free of charge Fridays on a first-come, first-served basis. Fans also will be offered a $1 menu, which includes beer, soda, hot dogs and popcorn.


The debut of “Jockeys” will air on the Animal Planet channel on Friday, Feb. 6, at 9 p.m., in two 30-minute episodes. “Jockeys” was filmed in large part at the recent Oak Tree meet at Santa Anita and presents an inside look at seven jockeys: Aaron Gryder, Jon Court, Joe Talamo, Alex Solis, Mike Smith, Chantal Sutherland and Kayla Stra.

“We were thrilled to film at Santa Anita and to bring the fierce competition, amazing bonds and intense risks of jockeys in this series,” said Marjorie Kaplan, president and general manager of Animal Planet. “We think the series will be like nothing the sport has ever seen and a true testament of what it takes to reach the winner’s circle.”

FINISH LINES: Mike Mitchell was surprised to win the training title at Santa Anita last meet. “It was a long time since I won one, and I didn’t expect to win it,” Mitchell said. “When you’re running against John (Sadler) and Doug (O’Neill), who have so many more bullets to shoot at you, I’m proud to have done it.” . . . Jerry Hollendorfer, one of only four trainers with more than 5,000 victories, has 40 head at Santa Anita, including CashCall Futurity third-place finisher Chocolate Candy. “He’s our best 2-year-old,” Hollendorfer said. “We have another good colt, Pleasure to Ride (a son of Candy Ride), who hasn’t started yet, but he will in January.” . . . Steve Andersen of Daily Racing Form and syndicated handicapper Bob Ike will be Jack Disney’s guests at Sunday’s Fans’ Forum, 11:15 a.m., in the East Paddock Gardens.

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