Thursday, March 19 2009


ARTISTE ROYAL, SPRING HOUSE CLASH IN SATURDAY’S SAN LUIS REY


ARCADIA, Calif. (March 18, 2009) – Venerable grass marathoners Artiste Royal and Spring House, separated by less than two lengths in their only previous meeting, will share high weight of 118 pounds Saturday among seven entrants in Santa Anita’s 58th running of the Grade II, $150,000 San Luis Rey Handicap at 1½ miles on turf.

A multiple Grade I stakes winner at the age of 8, David and Jill Heerensperger’s Artiste Royal may rate a narrow edge over his 7-year-old rival as the result of his victory over Spring House on Jan. 19 in Santa Anita’s Grade II San Marcos Handicap at 1¼ miles on grass. As the lukewarm 5-2 favorite, Artiste Royal crossed the wire 1¾ lengths ahead of fourth-place Spring House, sent off at odds of 7-2.





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JOCKEY LEON GETS FIRST U.S. VICTORY AT GGF


ALBANY -- Jockey Anisete Leon, a veteran jockey from the Dominican Republic, recorded his first U.S. victory Wednesday at Golden Gate Fields when he guided Archie T to a three-length victory in the sixth race.

Leon, 33, began riding at age 16 in the Dominican Republic. He went on to ride in Italy and, most recently, Puerto Rico. Leon arrived in Northern California earlier this month and his business is being handled by veteran agent Steve Steamer.





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Wednesday, March 18 2009


GOSDEN-TRAINED MAFAAZ WINS KENTUCKY DERBY CHALLENGE STAKES


LOUISVILLE, Ky. – The John Gosden-trained Mafaaz-GB ran down pacesetter Sochcahtoa-IRE in deep stretch and held off a late charge by Spring of Fame to win Wednesday’s inaugural running of the $115,000 Kentucky Derby Challenge Stakes by a neck at Kempton Park near London.

In addition to the winner’s share of the purse, the 3-year-old colt earned an automatic spot in the starting gate for the 135th running of the $2 million Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (Grade I) on Saturday, May 2 and a $100,000 bonus should the horse compete in America’s greatest race.





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JOCKEYS TO MEET ABILITYFIRST Y0UNGSTERS MAR. 26


ARCADIA, Calif. (Mar. 18, 2009)—A group of Santa Anita-based jockeys will participate in a “meet and greet” gathering with special-needs youngsters provided by AbilityFirst, in Santa Anita’s fabled Seabiscuit Walking Ring from 10:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. on Thursday, Mar. 26, to promote Santa Anita’s Anita’s Derby Day 5K Walk and Run on April 4.

AbilityFirst is a Pasadena-based charity that enables both children and adults with physical and developmental disabilities to realize their full potential. AbilityFirst also works to meet the needs of those afflicted with autism, cerebral palsy, Down syndrome and epilepsy.





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DEREK RYAN NAMED COURTSIDE GRILLE II TRAINER OF THE MONTH


OLDSMAR, Fla. (March 18, 2009) Derek Ryan was born on September 22, 1966 in Tipperary, Ireland and got interested in horse s. “I began riding ponies as a little kid, and things just progressed from there.” Ryan moved to the United States in 20 years ago this month and began training on his own in 1996; he has since enjoyed success in Florida, New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania. In 2002, he scored his first big stakes win when Emergency Status took the Grade III Jersey Derby in front running fashion at odds of 55-1. Ryan says that he enjoys spending his winters at the Oldsmar oval because, “The track’s very good, especially the turf course. It’s great getting to the beaches and the weather is wonderful. ”

Ryan took home one of the biggest wins of his career here at Tampa Bat Downs on Festival Day, March 14 when his trainee Musket Man captured the 29th edition of the Grade III $300,000 Tampa Bay Derby. The three-year-old Sky Mesa colt won the 1 1/16 miles race after winning the $75,000 Pasco Stakes here in January and running third in the Grade III $225,000 Sam F. Davis Stakes held on February 14’s Festival Preview Day.





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Presious Passion Bids for Pan American Repeat Saturday


Patricia Generazio’s 6-year-old gelding Presious Passion has emerged among America’s premier long-distance turf stakes performers over the last two years, and will bid to become the fourth horse in history to win the $150,000 Pan American Stakes (G3) twice Saturday at Gulfstream Park.

Jockey Elvis Trujillo will be back aboard Presious Passion, who was 20-1 when he won the 12-furlong Pan American last year. He will attract considerably more support in this edition, facing six rivals after a game half-length victory in the 11-furlong Mac Diarmida Stakes (G3) over the course on Feb. 21.





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Post positions, morning line set for Lane’s End Stakes


FLORENCE, KY . . . March 18, 2009 . . . Bittel Road at 5-2 and West Side Bernie at 3-1 are the top two morning line choices for the Grade II Lane’s End Stakes at Turfway Park Saturday. Oddsmaker Mike Battaglia set the line for the 12-horse field at the annual Call to the Post Luncheon and Post Position Draw on Wednesday.

The field in post position order with trainers, jockeys, and morning line odds:





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Barn Notes 3-18


Presious Passion Ready for Pan Am Defense

Patricia Generazio’s Presious Passion needed three starts at Gulfstream Park to warm up and score one of his biggest career victories in last year’s Pan American Handicap (G3), but he’s needed less time to reach his peak this year as he enters Saturday’s renewal of the $150,000, 1½-mile turf contest ready to defend his crown.

The 6-year-old gelded son of Royal Anthem exits a determined front-running victory in the 11-furlong Mac Diarmida (G2) on Feb. 21 after he built a seven-length lead and held on for a half-length win.





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STABLE NOTES, WEDNESDAY, MARCH 18TH, 2009


MIKE SMITH ON ‘SHARP’ MARE FOR SUNDAY’S SANTA ANA HANDICAP

Mike Smith hasn’t ridden Sharp Susan competitively, but the Hall of Fame rider still has considerable respect for the 5-year-old mare based on his one workout aboard her prior to Sunday’s Grade II, $150,000 Santa Ana Handicap for older fillies and mares at 1 1/8 miles on turf.

“I worked her Saturday at Hollywood Park,” Smith said of the daughter of 1997 Belmont Stakes winner Touch Gold, owned by Paul Flemming and trained by Neil Drysdale. Sharp Susan went six furlongs on Cushion Track in a bullet 1:11.20, fastest of 20 drills at the distance.





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AQUEDUCT NOTES; March 18, 2009


While Aqueduct Racetrack has been used by many up-and-coming jockeys to launch their careers, this spring, veteran Javier Castellano will be using the Big A to springboard his business in New York.

Castellano, who will ride Capt. Candy Man Can here on Saturday, April 4 in the Grade 3, $200,000 Bay Shore for three-year-olds at seven furlongs, will remain in New York through the rest of the spring, according to his agent, Mike Kelly.





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NTRA RACING TO THE KENTUCKY DERBY SCHEUDLE KICKS OFF SATURDAY


WHAT: Live coverage of the Lane’s End Stakes, a Grade II, $500,000 test for three-year-olds at 1 1/8 miles over the Polytrack racing surface at Turfway Park in Florence, Ky., will take center stage on the first of four “NTRA Racing to the Kentucky Derby” programs on the ESPN family of networks. (See full schedule below.) The $100,000 Rushaway Stakes, another stakes event at Turfway for three-year-olds, will also air live on the program. The four “NTRA Racing to the Kentucky Derby” telecasts will spotlight many of the top contenders bidding for a start in the May 3 Run for the Roses. In 2007, the Lane’s End winner, Hard Spun, went on to finish second in both the Kentucky Derby and that year’s Breeders’ Cup Classic.







 

ARLINGTON PARK TEAMS UP WITH CHICAGO BLACKHAWKS FOR “GLENN HALL HERITAGE NIGHT”


ARLINGTON HEIGHTS, Ill. (March 18, 2009) – Two mainstays of the Chicagoland sports scene since the Roaring Twenties are teaming up to honor a hockey legend on Wednesday, April 1. Arlington Park, Chicagoland’s premier Thoroughbred racetrack since 1927, has signed on with the Chicago Blackhawks, an “Original Six” National Hockey League club whose charter dates back to 1926, to be presenting sponsor for “Glenn Hall Heritage Night” at the United Center when the Blackhawks faceoff against division rival St. Louis Blues.

The first 10,000 fans in attendance at the United Center for “Glenn Hall Heritage Night” will receive a Glenn Hall collectible pin courtesy of Arlington Park and the Chicago Blackhawks. In addition, Arlington Park will have a significant presence during that game on the United Center’s eight-sided scoreboard as well as on the 360-degree LED displays that ring the arena.





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