Thursday, January 01 2009
SAN GORGONIO STAKE ADVANCE
ARCADIA, Calif. (Jan. 1, 2009) – Even though she hasn’t won in eight starts since June of 2007, Irish-bred Valbenny appears well-placed on Sunday to extend Hall of Fame trainer Bobby Frankel’s dominance of Santa Anita’s Grade II, $150,000 San Gorgonio Handicap for fillies and mares at 1 1/8 miles on turf.
Frankel has saddled seven of the past 13 winners of the event that will be contested for the 40th time. His eight overall victories in the race are three more than accomplished by the legendary Charlie Whittingham.
INDIAN RUSH SEEKS WIN BEFORE STARTING VACATION
For the past four winters, trainer Karl Grusmark has been making his mark at Laurel Race Course in Maryland. But for 2009, the 65-year-old New Englander will be calling New York his home, aiming his 15-horse stable at Aqueduct’s inner track meet.
He will be firing one shot in Sunday’s 32nd running of the $65,000-added Ruthless Stakes for three-year-old fillies when he saddles Robyn Kalaidjiam’s Indian Rush in the six-furlong sprint.
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`BELLE’ RINGS IN NEW YEAR RIGHT FOR ALBERTRANI
By Francis LaBelle Jr.
Like a lot of us, trainer Tom Albertrani is not exactly upset that 2008 is over.
Recent weeks have been especially harsh on Albertrani, who was winless with his first dozen starters to open Aqueduct’s inner track and close out the year.
But 2009 is here and Albertrani started off a winner with his only starter on Thursday afternoon, as Darley Stable’s Zada Belle dismissed four rivals in the 88th renewal of the $69,265 Interborough Stakes for fillies and mares at six furlongs.
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Turfway Prevue could be first look at Lane’s End
FLORENCE, KY . . . January 1, 2009 . . . The first stakes race of Turfway Park’s new winter/spring meet is also the first chance to gauge hopefuls for the Lane’s End Stakes later in the meet. Saturday’s $50,000 Turfway Prevue Stakes, written for three-year-olds racing 6 1/2 furlongs, is the first of three local prep races for the Lane’s End, which is in turn a major prep for the Kentucky Derby.
Rudy Flyer will make his second career start in the Turfway Prevue after winning his first race, a maiden special weight, by 8 3/4 lengths. That front-running win came at Turfway at the Turfway Prevue distance and earned the colt the top Equibase pace and speed figures among the Prevue field. Rudy Flyer is trained at Turfway by Bill Connelly, who finished second in the just-completed holiday meet standings, and again will be ridden by John McKee.
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GILL BLUE BEGINS NEW YEAR WITH A PAIR OF WINNERS
LAUREL, MD. 01-01-09---From 2002 through 2005 the familiar blue colors of owner Michael Gill visited the winners’ circle more than 500 times at Laurel Park and Pimlico. This afternoon at Laurel team Gill scored twice on opening day of the winter meet, winning with Elliot’s Exchange ($5.20-second) and Communicated ($8.40-sixth) for trainer Tim Hooper.
“It is a nice start,” Hooper said. “I was cold at the end of the fall meet so it is good to get going early.”
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Frolic’s Dream & Elusive Heat Clash in Old Hat Sunday
Dare To Dream Farm’s Frolic’s Dream is undefeated in three starts for trainer Marty Wolfson, and Martin Schwartz’ Elusive Heat was brilliant winning her only start for trainer Kiaran McLaughlin, and the two promising prospects will get the most attention in a field of seven 3-year-old fillies drawn for Sunday’s $100,000 Old Hat Stakes (G3) at Gulfstream Park.
Jockey Jermaine Bridgmohan has been aboard Frolic’s Dream in all of her starts and retains the mount in Sunday’s six-furlong test. Edgar Prado gets a return call on Elusive Heat. Frolic’s Dream is a roan/gray Florida homebred daughter of Smoke Glacken who won the $100,000 Cassidy Stakes by 12¾ lengths on Oct. 18 and $150,000 Joe O’Farrell Juvenile Fillies on Nov. 8 by 1¼ lengths in her last two starts at Calder after a winning debut.
Watson dominates Winter Racing Challenge Finals
Thursday evening was Winter Racing Challenge Finals’ night at Nad Al Sheba with Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum present at a six race card, kindly sponsored by Commercial Bank of Dubai and highlighted by three valuable handicaps – the Finals. Six horses had earned the right to contest each of these prizes by accumulating points throughout the season and faced quality opposition in the shape of a plethora of Carnival-rated horses.
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STABLE NOTES BY ED GOLDEN, WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 31ST, 2008
‘MIRACLE MAN’ GOMEZ RECOUNTS SPILL AS HE PURSUES RECORD
They called George Woolf ”The Iceman.” Label Garrett Gomez “The Miracle Man.”
Two days after escaping a one-horse spill with relatively minor injuries, the nation’s leading money-winning jockey in 2008 was back in the saddle, riding five horses at Santa Anita Monday in pursuit of his third dollar crown, and Jerry Bailey’s single season record of $23,354,960, set in 2003.
In his first ride back, Gomez, who turns 37 on New Year’s Day, won in storybook fashion, rallying from last aboard Suit Yourself to win going away by 1 ¼ lengths in the 6 ½ furlong race. With two wins and a fourth-place finish from four rides Monday, his mounts earned $29,560, leaving Gomez $79,454 shy of Bailey’s mark.
AFTER THREE WINS, GOMEZ FALLS $10,982 SHY OF BAILEY’S MARK
ARCADIA, Calif. (Dec. 31, 2008) – After stirring victories aboard his first three mounts of the afternoon on New Year’s Eve at Santa Anita while in dramatic pursuit of Jerry Bailey’s record for purse earnings in a single season, jockey Garrett Gomez needed to win with his final mount in the $76,400 Kalookan Queen Handicap, but a distant third-place finish aboard Baroness Thatcher left him just $10,982 shy of the record $23,354,960 that Bailey’s mounts earned in 2003.
It might have turned out differently for Gomez, who turns 37 on New Year’s Day, had he been able to ride on Sunday, but he was injured in a spectacular spill on Saturday at Santa Anita when his mount, Back At You, suddenly veered into the inner rail during the Eddie Logan Stakes for 2-year-olds.
SOCIETY HOSTESS BACK AGAIN IN MONROVIA, FACES LETHAL HEAT
ARCADIA, Calif. (Dec. 31, 2008) – Society Hostess won Santa Anita’s Grade III, $100,000 Monrovia Handicap in 2007, ran second in the event last year, and is the co-high weight in Saturday’s 42nd running of the stakes race for fillies and mares contested at 6 ½ furlongs over the track’s hillside turf course.
The lightly-raced 7-year-old mare could be considered a Monrovia resident. Since 2006, Society Hostess has competed in but three races other than her three appearances in the Monrovia Handicap.
DANIEL CENTENO NAMED HOLIDAY INN EXPRESS JOCKEY OF THE MONTH
OLDSMAR, Fla. (December 31, 2008) Daniel Centeno has enjoyed tremendous success at the Oldsmar oval, and has begun Tampa Bay Downs’s 83rd racing season with a bang, scoring 13 wins, 6 second place finishes and 7 thirds from 43 attempts for $175,368 in purses earned in just 9 days of racing. Among these wins is a victory in December 27’s Sandpiper Stakes, a $65,000 event for two-year-old fillies; additionally, Centeno piloted three horses to the Winner’s Circle on December 30. Centeno is ranked as the 17th leading jockey in the nation by wins for 2008, ahead of such nationally recognizable names as Edgar Prado and John Velazquez.
HAYNESFIELD TAKES NEXT STEP IN COUNT FLEET
Aqueduct Racetrack in January might not be where one would expect to find the next Kentucky Derby winner, but it was just five years ago that a Pennsylvania-bred colt named Smarty Jones took the first step on the road to winning the Derby when he took the Big A’s Count Fleet Stakes, the first three-year-old stakes of the year in New York.
On Saturday, trainer Steve Asmussen finds out if Turtle Bird Stables’ Haynesfield can take that same step as he faces six other sophomores in the 34th running of the $65,000-added Count Fleet. The one mile, 70 yard race is included on the resumes of 1993 Preakness winner Prairie Bayou and 1992 Travers winner Thunder Rumble and was won last year by Giant Moon, who went on to complete in the Preakness, finishing eighth behind Derby winner Big Brown.
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