Friday, January 30 2009
UNBEATEN RAIL TRIP EASILY HANDLES ROUTE IN ANTELOPE VALLEY
ARCADIA, Calif. (Jan. 30, 2009) – Unbeaten Rail Trip, a late developing 4-year-old gelding, ran himself into potential stardom Friday with a dominant 5 ½ -length victory in Santa Anita’s $57,600 Antelope Valley Purse at 1 1/16 miles while positively answering questions about his distance capability.
After winning each of his first two starts by 3 ½ lengths at sprint distances, the bay son of Jump Start, regarded primarily as a sprint sire, easily carried his speed the route distance while timed in 1:42.41 under a hand ride by Jose Valdivia Jr.
STABLE NOTES, FRIDAY, JANUARY 30TH, 2009
REPEAT ECLIPSE WINNER GOMEZ REUNITES WITH VENTURA SATURDAY
Garrett Gomez has ridden Ventura in each of her seven starts in the United States, winning four. But to hear the two-time Eclipse Award-winning jockey tell it, with any kind of luck, he might be perfect.
Ventura was second, beaten a nose, in the CashCall Mile at Hollywood Park last July, second by a length and a quarter in the Grade I Woodbine Mile on a yielding turf course against males, and third by nearly four lengths on a “good” course at Churchill Downs in the Distaff Turf Mile last May 3.
GOMEZ STRIKES AT 10-1 IN FEATURE, PICK SIX CARRYOVER OF 74,682 IN PLAY FOR FRIDAY
ARCADIA, Calif. (Jan. 29, 2009) – Four races after Rafael Bejarano had ridden a first-time starter to victory at odds of 11-1 for trainer Doug O’Neill on Thursday, Garrett Gomez struck with a 10-1 O’Neill trainee, Scorewithcater, to register a head victory over Unbridled Roman in Santa Anita’s feature, the $57,656 Palm Springs Purse for 3-year-olds at 1 1/16 miles.
Despite victories by two favorites in the Pick Six sequence, some unusual events combined to generate a Pick Six carryover of $74,682 into Friday’s racing program when Santa Anita offers free general admission as well as free box seating on a first-come, first-served basis.
EMMY DARLING DOES QUICK TURNAROUND IN SUNDAY’S LA HABRA
ARCADIA, Calif. (Jan. 29, 2009) – After running a disappointing seventh last Saturday in the $250,000 Sunshine Million Oaks, Emmy Darling is scheduled for a hasty U-turn when returning to a grass surface in Sunday’s 36th running of the Grade III, $100,000 La Habra Stakes for 3-year-old fillies over 6 ½ furlongs on Santa Anita’s downhill turf course.
The La Habra will be the eighth-race feature on a nine-race program that will begin at 11 a.m., 1 ½ hours earlier than usual, in deference to the Super Bowl with its scheduled kickoff of 3:28 p.m. (PST).
STABLE NOTES, THURSDAY, JANUARY 29TH, 2009
VENTURA ‘CRANKED’ TO WIN SATURDAY’S GRADE I SANTA MONICA
Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Sprint winner Ventura is set for her 2009 debut in Saturday’s Grade I Santa Monica Handicap for older fillies and mares at seven furlongs. The 5-year-old Chester House mare owned and bred by the Juddmonte Farms has not raced since her breathtaking four-length triumph in the Breeders’ Cup race at Oak Tree last Oct. 24.
Asked if she was “cranked” for her return, Hall of Fame trainer Bobby Frankel said, “She’s cranked enough to win.” Two-time Eclipse Award-winning jockey Garrett Gomez has the mount. He has ridden Ventura in each of her seven U.S. starts, four of them victories.
Thursday, January 29 2009
VENTURA, INDIAN BLESSING SET FOR REMATCH IN SANTA MONICA
ARCADIA, Calif. (Jan. 28, 2009) – A burgeoning rivalry between 4-year-old Eclipse Award winner Indian Blessing and 5-year-old mare Ventura, who took the champion’s measure in last October’s Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Sprint, escalates on Saturday when the two are scheduled to collide in Santa Anita’s 52nd running of the Grade I, $300,000 Santa Monica Handicap at seven furlongs, which will be shown live on HRTV.
Just three days after being voted a 2008 Eclipse Award as outstanding female sprinter, Indian Blessing was a surprise entrant in the Santa Monica by her trainer, Bob Baffert, who had won two of the three previous runnings. Baffert hedged somewhat, however, when he said, “I entered, but I don’t know yet if she’ll run. I’m just going to see how the race shapes up.”
RESTLESS SOUL BREAKS THROUGH IN GRASS ROUTE AT SANTA ANITA
ARCADIA, Calif. (Jan. 28, 2009) – British-bred import Restless Soul, contentious without a victory in six previous U.S. starts, broke through on Wednesday to capture Santa Anita’s $52,400 allowance feature for fillies and mares at 1 ¼ miles on turf.
With Joel Rosario in the saddle, the 5-year-old mare made her winning move on the extreme outside while rounding the final turn to gain a 2 ¼ length victory over 2-1 favorite Carnival Queen.
Wednesday, January 28 2009
Stable Notes, Wednesday, January 28th, 2009
BIANCONE SEEKS SANTA MONICA GOLD, BAFFERT ENTERS INDIAN BLESSING
Patrick Biancone has a philosophical approach for Saturday’s Grade I Santa Monica Handicap, in which he will send out Baroness Thatcher against Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Sprint winner Ventura.
The 56-year-old Frenchman spurns the long-standing dictum widely attributed to the late Vince Lombardi that “Winning isn’t everything; it’s the only thing.” (For the record, the quote originated from the late UCLA football coach Henry Russell “Red” Sanders. In 1950, at a Cal Poly San Luis Obispo physical education workshop, Sanders told his group: “Men, I’ll be honest. Winning isn’t everything. (Long pause). Men, it’s the only thing!” In 1955, in a Sports Illustrated article preceding the 1956 Rose Bowl, he was quoted as saying, “Sure, winning isn’t everything, it’s the only thing).”
SANTA ANITA TO HOST FIRST-EVER SNOW DAY FEB. 15
ARCADIA, Calif. (Jan. 28, 2009)—Although Southern California is currently in the midst of a heat wave, Santa Anita Park will attempt to buck the trend by hosting its first-ever Snow Day on Sunday, Feb. 15.
A total of 400,000 pounds of the white stuff will be available in Santa Anita’s massive infield area, free of charge to kids of all ages throughout the racing day.
SANTA ANITA RACES TO HAVE “BIG GAME” THEME SUNDAY
ARCADIA, Calif. (Jan. 28, 2009)—Although Sunday’s Gr. III, $100,000 La Habra Stakes for 3-year-old fillies figures to be the highlight of the day’s racing at Santa Anita, the Great Race Place will card a number of races themed to coincide with the Super Bowl Game in Tampa, Fla., and Santa Anita will also name Sunday’s second race in honor of 106-year-old Florence Tuckman, who will attend along with family and friends.
Tuckman, who was born in Philadelphia, Pa., in 1903, was a regular attendee, along with her late husband Leo, at Santa Anita in the late 1930s and ‘40s, according to her family. Although she still enjoys the races, Tuckman’s spare time is now primarily spent “playing cards or bingo on a daily basis” with her family and friends.
Monday, January 26 2009
JOHNNY EVES WIRES PALOS VERDES FIELD; FOXYSOX TAKES TUZLA
ARCADIA, Calif. (Jan. 25, 2009) – Johnny Eves, winner of a single stakes race in nine attempts since taking Santa Anita’s Grade I Malibu Stakes on Dec. 26, 2007, rediscovered his winning groove Sunday with a dominant wire-to-wire triumph in Santa Anita’s 57th running of the Grade II, $150,000 Palos Verdes Handicap at six furlongs.
Also a winner of but one stakes race in her last nine starts, Foxysox edged favored Gotta Have Her by one-half length in a driving finish to capture a companion feature, the Grade III, $100,000 Tuzla Handicap for fillies and mares at one-mile on turf.
STABLE NOTES, SUNDAY, JANUARY 25TH, 2009
VENTURA WORKS FOR SANTA MONICA; BAFFERT UNDECIDED ON INDIAN BLESSING
Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Sprint winner Ventura, prepping for her 2009 debut in Saturday’s Grade I Santa Monica Handicap at seven furlongs, worked five furlongs on Santa Anita’s Pro-Ride Sunday in 1:00.20 under Goncalino Almeida.
“She went very well,” said Humberto Ascanio, assistant to Bobby Frankel. “We’re looking forward to her first race back.”