Friday, January 09 2009
DRAMATIC SANTA ANITA WIN FOR COVINA FAMILY DEVASTED IN CHRISTMAS EVE MASSACRE
ARCADIA, Calif. (Jan. 8, 2009) – Racing for the last time in the name of James Ortega, the late Thoroughbred horse owner who was one of nine people slain in what has become known as the Santa Claus Massacre in nearby Covina on Christmas Eve, Return of the King scored a dramatic come-from-behind victory in the second race at Santa Anita on Thursday.
“I feel like I just won a $5 million race,” jockey Martin Pedroza said in the winner’s circle. “I’ve known the family for a long time. I wanted so much to win this race. It gave me chills.”
STABLE NOTES, THURSDAY, JANUARY 8TH, 2009
SADLER SEEKS REPEAT IN SATURDAY’S SAN PASQUAL
John Sadler sends out two for the money Saturday in quest of his second consecutive victory in the San Pasqual Handicap when he saddles Mostacolli Mort and Noble Court in the Grade II event for older horses at 1 1/16 miles.
Sadler, who won 28 races at Santa Anita last season to finish second behind Mike Mitchell (33), won the 2008 San Pasqual with Gary and Cecil Barber’s Zappa.
BAFFERT TRIO HEADS SUNDAY’S SANTA YSABEL LINEUP OF NINE
ARCADIA, Calif. (Jan. 8, 2009) – Toro Bonito and a pair of Bob Baffert-trained stablemates will be among nine 3-year-old fillies seeking their first graded stakes victory Sunday in Santa Anita’s 42nd running of the Grade III, $100,000 Santa Ysabel Stakes at 1 1/16 miles.
A homebred daughter of El Corredor owned by Hal and Patti Earnhardt III, Toro Bonito comes into the race off a third-place finish behind Laragh in Hollywood Park’s Grade I Hollywood Starlet on Dec. 13, an effort that is likely to earn her favoritism on Sunday.
Thursday, January 08 2009
STABLE NOTES, WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 7TH, 2009
ANOTHER ‘RACKET’ FOR ABRAMS IN SATURDAY’S SAN PASQUAL HANDICAP
In less than two weeks, Racketeer moves from a restricted downhill stakes race at about 6 ½ furlongs on turf to a mile and one-sixteenth Grade II stakes on Pro-Ride in Saturday’s $150,000 San Pasqual Handicap.
That is not uncharacteristic of Barry Abrams’ training strategy. “He’s a good horse and he fits in the race,” Abrams said in explaining the move for Racketeer, who last raced on Dec. 29. “He was one of the favorites (7-2) in the San Pasqual last year. He’s improving and this is the place to run.”
DEVOTED MAGIC’S UPSET LEADS TO $102,376 PICK SIX CARRYOVER
ARCADIA, Calif. (Jan. 7, 2009) – In his first start since being claimed by trainer Jerry Hollendorfer, Devoted Magic ran away from his competition Wednesday in Santa Anita’s $50,000 allowance feature for California-breds, winning by 6 ¾ lengths and traversing 6 ½ furlongs in 1:14.60.
The 5-1 upsetter helped generate a Pick Six carryover of $102,376 into Thursday’s eight-race program that commences at 1 p.m. Santa Anita has experienced four Pick Six carryovers in 10 racing days this season.
WELL ARMED RETURNS IN SATURDAY’S SAN PASQUAL, HEADS FIELD OF 12
ARCADIA, Calif. (Jan. 7, 2009) – WinStar Farm millionaire Well Armed, beaten favorite in the Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile, returns to action in Saturday’s 72nd running of Santa Anita’s Grade II, $150,000 San Pasqual Handicap with a field of 12 set for the mile-and-one-sixteenth event that often serves as a stepping-stone to the $1 million Santa Anita Handicap.
After running second to Zappa in last year’s San Pasqual, Well Armed became a major force among older horses. He won Santa Anita’s Grade II San Antonio Handicap, traveled to Dubai to finish third behind Curlin in the $6 million Dubai World Cup, took the Grade II Del Mar Handicap, lost by a neck to Go Between in Del Mar’s Grade I Pacific Classic and captured Oak Tree’s Grade I Goodwood Stakes.
Monday, January 05 2009
TIZFIZ REWARDS DELGADILLO, DeLEON WITH SAN GORGONIO UPSET
ARCADIA, Calif. (Jan. 4, 2009) – Claimed for $50,000 two races previous, Tizfiz provided journeyman jockey Agapito Delgadillo and trainer Rafael DeLeon with their most prestigious career victories Sunday by virtue of a desperate wire-to-wire triumph in Santa Anita’s 40th running of the $150,000 San Gorgonio Handicap.
At the age of 42, Delgadillo skillfully guided the 5-year-old Tiznow mare through moderate fractions during the 1 1/8-mile turf journey while preserving just enough to repel the closing bid of 2-1 second choice Marzelline by a nose at odds of 9-1.
STABLE NOTES, SUNDAY, JANUARY 4TH, 2009
MAGNUM RETURNS IN SATURDAY’S SAN PASQUAL HANDICAP
Magnum is scheduled to make his first start in more than five months when the gelding bred in Argentina runs in Saturday’s Grade II, $150,000 San Pasqual Handicap, a major prep for the $1 million Santa Anita Handicap on March 7.
“He had a quarter crack,” trainer Darrell Vienna said in explaining his absence. “This is a logical starting point back for him, because he’s a horse without any conditions, and he’s got some age on him. He’s been a useful horse and he’s paid his way.”
Sunday, January 04 2009
JIBBOOM, GOMEZ FINALLY FIND ROOM TO CAPTURE MONROVIA HANDICAP
ARCADIA, Calif. (Jan. 3, 2009) – Blocked behind rivals in deep stretch, Garrett Gomez finally maneuvered favored Jibboom between horses to emerge with a one-half length victory over longshot Christiana’s Heat Saturday in Santa Anita’s 42nd running of the Grade III, $100,000 Monrovia Handicap for fillies and mares while covering 6 ½ furlongs on turf in 1:13.21
The win seemed to confirm trainer Bobby Frankel’s notion that the 5-year-old roan mare, once thought by the Hall of Fame conditioner to be “my next (2007 Female champion) Ginger Punch,” may be best suited as a late-running sprinter.
STABLE NOTES, SATURDAY, JANUARY 3RD, 2009
WELL ARMED SET FOR RETURN IN NEXT SATURDAY’S SAN PASQUAL
Well Armed is scheduled to make his first start since a disappointing ninth as the 6-5 favorite in the Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile last Oct. 25 when the 6-year-old gelding runs in next Saturday’s Grade II, $150,000 San Pasqual Handicap for older horses at 1 1/16 miles.
“The rest helped him and he’s been working super,” trainer Eoin Harty said of the bay son of Tiznow owned by WinStar Farm. “It was pretty bad,” Harty continued, referring to the Dirt Mile “trouble line” in Daily Racing Form’s past performances that reads, “steadied turn.”
Friday, January 02 2009
“FREE FRIDAYS” ATTRACTS SANTA ANITA CROWD OF 9,269
ARCADIA, Calif. (Jan. 2, 2009) – Before an on-track crowd of 9,269 on the first of Santa Anita’s weekly Free Fridays promotion, 3-2 second-choice Victorina mounted a strong finish to run past You Lift Me Up and capture the eighth running of the $80,900 Paseana Handicap for fillies and mares by 2¼ lengths with Rafael Bejarano aboard.
A widely-traveled Northern California-based mare who has been off-the-board only three times in 24 starts, the 6-year-old Florida-bred negotiated the 1 1/8-mile distance in 1:43.92 with Island Hop checking in third. Double Trouble, the even-money favorite in the field of six, never threatened while finishing fourth.
STABLE NOTES, FRIDAY, JANUARY 2ND, 2009
NO RECORD, BUT GOMEZ IN LINE FOR SECOND STRAIGHT ECLIPSE AWARD
Garrett Gomez missed Jerry Bailey’s single-season earnings mark of $23,354,960 set in 2003 by $10,982 when Baroness Thatcher ran third in Wednesday’s Kalookan Queen Handicap, but all in all, 2008 was a very good year.
Gomez, who turned 37 on New Year’s Day, still outdistanced runner-up Robby Albarado in purse earnings by more than $5 million and is an overwhelming favorite to win his second straight Eclipse Award as the nation’s outstanding rider.