Monday, January 19 2009
SHADES OF ZENYATTA AS LIFE IS SWEET SWOOPS TO EL ENCINO VICTORY
ARCADIA, Calif. (Jan. 18, 2009) – Following in the initial footsteps of her brilliant stablemate Zenyatta, Life Is Sweet stormed from behind Sunday to dominate Santa Anita’s Grade II, $150,000 El Encino Stakes for 4-year-old fillies with a 2 ½ length triumph over 6-5 favorite Country Star.
The victory was the first in a stakes race for the Storm Cat offspring owned and bred by Martin and Pam Wygod, and it was her first in the care of trainer John Shirreffs, whose Zenyatta launched a seven-race winning streak in last year’s El Encino that led to Horse of the Year candidacy.
STABLE NOTES, SUNDAY, JANUARY 18TH, 2009
SUNSHINE MILLIONS SPRINT HAS THE LOOK OF GRADE I RACE
With four Grade I winners pre-entered in next Saturday’s $300,000 Sunshine Millions Sprint at Santa Anita next Saturday and two set to run, the seventh running of the six-furlong race has gathered increased status.
Pre-entered are Cost of Freedom (winner of the Grade I Ancient Title Handicap), Georgie Boy (winner of the Grade I Del Mar Futurity), Johnny Eves (winner of the Grade I Malibu Stakes in 2007), and In Summation (winner of the Grade I Bing Crosby Handicap in 2007, and back-to-back winner of the El Conejo Handicap).
Sunday, January 18 2009
SAN RAFAEL WIN PUTS THE PAMPLEMOUSSE IN TRIPLE CROWN PICTURE
ARCADIA, Calif. (Jan. 17, 2009) – The Pamplemousse, with only a maiden victory to his credit, not only resisted a challenge by Breeders’ Cup Juvenile runner-up Square Eddie, but drew away again Saturday to capture Santa Anita’s Grade III, $100,000 San Rafael Stakes, the track’s first major preparatory event for 3-year-olds on the Triple Crown trail.
Under a confident ride by Alex Solis, the gray son of Kafwain defeated the odds-on favorite by two lengths while covering one mile in 1:35.31 after setting a solid, but comfortable early pace. Runner-up Square Eddie, ridden by Rafael Bejarano, ended up 2 ¾ lengths ahead of third-place Ryehill Dreamer with Mike Smith aboard.
Saturday, January 17 2009
STABLE NOTES, SATURDAY, JANUARY 17TH, 2009
GOMEZ HOPES GEORGIE BOY MAKES SHORT WORK OF SUNSHINE MILLIONS FOES
Georgie Boy will do something he has never done before when he runs in next Saturday’s $300,000 Sunshine Millions Sprint at Santa Anita. He will be making his first start at six furlongs.
The California-bred gelding trained by Kathy Walsh has had nine lifetime starts: three at 5 ½ furlongs; one at 6 ½ furlongs; four at seven furlongs, and one at 1 1/16 miles. The son of Tribal Rule was on the lead before finishing second in the Grade II Best Pal Stakes at Del Mar as a 2-year-old in August 2007, but his best race came in the Grade I Del Mar Futurity at seven furlongs on Sept. 5, 2007, when he rallied from next to last in a field of 13 to win by a half-length.
Friday, January 16 2009
AGGIE ENGINEER HANDY WINNER OF SANTA ANITA SPRINT FEATURE
ARCADIA, Calif. (Jan. 16, 2009) – Before a “Free Friday” on-track crowd of 6,026, the lightly-raced 4-year-old gelding Aggie Engineer scored impressively in his third career start when he overtook A Lil Dumaani to capture Santa Anita’s $51,280 allowance feature by 1 ¾ lengths while negotiating six furlongs in 1:08.56.
Under a confident hand ride by Alex Solis, the son of E Dubai rallied from third after going off as the 9-5 second choice in the field of six. Onetimeatbandcamp, the 3-2 favorite, finished third, 2 ¾ lengths behind A Lil Dumaani.
DRYSDALE HAS THREE-PRONGED ATTACK FOR SAN MARCOS MONDAY
ARCADIA, Calif. (Jan. 16, 2009) – In search of his fourth San Marcos Stakes victory, Hall of Fame trainer Neil Drysdale will send out three formidable contenders among ten entrants on Monday in Santa Anita’s 57th running of the Grade II, $150,000 event at 1 ¼ miles on turf.
Millionaire Marsh Side, multiple Grade I stakes winner Artiste Royal and Obrigado, a recent second in Hollywood Park’s Grade I Hollywood Turf Cup, will be Drysdale’s shooters in the stakes race that tops the track’s Martin Luther King Jr. Day program of nine races. First post is at 12:30 p.m. A secondary feature is the $70,000 San Pedro Stakes for 3-year-olds at 6 ½ furlongs.
STABLE NOTES, FRIDAY, JANUARY 16TH, 2009
IT’S NOT UNUSUAL FOR ABRAMS TO LIKE SUNSHINE MILLIONS
When it comes to the Sunshine Millions and Unusual Heat, count Barry Abrams as a fan. The 54-year-old trainer has eight horses pre-entered in the seventh Sunshine Millions races to be decided next Saturday, Jan. 24, at Santa Anita and Gulfstream Park, and each was sired by the prolific stallion Unusual Heat, who stands at Old English Rancho in Sanger. His breeding syndicate is managed by prominent owner Madeline Auerbach.
MISSION VIEJO HALO IGNITES TWO-DAY CARRYOVER INTO FRIDAY OF $461,236
ARCADIA, Calif. (Jan. 15, 2009) – At 33-1 the longest shot in a field of nine fillies and mares, Mission Viejo Halo stormed from last on Thursday to capture Santa Anita’s $54,600 Monterey Bay Purse and ignite a two-day Pick Six carryover of $461,236 into Friday’s card.
Ridden by Martin Garcia, the 4-year-old filly owned and trained by Moon S. Han prevailed in a driving finish, defeating We Will Rock You by an expanding one-half length in the feature event at 6 ½ furlongs over the track’s downhill turf course. The final time was 1:12.87.
SUNSHINE MILLIONS RELEASE
ARCADIA, Calif. (Jan. 15, 2009)—The seventh annual Sunshine Millions will be run at both Santa Anita Park and Gulfstream Park on Saturday, Jan. 24, and a total of 126 horses was pre-entered Wednesday in the eight-race event that pits Florida-bred horses against California-breds with $3.6 million in purse money at stake.
The $300,000 Sunshine Millions Sprint at six furlongs for 4-year-olds and up figures to highlight the day’s racing at Santa Anita as four Gr. I winners, three of them California-bred, were among 18 horses pre-entered. Santa Anita will also host the $500,000 Sunshine Millions Distaff, for fillies and mares aged four and up at 1 1/16 miles; the $500,000 Sunshine Millions Turf for 4-year-olds and up at 1 1/8 miles; and the $250,000 Sunshine Millions Oaks, for 3-year-old fillies at six furlongs.
COUNTRY STAR OUT TO REESTABLISH GRADED STATUS IN EL ENCINO
ARCADIA, Calif. (Jan. 15, 2009) – Darley Stable’s Country Star, a winner of two Grade I stakes as a 2-year-old but off-the-board in a pair last year, seeks to reestablish her graded status Saturday in Santa Anita’s Grade II, $150,000 El Encino Stakes for 4-year-old fillies at 1 1/16 miles.
Rafael Bejarano will be in the saddle for Hall of Fame trainer Bobby Frankel when the Kentucky-bred daughter of Empire Maker faces eleven of her peers in the event that last year launched a seven-race winning streak for Horse of the Year candidate Zenyatta.
STABLE NOTES, THURSDAY, JANUARY 15TH, 2009
A RACING RARITY FOR GOMEZ AS HE PURSUES ANOTHER MONEY CROWN
Garrett Gomez has ridden more than 18,000 races in a career dating more than 20 years, but he had to think twice when asked if he had ever ridden horses in three straight stakes races on the same day at the same race track that he had never ridden before.
That could happen Saturday at Santa Anita. The 37-year-old jockey, in line for his second straight Eclipse Award as the nation’s outstanding rider, is scheduled to ride Evita Argentina for John Sadler in the Grade II Santa Ynez Stakes for 3-year-old fillies; Brother Keith for Bobby Frankel in the Grade III San Rafael Stakes for 3-year-olds; and Dakota Phone for Jerry Hollendorfer in the Grade II San Fernando Stakes for 4-year-olds.
Thursday, January 15 2009
ROYAL TAAT SCORES; PICK SIX CARRIES OVER TO THURSDAY AT $103,255
ARCADIA, Calif. (Jan. 14, 2009) – Even though 8-5 second-choice Royal Taat took the afternoon’s featured Sierra Madre Purse, upsets marked Wednesday’s Pick Six races at Santa Anita, resulting in a carryover of $103,255 into Thursday’s program, the seventh carryover in 15 days of racing this season.
After finishing off-the-board in the Grade III Monrovia Handicap on New Year’s Day, New Zealand-bred Royal Taat resumed her winning ways by closing strongly to run off with the $57,800 Sierra Madre for fillies and mares at 6 ½ furlongs over Santa Anita’s downhill turf course.