Friday, March 20 2009
Derby 135 Update (3.20.09)
EUROPE/GOSDEN’S MAFAAZ PUNCHES DERBY TICKET WITH NARROW KEMPTON WIN
For the first time in 135 years of Kentucky Derby (Grade I) history, a 3-year-old Thoroughbred has a guaranteed spot in the starting gate for the “Run for the Roses.” The history-making horse is Mafaaz, who punched his ticket to Kentucky Derby 135 when he held off the onrushing Spring of Fame to win Wednesday’s first running of the $112,304 Kentucky Derby Challenge Stakes at England’s Kempton Park.
The race offered its winner a guaranteed starting spot in America’s greatest race and a $100,000 bonus if Mafaaz shows up at Churchill Downs and starts in the 1 ¼-mile classic on Saturday, May 2. And trainer John Gosden, a strong supporter of the Kentucky Derby Challenge concept, intends to send the colt owned by Dubai’s Sheikh Hamdan to Kentucky for the race.
PICK SIX CARRYOVER OF $93,717 INTO FRIDAY
ARCADIA, Calif. (Mar. 19, 2009)—With an average field size of 9.5 horses per race and upsets on both turf and ProRide synthetic, no one correctly tabbed six winners in Santa Anita’s popular Pick Six wager, resulting in a carryover into Friday of $93,717, and the possibility of a total Pick Six pool in excess of $750,000. Thursday’s carryover is the 25th from 61 days of racing dating back to Dec. 26.
The Pick Six got off to a quiet start in race three, as 3-1 second choice Life Goes On prevailed and paid $8.00 to win. Ridden by Tyler Baze and trained by Bob Baffert, Life Goes On is a 3-year-old Kentucky-bred colt by Vindication who is owned by Fog City Stable and Hill ’n Dale Equine Holdings.
Thursday, March 19 2009
FAVORED SUGAR MINT MAKES SHORT WORK OF WHITE DOVE PURSE
ARCADIA, Calif. (March 19, 2009) – After being considered for Sunday’s Grade II Santa Ana Handicap, Sugar Mint instead took part in Thursday’s $57,200 White Dove Purse, and the 7-10 favorite dominated her opposition in the one-mile turf event for fillies and mares at Santa Anita.
Sugar Mint tracked pace-setter Heathersdaddysbaby, disposed of her on the turn, and she crossed the wire 2¼ lengths ahead of General Consensus while under a hand ride by Rafael Bejarano. The victorious 4-year-old Irish-bred filly was timed in 1:34.46.
VISIT EXPECTED TO ADD TO FRANKEL’S DOMINATION OF SANTA ANA
ARCADIA, Calif. (March 19, 2009) – Bobby Frankel, who has saddled eight of the last 17 winners of Santa Anita’s Grade II, $150,000 Santa Ana Handicap including the last two, is expected to expand his domination with British-bred Vista in Sunday’s 42nd running of the mile-and-one-eighth turf event for older fillies and mares.
Visit will carry high weight of 118 pounds among nine entrants while attempting to provide Juddmonte Farms with its fourth Santa Ana victory and propel jockey Garrett Gomez to within one win of Santa Anita’s seasonal record of 19 stakes victories shared by Laffit Pincay Jr. (1982-83) and Corey Nakatani (1996-97).
STABLE NOTES, THURSDAY, MARCH 19TH, 2009
TRAINERS EYE UPSET IN SATURDAY’S SAN LUIS REY HANDICAP
Spring House and Artiste Royal are the starting highweights at 118 pounds in Saturday’s Grade II, $150,000 San Luis Rey Handicap, but trainers Barry Abrams and Steve Knapp feel they have longshot chances with their horses in the 42nd renewal of the mile and a half turf marathon.
Abrams trains the recently acquired On Fire, who was scratched from an earlier race at Santa Anita when it was moved from grass to Pro-Ride. Knapp conditions Bonjour, a 9-year-old New Zealand bred who has shown good form in his last three races.
BRAZILIAN IMPORT FLUKE PROVES WORTHY IN LONETREE PURSE
ARCADIA, Calif. (March 18, 2009) – Fluke, a leading
3-year-old last year in Brazil who disappointed when favored in his United States debut for trainer Bobby Frankel, rebounded stylishly Wednesday with a dominant wire-to-wire victory in Santa Anita’s $57,936 Lonetree Purse, a first condition allowance at one mile on turf.
With national riding leader Garrett Gomez in the saddle, Fluke finished one length ahead of comebacking Globetrotter while covering the distance in a sprightly 1:33.63. Temple City, the tepid 5-2 choice in a field of nine, checked in third, 1 ¾ lengths behind the runner-up.
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.
Wednesday, March 18 2009
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.
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.
Monday, March 16 2009
CHRISTIANA’S HEAT TAKES IRISH O’BRIEN AS UNUSUAL HEAT OFFSPRING SHINE
ARCADIA, Calif. (March 15, 2009) – Second five times in six previous races over Santa Anita’s downhill turf course, Christiana’s Heat proved best in a three-horse photo finish Sunday to capture the 12th running of the $125,000 Irish O’Brien Stakes for California-bred fillies and mares while running the 6 ½ furlong distance in 1:13.32.
With Michael Baze in the saddle, 5-2 second choice Christiana’s Heat edged Waveline by a nose with 9-5 favorite Bel Air Sizzle another neck back in third as offspring of Unusual Heat continued to be prominent in the stakes race named for a mare who had an affinity for the unique downhill grass layout.
STABLE NOTES, SUNDAY, MARCH 15TH, 2009
MITCHELL HAS BACHARACHS’ HORSE IN TUNE FOR SAN LUIS REY
Mike Mitchell has precedent going for him in next Saturday’s San Luis Rey Handicap. The 60-year-old trainer has more than one successful reclamation project on his lofty and lengthy resume, and he hopes to add to it with a 5-year-old gray gelding named You Got Me Rocking in the Grade II turf race at the marathon distance of a mile and one half.
On the Acorn and Star Over the Bay are among the former claiming horses Mitchell elevated to stakes winners. You Got Me Rocking will be seeking his first stakes victory in 15 career starts. He has started in only three, finishing eighth in the San Diego Handicap last July 19, third in the Del Mar Handicap on Aug. 23, and fifth in the Grade I Clement L. Hirsch at Oak Tree on Sept. 27.
Sunday, March 15 2009
PIONEEROF THE NILE ROMPS IN GR. II SAN FELIPE,
ARCADIA, Calif. (AP) Trainer Bob Baffert likes the way Pioneerof the Nile is growing up.
"He's becoming very professional. He was a May foal, so he's not even three yet. I like what I saw today," Baffert said after the smooth-striding colt romped to victory in Saturday's $200,000 San Felipe Stakes.