Wednesday, March 25 2009
STABLE NOTES WEDNESDAY, MARCH 25TH, 2009
‘BIG THREE’ DRILL FOR SANTA ANITA DERBY ON APRIL 4
The Pamplemousse, Pioneerof the Nile and Chocolate Candy, the three favorites for the
Grade I, $750,000 Santa Anita Derby on April 4, each worked on Pro-Ride Wednesday as the countdown began in earnest for the West Coast’s major prep for the Kentucky Derby on May 2.
Sham Stakes winner The Pamplemousse, expected to be a slight favorite over Pioneerof the Nile in the mile and an eighth Santa Anita Derby, worked six furlongs under regular rider Alex Solis in 1:13 flat.
Monday, March 23 2009
BELMONT CAT SURGES IN SANTA ANA AS FRANKEL DOMINANCE DIMMED
ARCADIA, Calif. (March 22, 2009) – Belmont Cat, a 5-year-old New Zealand-bred import trained by John Sadler, on Sunday interrupted Hall of Fame trainer Bobby Frankel’s domination of Santa Anita’s Grade II, $150,000 Santa Ana Handicap when rallying between rivals to emerge victorious in a four-horse photo finish.
With Joel Rosario in the saddle, Belmont Cat nodded fastest-closing Bel Air Sizzle by a head with Frankel’s 7-10 favorite, Vista, another neck back and a head ahead of Satan’s Circus in a dramatic conclusion of the turf event for fillies and mares at 1 1/8 miles. The winning time was 1:48.68.
Sunday, March 22 2009
STABLE NOTES, SUNDAY, MARCH 22ND, 2009
BAFFERT SEEKS FIFTH SANTA ANITA DERBY WIN WITH PIONEEROF THE NILE
Bob Baffert is as familiar with winning the Santa Anita Derby as he is with winning training titles at the storied track. He has made his headquarters in Arcadia for nearly two decades, winning the Santa Anita Derby four times, and the training championship eight times, including a record seven years in a row from 1996-97 through 2002-03.
“They’re all different,” Baffert said on a rainy Sunday morning at Clockers’ Corner, when asked about his past Santa Anita Derby winners and this year’s major contender, Pioneerof the Nile. “Plus,” Baffert continued, “the last time I won (in 2001, with eventual Horse of the Year Point Given), this was a dirt track.”
MIDSHIPS TAKES LEAD IN SAN LUIS REY MARATHON AND IS NEVER HEADED
ARCADIA, Calif. (March 21, 2009) – With front-running You Got Me Rocking a late scratch due to a minor injury, Midships assumed the pace-setting role Saturday and ran away with Santa Anita’s 58th running of the Grade II, $150,000 San Luis Rey Handicap at 1 ½ miles on turf.
Victor Espinoza sent the Juddmonte Farms’ British import to the lead at the outset, guided the 4-year-old roan through moderate fractions, and the 5-2 third choice came home strongly to score by 1 3/4 lengths over Medici Code while covering the marathon distance in 2:25.63.
STABLE NOTES, SATURDAY, MARCH 21ST, 2009
‘CANDY’ ARRIVING FOR SANTA ANITA DERBY; FEISTY SUANCES TO RUN
El Camino Real Derby winner Chocolate Candy was scheduled to arrive at Santa Anita this afternoon from the Bay Area to begin final preparations for the Grade I, $750,000 Santa Anita Derby on April 4.
Expected to be the third choice behind Pioneerof the Nile and The Pamplemousse, Chocolate Candy has not raced since winning the Grade III El Camino Real Derby at Golden Gate Fields on Feb. 14. The Santa Anita Derby would be his first race in more than six weeks.
Friday, March 20 2009
FLASHOVER WINS DUEL WITH DOTSY JEAN IN CASSIOPEIA PURSE
ARCADIA, Calif. (March 20, 2009) – Making her first start on grass, Flashover, a daughter of stellar California sire Unusual Heat, responded with a gritty half-length victory over Dotsy Jean Friday in Santa Anita’s featured $48,000 Cassiopeia Purse for California-bred fillies and mares at 6½ furlongs over the track’s downhill turf course.
Bet down to 6-5 favoritism with Joe Talamo along for the ride, Flashover gained a slight advantage over pace-setter and second choice Dotsy Jean, ridden by Joel Rosario, as the pair straightened into the stretch. They proceeded to battle stride-for-stride before Flashover inched clear in the closing yards under a hand ride. The final time was 1:13.12.
POPULAR “UNCORKED” WINE EVENT SET FOR MAR. 29
ARCADIA, Calif. (Mar. 20, 2009)—Santa Anita Park will play host to its second annual “Santa Anita Uncorked” wine event on Sunday, Mar. 29. The event, which includes wine tasting, cuisine sampling and an art show, will be held in Santa Anita’s beautiful Paddock Gardens area, adjacent to the Seabiscuit Walking Ring.
Fans aged 21 and over are encouraged to spend a day at Santa Anita tasting fine wines, sampling cuisine from popular area restaurants, and perusing a colorful Paddock Art Exhibit while experiencing an exciting day at the races.
Stable Notes, Friday, March 20th, 2009
SANTA ANA GRASS IS GREENER FOR VISIT, FRANKEL SAYS
Bobby Frankel says there’s little doubt Visit is better on grass than she is on dirt or synthetic. Thus, the Hall of Fame trainer, Santa Anita’s career leader in victories with 913, expects considerable improvement from the English-bred daughter of Oasis Dream when she runs in Sunday’s Grade II, $150,000 Santa Ana Handicap for older fillies and mares at 1 1/8 miles on turf.
Visit was sixth by 11 ¼ lengths as the 3-2 favorite in the Grade I Santa Maria Handicap at 1 1/16 miles on Pro-Ride Feb. 14. It was her first race on synthetic. She has a 2-2-2 record from nine starts on turf.
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).