Friday, March 13 2009
STABLE NOTES, FRIDAY, MARCH 13TH, 2009
BAFFERT HAS SAN FELIPE PRIORITIES IN ORDER; NEW BAY TO RUN
Odds and logic say Pioneerof the Nile will win Saturday’s San Felipe Stakes. At 2-5 on the morning line, the 3-year-old son of 2003 Belmont Stakes winner Empire Maker would appear to outclass his handful of rivals in the Grade II race at 1 1/16 miles, but aside from victory, Bob Baffert has other priorities. The 56-year-old trainer, a three-time winner of the Kentucky Derby who is eligible for the Hall of Fame this year, wants a safe trip.
Since early on, Baffert has had designs on the Run for the Roses on May 2 for Pioneerof the Nile. With enough graded earnings in his overall bankroll of $664,200 to assure a berth in the mile and a quarter classic at Churchill Downs, the $290,000 colt owned by Ahmed Zayat already has punched his ticket to the Big Dance.
PICK SIX CARRYOVER OF $81,584 INTO FRIDAY
ARCADIA, Calif. (Mar. 12, 2009)—On a day that saw former San Diego Charger and Dallas Cowboy offensive coordinator Ernie Zampese celebrate his 73rd birthday, plenty of long-distance bombs were the rule of the pari-mutuel day, resulting in a Pick Six carryover of $81,584 into Friday at Santa Anita. The carryover is the 22nd in 56 racing days and it’s expected Friday’s total pool will reach $500,000.
The Pick Six got underway in race three, with Warrens Stormalert prevailing under Michael Baze. Conditioned by Jorge Gutierrez, the 3-year-old California-bred colt by Stormed returned $7.20 to win. He’s owned by his breeder, Benjamin Warren.
MADEO IS BACK, RUNS OFF WITH THURSDAY’S KINGS HIGHWAY PURSE
ARCADIA, Calif. (March 12, 2009) – Pulled up by jockey Mike Smith after taking a bad step in the Grade II San Fernando Stakes on Jan. 17, Madeo got back in stride Thursday with a powerful triumph in Santa Anita’s $64,200 King’s Highway Purse at one mile on turf.
The 4-year-old gelding, who had taken last summer’s Grade II Del Mar Derby, seemed to explode on the far outside through the stretch while racing to a two-length victory over Sky Cape with Safety Zone another half-length back in third.
Thursday, March 12 2009
GOMEZ COULD REACH STAKES RECORD WITH SUNDAY MOUNTS
ARCADIA, Calif. (March 12, 2009) – Jockey Garrett Gomez, the national leader in purse earnings and Eclipse Award winner the last two years, could reach the Santa Anita meet record for stakes victories with his mounts in Sunday’s pair of stakes races.
Gomez will ride probable favorite Bel Air Sizzle among nine entrants in the $125,000 Irish O’Brien Stakes for California-bred fillies and mares at 6 ½ furlongs on turf, and he will be aboard contender Hype among 13 entrants in the $75,000 Pasadena Stakes for 3-year-olds at one mile on turf.
STABLE NOTES, THURSDAY, MARCH 12TH, 2009
GOMEZ FAVORED TO NEAR SANTA ANITA STAKES RECORD SATURDAY
Life is sweet for Garrett Gomez, and not just because he rides a filly by that name in Saturday’s Santa Margarita Handicap. The Eclipse Award winner the last two years as the nation’s outstanding jockey, Gomez also rides prohibitive favorite Pioneerof the Nile Saturday in the San Felipe Stakes.
Victories in those races would give Gomez 17 stakes wins at Santa Anita this meet, putting him within two of tying the record shared by Laffit Pincay Jr. (1982-83) and Corey Nakatani (1996-97) for most in a single Santa Anita campaign. Gomez, a 37-year-old native of Tucson, also is seeking his fourth consecutive national title in purse earnings. He currently is on top with more than $3 million. He also leads the standings at Santa Anita through 55 days of the 84-day session with 68 victories, 10 more than runner-up Rafael Bejarano.
ODDS-ON CHOICE MR GRUFF EASY WINNER OF MIDNIGHT MOONLIGHT
Lightly-raced 5-year-old gelding Mr Gruff, who broke his maiden on Jan. 3 of this year, served notice of being a late-bloomer on Thursday and sent his rivals howling while easily winning the $52,480 Midnight Moonlight Purse at 6 ½ furlongs over Santa Anita’s downhill turf course.
Sent off at odds of 2-5 with Joel Rosario in the saddle, Mr Gruff gained a short early lead, controlled a soft early pace and drew off impressively under a hand ride to defeat Suit Yourself by 2 ¼ lengths while timed in 1:12.11. The latter nodded Stand Tall by a head for the place.
$1 MILLION ST. PAT’S HORSESHOE PITCH SATURDAY
ARCADIA, Calif. (Mar. 11, 2009)—On the heels of a first-ever $1 million winner, Santa Anita Park will once again conduct its popular $1 million St. Patrick’s Horseshoe Pitch contest this Saturday between races.
Shown live last year on HRTV, the contest generated national news when John Placzankis, of Ranch Cucamonga, tossed a perfect ringer which set off instant bedlam both trackside and throughout the grandstand.
San Felipe and Santa Margarita Stakes Advances
Six ambitious 3-year-olds were named to take on Pioneerof the Nile Saturday when the West Coast’s leading Kentucky Derby candidate continues his journey down the Triple Crown trail in Santa Anita’s Grade II, $200,000 San Felipe Stakes at 1 1/16 miles.
The 72nd running of the San Felipe, joined on the program by the Grade I, $300,000 Santa Margarita Stakes for fillies and mares at 1 1/8 miles, will serve as the final stepping-stone to the Grade I, $750,000 Santa Anita Derby at 1 1/8 miles on April 4.
Monday, March 09 2009
STABLE NOTES, SUNDAY, MARCH 8TH, 2009
‘ALL SYSTEMS GO’ FOR PIONEEROF THE NILE IN SAN FELIPE STAKES
Leading Triple Crown contender Pioneerof the Nile worked five furlongs on Pro-Ride Sunday morning in a bullet :58.80 under regular rider Garrett Gomez for next Saturday’s Grade II San Felipe Stakes at 1 1/16 miles.
“He went really nice,” trainer Bob Baffert said. “All systems are go.” The San Felipe is expected to have a small field. Trainer Ronny Werner reportedly is considering Pray for Action for the West Coast’s final major prep to the Santa Anita Derby on April 4. Pray for Action is a Florida-bred son of Songandaprayer who has been training at the Fair Grounds.
Sunday, March 08 2009
EINSTEIN OUTSMARTS ‘EM IN SANTA ANITA HANDICAP
ARCADIA, Calif. (AP) _ Dirt, grass, a rug, none of that seems relative to Einstein's racing ability.
Running for the first time on a synthetic surface, the Brazilian-bred whiz turned in a virtually picture-perfect performance to win Saturday's $1 million Santa Anita Handicap.
"He's a good horse on the turf. He's a good horse on the dirt. He's a good horse on anything," jockey Julien Leparoux said. "We didn't really know about this track, but we were pretty sure he was going to handle it.
"And he did."
Helen Pitts-Blasi, Einstein's trainer, said, "He rode him beautifully. It's an unbelievable feeling, just means the world to me. Einstein was very comfortable with this track from the time he got here."
Saturday, March 07 2009
STABLE NOTES, FRIDAY, MARCH 6TH, 2009
FOR GOMEZ, EIGHT IS ENOUGH IN WIDE OPEN SANTA ANITA HANDICAP
With 14 entries and a 9-2 morning line favorite, Saturday’s $1 million Santa Anita Handicap presents handicappers with a plethora of perplexing propositions. Garrett Gomez, who rides 9-2 choice Colonel John in the Grade I race at 1 ¼ miles, recognizes the challenge, but was not overwhelmed with strategic options as post time drew within 24 hours.
“There are eight horses that can actually win the race,” said Santa Anita’s riding leader and winner of the Eclipse Award as outstanding jockey the past two years. “It’s wide open, and it’s going to come down to who gets the best trip and who handles the race track best.”
Thursday, March 05 2009
HOT N’ DUSTY EMERGES WITH NOSE VICTORY IN FOUR-HORSE PHOTO
ARCADIA, Calif. (March 5, 2009) – Hot n’ Dusty, a daughter of Unusual Heat, stormed home on the extreme outside to nip another Unusual Heat offspring, My Maloof Rocker, in a dramatic four-horse photo finish Thursday that decided the outcome of Santa Anita’s $53,200 allowance feature for California-bred or sired fillies and mares at one mile on turf.
The second choice at 3-1 in a field of eight, My Maloof Rocker, ridden by Joel Rosario, appeared to have made the winning last run before jockey Alex Solis and Hot n’ Dusty emerged from last at the head of the stretch to gain a desperate nose decision.