Thursday, March 12 2009
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.
PICK SIX CARRYOVER OF $78,877 INTO FRIDAY
ARCADIA, Calif. (March 5, 2009)—With longshots connecting on both Pro-Ride synthetic and grass, Santa Anita experienced its 21st Pick Six carryover from 51 days of racing on Thursday, as $78,877 will roll into Friday’s popular exotic wager. It is expected Friday’s total Pick Six pool could reach $500,000.
Thursday’s Pick Six started with race three at 1 1/16 miles on Pro-Ride and it was taken by Andwhatelse, with veteran Alex Solis aboard. Owned by Michael Bello, the 3-year-old Kentucky-bred colt by Even the Score paid $22.00 to win. He’s trained by Jeff Mullins.
SAUCEY EVENING RATES TOP BILLING IN SUNDAY’S CHINA DOLL
ARCADIA, Calif. (March 5, 2009) – California-bred Saucey Evening, a 1 ½-length loser to sophomore superstar Stardom Bound when third in last month’s Grade I Las Virgenes Stakes, heads a cast of ten 3-year-old fillies set for Sunday’s $70,000 China Doll Stakes at one mile over Santa Anita’s turf course.
Augustin Stable’s daughter of More Than Ready will be rejoined by Garrett Gomez, the country’s leading rider in purse earnings, when seeking her fourth victory in eight career starts for trainer H. Graham Motion. She carries 119 pounds.
STABLE NOTES, THURSDAY, MARCH 5TH, 2009
TRAINER SAYS DANSANT IS REAL DEAL FOR BIG ’CAP’S PRO-RIDE SURFACE
Gerard Butler didn’t fly across the pond just for a Santa Anita reunion. The 42-year-old Irish trainer based in England came to run synthetic specialist Dansant in Saturday’s $1 million Santa Anita Handicap.
“He’s arguably the best all-weather horse in England, or in Europe,” Butler said. “We spoke about going to Dubai (for the $6 million World Cup on March 28). We were there last year, and he didn’t like the track. In a consultation with the owner (Mrs. Barbara Keller of Switzerland), we decided the next best place to go would be back on a synthetic surface, and the Big ’Cap was a logical choice.”
STABLE NOTES, WEDNESDAY, MARCH 4TH, 2009
EINSTEIN HEADS 14 IN SATURDAY’S $1 MILLION SANTA ANITA HANDICAP
Despite the fact that Einstein has never raced on a synthetic track, his participation in Saturday’s $1 million Santa Anita Handicap was a no-brainer.
“He’s doing well. He’s really settled in nicely,” said Helen Pitts, who trains the Brazilian-bred son of 1985 Kentucky Derby winner Spend a Buck. “He’s handled the track fine, and seems to be going good. We’ve had great weather (before Wednesday’s rain), and he’s adapted very well.”