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.
Saturday, March 14 2009
TWO-DAY CARRYOVER OF $370,574 INTO SATURDAY
ARCADIA, Calif. (Mar. 13, 2009)—With a keynote speech delivered in the form of a $27.20 winner in leg one of Friday’s Pick Six, no one was able to tab six winners in the popular exotic wager for the second consecutive day, resulting in a carryover of $370,574 into Saturday at Santa Anita and the likelihood of a total Pick Six pool in excess of $2.5 million.
With a carryover of $81,584 from Thursday, the Friday Pick Six got off to a raucous beginning in front of an on-track crowd of 6,302, as Victor Espinoza booted home the San Luis Rey Downs-based longshot A Gallant Discover in race three. Trained by Sam Scolamieri, the 8-year-old California-bred gelding is owned by Bay Cove Farm.
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.