Wednesday, February 25 2009
THE PAMPLEMOUSSE CAN PUT SOLIS CLOSER TO DERBY AIM IN SHAM
ARCADIA, Calif. (Feb. 25, 2009) – Aiming for his first Kentucky Derby victory after three seconds in 15 career rides, 44-year-old Alex Solis attempts to move a notch closer on Saturday in Santa Anita’s Grade III, $200,000 Sham Stakes while riding heavily favored The Pamplemousse, a 3-year-old co-owned and selected at sale by his son, Alex II.
The Kentucky-bred son of Kafwain, purchased last March by a partnership for $150,000, will face eleven other 3-year-olds going 1 1/8 miles, the same distance as the April 5 Santa Anita Derby and one that would seem well suited for the gray colt, whose name translates to “grapefruit” in French.
Sunday, February 22 2009
SPRING HOUSE BECOMES SECOND REPEAT WINNER OF SAN LUIS OBISPO
ARCADIA, Calif. (Feb. 22, 2009) – Spring House split horses in deep stretch and held off hard-charging Church Service by one-half length Sunday to become only the second back-to-back winner of Santa Anita’s Grade II, $150,000 San Luis Obispo Handicap while negotiating the 1 ½-mile distance on turf in 2:27.26, just five one-hundredths of a second slower than in the previous year’s 52nd running.
Alex Solis, who had ridden the 7-year-old gelding in his last two starts, was aboard as Spring House went off at odds of 7-1 after being dispatched as the 17-10 favorite in 2008 with Garrett Gomez in the saddle.
JOCKEYS, HOLY ANGELS CAGERS MEET FEB. 26
ARCADIA, Calif. (Feb. 22, 2009)—The 42nd annual Holy Angels/Santa Anita Jockeys Charity Basketball game will take place Thursday, Feb. 26, at 7 p.m. at La Salle High School in Pasadena. Proceeds will benefit the Holy Angels athletic department and legendary Hall of Fame jockeys Eddie Delahoussaye and Laffit Pincay Jr. will serve as honorary captains. Delahoussaye and Pincay will be available to sign autographs from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m. in the La Salle High gymnasium.
“This game has been such a fun thing for all of us over the years,” said Santa Anita President Ron Charles. “To have Eddie and Laffit involved again in this way as honorary captains I think helps to draw added attention to it and hopefully, it will help us raise more money for the athletic program at Holy Angels.”
PICK SIX CARRYOVER OF $169,419 INTO WEDNESDAY
ARCADIA, Calif. (Feb. 22, 2009)—Due in large measure to a $117.00 winner, Santa Anita experienced its 19th Pick Six carryover from 44 racing days of racing on Sunday, as $169,419 will await Pick Six punters when racing resumes on Wednesday. It’s expected the total pool Wednesday could easily reach $1 million.
Moonlit Habit, with Alonso Quinonez aboard, was the third-longest priced runner in race five and returned $117.00 to win. Conditioned by Ruben Cardenas, the 6-year-old California-bred gelding by Malibu Moon took the $10,000 claiming event for owner L. Steve Keh.
Saturday, February 21 2009
GEORGIE BOY CONTINUES TO ROLL WITH HANDY SAN CARLOS WIN
ARCADIA, Calif. (Feb. 21, 2009) – Georgie Boy, who won three successive graded stakes before going to the sidelines as a 3-year-old last year, followed up his smashing victory in the Sunshine Millions Sprint with a rousing come-from-behind score Saturday as the odds-on favorite in Santa Anita’s 71st running of the Grade II, $150,000 San Carlos Handicap while covering seven furlongs in 1:21.85.
After being settled into fourth position by Garrett Gomez in the field of six, Georgie Boy rallied strongly while on the extreme outside rounding the final the turn to defeat Halo Najib by 2 ¾ lengths with his ears pricked.
STABLE NOTES, SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 21ST, 2009
EXPENSIVE CLAIM BALFOUR PARK EYES NEXT SATURDAY’S SHAM STAKES
Balfour Park, claimed for the rarified price of $100,000 last out by trainer Craig Lewis, likely will make his next start in the Grade III Sham Stakes for 3-year-olds at 1 1/8 miles next Saturday.
“More than likely (he’ll run),” Lewis said. Balfour Park, a Kentucky-bred son of the Seeking the Gold sire Mutakddim, has raced only three times, breaking his maiden in the $100,000 race at one mile on Jan. 28.
RAIL TRIP EXTENDS UNBEATEN SKEIN, BIG ’CAP AN OPTION
ARCADIA, Calif. (Feb. 20, 2009)—After beginning his career last November with three successive wins by a combined 12 ½ lengths, unbeaten 4-year-old gelding Rail Trip easily added number four on Friday in a $58,800 third-condition allowance event at Santa Anita, and afterward trainer Ron Ellis did not rule out the possibility of a start in the $1 million Santa Anita Handicap on March 7.
With regular rider Jose Valdivia Jr. aboard, Jay Em Ess Stable’s Kentucky-bred son of Jump Start (by A.P. Indy), cruised to a handy 1 ¾ length victory at odds of 1-9 versus three other rivals. Booyah, with Joe Talamo aboard, finished second while never seriously testing the winner who was clocked in 1:42.11 for the 1 1/16 miles.
Friday, February 20 2009
STABLE NOTES, FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 20TH, 2009
ON FIRE LOOKS LIKE A NATURAL FOR ABRAMS IN SAN LUIS OBISPO
If ever a horse was a natural for Barry Abrams to train, it’s On Fire. The 5-year-old horse was sired by Pulpit, although On Fire’s name might seem more appropriate if the stallion had been Abrams’ go-to sire, the prolific Unusual Heat, whose progeny dominate the Abrams barn.
At any rate, On Fire, recently purchased privately by Abrams’ client Team Green, will run in Sunday’s Grade II, $150,000 San Luis Obispo Handicap for older horses at 1 ½ miles on turf.
ELYSIUM FIELDS SCORES IMPRESSIVELY AFTER 11-MONTH LAYOFF
ARCADIA, Calif. (Feb. 19, 2009) – Regarded as a leading Kentucky Derby prospect before finishing eleventh in last year’s Florida Derby, Elysium Fields resurfaced as a 4-year-old Thursday to score an impressive 1 ¾-length victory over pace-setter Fiery Trippi in Santa Anita’s $52,712 allowance feature at 1 1/16 miles.
With Rafael Bejarano in the saddle, Elysium Fields surged between horses in the closing yards to draw clear while covering the distance in 1:43.45 after the runner-up had set some pedestrian early fractions under Mike Smith that included a 49.33 half-mile.
JOHN VELAZQUEZ WINS SANTA ANITA WOOLF AWARD
ARCADIA, Calif. (Feb. 19, 2009)—John Velazquez, a native of Puerto Rico and a two-time Eclipse award winning jockey, has been selected by a vote of his peers as the 2009 winner of the Santa Anita George Woolf Memorial Jockey Award. The Woolf Announcement was made Thursday on HRTV by retired Hall of Fame jockey and past Woolf winner Gary Stevens.
Presented annually by Santa Anita since 1950, this year marks the 60th presentation of one of racing’s most prestigious awards. The Woolf Award honors and recognizes those riders whose careers and personal character earn esteem for the individual and the sport of Thoroughbred racing.
Thursday, February 19 2009
PAST WINNERS MAY BE OVERMATCHED IN SUNDAY’S SAN LUIS OBISPO
ARCADIA, Calif. (Feb. 19, 2009) – Spring House, the defending champion, and Obrigado, the 2007 winner, are among 14 turf marathoners named to Sunday’s 53rd running of the Grade II, $150,000 San Luis Obispo Handicap, but neither is expected to be a top contender in the talented field going 1 ½ miles on turf at Santa Anita.
In addition to Obrigado, Hall of Fame trainer Neil Drysdale entered two others including 119-pound co-high weight Artiste Royal, winner of the Grade II San Marcos Handicap in his last start on Jan. 15 and a victor last June of Hollywood Park’s Grade I Charles Whittingham Memorial Handicap.
STABLE NOTES, THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 19TH, 2009
FRANKEL CALLS AUDIBLE, ENTERS ZAMBESI SUN IN SUNDAY’S SAN LUIS OBISPO
Zambesi Sun, a highly regarded Group 1 winner in Europe who had been scheduled to make his United States debut in the $1 million Santa Anita Handicap on Pro-Ride on March 7, instead has been entered in Sunday’s San Luis Obispo Handicap scheduled for 1 ½ miles on turf by Hall of Fame trainer Bobby Frankel, who still plans to run the English-bred horse in the Big ’Cap.
“I might have missed a little training, so this way it will be like a workout for him,” Frankel said of the English-bred son of the Danehill stallion Dansili. Asked if Zambesi Sun would still be a candidate for the Big ’Cap, Frankel said, “Of course. It shouldn’t take too much out of him, on the grass.”