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.”
MIKE STRAIGHT GETS FIRST WIN IN FIRST START
OLDSMAR, Fla. (March 6, 2009) Apprentice jockey Mike Straight got his first win from his first career ride today in the sixth race aboard Ready Ruler for trainer Michael Thomas and owner Leighton Evans. Straight, who is a graduate of Chris McCarron’s North American Racing Academy, is the twin brother of Maryland jockey Matthew Straight. Born and raised outside of Saratoga Springs, New York, Straight was exposed to horse racing at an early age and said that his parents encouraged his love of horses and riding since his childhood. “I’ve always been interested in riding; I’ve always gone to the races and I’ve always wanted to be a jockey. My parents were all for it - when I was about nine, they bought my brother and me an Equicizer to practice on. It’s taken years of dedication and practice and watching races to get here, and I really have to thank Chris McCarron and the school (the North American Racing Academy) and my parents and brother for helping me out.”
CHALLENGER DRAWS COMPETITIVE FIELD OF TEN
OLDSMAR, Fla. (March 6, 2009) The $65,000 Challenger Stakes for four-year-olds and upwards going 1 1/16 miles on the main track has garnered ten entries for the seventh and featured race. Headlining the filed is Fierce Wind, last year’s victor in the Sam F. Davis Stakes. The four-year-old son of Dixie Union captured an overnight handicap here on January 16 and has recorded a bullet workout at Payson Park on February 18, running four furlongs in :48.2 for trainer William Phipps.
HOLLENDORFER, BAZE SEEK RICHES AT SANTA ANITA
The Bay Area's leading men in horse racing, trainer Jerry Hollendorfer and jockey Russell Baze, will be gunning for big money at Santa Anita Saturday.
Hollendorfer will try to win the $1 million Santa Anita Handicap for the second straight year when he sends out Blue Exit in the 1 1/4-mile classic for 4-year-olds and up. Hollendorfer won the 2008 Big 'Cap with Heatseeker and is hoping to become only the fourth trainer in the 72-year history of the Santa Anita Handicap to win the feature in consecutive years with different horses.
Group 1 turf race on at Abu Dhabi on Sunday
The Group 1 Liwa Oasis, over 1400m on the Abu Dhabi turf, is the highlight of the Capital’s 13th meeting of the season on Sunday with seven declared.
Kindly sponsored by Abu Dhabi Equestrian Club, the Liwa Oasis has been won in each of the last two years by wonder mare Mizzna but, sadly, she is out injured.
In her absence, Doug Watson’s Quaolina looks the most likely winner in the hands of Richard Hills and the trainer said: “She has had one run for us and ran very well. She is going well at home and this looks an ideal opportunity for her.”
Friday, March 06 2009
LONGHOT GIVES JOCKEY HER FIRST CAREER WIN
Seeing that Wild Holly had lost her last three by a combined total of 54 ½ lengths and that her jockey was a winless 10-pound apprentice, bettors sent the 8-year-old mare off as a 64 to 1 longshot in today’s fifth race at Aqueduct Racetrack.
As the field approached the wire with the more logical horses tussling for the lead, Wild Holly launched a bid from way back and out in the middle of the track. She charged from sixth to first to win by three lengths, paying $131.00.
Read more articles in the Aqueduct
Al Khali Joins Pletcher’s Potential Derby Team
WinStar Farm’s 3-year-old Al Khali rallied through the stretch for a three-quarter length victory under John Velazquez in a 1 1/8 mile allowance test Friday afternoon at Gulfstream Park, moving him up in trainer Todd Pletcher’s arsenal of Kentucky Derby (G1) candidates.
Al Khali is a Kentucky-bred colt by Medaglia d’Oro who was making his first U.S. start. He was originally sold to Dante Zanelli for $15,000 at the Keeneland September yearling sales. He had made his previous three starts under three separate trainers while racing in Peru, where he won his most recent two races after finishing second in his debut.
Barn Notes 2-6
Sky Diva Works Toward 3-year-old Debut at Gulfstream
A diva’s got to have her space. That’s the reason Puglisi Racing’s Grade 1-winning 3-year-old filly Sky Diva is warming up in South Florida and is not part of trainer Steve Klesaris’s main string in New Orleans this winter.
The daughter of Sky Mesa has been training steadily at Gulfstream Park, including a five-furlong breeze Friday morning in 1:01 1/5. She has been ramping up toward a 3-year-old debut following third-place finishes in the Demoiselle Stakes (G2) at Aqueduct on Nov. 29 and the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies (G1) on Oct. 24 at Santa Anita.
NYRA NOW ON SIRIUS RADIO TO DEBUT SATURDAY, MARCH 7
NYRA Now, a half-hour Sirius Radio show dedicated exclusively to Thoroughbred racing at the New York Racing Association’s Aqueduct Racetrack, Belmont Park and Saratoga Race Course, will debut Saturday, March 7 from 12:30 p.m. – 1 p.m. Eastern.
Hosted by Dave Johnson and Bill Finley, NYRA Now will air on Sirius Channel 122 and XM Channel 143 and will be available to 20 million Sirius XM subscribers. It will offer handicapping, interviews with owners, trainers and jockeys and feature segments.
Turfway Park to cut purses, two stakes
FLORENCE, KY . . . March 6, 2009 . . . Association purses paid at Turfway Park will be cut five percent and the 2009 Tejano Run Stakes and Fairway Fun Stakes have been canceled, track president Robert N. Elliston announced today.
The track was unable to fill races for Monday, March 9, when the cut originally was scheduled to become effective. The cut therefore takes effect Wednesday, March 11, and will run through the end of the meet.
Read more articles in the Turfway
NTRA Alliance Compliance Code Unanimously Approved
The National Thoroughbred Racing Association (NTRA) announced today that a comprehensive set of safety and integrity compliance standards has been approved by the NTRA Board of Directors for use by the NTRA Safety and Integrity Alliance. The standards serve as the basis for Alliance accreditation, which will begin later this month.
Among the first racetracks that will go through the newly established accreditation process of the Alliance are the three Triple Crown venues—Churchill Downs, Pimlico Race Course and Belmont Park. Keeneland, Delaware Park and Hollywood Park—all of which have race meetings beginning in the month of April—will also be among the first tracks to undergo Alliance review. Two other Churchill Downs Incorporated properties commencing their 2009 meetings this spring—Calder Race Course and Arlington Park—also will be in the first group of Alliance members to take part in the accreditation process.
Beckon set to make move to Woodbine
From the moment he embarked on his career as a jockey, Chad Beckon set his sights on making it a success story. Some six years later, the 28-year-old could be on track for his most memorable season.
Things haven’t always come easy for Beckon, son of the late Toronto-based jockey Dan Beckon.
Yet regardless of the hurdle, injuries or otherwise, he’s rarely not fashioning a big smile or sounding like a wide-eyed kid ready to take on the world.
Read more articles in the Woodbine