• SWITCH TO THE LEAD TACKLES BEHOLDER IN MONDAY’S SANTA YNEZ
• MORE CHOCOLATE FINDS HER NICHE IN GRADE II LA CAŇADA
• DENMAN INDUCTED IN CALIFORNIA HALL OF FAME BY CTBA
Private Zone usually outruns his odds. In six starts since coming to the U.S. from Panama, the son of Macho Uno bred in Ontario by Frank Stronach’s Eclipse Award-winning Adena Springs has never failed to earn a check, although he has yet to win.
Trainer Doug O’Neill is confident the 4-year-old bay gelding can end that drought Saturday when he runs in the Grade II Palos Verdes Stakes for 4-year-olds and up at six furlongs. Private Zone has finished second in his last three starts, all stakes, beaten less than a length and a half each time.
“This is a horse Rene Douglas manages and he does a brilliant job,” O’Neill said, speaking of the former jockey who was paralyzed from the waist down in a spill at Arlington Park in May of 2009.
Pedroza and Douglas, both natives of Panama, grew up together in their native country and went to jockey school there. They have remained best of friends. “We talk about every other day,” Pedroza said. “He’s in good spirits.”
“Martin works Private Zone and he’s done a good job getting him to mature,” O’Neill said. “We’re very excited about the horse. I think he’s going to run a big race on Saturday.”
The field for the Palos Verdes, race five of nine: Apriority, Julien Leparoux, 8-1; Drill, Martin Garcia, 4-1; Canonize, Jose Valdivia Jr., 5-1; Sahara Sky, Joe Talamo, 12-1; Comma to the Top, Edwin Maldonado, 3-1; Private Zone, Martin Pedroza, 5-2; and Justin Phillip, Rafael Bejarano, 7-2.
TEAM SADLER SWEET ON MORE CHOCOLATE IN LA CAŇADA
Team Sadler has been pointing More Chocolate to Sunday’s Grade II La Caňada Stakes for some time. After leading into the stretch before finishing third in the mile and one eighth (turf) Grade III Robert J. Frankel Stakes on Dec. 30, More Chocolate appears set for a top effort on the main track in the mile and a sixteenth La Caňada, which is restricted to 4-year-old fillies.
“She may have been a little fresh down the backside,” said trainer John Sadler’s top assistant, Larry Benavidez, speaking of the Frankel, “but she was ready to run, and all along John has targeted this race from the day she won pretty impressively in November.”
Benavidez was referring to More Chocolate’s 3 ¼-length triumph in a nine-furlong allowance race on turf last Nov. 1. “John wanted to try her against straight 4-year-olds, and she lost arguably to the best older turf filly in the country (in Qaraaba, who won the Frankel), so that was a very good race,” Benavidez said.
The La Caňada field: Open Water, Corey Nakatani, 10-1; Lady of Fifty, Martin Garcia, 6-5; Book Review, Rafael Bejarano, 7-5; Willa B Awesome, Martin Pedroza, 8-1; Ubelongtomemissy, Joe Talamo, 15-1; and More Chocolate, Garrett Gomez, 9-2.
BIANCONE HOPES TO OVERCOME BUMPS IN THE ROAD IN SANTA YNEZ
It looks like the field against Beholder in Monday’s Martin Luther King Jr. holiday feature, the Grade II Santa Ynez Stakes, but, as the old saying goes, “They still have to run around the track.”
That could be one reason trainer Patrick Biancone has entered Switch to the Lead in the 6 ½ furlong race in which 2012 Juvenile Fillies champ Beholder is set to make her 3-year-old debut.
Switch to the Lead, a bay daughter of Songandaprayer owned and bred by the Kona Stables of Richard Giacopelli of Woodcliff Lakes, N.J., was second last Nov. 3 in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Preview at Santa Anita. She was bumped at the start, as she was in her previous race, the Grade I Chandelier Stakes last Sept. 29.
“The bump in the Chandelier was bad,” Biancone said. “The other one was just a little one. She ran a good race that day and we got a chance to give her a break. She’s had some time and she’s coming back.
“I know the Santa Ynez is a tough race, but we’ll take a chance.”
Bob Baffert on his Lady Rosamond taking on Beholder: “My filly worked well the other day, and you can’t avoid Beholder forever.”
The field for the Santa Ynez: Small Moves, Victor Espinoza; Blushing Angel, Joe Talamo; Dawn’s Charm, Edwin Maldonado; Lady Rosamond, Martin Garcia; Inwiththeblonde, Juan Hernandez; Renee’s Titan, Tyler Baze; Switch to the Lead, Julien Leparoux; and Beholder, Garrett Gomez.
CAMELIA ROSE EYES WINNER’S CIRCLE IN MEGAHERTZ
Camelia Rose has faced graded stakes competition in six of her nine U.S. starts without a victory, but a winless drought since she arrived from across the pond could end Saturday when the French-bred mare runs in the $75,000 Megahertz Stakes at one mile on turf.
“It’s an easier spot than last time,” trainer Simon Callaghan said, referring to the Grade III Robert J. Frankel Stakes on Dec. 30, in which Camelia Rose finished sixth after attending the pace.
“It’s a pretty competitive race. I don’t think there’s that much difference between any of them, and my mare seems to be training good, so we’ll give it a shot.”
The Megahertz marks the first U.S. race at less than a mile and a sixteenth for Camelia Rose.
The field for the Megahertz: Camelia Rose, Mario Gutierrez, 8-1; Vamo a Galupiar, Edwin Maldonado, 5-1; In the Stars, Corey Nakatani, 3-1; Lady Ten, Rafael Bejarano, 3-1; Byrony, Garrett Gomez, 6-1; A Jealous Woman, Brice Blanc, 5-2; Plaza de Indias, Omar Figueroa, 10-1; and Hard to Resist, Joe Talamo, 12-1.
DENMAN INDUCTED INTO CALIFORNIA HALL OF FAME BY CTBA
Trevor Denman, whose voice is as recognizable to Santa Anita race goers as the track’s iconic art deco design, will be inducted into the California Hall of Fame at the California Thoroughbred Breeders Association’s annual meeting and awards dinner Feb. 11 at the Westin Pasadena.
“It’s fantastic,” Denman said between one of his signature calls from his lofty perch at The Great Race Place. “The CTBA is such a distinguished organization, and the award is voted upon by all the board members of the CTBA, so that’s magnificent.
“I can say, based on the people who voted, all of whom I respect, it’s one of the greatest things that’s happened to me, really.”
The business meeting will begin at 4 p.m., followed by a cocktail reception at 6. The awards dinner begins at 7 p.m. For reservation and information, contact Christy Chapman at 626 445-7800 (ext. 247) or email .
LONGSHOT GETS RIGHT TRIP TO SPRING PICK 6 CARRYOVER
Coming off two eventful sprints in which he was beaten at least 13 lengths, Warren’s Joe T. shocked the world Thursday when he raced to a front-running 3 ¼-length victory under Joe Talamo for owner Ben Warren and trainer Jorge Gutierrez.
Warren’s Joe T., 15-1 on Jon White’s morning line, paid $90.60, $22.40 and $12.40 across the board, opening a 7 ½-length lead into the stretch and winning under urging.
Talamo’s toughest competition came from a loose horse, Harlington Night, who broke inward from the outside post at the start, unseating jockey Agapito Delgadillo, who walked off seemingly with only his pride hurt. Harlington Night “hemmed in” Talamo part of the trip in the one mile race, but employing his innate horsemanship, the 23-year-old rider was able to avoid incident and kept the winner to his task.
“I definitely was concerned,” Gutierrez said the morning after. “I talked to Joe about it and his concern was that he had to ride him most of the way because he didn’t want Harlington Night to drop inside of him.
“Joe thought about going outside at the quarter pole, but when the riderless horse came out again, Joe dropped in and went on. My horse never got a break. Joe had to ride him every step of the way.
“Before he ever raced, Warren’s Joe T. was too aggressive. He wouldn’t keep his mind on business. I ran him first time, and he came out walking from the gate. But what I liked about that race was, he made a nice run on the inside in between horses. It was something he never showed in the morning.
“We gelded him before his second start and two weeks later he was a different horse. He trained unbelievable before his second race. Unfortunately, he stumbled coming out of there, broke a little to the inside, grabbed a quarter and kind of went backwards.
“But he healed quick and the way he came back from that race, I thought we could stretch him out, and it all worked out.”
As the longest shot in the field of nine, Warren’s Joe T. triggered a Pick 6 carryover of $59,161 into Friday’s card.
ALL-STAR CAST IN TODAY’S FIFTH RACE AT SANTA ANITA
Four of the eight horses entered in today’s fifth race are trained by Hall of Fame members: Jack Van Berg (I Dazzle), Bob Baffert (Sparkling Type), Richard Mandella (Indecise) and Ron McAnally (Rosehill Dew).
Toss in Patrick Biancone (Long Face) and five of the eight trained a Horse of the Year, in order previously listed, Alysheba (1988), Point Given (2001), Kotashaan (1993), John Henry (1981) and All Along (1983).
FINISH LINES: Three jockeys accounted for all eight wins at Santa Anita Thursday, Kevin Krigger and Joe Talamo winning three each and Corey Nakatani sweeping the late $69.20 double with 1-2 favorite Eblouissante (Zenyatta’s half-sister) and overlay Mr T Bird ($40.60) in the eighth. “It feels good to win three races in one day,” Krigger said Friday morning. “I haven’t had that many live horses on one card lately, so you have to capitalize on the business while it’s there.” . . . Following Eblouissante’s impressive allowance win on Thursday, trainer John Shirreffs indicated her next start would be determined in consultation with owner/breeder Eric Kronfeld. According to Brad Free of Daily Racing Form, Eblouissante earned a Beyer Speed figure of 83 . . . Trainer and part owner Bill Spawr has 2011 Sprint champion Amazombie jogging two miles at Santa Anita as he prepares for his return to the races after a respite following the Breeders’ Cup Sprint last Nov. 3. “He’ll start galloping in a couple days,” Spawr said of the 6-year-old California-bred son of Northern Afleet, also owned by Tom Sanford. Under the cover of darkness on Santa Anita’s fast main track Friday morning, owner Stephen Ferraro’s two-time stakes-winning filly Ismene worked four furlongs for Spawr in 47.60 . . . Betfair Hollywood Park riding champ Edwin Maldonado is named to ride in all nine races Saturday, including the Palos Verdes Stakes (Comma to the Top) and the Megahertz Stakes (Vamo a Galupiar) . . . Akkadian, smart allowance winner for Julio Canani on Jan. 10, is ticketed for—what else?—the Arcadia. The Grade II stakes for 4-year-olds and up will be run Feb. 2 at one mile on turf . . . Tom Quigley’s guest at Daily Racing Form’s seminar Saturday, 11:15 a.m. in the East Paddock Gardens, is handicapper, owner and breeder Kevin (Duke) Matties, who was featured last year in a HorsePlayer Magazine interview . . . With 88 players advancing thanks to favored Trice Up’s second-place finish in yesterday’s second race, 300 are alive in ShowVivor entering Friday’s races . . . Santa Anita offers special holiday racing on Monday, Martin Luther King Jr. Day, with first post time 12:30 p.m. Saturday through Monday. All Thoroughbreds members at Santa Anita on Monday will receive free a premium Santa Anita hooded sweatshirt with paid admission while supplies last.
Santa Anita Statistics
(Current through Thursday, Jan. 17)
Jockey Mts 1st 2nd 3rd Win% Money Won
Rafael Bejarano 70 15 14 4 21% $948,320
Joseph Talamo 79 12 13 14 15% $533,542
Edwin Maldonado 82 11 6 11 13% $435,410
Garrett Gomez 45 10 8 4 22% $668,910
Victor Espinoza 30 8 3 5 27% $285,760
Tyler Baze 82 7 10 9 9% $334,660
Martin Garcia 62 7 7 7 11% $442,138
Kevin Krigger 31 7 3 2 23% $187,200
Julien Leparoux 48 6 7 5 13% $369,260
Trainer Sts 1st 2nd 3rd Win% Money Won
John Sadler 45 7 8 6 16% $356,920
Jerry Hollendorfer 29 7 7 6 24% $381,898
Doug O'Neill 46 7 6 4 15% $411,120
Bob Baffert 49 6 7 5 12% $683,170
Peter Miller 24 5 6 2 21% $294,950
John Shirreffs 15 4 2 2 27% $204,080
Richard Mandella 10 4 2 1 40% $298,980
Mark Glatt 14 4 1 1 29% $85,350