• LONGSHOT SEEKS FIRST STAKES WIN IN MARATHON SAN LUIS REY
• FEMALE SENSATION ROSIE NAPRAVNIK AT SANTA ANITA SATURDAY
• GOMEZ ON FLASHBACK FOR GRADE I SANTA ANITA DERBY APRIL 6
• $1 MILLION ST. PAT’S HORSESHOE PITCH TAKES PLACE THIS SUNDAY
On the face of it, one might question why Brushed by a Star followed Joyful Victory to
Santa Anita for Saturday’s Grade I Santa Margarita Stakes, since Joyful Victory just beat Brushed by a Star by 4 ½ lengths in the Houston Ladies Classic Stakes in Texas on Jan. 26.
Truth be told, Brushed by a Star was destined for the Santa Margarita no matter what.
“She’s doing super,” said trainer Eddie Kenneally’s assistant of two years, Dorie Smith,
at trainer Paddy Gallagher’s barn Thursday morning. “We got in yesterday afternoon and flew in from Florida.”
Noted Brushed by a Star was just beaten by Joyful Victory, Smith said she “can’t speak for Eddie, but I know he had targeted this race and I think he was coming whether Larry (Jones, trainer of Joyful Victory) came or not.”
Brushed by a Star, a consistent 5-year-old Kentucky-bred mare by Eddington owned by Unlimited Equine LLC, numbers the Grade II Molly Pitcher at Monmouth last July among her six victories. She also has seven seconds and two thirds, with earnings of $553,031.
If nothing else, Smith has enjoyed the warm Southern California weather to date, not to mention the hospitality she’s received at The Great Race Place.
“This is my first time in California,” the Lexington, Ky., native said. “Santa Anita is beautiful. I love it. It’s a beautiful place and a beautiful facility. Everybody’s very helpful.”
The field for the Santa Margarita, which will be run as the seventh race: The Only Key, Kevin Krigger, 30-1; Brushed by a Star, Victor Espinoza, 7-2; Joyful Victory, Rosie Napravnik, 9-5; Great Hot, Gary Stevens, 4-1; Snow Fall, Tyler Baze, 7-2; and More Chocolate, Martin Garcia, 5-2.
NATIONAL WINS LEADER NAPRAVNIK AT SANTA ANITA ON SATURDAY
Rosie Napravnik, the nation’s leading rider in terms of wins with 72 through March 12, returns to Santa Anita Saturday for the first time since last November to ride Joyful Victory in the Santa Margarita Stakes.
Napravnik, who turned 25 on Feb. 9, rode 2012 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile champion Shanghai Bobby to victory in last year’s race at Santa Anita on Nov. 3.
The daughter of a horseshoer and a show horse trainer, she has been around horses all her life. In 2005, she obtained her jockey’s license and since has been among or at the top of riders in Maryland racing and the top female rider in the United States.
After a close second in the 2011 Kentucky Oaks, she became the first female jockey to win the race in 2012, riding Believe You Can for Larry Jones, who also conditions Joyful Victory.
BRIGHT THOUGHT STEPS UP IN GRADE II SAN LUIS REY
Jorge Gutierrez is having a workmanlike meet at Santa Anita. Through 47 racing days, the 47-year-old trainer is among the second division leaders with seven wins from 45 starters, none coming in stakes races.
On Saturday, Gutierrez hopes to end the added money drought with outsider Bright Thought, a Kentucky-bred colt making his first stakes start for owners Michael, Joanne and Gil Dye of Phoenix, and Alex Venneri of La Canada in the Grade II San Luis Rey Stakes at 1 ½ miles on turf.
A 4-year-old son of Hat Trick out of the Smart Strike dam Smart Thought, Bright Thought is coming off two straight front-running wins, at 2 ¼ lengths in the one-mile Super Bowl Party Handicap, and a 5 1/4-length romp in a mile and a quarter turf test last out, on Feb. 21.
“He’s bred to go two turns . . . I think a mile and a half is right up his alley,” Gutierrez said. “He has speed and can finish. That makes him extra dangerous.”
On paper, Bright Thought will have to outkick speedy and classy San Marcos Stakes winner Slim Shadey for his best chance of winning the San Luis Rey.
Gutierrez trained Bright Thought for his first start, a maiden loss at Betfair Hollywood Park last July. Then the colt was shipped east where he ran at Laurel, Parx and Penn National for trainer Stephanie Beattie, before returning to Gutierrez, who seeks his third straight victory with him on Saturday.
The field for the San Luis Rey, race eight of nine: Slim Shadey, Gary Stevens, 3-1; Interaction, Brice Blanc, 5-2; Tiz Gianni, Rosie Napravnik, 20-1; John Scott, Martin Garcia, 5-1; Fire With Fire, Tyler Baze, 15-1; Huntsville, Alonso Quinonez, 15-1; Bright Thought, Victor Espinoza, 9-2; All Squared Away, Edwin Maldonado, 8-1; and Bourbon Bay, David Flores, 9-2.
GOMEZ TO RIDE FLASHBACK IN SANTA ANITA DERBY ON APRIL 6
Agent Tony Matos confirmed Thursday morning that Garrett Gomez has picked up the mount on Triple Crown contender Flashback for the Santa Anita Derby on April 6.
Gomez replaces Julien Leparoux, who was criticized for his ride on Flashback in the San Felipe Stakes last Saturday, in which the even-money favorite suffered his first defeat after prompting fast fractions on the front end in the Grade II race at 1 1/16 miles.
“We’re very excited that Bob Baffert put Garrett on this horse,” Matos said. “They’ve had a lot of success together and we hope it continues.”
Gomez, a two-time Eclipse Award winner as outstanding jockey, a four-time leader in national purse earnings, and Santa Anita’s 2011 George Woolf Memorial Jockey Award winner, finished second in the 2010 Kentucky Derby on the Baffert-trained Lookin At Lucky.
Matos has represented jockeys who have won the Run for the Roses six times: Angel Cordero Jr. (Cannonade, 1974 and Bold Forbes, 1976); Kent Desormeaux (Real Quiet, 1998 and Fusaichi Pegasus, 2000); Laffit Pincay Jr. (Swale, 1984); and Victor Espinoza (War Emblem, 2002).
Real Quiet and War Emblem also were trained by Baffert, who captured his first Kentucky Derby in 1997 with Silver Charm.
FANS VIE FOR $1 MILLION IN ST. PAT’S HORSESHOE PITCH SUNDAY
Sunday is St. Patrick’s Day at Santa Anita and that means all on-track fans will again have an opportunity to sign up for the track’s $1 million St. Pat’s Horseshoe Pitch, to be held between races.
History was made at Santa Anita five years ago, when a lucky fan tossed a perfect ringer, touching off a wild scene that was captured live on HRTV.
Five names will be drawn randomly and all contestants will convene on the racetrack as they’ll get one shot at an unforgettable pot of gold.
“This is one of the most popular promotions we’ve ever had here at Santa Anita,” said George Haines, Santa Anita President. “People associate St. Patrick’s Day with coming here to have a great time and a lot of them fill out entry cards and try to get lucky. It’s always a lot of fun.”
A nine-race card is planned for Sunday, with the $100,000 Irish O’Brien Stakes, for California-bred fillies and mares at 6 ½ furlongs down the track’s hillside turf course, serving as the day’s feature race.
Fans are encouraged to enter the St. Pat’s Horseshoe Contest, free of charge, when they arrive. Entries must be submitted by fifth race post time and a list of 20 prospective contestants will be posted throughout the facility. Further instructions and contest information will be available on designated television monitors.
First post time on Sunday is 12:30 p.m. For more information on the St. Pat’s Horseshoe Pitch, or to make dining and seating reservations, fans are encouraged to visit http://www.santaanita.com, or to call (626) 574-RACE.
FINISH LINES: Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Filly champion Beholder worked five furlongs on Santa Anita’s fast main track Thursday morning in 1:02.40 for the Grade I Santa Anita Oaks on April 6. “It was just an easy breeze,” trainer Richard Mandella said. “Everything went perfect.” . . . John Sadler said Triple Crown hopeful Demonic is scheduled to work Friday, after which a decision will be made on his next race, but added that the Sunland Park Derby on March 24 is under consideration . . . Megahertz Stakes winner A Jealous Woman worked six furlongs Monday in a bullet 1:12.60 as trainer Francis Meza prepares her for the grassy Grade II Santa Ana Stakes at 1 1/8 miles on March 24 . . . In addition to being named to ride in all eight races Thursday, Joe Talamo was going full throttle early this morning working horses, including Frank E. Kilroe Mile winner Suggestive Boy, who went four furlongs on Santa Anita’s firm turf course in 49.80 for Ron McAnally . . . Talamo is among six local jockeys out of town Saturday, five riding in the Grade II, $600,000 Rebel Stakes for 3-year-olds at Oaklawn Park. Talamo rides Treasury Bill for Ron Ellis; Corey Nakatani is on Carve for Bob Baffert; Garrett Gomez rides Delhomme for Todd Pletcher; Mike Smith pilots Oxbow for D. Wayne Lukas; and Rafael Bejarano rides Super Ninety Nine for Baffert. Julien Leparoux is at Gulfstream Park to ride multiple graded stakes winner Centre Court for trainer George Arnold II in the Grade II Honey Fox at one mile on turf . . . On Saturday, Santa Anita presents the Winner’s Circle BBQ Championship. Fans can witness masters of the BBQ battle it out in a four-meat Kansas City BBQ society-sanctioned event and sample mouthwatering meat cooked low and slow to participate in the People’s Choice Award. In addition, there will be live music by Steel Rod, plus family fun activities . . . Guest host Brad Free will have Daily Racing Form National Correspondent Jay Privman as his guest at Saturday’s Daily Racing Form seminar, 11:30 a.m. in the East Paddock Gardens.
Santa Anita Statistics
(Current through Sunday, March 10)
Jockey Mts 1st 2nd 3rd Win% Money Won
Rafael Bejarano 238 60 45 22 25% $3,032,532
Garrett Gomez 157 39 24 17 25% $2,286,968
Edwin Maldonado 261 38 28 38 15% $1,538,614
Tyler Baze 258 30 31 23 12% $1,162,322
Joe Talamo 261 29 42 45 11% $2,106,165
Martin Garcia 174 28 24 21 16% $1,457,195
Julien Leparoux 171 25 25 13 15% $1,470,718
Victor Espinoza 109 22 11 16 20% $932,550
Kevin Krigger 106 16 16 9 15% $575,214
Martin Pedroza 121 14 13 19 12% $615,440
Agapito Delgadillo 97 13 12 16 13% $340,865
Mike Smith 70 12 9 13 17% $1,375,766
Gary Stevens 64 10 16 10 16% $832,464
Orlando Mojica 132 9 10 21 7% $428,618
Aaron Gryder 96 9 9 6 9% $353,218
Mario Gutierrez 118 8 15 16 7% $475,248
Corey Nakatani 89 8 8 14 9% $756,501
Trainer Sts 1st 2nd 3rd Win% Money Won
Bob Baffert 129 26 24 12 20% $2,686,900
Jerry Hollendorfer 85 24 19 10 28% $1,447,946
John Sadler 139 22 20 18 16% $1,057,487
Doug O'Neill 168 16 31 21 10% $1,137,552
Peter Miller 74 12 16 10 16% $686,342
Richard Mandella 38 12 8 3 32% $834,912
Mike Mitchell 52 11 8 6 21% $411,144
Julio Canani 42 10 3 5 24% $336,400
William Spawr 35 9 9 4 26% $226,946
Mike Puype 74 9 5 12 12% $499,553
Peter Eurton 42 8 8 5 19% $340,300
Mark Glatt 63 8 7 7 13% $258,870
Jeff Bonde 26 8 4 4 31% $339,540
Ronald Ellis 40 8 3 4 20% $453,710