• GAME ON DUDE TO WORK THIS WEEKEND FOR BREEDERS’ CUP
• O’NEILL BOBBLEHEAD GIVEAWAY AT SANTA ANITA SATURDAY
• HOFMANS FULFILLED WITH CAREER VICTORY NUMBER 1,000
John Scott, the race horse, has paid his way for owner/breeder John Harris. A gelded
son of Bertrando, John Scott has never failed to earn a check in eight career starts, with five wins, one second and earnings of $301,304.
Trainer Carla Gaines hopes the consistent 5-year-old enhances those numbers when he runs in Saturday’s $175,000 Lava Man California Cup Classic presented by City National Bank for 3-year-olds and up at Santa Anita.
John Scott won the H. F. Brubaker Stakes going one mile on Del Mar’s Polytrack on Sept. 1. Prior to that, he was a game second by a half-length in the Grade II San Diego Handicap at 1 1/16 miles, the same distance as the Cal Cup Classic.
He’s had two starts at Santa Anita, one on a synthetic surface, the other on a dirt track in April 2012 when it distinctly favored speed.
“He ran on dirt then but the track was really fast,” Gaines recalled. “The horse is
doing very, very well for this race.”
He has never finished worse than fourth and never been beaten more than three lengths. John Scott is usually in close attendance to the pace, but rallied from last on Santa Anita’s synthetic surface as a 2-year-old in the Norfolk Stakes, a race in which Victor Espinoza was aboard.
“I wouldn’t say he’s push-button, but he’s pretty good,” said Espinoza, who has ridden John Scott in six of his races. “He’s honest. I worked him (Oct. 5, five furlongs on Santa Anita’s main track in 1:01 3/5) and he went really nice. He’s ready to go.”
The field for the Classic, race nine of 10: Holladay Road, Joe Talamo, 5-2; Got Even, Brice Blanc, 15-1; Rousing Sermon, Rafael Bejarano, 3-1; Woodmans Luck, Garrett Gomez, 20-1; Lucky Primo, Tyler Baze, 5-1; Thirtyfirststreet, Chantal Sutherland, 8-1; John Scott, Victor Espinoza, 9-5; and Accelerant, Edwin Maldonado, 20-1.
BREEDERS’ CUP CONTENDER GAME ON DUDE TO WORK THIS WEEKEND
Awesome Again Stakes winner Game On Dude, a leading contender for the $5 million Breeders’ Cup Classic at Santa Anita on Nov. 3, is scheduled to work this weekend, Bob Baffert said Thursday morning.
“He’s doing well; he’s happy,” the Hall of Fame trainer said. “He’ll work either Saturday or Sunday.”
Defending Breeders’ Cup Sprint champion Amazombie, meanwhile, remains en route to the $1.5 million XpressBet Breeders’ Cup Sprint on Nov. 3. “We’re going to take more (precautionary blood) tests tomorrow,” trainer and co-owner Bill Spawr said Thursday morning. “But so far, he acts OK.”
Amazombie finished fourth as the 4-5 favorite in last Saturday’s Santa Anita Sprint Championship, beaten a length and a quarter. “Unless something happens, he’s going to run,” Spawr said. Breeders’ Cup Turf candidate Slim Shadey, winner of the John Henry Turf Championship, will work Saturday on Santa Anita’s main track, trainer Simon Callaghan said.
O’NEILL BOBBLEHEAD GIVEAWAY TO COMPLEMENT CAL CUP DAY
Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes-winning trainer Doug O’Neill, a three-time leader at Santa Anita, will loom large on California Cup Day Saturday, as all fans attending on-track will receive a Doug O’Neill Bobblehead, replete with the Santa Anita cap that O’Neill wore throughout his storied Triple Crown run earlier this year.
“When he won the Santa Anita Derby in April, I’ll Have Another developed into the people’s horse and Doug was the people’s trainer. He was absolutely huge for our sport and for Santa Anita right up until the Belmont in June,” said Santa Anita CEO Mark Verge. “He’s incredibly popular with our fans and he’s been a giant in helping to promote our game.”
In addition to the O’Neill Bobblehead, which is free with paid admission, Santa Anita will offer a $400,000 guaranteed Late Pick 4 on Cal Cup Day.
Cal Cup Day will include five stakes for horses bred or sired in the Golden State, highlighted by the $175,000 Lava Man Cal Cup Classic.
Lava Man, claimed by O’Neill as a 3-year-old for $50,000, would go on to become racing’s all-time greatest claim, earning more than $5 million subsequent to the purchase. The Slew City Slew gelding also won back-to-back runnings of the Grade I Santa Anita Handicap in 2006 and ’07.
First post time on Cal Cup Day is 1 p.m. For more information or to make reservations, visit http://www.santaanita.com or call (626) 574-RACE.
HOFMANS HAPPY FOR ALL ON OCCASION OF HIS 1,000TH CAREER WIN
David Hofmans was happy for at least two reasons to win career race number 1,000 Saturday, when first-time starter Sultry Season bounded home by 8 ¾ lengths in the 10th and final race at Santa Anita under Joe Talamo.
“I’m glad to get it over with,” said the 69-year-old trainer, a native of Los Angeles. “Even though I tried not to think about it, it was there. I’m just glad it happened with (Legacy Ranch owner) Pete Parrella (and part owner Lawrence Cancellieri) because Pete and I have been together for 40 years. I won number 999 at Pomona (Fairplex Park) and I was hoping to hold off (for 1,000) at Santa Anita.
“I kind of looked up the guys (trainers) who have done it (won 1,000), and a lot of guys have won 1,000 races, but most of them have big stables. We have a small stable. We only carry 25 to 30 horses, and it’s hard to do. We’re here; we’re happy.
Hofmans touched on some of the major stakes winner he has trained. “Of course, we
had Alphabet Soup (1996 Breeders’ Cup Classic winner); he was wonderful,” Hofmans said.
“Touch Gold (1997 Belmont winner) was great, Awesome Again was fantastic, Desert Code, His Legacy, years ago, was one of my favorite horses of all time. He was a great old Cal-bred horse. Dramatic Gold. There are so many of them. Greg’s Gold, he was fantastic and won a lot of races for us.
“We’re just happy for all my clients and all my barn help and glad this is done.”
UNBEATEN JUVENILE SHANGHAI BOBBY EN ROUTE TO BREEDERS’ CUP
Starlight Racing's undefeated 2-year-old Shanghai Bobby is slated to run in the Breeders’ Cup World Championships Nov. 2 and 3 at Santa Anita, Jack Wolf, part-owner of the Starlight Stable partnership that owns Shanghai Bobby said in a news release on Monday.
Winner of the Grade I Champagne Stakes at Belmont Park on Oct. 6, the Harlan’s Holiday colt will compete in the $2 million Grey Goose Breeders' Cup Juvenile at 1 1/16 miles on Nov. 3.
A winner of all four starts with earnings of $607,000, Shanghai Bobby defeated six foes in the Champagne, winning by an easy five lengths. The victory earned him an automatic berth in the Juvenile with entry fees paid and also gave him 10 points toward a start in the 2013 Kentucky Derby.
“Todd (trainer Todd Pletcher) and I discussed our options this morning," said Starlight Racing's managing partner Jack Wolf. "The colt came out of the race in great shape and has given us every indication that he belongs. He’s done everything that’s been asked of him and more. We are very excited for our partners and team and feel fortunate to have such a talented colt headed to the World Championships.”
The Breeders’ Cup Juvenile is the richest 2-year-old race in North America. It is restricted to juvenile males and is often a preview of the stars of Triple Crown races for the following year.
QUESTIONS ANSWERED ABOUT BREEDERS’ CUP AT SANTA ANITA
Many patrons have inquired about the Breeders’ Cup World Championship event at Santa Anita Nov. 2 and 3. The following information may be helpful:
Q--What access do I have with a General Admission only ticket (no reserved seat)?
A--A General Admission ticket will permit access to the paddock, the paddock room, the grandstand first floor, the apron and the Infield.
Q--Can I purchase General Admission or Club House admission tickets at Santa Anita?
A--Yes. Advance sale tickets can be purchased from the ticket office on any race day.
Pre-sale GA admission tickets are $10 for Friday, Nov. 2 and $15 for Saturday, Nov. 3. At the gate, admission on Friday is $15 and on Saturday $20. Club House admission is $50 per day.
Q--Can I bring a folding chair?
A—Yes. Folding chairs are permitted ONLY in General Admission areas including the apron and Infield.
Q—Are coolers permitted?
A—Yes, but only personal-sized coolers in General Admission areas.
Q--What access do I have with a Club House admission-only ticket?
A--A Club House admission ticket will permit access to the Club House first floor
and the above listed general admission areas.
Note: The following Club House areas are RESERVED Breeders’ Club days for private groups.
Club Apron seating and apron area in front of seats; Club Loge seating; Upper Club Theater seating; Club Court & Club Patio; Regency Room and surrounding Lanai terrace room and outside terrace.
Q--Can I go to FrontRunner or the Turf Club?
A--FrontRunner and the Turf Club are closed to the public. Only ticketed access is
permitted to the Turf Club/FrontRunner.
Q--What access is permitted to horsemen with a valid CHRB license?
A--A valid CHRB license must be displayed and permits access to
General Admission areas ONLY; NO access to the Mezzanine floor, the Club House, box seats, or FrontRunner.
Gates open at 9 a.m. on Friday, Nov. 2 and 8 a.m. on Saturday, Nov. 3.
WESTSIDE RENTALS GIVES SANTA ANITA FANS $500 A DAY IN GAS CARDS
Westside Rentals, which helps thousands of Southlanders find reasonably priced rental housing, has announced it will now help locals deal with the highest gasoline prices in Southern California history by issuing a $50 gas card to 10 lucky Santa Anita Thoroughbreds Club members each day for the remainder of Santa Anita’s Autumn Meet, which concludes Nov. 4.
“Beginning today, we’re going to have some fun with these ridiculous gas prices,” said Santa Anita CEO Mark Verge, who also owns Westside Rentals. “When our Thoroughbreds Club members come through our admission gates, all they have to do is scan their card as they ordinarily would. This will automatically make them eligible for our $50 gas card drawing, which will be announced by Trevor Denman following the fifth race each day.
“If you are one of 10 people called, all you have to do is report to our Main Thoroughbreds Center on the east end of the Grandstand to claim the $50 card. We’re going to keep this promotion in effect throughout the meet, even if gas prices drop, which we sure hope they do,” said Verge.
Santa Anita Thoroughbreds Club members enjoy many benefits, including discounted admission, newsletters, special offers and promotions, free gifts, and entry into cash contests.
Membership is free to all fans 18 and up with a valid driver’s license or photo identification.
To join, visit the Main Thoroughbreds Center. For more information on Santa Anita’s Thoroughbreds Club, call (626) 574-6384.
FINISH LINES: Recommended reading: Thursday’s L.A. Times Sports, Page 2 story by Chris Erskine on blacksmith “Irish” Tommy Halpenny . . . Three Santa Anita-based riders will be at Woodbine Sunday for stakes engagements: Brice Blanc, Garrett Gomez and Mike Smith. Blanc’s mount is three-time stakes winner All Star Heart for Hall of Fame trainer Ron McAnally in the Grade I, $1 million E.P. Taylor Stakes. . . Seven-pound apprentice rider Efrain Hernandez makes his Santa Anita debut in today’s fourth race aboard 30-1 morning line chance St. Joel for trainer Oscar Garcia. The 21-year-old Hernandez, from Montclair, Cal., tacks 113 pounds and has 33 wins, 32 seconds and 21 thirds riding mainly at Thistledown, Presque Isle Downs and Mountaineer Park. He began riding on July 27. His book is handled by agent Derek Lawson . . . Doug O’Neill reports that FrontRunner Stakes runner-up Know More “is doing great” as he prepares for the $2 million Grey Goose Breeders’ Cup Juvenile at 1 1/16 miles. “Goldenscents (second in Champagne Stakes) wasn’t nominated as a colt, so he’s not going to run,” O’Neill added. “He came out his race great so far, so we’ll just take our time. We’ve got high hopes for him down the road.” O’Neill confirmed that Gomez retains the mount on Know More and also on Awesome Again Stakes third-place finisher Richard’s Kid in the Breeders’ Cup Classic . . . Del Mar Derby winner My Best Brother, prepping for the $150,000, Grade II Twilight Derby at 1 1/8 miles on turf on Nov. 2, worked five furlongs for trainer Julio Canani on Santa Anita’s main track Thursday in 1:00.80 under jockey Martin Garcia . . . M One Rifle, winner of the Grade I Malibu Stakes in 2009, worked five furlongs for Bruce Headley in 1:00.60 . . . Fans are encouraged to check out the Breeders’ Cup 2012 iPhone and iPad app currently available . . . Only 41 players remained alive in ShowVivor entering Thursday’s races from a starting field of 7,210.