Like most scions of Unusual Heat, Mensa Heat pays his way. The durable 6-year-old gelded son of the 22-year-old stallion who stands for $20,000 at Harris Farms in Coalinga, California, is approaching a half-million dollars in earnings, thanks mainly to nine wins, seven seconds and three thirds from 42 career starts.
Ted H. West expects Mensa Heat to add to that bankroll come Saturday, when he faces Breeders’ Cup Sprint champion Amazombie among others in the Grade II, $200,000 San Carlos Stakes at seven furlongs.
. “His last race was a pretty uphill battle,” West said. “It was so speed-favoring with the rain we got and we were dead last at the three-eighths pole. I thought he ran great. He passed as many horses as he could.
“We claimed him last April for $25,000, so we’ve only had him less than a year. He’s improving, but the only bad race he ran for us was in the Cal Cup, and he had ulcers.
“We did all the tests on him a week before the race and he seemed fine, then he came back, we scoped his stomach and he was just chock-full of ulcers, to the point where they were almost bleeding. We got him on medication and they cleared up.
“That’s why I thought he’d really run good last time. We gave him time off and he won the On Trust, then got a track he didn’t like last time, but I thought he’d be ready to show his real potential in the Palos Verdes. The track kind of limited that, so hopefully on Saturday he’ll be able to show even more improvement.”
On paper, if he runs, The Factor is the speed of the San Carlos, but West is optimistic. “They’ll be going pretty hot early,” West allowed, “but we’ll see. Maybe he’ll set it up for a good late run for us.”
Mensa Heat worked six furlongs on Santa Anita’s main track Sunday in 1:11.20 with Joe Talamo aboard. Mensa Heat is owned by Peter Redekop of British Columbia, Canada.
Probable for San Carlos: Amazombie, Mike Smith; Canonize, Victor Espinoza; Mensa Heat, Talamo; Rothko, Joel Rosario; Sway Away, Rafael Bejarano; and The Factor, Martin Garcia.
Breeders’ Cup Sprint champion Amazombie schooled at the gate Monday morning, trainer Bill Spawr said.
Rothko, runner-up to The Factor in the Malibu, worked four furlongs on Santa Anita’s main track Monday in 50.40 for Steve Asmussen. Private clocker Toby Turrell said Rothko “looked really good. They could have given him a ‘breeze.’ He went the last quarter in 25 flat.”
San Fernando Stakes winner Tapizar also worked for Asmussen, going five furlongs in 1:02.40. “He could have been given a ‘breeze,’ too,” Turrell said. “He looked very healthy.”
MOTT TO RUN RON THE GREEK IN GRADE I BIG ’CAP ON MARCH 3
Bill Mott, Eclipse Award winner as Outstanding Trainer of 2011, said by phone Monday morning from South Florida that he plans to ship Ron the Greek to California for the Santa Anita Handicap presented by San Manuel Indian Bingo and Casino on March 3.
“We’ll know a ship date as soon as we can arrange for a plane,” said Mott, who added he plans to bring in jockey Jose Lezcano to ride in the Grade I, $750,000 classic at 1 ¼ miles. Lezcano rode Ron the Greek to a second-place finish last out in the Sunshine Millions Classic behind Mucho Macho Man at Gulfstream Park on Jan. 28.
A 5-year-old Full Mandate horse owned by the Brous Stable, Wachtel Stable and Jack T. Hammer, Ron the Greek has a 5-3-1 record from 16 starts with earnings of $319,665.
Also under consideration for the Big ‘Cap: Boxeur des Rues, Mario Gutierrez; Game On Dude, Chantal Sutherland; Gladding, no rider; Holladay Road, no rider; Setsuko, Victor Espinoza; Twice the Appeal, Christian Santiago Reyes; and Ultimate Eagle, Martin Pedroza.
GOMEZ EXPECTED TO RIDE JERANIMO IN KILROE MILE ON MARCH 3
Agent Tony Matos said Monday morning he expects Garrett Gomez to resume riding by Santa Anita Handicap Day, March 3, and has taken a call for the Eclipse Award-winning jockey to ride Jeranimo in the Grade I, $300,000 Frank E. Kilroe Mile on turf that day.
The 40-year-old Gomez has been sidelined since Jan. 8 when he broke his left heel in a pre-post parade mishap prior to the Daytona Stakes.
“He’s going to the doctor Tuesday and if he gets the green light, he’ll ride,” Matos said. “He’s in very good shape. He’s extra fit.”
Gomez rode Jeranimo to victory in the Grade II Citation Handicap at Hollywood Park on Nov. 26, but was replaced by Martin Garcia in the Grade II San Gabriel Stakes on Jan. 16, a week after his accident.
“Go-Go” will guest on set with hosts Laffit Pincay III and Aaron Vercruysse on HRTV at 3:30 p.m. today.
Streaking stakes winner Mr. Commons is expected to head the field in the Kilroe, which also is likely to attract Compari, Make Music for Me, Massone, The Usual Q.T. and Willyconker.
TALAMO ADDS SUPPORT FOR JOCKEYS IN THURSDAY’S CHARITY GAME
If little else, Joe Talamo will provide moral support when Santa Anita’s jockeys meet Holy Angels School’s seventh graders in their annual charity basketball game at La Salle High School in Pasadena this Thursday, Feb. 23.
“I didn’t play any basketball at all (at) home in Louisiana,” the personable 22-year-old rider said, “but I played for the jockeys the past three or four years. In fact, I think I scored a three-pointer last year. That’s my claim to fame. It’s a lot of fun and it’s for a good cause. At the very least, I’m a good bench-warmer.”
Proceeds from the game will benefit the Holy Angels athletic program and the Kentucky-based Permanently Disabled Jockeys Fund (PDJF). Game time is 7 p.m.
Hall of Fame riders Eddie Delahoussaye, Laffit Pincay Jr., Gary Stevens and Mike Smith will be available from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m. and at halftime to autograph photos and other memorabilia. They will all serve as honorary captains as well. David Flores will again be the jockeys’ game captain.
The Eye on Jacob Foundation will co-sponsor the event. The Eye on Jacob Foundation is named for the 13-year-old son of Hall of Fame jockey Kent Desormeaux, who was diagnosed several years ago with Usher’s Syndrome, a rare disorder that causes loss of hearing, imbalance and eventual loss of sight in approximately 12,000 children in the United States.
In addition to Talamo, the Santa Anita jockey team is expected to include Flores, Paul Atkinson, Rafael Bejarano, Hector Berrios, Brice Blanc, Antonio Castanon, Keiber Coa, Omar Figueroa, Eswan Flores, Martin Garcia, Mario Gutierrez, Kevin Krigger, Modesto Linares, Edwin Maldonado, Corey Nakatani, Alonso Quinonez, Joel Rosario, Christian Santiago Reyes, Kayla Stra, Chantal Sutherland, and Mike Smith.
La Salle High School is located at the southwest corner of Michillinda Ave. and Sierra Madre Blvd. in Pasadena, approximately four miles northwest of Santa Anita Park. Admission is $5.
BIGGEST PICK 6 CARRYOVER OF THE MEET HIGHLIGHTS MONDAY CARD
With 1-2 favorite Creative Cause running third in the San Vicente Stakes, nobody correctly tabbed all six winners in Santa Anita’s popular Pick Six on Sunday, resulting in a carryover of $162,429, the biggest single day carryover of the winter/spring meeting, into today’s card. It is expected the total Presidents’ Day Pick Six pool will exceed $800,000.
Monday’s Pick Six will cover races four through nine, with the Grade II, $150,000 Buena Vista Handicap for older fillies and mares at one mile on turf serving as the afternoon’s feature. The Buena Vista attracted a field of 12, with one runner on the also eligible list.
FINISH LINES: Mike Harrington said Triple crown contender Creative Cause came out of his third-place finish as the 1-2 favorite in Sunday’s San Vicente Stakes in good order, but had no word on the colt’s next race. “He’s fine, he looks good this morning,” the trainer said. “I’ve got the two horses (also Empire Way, second in the Robert Lewis Stakes on Feb. 4) and I’ve got to figure it out. I’m not committing to anything right now.” . . . Sham Stakes winner Out of Bounds worked five furlongs on Hollywood Park’s Cushion Track Monday in 59.80 for the Grade II San Felipe Stakes on March 10. “Super,” is how trainer Eoin Harty termed the workout. “It was just what I wanted. He did it very easy.” Also at Hollywood, unbeaten Reneesgotzip worked seven furlongs Monday in 1:26.60. Trainer Peter Miller is readying the daughter of City Zip for the Grade I Las Virgenes Stakes at one mile on March 3 . . . Although not named for the New York Knicks’ overnight basketball sensation, point guard Jeremy Lin, the 5-year-old mare Winforlin in today’s third race at Santa Anita has been generating some buzz in the social media ranks. Trained by Bill Spawr of Amazombie fame, the California-bred daughter of Benchmark was listed as a 6-1 chance on Jon White’s morning line. Winforlin adds blinkers for the six furlong race for $20,000 maidens . . . Former National Hockey League star and ardent racing fan Ed Olyczk will be guest analyst on HRTV with host Kurt Hoover next Friday, Feb. 24, from 1:30 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. Among the teams Olyczk played for was the 1994 Stanley Cup champion New York Rangers. He will be in town for broadcasts of upcoming games featuring the Los Angeles Kings and the Anaheim Ducks.