CARACORTADO EYES BREATHTAKING REPEAT IN SENSATIONAL STAR

Caracortado, whose last-to-first victory in the Daytona Stakes was beyond Zenyetta-esque, creating a buzz in racing that is still audible, will attempt to repeat that effort in Saturday’s $100,000 Sensational Star Stakes for California-breds at about 6 ½ furlongs down the hillside turf, the same venue on which Caracortado unleashed his incredible run in the Daytona on Jan. 8.

The Sensational Star is one of five stakes on a 10-race Saturday program that includes the Grade I Santa Monica Stakes for 4-year-olds and up, fillies and mares, at seven furlongs. The $300,000 guaranteed Santa Monica is the ninth race on a festive Sunshine Millions Day card that starts at 12 noon.

Also on the card are the $100,000 Crystal Water Stakes for older California-breds at 1 1/16 miles; the $100,000 Valentine Dancer Stakes for older California-bred fillies and mares at one mile on the turf; and the Grade III Santa Ysabel Stakes for 3-year-old fillies at 1 1/16 miles.

But the marquee horse is Caracortado, a 5-year-old California-bred gelding who broke his maiden in a $40,000 claiming race at Fairplex Park and has gone on to be a graded stakes winner with earnings of $864,105.

“I don’t think the Daytona was a one of a kind race,” said breeder, part owner and trainer Mike Machowsky on a summer-like Thursday morning at Clockers’ Corner. “Caracortado has always had that turn of foot. He’s just needed the opportunity to show it. He’s always had that explosive turn of foot. The first time we ran him on the grass (in an allowance race at six furlongs on Hollywood Park’s turf course in November of 2010), he came from the one hole, circled the field and won off.”

If all goes well in the Sensational Star, the Grade I, $300,000 Kilroe Mile on turf would be next on March 3, with long-range plans calling for a Breeders’ Cup engagement at Santa Anita on Nov. 2 or 3.
The field for the Sensational Star: Luckarack, Hector Berrios, 15-1; Ain’t No Other, Martin Garcia, 6-1; Tamarack Smarty, David Flores, 20-1; Compari, Mike Smith, 5-2; Caracortado, Rafael Bejarano, 4-5; My Summer Slew, Alonso Quinonez, 20-1; Mega Heat, Joe Talamo, 12-1; and Red Defense, Joel Rosario, 8-1.



SANTA ANITA, GULFSTREAM TEAM FOR $250,000 GUARANTEED ‘LUCK’ PICK SIX

Santa Anita Park and Gulfstream Park will celebrate the HBO series LUCK with a special Pick Six wager on Sunshine Millions Day Saturday. The one dollar minimum wager will have a guaranteed pool of $250,000 and will feature three races from Santa Anita and three from Gulfstream Park. HBO’s LUCK, the highly anticipated racetrack-themed series based at Santa Anita and starring Dustin Hoffman will premier the following night, Sunday, Jan. 29, at 9 p.m.

First post time on Sunshine Millions Day is 12 noon. The LUCK Pick Six will begin at approximately 1:10 p.m. with Gulfstream’s eighth race. It will conclude with Santa Anita’s sixth race, which will be run at approximately 2:37 p.m. All six races will be stakes races.

In addition to a one dollar minimum wager, the LUCK Pick Six will also offer a mandatory payout, with no carryover provision. In the event of a Santa Anita Pick Six carryover tomorrow, all Pick Six monies would be carried over to Sunday.

The LUCK Pick Six will be televised on HRTV and at http://www.facebook.com/LUCKHBO.

In addition to exciting horse racing and an attractive wagering menu, Santa Anita will offer its popular California Food Truck Festival, featuring 50 of California’s Finest Food Trucks highlighted by the Grilled Cheese Truck, the Lobsta Truck, the Ragin Cajun and the White Rabbit.

The California Craft Beer Festival also will be presented, plus the Grand Opening of the LUCK Lounge, a venue named for the HBO series.

There will be a LUCK Pick Six, a Bounceback to Strub Day, a Ms. Sunshine Millions Contest, an appearance by Ms. California, and 12,000 beach chairs given away free to all THOROUGHBREDS members in attendance at Santa Anita with paid admission, while supplies last.

Megan Nicole will open ceremonies by singing the National Anthem and there will be performances in the infield by Shiny Toy Guns, DJ Set Feat, Jeremy Dawson and Carah Faye.


HRTV’S ‘THE EDGE’ FOCUSES ON SATURDAY’S ‘LUCK’ PICK SIX

HRTV's weekly "The Edge" handicapping show offers a special edition tomorrow at 5 p.m., featuring an in-depth analysis of Saturday's $250,000 guaranteed "LUCK" Pick Six pari-mutuel wager.

The 30-minute show, featuring Kurt Hoover and Daily Racing Form's Brad Free, will present in-depth handicapping insights on each race heading into the one-time live wager, which is a precursor to the Sunday premiere of the HBO show, "LUCK."

"LUCK" takes a provocative look at the world of horse racing--the owners, gamblers, jockeys and diverse gaming industry players. The cast stars Dustin Hoffman, Dennis Farina, John Ortiz, Richard Kind, Ian Hart, Kevin Dunn, Ritchie Coster, Jason Gedrick, Jill Hennessy, Tom Payne, Kerry Condon, HRTV's Gary Stevens and Nick Nolte. The pilot is directed by acclaimed Michael Mann and written by David Milch.

Additionally, HBO has also instituted a national contest via its "LUCK" Facebook page at facebook.com/LUCKHBO, which will give participants the chance to win a top prize of $50,000. Participants are asked to select one horse in each of the six races, with that person receiving “points” if their horse finishes first, second or third, based upon actual on-track payouts. The player with the most “points” wins. Runner-up prizes include tickets to the 2012 Breeders' Cup at Santa Anita.


RUMOR STEPS UP IN CLASS IN GRADE I SANTA MONICA

Rumor, never worse than second in seven career races, makes her first start in a graded stakes Saturday, and a Grade I at that, when she runs in the $300,000 Santa Monica Stakes for older fillies and mares at seven furlongs.

“She’s doing good and she’s kind of done everything we’ve asked of her so far, so we’ll see if she’s this good,” said Hall of Fame trainer Richard Mandella. “The distance should suit her.”

Rumor, a 4-year-old daughter of Indian Charlie owned by Ramona Bass, Claiborne Farms and Adele Dilschneider, will be ridden for the first time by Hall of Fame jockey Mike Smith, who was 15 shy of 5,000 career wins going into Thursday’s races.

“I’d say he knows his way around by now,” Mandella said of Smith. “I don’t think he needs much practice. Rumor is nice to ride, doesn’t have any peculiarities, so Mike and I will probably talk about the weather rather than strategy.”

The field for the Santa Monica: Bella Diamante, David Flores; Big Tiz, Corey Nakatani; Teddy’s Promise, Victor Espinoza; Home Sweet Aspen, Joel Rosario; She’s Cheeky, Joe Talamo; Rumor, Mike Smith; and Sugarinthemorning, Rafael Bejarano.


‘PLEASANT SURPRISE’ KILLER GRACES SHARP FOR SANTA YSABEL

Killer Graces, a maiden when she was purchased privately by Hall of Fame trainer Jerry Hollendorfer for a partnership, became a Grade I winner when she captured the Hollywood Starlet on Dec. 10. Next up: Saturday’s Grade III Santa Ysabel Stakes for 3-year-old fillies at 1 1/16 miles.

The chestnut daughter of Congaree has two bullet works at Santa Anita going into the race.

“She’s training very good,” said Hollendorfer assistant Dan Ward. “She was a maiden when we bought her right after her first race (second by a nose at Hollywood Park last May 11) and she’s really been a pleasant surprise.”

Joe Talamo concurs. “It seems like every race she gets better and better,” said the 22-year-old jockey, who has ridden Killer Graces in six of her eight races, winning three, including the Hollywood Starlet. “She’s been working up a storm.”

The field for the Santa Ysabel, which goes as race three on a 10-race program: Coup de Coeur, Joel Rosario; Eden’s Moon, Martin Garcia; Batalha, Chantal Sutherland; Willa B Awesome, Martin Pedroza; Lady of Shamrock, Mike Smith; Killer Graces, Talamo; and Charm the Maker, Rafael Bejarano.

Charm the Maker blew out three furlongs on Santa Anita’s fast main track Thursday in 36.60, breezing, for Ron McAnally.


FINISH LINES: CashCall Futurity winner Liaison, prepping for the Robert Lewis Stakes on Feb. 4, worked six furlongs on Santa Anita’s fast main track Thursday in a bullet 1:11.80 for Bob Baffert, with owner Arnold Zetcher looking on . . . Sunday’s seventh race winner, Porfido, had Eoin Harty listed as the trainer of record but he took little credit after the 10-year-old Chilean-bred won. The bay horse had been trained by Humberto Ascanio, whose stock was transferred to other conditioners after he suffered a stroke late last month. “Believe me, it was all Humberto’s training,” Harty said. “I put a couple of easy works into the horse. Humberto told me what to do with him and I followed the instructions to the letter of the law, so basically I was like Humberto’s assistant. I just got all the glory.” Ascanio, former long-time assistant to the late Bobby Frankel, is recuperating at his home . . . Trainer Mike Machowsky scratched Cayanna from Saturday’s Valentine Dancer Stakes when it was discovered that she suffered an entrapped epiglottis after Monday’s breeze . . . Former Anaheim Ducks Coach Randy Carlisle is a visitor at Santa Anita’s FrontRunner Restaurant today . . . Going into today’s races, 26 players remained alive in ShowVivor . . . Due to Saturday’s early first post time of 12 noon, there will be no turf works that day.