SPECHT HOPES ‘LADY’ PUTS BEST FOOT FORWARD IN CAL CUP MATRON

Lady Railrider rarely runs a poor race, but every once in a while she has to take a load off her feet. With five wins, five seconds and three thirds from 16 career starts, the 4-year-old daughter of Ride the Rails is a gem of consistency, but she’s a victim of tender feet.

That’s why she hasn’t raced since last April 25 at Hollywood Park, but trainer Steve Specht is cautiously confident the dark bay filly will turn in another solid effort in Saturday’s CTT/TOC $100,000 California Cup Matron at 1 1/16 miles.

“I turned her out for a couple months after her race at Hollywood,” Specht said. “She’s got really bad feet on her. She’s a sound horse but just has a real thin hoof wall and gets quarter cracks easily, so her feet were working towards where we pretty much had nothing to put a shoe onto.

“She’s training really good. If I can train one, she should be pretty tough. She’s consistent, though. She runs her race all the time, this filly. But it’s been six months between races, and it’s a mile and a sixteenth, so . . . but I’ve laid it to her, and she’s handled everything pretty well and shipped down good.

“I brought her (from Northern California) Monday morning about 11 o’clock, and when I took her to the track Tuesday she was on her toes. If she stays that way between now and Saturday, she’ll run real big.”

Lady Railrider has earned $306,700 for owners Mr. and Mrs. Larry Williams of Boise, Idaho.

The field for the California Cup Matron, which is Saturday’s second of 10 races: Lady Railrider, Frank Alvarado, 121, 5-2; Smooth Performer, Garrett Gomez, 117, 2-1; Ale’s Pride, Christian Santiago Reyes, 114, 20-1; Gambler’s Justice, Tyler Baze, 117, 7-2; and Hot n’ Dusty, Alex Solis, 121, 8-5.

Also tomorrow, an official 2009 Cal Cup XX T-shirt will be given free with each paid admission at Santa Anita, while supplies last. There will be a $500,000 guaranteed Pick Four pool.

First post time Saturday is 12 noon. Gates open at 10 a.m.


ESPINOZA SWEET ON ‘CANDY’ FOR GOODWOOD STAKES

Victor Espinoza is getting acquainted with Chocolate Candy, up close and personal. On Oct. 10, the 37-year-old jockey will be riding the 3-year-old son of Candy Ride trained by Jerry Hollendorfer in the Grade I $350,000 Goodwood Stakes, an event rider and conditioner hope will lead to the $5 million Breeders’ Cup Classic on Nov. 7.

Prior to last Saturday, when Espinoza worked Chocolate Candy, he had never come within shouting distance of the colt.

“It was the first time I was on him, and he felt good,” Espinoza said after working Chocolate Candy six furlongs on Pro-Ride in 1:12.80. “In fact, it was the first time I saw him close up. I liked the way he went. It was nothing serious, and the track was a little slow, but I think it was one of the best works of the day. He’s doing great and he likes this track. He’s real comfortable right now, mentally and physically.”

In other Goodwood news: Charlie Figueroa, Mine That Bird’s groom, hot walker and general man for all seasons, said the Kentucky Derby winner galloped two miles on Pro-Ride at 7:15 a.m. Friday. “He goes out the same time every morning,” Figueroa said.

Probable for the 28th Goodwood: Chocolate Candy, Victor Espinoza; Colonel John, Garrett Gomez; Gitano Hernando, Kieren Fallon; Mine That Bird, Calvin Borel; Monzante, Joel Rosario; Parading, Rafael Bejarano; Richard’s Kid, no rider, Tiago, Mike Smith, and Tres Borachos, Joe Talamo.


ADVANCE WAGERING ON ARC SATURDAY; HRTV TO AIR PRESTIGIOUS RACE

Oak Tree will offer advance wagering Saturday on the Qatar Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe

from Longchamp on Sunday. Wagering will be offered on several stakes from the Paris track, with the Arc going as race six.

On Sunday, Clockers’ Corner will open for Longchamp wagering at 6:45 a.m., 30 minutes before the scheduled running of the Arc.

Also, HRTV will present live coverage of the prestigious Arc and additional races on the program. The $5.8 million Arc, the richest race in Europe, will be headlined by one of Thoroughbred racing's brightest performers, Sea the Stars. The five-time Group 1 winner is expected to be the odds-on choice in a big field slated to go postward in the 1 1/2-mile turf race, and could be headed to Oak Tree for the $5 million Breeders’ Cup Classic on Nov. 7.


HRTV's Sunday coverage will begin at 6 a.m. HRTV will show a number of other outstanding races on the Longchamp card, including a pair of Group 1 events.


SHOWVIVOR BEGINS SATURDAY AT OAK TREE

Oak Tree’s popular on-line handicapping contest ShowVivor presented by the Las Vegas Hilton begins tomorrow, offering $5,000 in prize money to participants who must pick a horse to finish no worse than third each racing day.

Players who survive the longest during the meet will earn their share of the $5,000, with the winner receiving $3,000.

Those interested can sign up on Oak Tree’s website, oaktreeracing.com


FLORES, GOMEZ IN SYNC WITH AGENT RON ANDERSON

Competition is unforgiving in the saddle and in the jocks’ room, but with Garrett Gomez and David Flores, friendship overcame all.

That’s the reason Flores is now represented by agent Ron Anderson, who directed operations for seven-time Eclipse Award winner Jerry Bailey before he retired in 2003, and now calls the shots for three-time national earnings leader and 2007 and 2008 Eclipse Award winner Garrett Gomez.

“Garrett has been very good friends with David for years,” Anderson explained. “David was down and out a little bit, and Garrett asked him to give me a call to see if I could help, and that’s how we got together. It was that simple.

“It was Garrett’s friendship with David and his concern in trying to help him out. He put me on the case and things have been good. I’ve only been with him a month, but it’s been a good month. He won a stake in Chicago (Arlington-Washington Futurity) on a real nice 2-year-old (Dixie Band) for Wayne Catalano because Garrett couldn’t ride back.

“Garrett and David work real well together. They understand. They’re real professional, good guys, and care about each other.”

Anderson, a Las Vegas native who reached racing’s apex with Bailey, has represented two jockeys simultaneously before, but not recently.

“I had Bailey and Keiren Fallon in Florida, and I had (Kent) Desormeaux and (Gary) Stevens, but the best run I ever had when I had two riders was when I had Stevens and Chris Antley,” Anderson said. “That was pretty magical. That was how Chris got on Charismatic (to win the 1999 Kentucky Derby), because Gary couldn’t ride him back.”

Flores rode the odd horse this meet at Fairplex Park, where he was king until he sought greener pastures and was dethroned by current monarch Martin Pedroza.

“I have to keep knocking on different doors of trainers I used to ride for, and now I’m opening them again,” Flores said in explaining his foray to Pomona, where he is second in career victories behind Pedroza. “Riding there is a good opportunity for me to stay in shape, and I love riding there. Pomona’s always given me a beautiful rush. Anytime I go there and win some races, it’s great.”

Richie Silverstein, Pedroza’s long-time agent, represented Flores at Fairplex Park, but Anderson has his book at Oak Tree and beyond. “I don’t have any problems with agents,” said Flores, who enjoyed a “good run” with Brad Pegram for four years, “but Ron’s got a lot of great connections, and that should help a lot. I think it’s a good combination.”


FINISH LINES: Victor Espinoza was en route to Hoosier Park Friday to ride Swaps Stakes winner Misremembered Saturday in the Indiana Derby, necessitating taking off his three scheduled mounts at Oak Tree today . . . Lava Man worked four furlongs on Hollywood Park’s Cushion Track Friday in :50.20. “He was just breezing,” trainer Doug O’Neill said of the rags-to-riches gelding on the comeback trail. “It’s very exciting. He’s doing everything right. He’s sound and he looks like the picture of health.” O’Neill wasn’t specific about a possible return race, but said, “something at Hollywood Park makes sense.” Also at Hollywood Friday, Breeders’ Cup Classic contender Rail Trip went five furlongs for Ron Ellis in 1:01.20 under exercise rider Jose Dominguez. “He went perfect,” Ellis said of the Hollywood Gold Cup winner . . . Jeff Mullins has won with three of his first four starters the first two days at Oak Tree. Mullins won the 2007 Oak Tree training title with 13 wins and was second to Steve Knapp in 2005, 16-15 . . . Frank Mirahmadi was a visitor at Clockers’ Corner Friday. The impressionist extraordinaire heads north, where he will call races at the Fresno Fair from Oct. 7 through 18

. . . Garrett Gomez is sharing his celebrity on Los Angeles-area billboards with the likes of Larry King and Kim Kardashian as part of the Los Angeles Dodgers’ "My Town" campaign.