In less than two weeks, Racketeer moves from a restricted downhill stakes race at about 6 ½ furlongs on turf to a mile and one-sixteenth Grade II stakes on Pro-Ride in Saturday’s $150,000 San Pasqual Handicap.
That is not uncharacteristic of Barry Abrams’ training strategy. “He’s a good horse and he fits in the race,” Abrams said in explaining the move for Racketeer, who last raced on Dec. 29. “He was one of the favorites (7-2) in the San Pasqual last year. He’s improving and this is the place to run.”
The field for the 72nd running of the San Pasqual: Mostacolli Mort, Garrett Gomez, 114; Marchfield, Patrick Husbands, 118; Informed, Michael Baze, 113; Cowboy Cal, John Velazquez, 117; Noble Court, Mike Smith, 114; Past the Point, Rafael Bejarano, 116; Well Armed, Aaron Gryder, 121; Magnum, Martin Pedroza, 113; Blue Exit, no rider, 113; Ball Four, Christopher DeCarlo, 118; Racketeer, Chantal Sutherland, 113; and Slew’s Tizzy, Joel Rosario, 116.
Well Armed worked three furlongs on Pro-Ride Wednesday in :36.80 for Eoin Harty, while Racketeer went four furlongs in :50.60.
BAFFERT COULD GO FOR SANTA YSABEL GOLD WITH THREESOME
Bob Baffert could run all three fillies he has nominated to the Grade III Santa Ysabel Stakes on Sunday: Century Park, Jemmealey and Toro Bonito.
“They’re all good fillies,” said Baffert, who supervised workouts for them on Pro-Ride Monday. Each went five furlongs: Century Park in 1:01.60, and Jemmealey and Toro Bonito in :59.60 each.
“Toro Bonito grinds it out,” Baffert said of the daughter of El Corredor, who was third at 14-1 to Laragh in the Grade I Hollywood Starlet on Dec. 13. “Century Park is doing good. I always wanted to try her on synthetic.” The Florida-bred daughter of General Meeting has run four of her six starts on turf, including the last three.
Probable for the 42nd Santa Ysabel, for 3-year-old fillies at 1 1/16 miles: Century Park, no rider; Dave’s Revenge, Victor Espinoza; Haka, Garrett Gomez; Jemmealey, no rider; Lady Lumberjack, Rafael Bejarano; Toro Bonito, David Flores; and Will O Way, Joel Rosario.
FRANKEL STILL GIVES SANTA ANITA’S PRO-RIDE ‘THUMBS UP’
Bobby Frankel, Santa Anita’s career leader in training victories with 904, said Santa Anita’s Pro-Ride surface was “the best one (synthetic) I’ve ever seen,” before the meet began on Dec. 26, and holds to that opinion despite a recent stir over a spate of mishaps during the first five days of racing.
“The track looks pretty good this morning,” the Hall of Fame trainer said Wednesday. “I’ve had no bad luck on it. I won three stakes and five races overall so far. In the mornings, it could be a little different, but anything that’s happened to my horses was minor, like foot bruises, but they’re OK now.
“I’ve heard about the breakdowns, and they get you worried, but I’m still OK with the track so far.”
FREE FRIDAYS, DOLLAR MENU, A HIT IN DEBUT, CONTINUE AT SANTA ANITA
With the first of Santa Anita’s Free Friday promotions a rousing success—9,269 fans attended on track last Friday—the second will be offered this Friday and continue the remainder of the meet that ends April 19.
In addition to free general admission, box seating will be available free of charge Fridays on a first-come, first-served basis. Fans also will be offered a $1 menu, which includes beer, soda, hot dogs and popcorn.
FINISH LINES: Santa Anita icon Eddie Logan remained at Arcadia Methodist Hospital Wednesday after suffering a seizure Saturday, but he was out of Intensive Care. He is expected to remain at the hospital for a few more days. The 98-year-old Logan, who operates a shoe shine stand outside the racing office, has been at Santa Anita on opening day every year since the track opened on Christmas Day, 1934 . . . Jon Court plans to ride throughout the upcoming Oaklawn Park meet that starts Jan. 16 except for a brief stretch at Santa Anita. “I’ll ride at Santa Anita from Jan. 20 through Jan. 25, through the Sunshine Millions, then return to ride out Oaklawn,” said the 48-year-old jockey. “Business has been quiet here, but the only commitment I’ve made so far is to ride at the Oaklawn meet.” Through Sunday, Court had one win, two seconds and three thirds from 19 mounts . . . Bruce Headley reports stakes winners Surf Cat, Street Boss and Magnificience have been retired. “Surf Cat will stand at Old English Rancho, Street Boss will stand at Darley Stud, and Magnificience was sold to Darley Stud at the recent Fasig-Tipton sale,” the trainer said . . . Tiago, winner of the 2007 Santa Anita Derby, worked six furlongs at Hollywood Park for John Shirreffs Wednesday in 1:12.40 as he prepares for the $1 million Santa Anita Handicap on March 7 . . . Trainer Jack Carava will be Jerry Antonucci’s guest at the Today’s Racing Digest seminar on Saturday, 11 a.m., in the East Paddock Gardens.