Belmont Stakes winner Summer Bird arrived in good order at Santa Anita Monday to prepare for the $5 million Breeders’ Cup Classic hosted by the Oak Tree Racing Association on Nov. 7. The leading contender for male 3-year-old honors this year was on the track on a rainy Wednesday morning, galloping a mile and an eighth.
“He’ll breeze five-eighths on Saturday,” trainer Tim Ice said of the son of Birdstone, who followed his Belmont triumph with wins in the Travers Stakes and the Jockey Club Gold Cup on Oct. 3. In winning that race, Summer Bird became the first 3-year-old since Easy Goer in 1989 to win the Belmont, the Travers and then beat older horses in the Gold Cup.
Ice said he plans three workouts over Santa Anita’s Pro-Ride surface prior to the mile and a quarter Classic. Summer Bird is stabled at Barn 25.
Summer Bird’s regular rider is Kent Desormeaux, who captured three consecutive Oak Tree titles from 1990 through 1992.
QUEEN OFTHE CATSLE SEEKS MADDY REPEAT SATURDAY
The most prominent thing about Queen Ofthe Catsle, aside from the curious spelling of her name, is her consistency on the race track.
The 5-year-old daughter of Tale of the Cat has earned $410,219 from seven wins and seven seconds in 17 starts, and she seeks her second straight win in the Grade III $100,000 Sen. Ken Maddy Handicap at Oak Tree on Saturday. She won it last year and, in her most recent race, was beaten a nose in the Turf Amazon Handicap at Philadelphia Park.
“We went there because it was a $200,000 purse, but she just missed,” said trainer Howard Zucker. “She’s very consistent, and the Maddy this year is of Grade I caliber. We were always very high on her. She always showed a lot of talent.
“We had a lot of trouble keeping her off the lead, and if you check her past performances, you’ll see that her worst races were when they weren’t patient with her.
“She’d hit the lead and then get beat by the same horses she passed. She’s getting patient rides now, and she’s always right there. The only races she’s been worse than second were when she was too close to the pace.”
Owned by Carl Grether of Camarillo, Queen Ofthe Catsle would become the third back-to-back Maddy winner, joining Belleski (2003-04) and Bel’s Starlet (1991-92).
The Sen. Maddy, run as the Autumn Days Handicap prior to 1999, is named for the former California legislator and strong advocate for Thoroughbred racing who died Feb. 19, 1999, after a valiant battle with lung cancer.
The field for the Sen. Maddy: Pasar Silbano, David Flores, 112; Gotta Have Her, Tyler Baze, 122; Royal Taat, Joel Rosario, 117; Reba Is Tops, Joe Talamo, 118; Tuscan Evening, Victor Espinoza, 121; Queen Ofthe Catsle, 120; Annihilation, Jose Valdivia Jr., 112; Mohegan Sky, Richard Migliore, 115; Gadget Queen, Michael Baze, 115; Porto Marmay, Corey Nakatani, 177; and Flashover, Alonso Quinonez, 115.
HRTV UNVEILS NEW BROADBAND CHANNEL
Horse racing fans will now have access to HRTV's full complement of racing action, and original programming, as the network debuts a unique new broadband channel in conjunction with the launch of its re-designed website.
Powered by NeuLion, Inc., the global leader in internet television technology innovations, HRTV's broadband channel, accessible online via http://www.hrtv.com, allows fans to stream HRTV's live television feed 24 hours per day, seven days per week.
Subscription rates to the state-of-the-art broadband offering are: $9.99 per month, $49.99 for six months or $89.99 for 12 months. As an introductory offer, subscribers may sign up for an annual subscription prior to Dec. 31, 2009, and receive 12 months for only $49.99. Detailed subscription information is available at http://www.hrtv.com.
"In collaboration with NeuLion, HRTV has developed a platform that will benefit horse fans across the globe and ensure that the great sport of horseracing is well-positioned as the digital future unfolds," said James M. Bates, executive vice president and general manager, HRTV. "As trends toward convergence continue and our distribution partners seek creative strategies to leverage content across all devices, HRTV and HRTV.com are now well-positioned to play a meaningful role in the emerging world of broadband video."
HRTV is a 24-hour, television-based multimedia network dedicated to horse racing, as well as other entertaining equestrian events. HRTV currently is available via cable, telco video and satellite in approximately 18 million homes.
FINISH LINES: Santa Anita was hit with an inch and a quarter of rain through 7 a.m. Wednesday morning. “As far as I know, everybody’s given me good reports on the track,” said track superintendent Richard Tedesco . . .Traveling lad Keith Williams is on hand at Santa Anita with Goodwood Stakes winner Gitano Hernando. A decision from owner Team Valor and trainer Marco Botti is expected soon on whether the European invader will be supplemented to the Breeders’ Cup Classic . . . Eoin Harty reports Goodwood runner-up Colonel John came out of the race well, and it’s on to the Classic . . . Arkansas Derby winner Papa Clem is back at Oak Tree with trainer Gary Stute after going through R&R at trainer Vladimir Cerin’s facility in Bradbury . . . Golden Doc A leaves today for Kentucky, where she will go on the block at the November Keeneland sale, trainer Barry Abrams said. A 4-year-old California-bred daughter of Unusual Heat, Golden Doc A has a 3-6-2 record from 26 starts, with earnings of $580,126, a good portion coming from her victory in the Grade I Las Virgenes Stakes on Feb. 9, 2008. She finished second here on Monday in the Louis R. Rowan Stakes . . . Alex Solis rides at Keeneland Friday and Saturday, agent Brian Beach reports. Tied for third in the Oak Tree standings with eight wins through Monday, Solis rides Fastongrass for Julio Canani on Friday in the $100,000 Buffalo Trace Franklin County Stakes for fillies and mares at 5 1/2 furlongs on turf, and on Saturday rides His Greatness for trainer Marco Salazar in the Grade III Perryville Stakes at about seven furlongs and Hameildaeme for trainer Jamie Lloyd in the Grade I $500,000 Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup for 3-year-old fillies at 1 1/8 miles on turf . . . Friday is the third “Free Friday” at Oak Tree this meet. In addition to free General Admission, there will be free box seats while available, and $1 hot dogs, beer, soda, popcorn and coffee. First post time is 2 p.m. . . .Trainer Vladimir Cerin will be Jerry Antonucci’s guest Saturday at the Today’s Racing Digest seminar, 11 a.m. in the East Paddock Gardens . . . Oak Tree is formulating a clothes drive to benefit backside workers and their families. Slightly used jackets, sweatshirts, jeans, shoes, socks, blankets, towels and sundry items for men, women and children are welcome and will be distributed free of charge to the members of the stable community and their families. Barrels for drop-offs are available at Santa Anita’s Association Gate, the Paddock Bridge and the Executive Tunnel outside of the Operations Department . . . There were 368 contestants alive through Sunday in Oak Tree’s online handicapping contest, ShowVivor.