At a Thoroughbred Owners of California summit meeting Feb. 13 at Santa Anita, the subject of racetrack surfaces dominated all other issues.
Santa Anita canceled its Feb. 6 card due to heavy rains in Southern California. The wash out of the program impacts important prep races for both the Santa Anita Derby (gr. I) and Santa Anita Handicap (gr. I).
Craig Family Trust helps Barretts January mixed sale by attracting buyers worldwide.
Pete Parrella has reached an agreement in principle with Bo Hirsch to stand Hirsch's homebred Papa Clem at Parrella's Legacy Ranch near Clements, Calif.
Buyers from around the world were attracted to this year's Barretts January Mixed sale because of the Craig Family Trust reduction sale.
Rachel Alexandra gets the main prize, but partisan crowd shows admiration for both at the 2009 Eclipse Awards.
Santa Anita Park officials have indicated the California track's main racing surface will be replaced, but it remains to be seen if the new surface will be synthetic or dirt.
Jerry and Ann Moss decided at 3 a.m. on Jan. 16 to keep champion Zenyatta in training for 2010.
When Zenyatta worked a half-mile in :48 Jan. 6 at Hollywood Park, speculation continued that she may race again. The more mundane explanation revolved around cold weather in Kentucky and an injured exercise rider.
There was some disappointment in the Lava Man camp after the soon-to-be 9-year-old gelding faded to last in his comeback from retirement in the San Gabriel Handicap (gr. IIT) at Santa Anita Dec. 27.
European trainer John Gosden hopes to stun the racing world with Rainbow View in the Ladies Classic Nov. 6, like he did with Raven's Pass in the Classic last year.
El Gato Malo's owners had entered their Turf Sprint contender in an optional claiming race Nov. 5, fearing they would get shut out of the big dance. But a spot in the Turf Sprint came open and now they feel they have a shot.
John Sadler wins races by the bushel in Southern California and is more often than not on the top of the trainer standings at each race meet. He has yet to win a Breeders' Cup race, but 2009 could be his year.
California Flag, the 7-2 favorite for the Breeders' Cup Turf Sprint, is fine after he unseated assistant trainer Colleen Hartford and galloped back to his barn at Santa Anita Nov. 4.
The Morvich Handicap (gr. IIIT) winner is 7-2 in the morning line.
Godolphin's Music Note was third in the Breeders' Cup Ladies Classic last year. Careless Jewel, second choice at 2-1, is on the rail.
Europe's Mastercraftsman is a strong favorite at 6-5 in the Breeders' Cup Dirt Mile.
Careless Jewel has taken Vern and Donna Dubinsky to winner's circles they never thought possible, especially for a horse who cost only $40,000.
Cocoa Beach and Music Note have been here before. In 2008, at the end of long campaigns, they were still able to finish second and third, respectively, to Zenyatta in the Breeders' Cup Ladies' Classic (gr. I) at Santa Anita.
California Flag has an opportunity that few horses ever get -- a do-over at the Breeders' Cup. A diabolically fast pace cooked him in last year's inaugural Breeders' Cup Turf Sprint, but the improved version of California Flag may be much tougher in this year's running.
Zenyatta gave trainer John Shirreffs and jockey Mike Smith precisely what they asked for Oct. 31 in her final work before the Breeders' Cup. With regular workmate Green Cat providing a target, she worked six furlongs in 1:12 2/5 at Hollywood Park at about 9 a.m.
Rachel Alexandra isn't coming and Zenyatta is leaning to the Breeders' Cup Classic (gr. I). However, anyone who believes that doesn't leave much for the Breeders' Cup Ladies' Classic (gr. I) needs to think again.
What could be more specialized than horses that like to sprint on the turf? Yet all manner of runners make up the 22 pre-entries in the Breeders' Cup Turf Sprint, which drew the largest field of all 14 Breeders' Cup races.
Zenyatta worked six furlongs in 1:11.20 at Hollywood Park Oct. 23 in her first work since winning the Oct. 10 Lady's Secret Stakes (gr. I). Jockey Mike Smith was aboard, and the mare worked in company with Green Day and Sabina Fay.
California-bred Tiznow proved a drawing card at the Barretts California Cup Yearling Sale Oct. 5. The stallion's only offspring in the catalog, a California-bred daughter of the Lion Hearted mare Storm Hearted, topped the sale at $120,000.
With a catalog consisting of nearly 90% California-breds, this year's Barretts yearling sale is well-positioned for Oct. 5, two days after California Cup XX at Oak Tree. Renamed the inaugural California Cup yearling sale, the auction will begin at 11 a.m. (PDT) at the Hinds Pavilion on the Barretts sale grounds in Pomona, Calif.
Even-money morning-line favorite Grazen drew post position 3 for the $200,000 California Cup Classic presented by City National Bank at the draw breakfast Sept. 30.
Lava Man, the former claimer who earned more than $5 million, has returned to training at Doug O'Neill's Hollywood Park barn. The 8-year-old gelding worked three furlongs in :36 flat Sept. 23 at Hollywood, his first official work.
Six horses have died from catastrophic breakdowns at Del Mar during a 10-day span that includes the first week of racing. Three occurred during morning training on Polytrack, two happened during races on Polytrack, and one was in a turf race.
A treatment of procaine penicillin for an infected hind foot more than two weeks ago will keep Hal and Patti Earnhardt's Indian Blessing out of the July 11 Princess Rooney Handicap (gr. I) during Summit of Speed Saturday at Calder Race Course.
Big City Man, who defeated champion Indian Blessing in this year's Dubai Golden Shaheen (UAE-I), died July 5 of a strangulated cecum, several hours after a six-furlong work in 1:13.40 at Hollywood Park.
The Inglewood City Council approved a final environmental impact report and a significant land use revision June 3 that would allow the conversion of the 238-acre Hollywood Park racetrack site to a mixed use development.
A son of Tiznow sold for $300,000 topped the Barretts 2-year-old sale May 11, as the average fell along the lines of most juvenile sales this winter and spring. Buy-backs and withdrawals of some of the most buzz-worthy horses contributed to the 30.25% decline in average to $37,087.
While some Florida consignors bypassed this year's Barretts March select sale of 2-year-olds in training, most of the major players have returned in force for the company's May juvenile auction.
Whether Hollywood Park's cancellation of its April 30 card due to insufficient entries will require a move to a four-day week is something track officials aren't ready to discuss. The cancellation resulted when attempts on both April 26 and April 28 to fill the Thursday card failed to yield enough entries to conduct racing.
Mike Pegram is quick with a joke when his horses win, but the owner said he felt very humbled when the Southern California racing industry turned out to honor him and his wife, Mary Ellen.
CARMA invited representatives from several California rescue organizations to a roundtable April 8 at Santa Anita to discuss ways the groups could work together to save Thoroughbreds and rehabilitate them for second careers.
Harvesting a horse's stem cells at birth through the umbilical cord or as a young horse may give it an advantage later if it develops health problems. Researchers from the University of California-Davis spoke to a group of owners and breeders March 22 at the California Thoroughbred Breeders Association office about stem-cell research they are performing, and the future of stem-cell therapy.
A son of Horse of the Year Tiznow brought $650,000 to top the Barretts sale March 10 at the Hinds Pavilion in Pomona, Calif. Jess Jackson's Stonestreet Stables purchased the colt on a telephone bid from the Wavertree Stables consignment
Barretts is offering a trimmer catalog for its 2009 March select sale of 2-year-olds in training, which is in line with the belt-tightening mood throughout the country. The Southern California auction company has cataloged 124 horses for its March 10 auction, down from 191 in the 2008 book.
A Distant View filly zipped a furlong in :09 4/5 for the fastest time of those cataloged for the Barretts March sale.
Richard Shapiro, former chairman of the California Horse Racing Board, has been hired as a consultant by the newly-formed California Horse Racing Alliance. Craig Fravel, the alliance's president and the executive vice-president of the Del Mar Thoroughbred Club, confirmed the hiring of Shapiro shortly after the group's formation in recent weeks.
Because of the owners, trainers and jockeys who frequent The Pamplemousse restaurant near Del Mar in Southern California, co-owner and chef Jeffrey Strauss gets more than his share of tips.
Two $50,000 fillies of racing age highlighted the Barretts January mixed sale, which saw the average decline slightly from last year and the median improve. With other sales around the country experiencing double-digit decreases, sales officials expressed pleasure at the final figures.
England's Triple Crown finale, the Ladbrokes St. Leger (Eng-I), isn't considered a normal route to the Breeders' Cup Turf (gr. IT). But Michael Stoute hasn't ruled England's training ranks for years by playing it safe.
Exercise riders have a special trash talk all their own, usually along the lines of how the horse they are aboard can trounce anything on four legs in this century or last. That's why few people paid any attention in 2007 when Steve Willard, riding a huge unraced filly from John Shirreffs' barn, told a Hollywood Park outrider, "This is the second coming of Ruffian."
With five breakdowns, including three fatalities, in the first five days of racing, Santa Anita's synthetic surface has again come under the microscope.
Santa Anita Park dodged the rain, which hit Southern California Christmas day but left skies sunny for the traditional Dec. 26 opening day. A crowd of 33,112 attended, an increase of 9.8% over the 30,156 fans at the 2007 opener.
The stallion Unusual Heat broke the California record for progeny earnings in one year Dec. 11.
With the economy affecting all aspects of the racing industry, Santa Anita has adjusted its overnight purses downward about 10% for the upcoming winter-spring meeting that begins Dec. 26.
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