Champion Indian Blessing drew post position 5 and was installed the 2-1 morning-line favorite in a full field for the Sentient Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Sprint at Santa Anita Oct. 21. That puts the front-running filly three outside another speedster, 12-1 Indyanne, in the seven-furlong event.
As the media descend daily on barn 27 of the Santa Anita backstretch to get a glimpse of Breeders' Cup Classic (gr. I) favorite Curlin Oct. 20, trainer Juan Reviriego quietly goes about his business next door at barn 28. He also has a Breeders' Cup contender, though Lady Sprinter doesn't have nearly as high a profile as her neighbor.
Midnight Lute, the defending Breeders' Cup Sprint (gr. I) winner, worked a half-mile at Santa Anita Oct. 20. The official clockers timed him in :46.80 on the Pro-Ride surface, while trainer Bob Baffert clocked him in :47.07.
When it comes to the Sentient Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Sprint, the Oak Tree Racing Association board members can be forgiven a little partisanship. The hosts of the 2008 Breeders' Cup Oct. 24-25 should be impartial, but fellow board member Warren Williamson bred and owns Filly & Mare Sprint contender Tiz Elemental.
Fatal Bullet, the Canadian invader for the Sentient Breeders' Cup Sprint (gr. I), worked five furlongs in 1:01.40 over the Santa Anita Pro-Ride surface Oct. 19. Trainer Reade Baker and his wife, Janis, watched the work from the grandstand, as regular jockey Eurico Rosa Da Silva was in the saddle.
Sandy Hawley may have won the Living Legends race on Tribal Chief against seven fellow Hall of Fame former riders, but nobody had more fun than Julie Krone and Chris McCarron.
Gary and Cecil Barber arrived at Clocker's Corner Oct. 19 in time to see the sunrise. However, they were paying more attention to Cost of Freedom, their $50,000 claim who has soared into contention for the Oct. 25 Sentient Breeders' Cup Sprint (gr. I).
As if they had never left the racetrack, 10 Hall of Fame jockeys spoke knowingly of tactics in the Oct. 18 "Living Legends" competition at Santa Anita -- mostly about how Angel Cordero Jr. will be herding the field from his outside post position.
Trainer Bob Baffert will be trying to accomplish something in the Sentient Flight Group Breeders' Cup Sprint (gr. I) never done before-win the race twice with the same horse.
A race still searching for its identity, the Sentient Flight Group Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Sprint has the potential to be many things.
Curlin took another step closer to the Oct. 25 Breeders' Cup Classic (gr. I) when he executed a flawless workout between races at Santa Anita Oct. 13. With regular exercise rider Carlos Rosas aboard and in company with Hawaii Calls, Curlin traveled five furlongs in :59.11, galloping out in 1:12.14.
Casino Drive, the Japan-based half-brother to two Belmont Stakes (gr. I) winners, cruised to an easy victory in a Santa Anita allowance race Oct. 12 to prepare for the Breeders' Cup Classic (gr. I).
With trainer Steve Asmussen looking on, Curlin worked over the Pro-Ride synthetic surface at Santa Anita early the morning of Oct. 6. The trainer, who has made no secret of the fact that he prefers dirt over synthetic surfaces, said that he could not make any decision about Santa Anita's new surface on the basis of just one work.
A day after the stock market dropped more than 700 points, California held its major yearling sale of 2008, making a tough market even more difficult.
Curlin, racing's $10 million horse, arrived at Santa Anita on Sunday, Sept. 28, and settled in at Barn 27. Assistant trainer Scott Blasi said that Curlin would probably make his first visit to the Santa Anita track Wednesday, Oct. 1.
Five grade I races at Oak Tree the weekend of Sept. 27-28 gave the Pro-Ride synthetic surface recently installed at Santa Anita a workout.
It didn't take majority owner Jess Jackson and trainer Steve Asmussen long to make plans for Curlin, winner of the Sept. 27 Jockey Club Gold Cup Invitational (gr. I) at Belmont Park.
Tucked between a weekend of Breeders' Cup prep races and the California Cup showcasing the local product, California's fall select yearling sale offers a slimmer but more select catalog than in years past.
Oak Tree's opening day, Sept. 24, brought sweltering temperatures back to Southern California, almost as if by design to test the new Pro-Ride synthetic surface. The surface heated up, but after the day's six races over it (the other three being on turf), reviews were generally optimistic.
Del Mar's traditional seven-week summer meet could undergo some changes in the next few years, as Hollywood Park heads for development and the entire Southern California racing calendar adjusts.
Several horses were out galloping on the renovated Santa Anita track surface Aug. 31. Training stables are just starting to ship in from Del Mar.
Look in the winner's circle after any offspring of Unusual Heat wins a race and you'll likely see a petite, brown-haired woman hugging the jockey, high-fiving the trainer, or congratulating the owner.
The elimination of exclusive account deposit wagering contracts and meeting the challenges of racetrack closures were among the subjects addressed at the Thoroughbred Owners of California's annual membership meeting Aug. 16 at Del Mar.
Large piles of material dot Santa Anita's backside parking lot, as work continues on the overhaul of the track's synthetic surface. Repairs to the drainage system are expected to be finished soon, with the next step being the placement of the base grit layer, according to Ian Pearse, founder and president of Pro-Ride Racing Australia.
Lava Man, a seven-time grade I-winner and earner of $5,268,706, has been retired.
A steroid-free Breeders' Cup took another step forward when the California Horse Racing Board reclassified the four most common anabolic steroids, effectively outlawing the substances for horses in training in the state.
Water, designed to keep Del Mar's Polytrack more consistent from morning to afternoon, also led to three track records opening day, July 16, at the Southern California track. The five races carded over the synthetic surface were run at four different distances, with new marks set at 5 1/2 furlongs, six furlongs and a mile.
The Taste of Arcadia will also be offering a taste of the Breeders' Cup World Championships when more than 1,200 people are expected to attend the Sept. 22 event.
Del Mar fans became used to seeing multi-millionaire Sarafan from 2001 to 2005. This summer they and the rest of the country can see the gelding on television in the new series, "The Cleaner" on the A&E network.
Sending racehorses to slaughter will not be tolerated at Suffolk Downs racetrack in Boston. Track management will now deny trainers stalls if they sell a horse for slaughter. This latest move bolsters other efforts underway to protect Thoroughbred racehorses, including retirement funding already in place by the track and local horsemen.
"I hope we...
Pepper Oaks Farm in Santa Ynez, Calif., will close its doors effective July 1, owner Patricia Youngman said in a June 26 release.
Phoenix owner Todd Finch bought the sale topper at the Barretts summer sale June 24 as his first venture into Southern California racing. Trainer Anthony Saavedra successfully bid $40,000 on behalf of Finch's Val-U-Chem for Leesider, a 4-year-old son of champion Bertrando.
Hundreds of former racehorses owe their second careers to Leigh Gray. Manager of Dr. Don Shields' lay-up facility, Winner's Circle Ranch in Bradbury, Calif., Gray not only rehabilitates racehorses for a living, she does it in her spare time.
Millionaire and multiple stakes winner Nashoba's Key suffered a freak stall accident at Hollywood Park and had to be euthanized May 28.
Replacement of the asphalt base is likely the next step in the ongoing efforts to improve Santa Anita Park's synthetic surface.
A two-day flooding of Santa Anita Park's synthetic surface is one of the final tests management plans before making a decision on the future of the main-track surface. Track president Ron Charles said the surface will be flooded following training hours May 28.
The Barretts May 2-year-old in training sale saw decreases in the number of horses sold, gross, average, and median price, while the sale topper, a daughter of Harlan's Holiday, brought $700,000 to top the one-day sale.
Hollywood Park may be celebrating its 70th anniversary season, but the question remains, will the Southern California track be around in 2009 for its 71st? "I just don't know -- nobody knows," said F. Jack Liebau, Hollywood Park president, on opening day, April 23.
Now that the Santa Anita winter meeting has ended, work can begin in earnest on the choice of main-track surface. Following a comprehensive series of tests on the current main track, a decision is probable sometime in May, Santa Anita president Ron Charles said April 22.
The Southern California racetrack community gathered for a rare chance to hear Mace Siegel make a speech when the Gregson Foundation honored him and his daughter, Samantha, at a dinner in Pasadena April 15.
Perfect Drift had his second three-furlong work at Santa Anita March 31 for trainer Richard Mandella. The 9-year-old earner of $4,680,691 clocked :37 flat on Santa Anita's synthetic surface and appears eager to get back to the races.
Magnificience, who burst into prominence last year with a two-for-two record by a combined 11 1/2 lengths, worked five furlongs in :58.60 on the main track at Santa Anita for Bruce Headley March 24.
Perfect Drift has been galloping at Santa Anita and is nearing his first breeze, trainer Richard Mandella said March 23.
Leading Santa Anita jockey Rafael Bejarano was thrown heavily to the ground in the stretch of the final race March 13 when his mount, Parisian Art, had an apparent heart attack and died. The jockey was put into an ambulance on a stretcher and taken to nearby Arcadia Methodist Hospital.
Experts from all avenues of the racing industry presented statistics and opinions on synthetic surfaces and Santa Anita track president Ron Charles said the track will replace its Cushion Track as a six-hour special meeting called by the California Horse Racing Board (CHRB) concluded Feb. 20.
Following an afternoon of inconsistencies in Santa Anita's reconstituted racing surface, the main track appeared to be back in shape the morning of Feb. 14. Trainers went from scratching horses late in the card Feb. 13 because of their concern to commenting that the track was the best it has been so far the next morning.
Following a test of several horses galloping over the backstretch, Santa Anita management has given the go-ahead to return to racing Saturday, Feb. 9. The track has been closed since Sunday, Feb. 3, for a renovation of its Cushion Track surface to fix the drainage problem that has plagued the track.
Ian Pearse of Melbourne, Australia, who is receiving plenty of attention these days as the man expected to fix Santa Anita's troubled Cushion Track synthetic surface, answers questions about synthetic surfaces.
The Feb. 3 card included the San Antonio Handicap (gr. II), featuring the likes of Student Council, Awesome Gem, and Zappa. Racing secretary Rick Hammerle said that the San Antonio has been rescheduled for Feb. 9.
Ian Pearse of Pro-Ride Racing Australia stands ready to begin fixing Santa Anita's beleaguered Cushion Track surface as soon as the final race is completed Feb. 3.
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