Jockey David Flores capped a four-win day at Santa Anita on Thursday by guiding Hannibal Lad to a three-quarter length victory in the featured $79,300 seventh race at 1 1/4 mile on turf.
New Zealand-bred Master Belt came from well off the pace to register a 68-1 shocker in the $100,000 Morvich Handicap (gr. IIIT) on the downhill turf course at Santa Anita's Oak Tree meeting Sunday.
When it comes to Santa Anita's unique downhill turf course at about 6 1/2 furlongs, the current "horse for course" is El Cielo, who goes in Sunday's $100,000 Morvich Handicap (gr. IIIT) on closing day of the 2002 Oak Tree meeting.
Jose Valdivia Jr. is a rising star in the bright constellation that is the Southern California riding colony. His recent win aboard Val Royal in the Breeders' Cup Mile (gr. IT) showed the rest of the world what two continents have already learned--Valdivia, 27, is a profound talent who is carrying forth the grand racing tradition of his family.
Wally Dollase-trained Good Journey survived a bumping incident in the stretch drive to win the $500,000 Citation Handicap (gr. IIT) on Saturday at Hollywood Park. Under Chris McCarron, Good Journey completed the 1 1/16 miles in 1:44.30 on "good" turf.
Bidding for an Eclipse Award as 2001 Turf Champion, Breeders' Cup Mile winner Val Royal will be a solid favorite to capture Hollywood Park's grade II, $500,000 Citation Handicap on Saturday before shipping to Asia to compete in the $2.3-million Hong Kong Cup on Dec. 16.
Val Royal, winner of the Breeders' Cup World Thoroughbred Championship Mile in his last start Oct. 27 at Belmont Park, will run in the $500,000 Citation Handicap at Hollywood Park Saturday, trainer Julio Canani confirmed.
Super Quercus, who was scratched from Monday's San Gabriel Handicap (gr. IIT) due to what trainer Bobby Frankel called "a mistake in medication," will run Thursday in a Santa Anita optional claiming race which also features the return of multiple stakes winner Hawksley Hill. The six-horse field in the one-mile turf race also includes Morvich Handicap (gr. IIIT) winner El Cielo.
El Cielo rallied from fourth at the head of the stretch to collar pacesetter Texas Glitter in the final strides to win the Hollywood Turf Express (gr. III). The 6-year-old prevailed by a neck while covering the 5 ½ furlongs in 1:01 3/5.
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