Saturday's $150,000 Arcadia Handicap (gr. IIT) at Santa Anita has all of the earmarks of a springboard race for grass stakes later in the year at longer distances. Several of the eight entrants are better traveling farther than the Arcadia's 1 1/8-mile route. And none of the starters are coming off of a win.
Trainer Dan Hendricks hopes a better trip, more pace and the addition of blinkers will make a major difference for Runaway Dancer, one of 11 entered for the $200,000 San Luis Rey Handicap (gr. IIT) at 12 furlongs on turf at Santa Anita Saturday.
Island Fashion will vie for her third straight Grade I win in the $250,000 Santa Maria Handicap, part of a loaded Presidents' Day race card at Santa Anita Park on Monday. The $200,000 San Luis Obispo Handicap (gr. IIt), a 1 1/2-mile tilt for older turf horses, also headlines the program.
Dan Hendricks is inclined to draw a line through Runaway Dancer's last race, an eighth-place finish in the William L. McKnight Handicap (gr. IIT) at Calder Race Course on Dec. 27.
Del Mar Derby (gr. IIT) winner Fairly Ransom, unplaced as the favorite in the San Marcos Handicap (gr. IIT) in his last start, will get a chance to redeem himself in the Feb. 16 San Luis Obispo Handicap (gr. IIT) at Santa Anita, Hall of Fame trainer Ron McAnally said.
Hall of Fame trainer Ron McAnally sent Hollywood Derby (gr. IT) winner Sweet Return and runner-up Fairly Ransom out for works over Santa Anita's firm turf course Wednesday morning in preparation for a rematch in the Jan. 17 San Marcos Stakes (gr. IIT).
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