Champion Wait a While had to, well, wait a while for her seasonal bow, but everything now appears set for the 5-year-old's 2008 debut in the $150,000 San Gorgonio Handicap (gr. IIT) Jan. 14 on the Santa Anita grass course.
Santa Anita canceled racing Jan. 5, because the new Cushion Track is not draining properly. The track did an extensive renovation last month that was supposed to fix this problem. Five inches of rain have fallen, according to officials. More is expected tonight and could affect racing for the entire weekend.
With heavy rain expected in Southern California this weekend, multiple grade I winner Wait a While leads a field of six set for Santa Anita's $150,000 San Gorgonio Handicap (gr. IIT) scheduled for the turf Jan. 6.
Grande Melody, winner of last month's Dahlia Handicap (gr. IIT) at Hollywood Park, could give leading 2006 North American jockey Julien Leparoux his first stakes victory at Santa Anita in the $150,000 San Gorgonio Handicap (gr. IIT) on the turf Sunday.
Favored Fencelineneighbor claimed her first graded stakes win Saturday at sloppy Santa Anita Park, overcoming a slow break to lead at every call in the $150,000 San Gorgonio Handicap (gr. III), which was reduced to a five-horse field when heavy rain forced the race off of the turf course.
Trainer Bobby Frankel, just three wins short of 800 career victories at Santa Anita Park, saddles horses in both the $150,000 San Pasqual Handicap (gr. II) and the $150,000 San Gorgonio Handicap (gr. IIT) Saturday.
Michael Bello's Megahertz took advantage of a slow early pace as the 5-year-old British-bred mare unleashed a quick turn of foot in the last quarter-mile to win the San Gorgiono Handicap (gr. IIT) at Santa Anita on Saturday.
Bob Baffert, who won the 1998 San Fernando Breeders' Cup Stakes (gr. II) with Kentucky Derby winner Silver Charm, has 30% of the10-horse field set to go in the $200,000 middle leg of the prestigious Strub Series at Santa Anita Park Saturday.
Trainer Eoin Harty expects a solid effort from the Irish-bred mare Firth of Lorne in Saturday's $150,000 San Gorgonio Handicap (gr. IIT) for older fillies and mares at 1 1/8 miles on the turf.
Stonerside Stable's Tout Charmant earned her first victory since November of 2000, coming from just off the pace to win the $150,000 San Gorgonio Handicap (gr. IIT) by two lengths over Janet. "That was the Tout Charmant we've come to know and love," said winning rider Chris McCarron.
Trainer Robert Frankel, who's won three of the last five runnings of the San Gorgonio Handicap (gr. IIT) at Santa Anita, saddled a strong one-two entry in this year's renewal on Monday's Martin Luther King Holiday card, with front-running Dancingonice the perfect complement to stretch closer Uncharted Haven. As it turned out, Dancingonice carved out the fractions and set things up perfectly for her 3 Plus U Stable barnmate, and Uncharted Haven took down the top prize in the nine-furlong turf race for fillies and mares.
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