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.
The Pamplemousse went from maiden winner to graded stakes winner Jan. 17 at Santa Anita Park, breaking to an early lead and never looking back for an impressive two-length victory in the $100,000 San Rafael Stakes (gr. III) for 3-year-olds on the Pro-Ride surface.
Lane's End Breeders' Futurity (gr. I) winner and Breeders' Cup Juvenile (gr. I) runner-up Square Eddie makes his highly-anticipated 3-year-old debut Jan. 17 at Santa Anita when he takes on seven rivals in the $100,000 San Rafael Stakes (gr. III) at Santa Anita.
Lane's End Breeders' Futurity (gr. I) winner Square Eddie, prepping for his 3-year-old debut in the San Rafael Stakes (gr. III) at one mile on Jan. 17 at Santa Anita, breezed six furlongs at Hollywood Park Jan. 8.
Square Eddie, who worked six furlongs Dec. 29 at Hollywood Park in a sharp 1:12 2/5 for trainer Doug O'Neill, is scheduled to stay in California and will make his next start in Santa Anita's San Rafael Stakes (gr. III) Jan. 17.
West Point Thoroughbreds' El Gato Malo, making his first start on traditional dirt, made a dramatic move in late stretch to take the 400,000 Lone Star Derby (gr. III) by a half-length May 10 at Lone Star Park.
Notional, sent off at odds of 3-5, proved a punctual four-length winner of Saturday's $150,000 San Rafael (gr. II) for 3-year-olds at one mile at Santa Anita Park.
J. Paul Reddam's Notional, sixth in the Hollywood Futurity (gr. I), returns in the $150,000 San Rafael (gr. II) Saturday at Santa Anita Park.
Stevie Wonderboy, 2-year-old male champion of 2005 who suffered a condylar fracture of the right front ankle in a workout at Hollywood Park Monday, is scheduled to undergo surgery Wednesday morning, trainer Doug O'Neill said.
A day after Brother Derek squared his record with Stevie Wonderboy at one win apiece with a gate-to-wire victory in Saturday's San Rafael Stakes (gr. II), the 3-year-old colts were on course to meet once more in the Santa Catalina Stakes (gr. II) at Santa Anita on March 4.
In spite of his grade I victory in the Hollywood Futurity last month, Brother Derek has been ignored on the national scene, his trainer, Dan Hendricks feels. But after Saturday's impressive win over Bessemer Trust Breeders' Cup Juvenile (gr. I) champ Stevie Wonderboy under steady handling by Alex Solis in the $150,000 San Rafael (gr. II) at Santa Anita, that shouldn't be the case any longer.
It's not often we get to see the probable 2-year-old champ and early favorite for the Kentucky Derby (gr. I) running in January. But not only is Stevie Wonderboy making his 3-year-old debut in Saturday's San Rafael Stakes (gr. II), he'll be facing another leading juvenile and major Derby contender in Brother Derek.
Merv Griffin's Stevie Wonderboy, this year's early Kentucky Derby (gr. I) favorite, begins the Triple Crown trail Saturday when meeting Hollywood Futurity (gr. I) champion Brother Derek and four other 3-year-olds in Santa Anita's $150,000 San Rafael Stakes (gr. II).
Trainer Doug O'Neill has mapped out a program that would keep Bessemer Trust Breeders' Cup Juvenile (gr. I) winner Stevie Wonderboy in Southern California until the Kentucky Derby (gr. I) on May 6.
Stevie Wonderboy, winner of the Bessemer Trust Breeders' Cup Juvenile (gr. I), worked six furlongs on Hollywood Park's fast main track Thursday in 1:12 3/5, breezing, for his 3-year-old debut in the grade II San Rafael Stakes at one mile on Jan. 14.
Spanish Chestnut took a big step forward Saturday at Santa Anita Park by winning the $150,000 San Rafael Stakes (gr. II) for 3-year-olds -- his graded stakes debut -- in determined style.
Texcess, who was entered in both the Golden Gate Derby at Golden Gate Fields and the San Rafael Stakes (gr. II) at Santa Anita on Saturday, will stay home, Southern California-based trainer Paul Aguirre confirmed Friday morning.
The long Triple Crown trail for 3-year-olds gets starts in earnest on the West Coast Saturday with Santa Anita Park's $150,000 San Rafael Stakes (gr. II), which drew six entries.
If Kirkendahl wins Saturday's $150,000 San Rafael Stakes (gr. II) for 3-year-olds at Santa Anita Park, it will be music to the ears of the colt's owner, country singing star Toby Keith.
Multiple grade II winner Imperialism will get a new jockey for the Kentucky Derby (gr. I), owner Steve Taub said Monday. The gray son of Langfuhr, who had been ridden by Victor Espinoza in all of his three starts since being purchased privately by Taub in early January, will now be ridden by Hall of Fame candidate Kent Desormeaux.
Surging Imperialism shocked even-money favorite Lion Heart in the $200,000 San Rafael Stakes (gr. II) for 3-year-olds at Santa Anita, coming from last after a half mile to get up in the final jumps and score a neck victory Saturday.
A full field of 10 sophomores will go to the post in Saturday's $200,000 San Rafael Stakes (gr. II) at Santa Anita, including grade I winner Lion Heart, the likely favorite making his first start of the year.
Trainer Bob Baffert sent out a slew of his top sophomores for workouts Monday over Santa Anita's fast main track and leading the parade was San Rafael Stakes (gr. II) candidate Consecrate, who worked five furlongs in 1:00 2/5.
Mike Mitchell has been training nearly 30 years but has never run a horse in the Kentucky Derby. If the 55-year-old Bakersfield, Calif. native gets to Churchill Downs on May 1, his hopes rest with Quinton's Gold Rush.
Michael Tabor and Derrick Smith's undefeated grade I winner Lion Heart got his final major prep for his March 6 sophomore debut, breezing six furlongs from the gate under regular jockey Mike Smith in 1:12 4/5 at Santa Anita on Wednesday.
With two fairly uneventful weekends coming up, this is the perfect time to see how the big March Madness stakes are shaping up across the country. While many of the big-name horses will be running in smaller fields in Florida and California, look for large, competitive fields down south.
B. Wayne Hughes' champion Action This Day, who will make his next start in the March 13 San Felipe Stakes (gr. II), worked three furlongs in :36 4/5 over Santa Anita's fast main track Tuesday morning.
Grade I winner Lion Heart progressed toward the first start of his sophomore year in the March 6 San Rafael Stakes (gr. II) by working six furlongs in 1:12 2/5 over Santa Anita's fast main track Wednesday morning.
Trainer Patrick Biancone said he plans to take the Southern California route to prepare Lion Heart for the Kentucky Derby (gr. I).
Stan Fulton's Santa Catalina Stakes (gr. II) winner St Averil will continue on down the California trail to the Triple Crown, trainer Rafael Becerra said Sunday morning.
Trainer Rafael Becerra sent out his two Triple Crown hopefuls, Crackup and Sum Trick, for works over a fast Santa Anita main track Friday morning.
Trainer Bob Baffert revealed Saturday that The Thoroughbred Corp.'s early Kentucky Derby (gr. I) favorite Kafwain will likely make his next start in the Louisiana Derby (gr. II) at Fair Grounds.
Santa Catalina Stakes (gr. II) runner-up Our Bobby V. is one of only 14 horses on the official Santa Anita work tab over the past three days, going five furlongs in 1:01.80 on a sloppy track on Tuesday.
Tomorrow's NAPA Auto Parts Breeders' Cup Sprint will be trainer Howard Zucker's first Breeders' Cup contest, but it certainly isn't the first time he has been closely involved with world-class athletes.
For a weekend in which we had five races of note for 3-year-olds, we learned very little. Three of the five races were run on sloppy or muddy tracks, and in the highlight event, the San Rafael Stakes, we really didn't learn much more about Came Home than we knew before, other than he can now get a mile with no problem.
Came Home pressed Werblin through moderate fractions then drew away in the stretch to win the $200,000 San Rafael Stakes (gr. II) by three lengths on Saturday at Santa Anita. Under Chris McCarron, Came Home completed the mile in 1:36.24 on a fast track to notch the victory in his first career attempt at a race run around two turns.
Although Saturday's San Rafael Stakes at Santa Anita has drawn several classy colts, there is a major question whether or not the race will produce any Kentucky Derby contenders. Of the top choices in the one-mile race, only Pelirrojo looks like he wants any part of 1 1/4 miles. The other big names, Came Home, Fonz's, and Werblin, all have either pedigree issues or logistics going against them.
Came Home, who is looking to take the next step up the Kentucky Derby ladder, drilled a sharp half in :46 4/5 at Santa Anita Tuesday in preparation for Saturday's one-mile San Rafael Stakes.
The march to Louisville is beginning to look like Napoleon's retreat from Moscow, as the troops keep trudging along, battling the elements and making little headway toward their destination. The best you can say right now is that at least no one has been ambushed by Cossacks along the way.
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