Songbird, perfect in six races after her front-running, 3 3/4-length victory in the Santa Ysabel Stakes (gr. III) March 5, was fittingly "perfect" the morning of March 6.
When Beholder was scratched from the 2015 Breeders' Cup Classic (gr. I), and a showdown with American Pharoah, the collective gut punch was felt by her connections and fans alike.
With the $500,000 Gold Cup at Santa Anita (gr. I) to serve as the highlight, Santa Anita Park's 2016 spring meeting is set to run May 5 through July 10.
Like seemingly every start before, Songbird shot to the lead March 5 at Santa Anita Park and humbled a field of overmatched fillies in the $100,000 Santa Ysabel Stakes (gr. III).
A week ahead of Southern California's next Triple Crown prep race, the $400,000 San Felipe Stakes (gr. II), three of the top contenders were on the track at the same time March 5 at Santa Anita Park.
Tri-Bone Stables' Effinex, the probable favorite for the $1 million Santa Anita Handicap (gr. I) March 12, arrived at Santa Anita Park safely from Florida early the evening of March 3.
If all goes as planned, Santa Anita Park will have a new turf course when the Breeders' Cup arrives later this year.
Trainer Doug O'Neill moved up Nyquist's workout, his first since his victory in the Feb. 15 San Vicente Stakes (gr. II), to March 3 anticipating and hopefully avoiding a pair of storms expected to hit Southern California.
Nine fillies were entered to take on undefeated Songbird in the $100,000 Santa Ysabel Stakes (gr. III) March 5 at Santa Anita Park, and more than half of them were previously humbled by the Fox Hill Farms runner.
Spendthrift Farm's Beholder, champion older female of 2015, breezed for the first time this year March 1 at Santa Anita Park.
Bob Baffert wouldn't indicate whether Malibu Sunset was on the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) trail after his easy 1 1/2-length allowance/optional claiming win Feb. 28 at Santa Anita Park.
A little added competition seemed to do the trick for Mor Spirit Feb. 28 at Santa Anita Park in his first timed workout since jockey Gary Stevens had to abort a drill Feb. 23.
Hall of Fame jockey Mike Smith is generally a pretty cheerful guy, but when he brings Songbird back to the Jerry Hollendorfer barn after her workouts, his mood hits another level.
Smokey Image and Danzing Candy put on an unintentional preview of the March 12 San Felipe (gr. II) during their morning workouts Feb. 27 at Santa Anita Park.
The California Horse Racing Board Feb. 25 approved a proposal from Santa Anita Park to offer gambling on an Arabian race in April, with pending legislation on the topic expected to pass soon in Sacramento.
Victor Espinoza, a 43-year-old native of Mexico City, has been selected by a vote of jockeys nationwide as the winner of Santa Anita's highly coveted 2016 George Woolf Memorial Jockey Award.
Santa Anita Park plans a complete overhaul of its turf course, and officials will meet Feb. 25 to decide details and timing of the plan.
Gary Stevens said he didn't know grade I winner Mor Spirit was wearing earplugs when he jumped in to work him on the fly Feb. 23. After failing to get a response on the turn, he eased the Bob Baffert trained-runner.
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Smokey Image just seems to find trouble working recently in the mornings at Santa Anita Park, and although that might make trainer Carla Gaines uncomfortable in the moment, it may end up being a blessing in disguise.
It was more of the same for Fox Hill Farms' undefeated champion Medaglia d'Oro filly Songbird Feb. 21 when she cruised through a five-furlong work under Mike Smith in 1:00 4/5 at Santa Anita Park.
A visually impressive last-out allowance score proved to be an indicator of future success for Paulina's Love in the $200,000 Buena Vista Stakes (gr. IIT) Feb. 20 at Santa Anita Park.
Ziconic brought back good and bad memories for John Shirreffs all in one shot during his debut Feb. 20 at Santa Anita Park.
Both of Reddam Racing's Southern California-based Triple Crown contenders are scheduled to head out of town for their next, and likely last, preps for the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I).
Grade I winners Stormy Lucy and Her Emmynency will meet in the $200,000 Buena Vista (gr. IIT), and despite the mile turf race's grade II label, they'll have to beat field worthy of the top level to win Feb. 20 at Santa Anita.
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Undefeated Nyquist showed no signs of rust in his 2016 debut Feb. 15, when he took the $200,000 San Vicente Stakes (gr. II) at Santa Anita Park.
Smokey Image found company in the turn of his four-furlong breeze, as he and jockey Victor Espinoza moved inside of a three-furlong worker and stuck with their unexpected rival to the wire, covering the distance in :47 1/5.
In her first timed workout since the easiest of scores in the Las Virgenes Stakes (gr. II), Fox Hill Farms' undefeated Songbird covered four furlongs on Santa Anita Park's fast main track Feb. 14 in :48 2/5.
With Nyquist already making plans to head east for the Florida Derby (gr. I), Mor Spirit is more likely to stay home in Southern California for his Triple Crown preps.
There was an intensity in Peter Miller's eyes as he peppered the winner circle with as many high fives as he could, indicating the neck victory in the seventh race was a little more than just a run-of-the-mill allowance win.
A tough-luck finisher in two graded stakes runs in the past year, Stonestreet Stable's homebred Tara's Tango broke through Feb. 13 in the $200,000 Santa Maria Stakes (gr. II) at Santa Anita Park.
Bolo fired his best off a seven-month layoff in the $200,000 Arcadia Stakes (gr. IIT) at Santa Anita Park, where he caught odds-on grade I winner Obviously in the final strides to secure his first graded victory.
After a four-furlong breeze from the gate in :49 3/5 at Santa Anita Park Feb. 13, trainer John Shirreffs said Jerry and Ann Moss' homebred Ziconic will likely make his debut at Santa Anita Park Feb. 20.
Some of the West Coast's brightest equine stars from last year are getting back into the swing of things at Santa Anita Park.
Nyquist's first step onto the Triple Crown trail comes Feb. 15 at Santa Anita Park, where he'll look to keep his undefeated record intact against five other sophomore males in the $200,000 San Vicente Stakes (gr. II).
Once a legitimate hopeful for the Triple Crown series, Richard Pell's Calculator will make his first start in more than a year Feb. 13 at Santa Anita Park.
Due to stabling concerns in Southern California as result of the Breeders' Cup World Championships being held at Santa Anita Park, Barretts Equine is moving its October yearling sale back to the Los Angeles Fairgrounds.
In her fourth mount, apprentice Rosie Higgins broke her maiden in the second race at Santa Anita Park Feb. 11 aboard Blue Law.
After a worldwide search saw applications submitted from nearly every continent, the management of Santa Anita Park has invited two international race callers to join the audition process later in February.
Grade I winner Birdatthewire will make her second start of 2016 in the $200,000 Santa Maria Stakes (gr. II) Feb. 13 at Santa Anita Park.
Om, Prospect Park, and Bolo are scheduled to make their 4-year-old debuts in the Arcadia Stakes, but they'll all be encountering older horses for the first time.
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Kobe's Back broke slowly and trailed by as many as 10 1/2 lengths, but he unleashed his patented closing kick and was just able to track down Salutos Amigos in the final strides to win the Palos Verdes Stakes (gr. II).
Doug O'Neill wanted a swift, short breeze from Reddam Racing's Nyquist eight days ahead of his 3-year-old debut in the San Vicente Stakes (gr. II) and that's what he got Feb. 7 at Santa Anita Park.
A year-long stretch of near misses ended for Hoppertunity Feb. 6 in the $500,000 San Antonio Stakes (gr. II) at Santa Anita Park.
Songbird ambled home to win the $300,000 Las Virgenes Stakes (gr. II) Feb. 6 at Santa Anita , 6 1/2 lengths ahead of Land Over Sea, but Smith had such a tight hold on her, the margin might as well have been 26 1/2 lengths.
Hall of Fame jockey Gary Stevens delivered an icy ride and grade I winner Mor Spirit responded full of run in the $150,000 Robert B. Lewis Stakes (gr. III) at Santa Anita Park.
Texas Red, winner of the 2014 Breeders' Cup Juvenile (gr. I), is back in training at Santa Anita Park and is scheduled to record his first timed workout of 2016 on Feb. 13 at the Southern California racetrack.
Multiple graded stakes winners Kobe's Back and Salutos Amigos head a field of six older horses in the $200,000 Palos Verdes Stakes Feb. 7 at Santa Anita Park.
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