The 7-year-old gelding Kona Gold had plenty to contend with when the $200,900 Potrero Grande Breeders' Cup Handicap (gr. II) got underway on April 1. But in the end, the champ prevailed by a desperate neck. Hollycombe and Explicit finished in a dead heat.
Turf Paradise Derby winner Startac, two-time grade II stakes runner-up Palmeiro, and San Felipe Stakes (gr. II) runner-up I Love Silver each worked at Santa Anita Sunday morning. All three are listed by the track as probable for Saturday's Santa Anita Derby (gr. I).
Crafty C.T. and Early Flyer, possible entrants for the $750,000 Santa Anita Derby (gr. I) on April seventh, put in works over the main track at Santa Anita on Saturday.
Janis R. Whitham's homebred Beautiful Noise earned her first stakes victory Sunday at Santa Anita, winning the $150,000 Santa Ana Handicap (gr. II) by a head over High Walden. Under jockey Chris McCarron, the 14-5 favorite completed the 1 1/8 miles in 1:47.27 on a firm turf course.
It wasn't supposed to happen quite like this. There was nobody breathing down his neck. There was no target to home in on. All that remained up ahead was a quarter-mile of sun-baked Santa Anita dirt. With a quartet of weary rivals to his inside, Point Given, five wide and coasting, was in control of his own destiny. Atop the massive colt, Gary Stevens could sense an urgency. He felt Point Given waiting, pleading to be let loose. Turning for home in the $250,000 San Felipe Stakes (gr. II) on March 17, Stevens shortened his cross, putting the bit firmly in his colt's mouth. For Point Given, it was a cue to roll. His response was emphatic.
Magna Entertainment Corp. officials, fresh off of their initial foray into team racing on March 10 at Gulfstream, are planning a second round of their Super Track series, possibly as soon as next month in California.
In the International Jockey Challenge Sunday at Santa Anita, Laffit Pincay Jr. rode two winners to lead a team of American riders to victory over a team of European jockeys.
Racing for the first time since a seventh-place finish in the Kentucky Cup Turf Handicap in September, Fog City Stable's Blueprint rallied from off the pace to win Sunday's $250,000 San Luis Rey Handicap (gr. IIT) at Santa Anita. Under Gary Stevens, the 6-year-old Irish-bred held off a determined late run from Devon Deputy to ensure the victory, completing the 1 ½ miles in 2:28.57 on a good turf course.
The pace was hot, and she'd been running hard from the moment the flag fell. Those who stayed close early had paid a painful price. Now, with just a quarter-mile left to run, Golden Ballet was being put to the test. A new challenge, the Seattle Slew filly Flute, had come peeling around the bend, braced to blow right on by. To that point in her career, Golden Ballet had sparkled. She had been flashy, breaking her maiden in a stakes and doing it in record time. She had been coveted, purchased privately by high rollers looking for the next superstar. She had been resilient, roaring back from a summertime illness to completely flatten her competition. And when she finally caught sight of Flute turning for home in the $300,000 Santa Anita Oaks, the daughter of Moscow Ballet let everyone know what she's made of.
California-bred Lazy Slusan rallied gamely through the stretch to catch Breeders' Cup Distaff (gr. I) winner Spain in the final sixteenth-mile, winning Saturday's $300,000 Santa Margarita Invitational Handicap (gr. I) by a half-length at Santa Anita.
D. Wayne Lukas is hoping that Spain can build on her La Cañada Stakes victory as a field of eight older fillies and mares have entered for the grade I Santa Margarita Handicap set for Saturday at 1 1/8 miles on the main track. An invitational event, the Santa Margarita serves as Santa Anita's championship for older fillies and mares on dirt.
The future of jockey Patrick Valenzuela's racing career may be decided during the next California Horse Racing Board meeting later this month.
Dean Kutz is the winner of the 2001 George Woolf Memorial Jockey Award. Kutz becomes the 52nd winner of the award that has been presented annually since 1950 and honors the memory of one of the greatest Thoroughbred jockeys in history. Kutz, 44, will receive the award in a winner's circle ceremony on Sunday, March 25 at Santa Anita.
The great ones find a way to get past it all. Enough commotion had swirled around Tiznow and his preparation for the $1-million Santa Anita Handicap (gr. I) that by the time the actual race rolled around, some were wondering why he was even there to begin with. As if his drab effort in last month's Strub Stakes (gr. II) wasn't reminder enough, Tiznow's days leading up to the Big 'Cap were like a roll call of mishaps, evil vibes, and plain bad karma. Lest we forget, this is the same horse who was a no-name last spring and Horse of the Year five months later, and the same animal whose grueling fall campaign left fans and hardboots alike in awe. No, he's not impervious to pain or the elements, but there may just be nothing that can stop him
Under Laffit Pincay Jr., California-bred Road to Slew edged clear of Hollycombe and held off the late challenge of a slew of horses to win the $400,000 Frank E. Kilroe Mile Handicap (gr. IIT) by one length, Saturday at Santa Anita. On a turf track listed as good, Road to Slew completed the distance in 1:35.96.
C.T. Grether Inc.'s Crafty C.T. set the early pace and drew away in the stretch, winning the $200,000 San Rafael Stakes (gr. II) by four lengths over Palmeiro on a fast track at Santa Anita on Saturday. Under jockey Eddie Delahoussaye, Crafty C.T. completed the one-mile race for 3-year-olds in 1:35.79.
A couple of hours after Santa Anita honored trainer Noble Threewitt on the occasion of his 90th birthday, 79-year-young Warren Stute provided the icing on the cake when he captured the Las Flores Handicap (gr. III) Feb. 24 as Go Go punched by the favored La Feminn.
Big-time races for fillies and mares and marathons for grass stayers usually have zero impact in the countdown to the Santa Anita Handicap (gr. I). There was, nevertheless, a million-dollar ring to both the $200,000 Santa Maria Handicap (gr. I) on Feb. 18 and the $200,000 San Luis Obispo Handicap (gr. IIT) the day before. By the time the weekend was in the books and the results began to sink in, the only thing anyone knew for sure was there really is nothing for sure.
Persianlux, the longest shot in the race at 27-1, led every step of the way and rolled to a five-length victory Saturday in the grade II, $200,000 San Luis Obispo Handicap at Santa Anita Park. Ridden by Tyler Baze at 113 pounds, Persianlux ran 1-1/2 miles on a firm turf course in 2:27.70 and paid $57.20, $22.20 and $10.60. It was the first graded stakes victory for Baze, winner of the 2000 Eclipse Award as the nation's outstanding apprentice jockey. The 18-year- old rider became the youngest jockey to win a graded stakes race at Santa Anita since Steve Cauthen, who was also 18, rode J.O. Tobin to victory in the 1978 Malibu Stakes.
Racing and breeding news and information.
Her name conjures up images of grace and wealth, elegance blended with strength. That glistening chestnut coat gets oohs and ahhs every time she leaves the comforts of the Jenine Sahadi stable. Her snow-white blaze puts an exclamation point on every stride, the power of which hits you like a Mack truck. Such is the wonder of Golden Ballet. But don't let her image deceive you. She's no monster. She just runs like one. She's no tank, either. She's only built like one.
The Thoroughbred Corp.'s Spain blew past High Walden on the last turn and proved too much for Chilukki in the stretch as she registered a two-length victory Sunday in the $200,000 La Canada Stakes (gr. II) for 4-year-old fillies at Santa Anita Park. Ridden by Victor Espinoza at high weight of 122 pounds, Spain ran 1 1/8 miles in 1:49.74 on a fast main track and paid $5.20, $2.40 and $2.10.
In a meeting Saturday on the backstretch with a group of about 50 horsemen, Gulfstream president Scott Savin detailed Magna Entertainment Corporation's plan to create a rivalry between its flagship tracks, Gulfstream Park and Santa Anita, by running a daylong series of races on each coast that would pit Florida and California horses against each other. Magna would foot the bill for 36 Gulfstream horses, each accompanied by a groom, to fly to Santa Anita for six starter allowance races, each with a purse as high as $80,000, on Feb. 25. Approximately two weeks later, the process would be reversed and Gulfstream would host California runners.
California tracks will have their backstretch housing inspected if they want a license to conduct a horse racing meeting from the California Horse Racing Board. The state's racing board is nearing completion of an amendment to its license application that would require tracks to pass the inspection before the meet is approved. The new regulation is primarily due to a sweep last summer by state inspectors who found backstretch workers often live in substandard conditions.
Now that Magna Entertainment has reached a membership agreement with the National Thoroughbred Racing Association, the Breeders' Cup championship day races are destined for the Oak Tree meet at Santa Anita. "I've been meeting with the Breeders' Cup, and there's another meeting scheduled soon," Sherwood Chillingworth, executive vice president of the Oak Tree Racing Association told the Los Angeles Times. "We hope to get the date and we're very optimistic."
A decision to reduce the number of pari-mutuel clerks at Santa Anita racetrack has angered union leaders, who say the cutback is having a ripple effect on the industry's labor work force in Southern California. For the first time in more than a decade, there are less than 100 clerks taking bets at Santa Anita during the week. There are somewhere between 85-90 clerks during the week about 200 clerks manning betting windows on the busier weekend days.
Echo Eddie, a consistent gray son of Restless Con, found room along the rail entering the stretch and went on to a hard-earned 1 1/2-length victory in the $109,600 Sensational Star Handicap at Santa Anita Park on Sunday. Ridden by Iggy Puglisi, Echo Eddie won for the sixth time in 11 career starts and paid $4.60 as the favorite in the field of eight California-breds in the 6-1/2 furlong race.
Making his seasonal debut in the Jan. 13 San Fernando, 2000 Breeders' Cup Classic winnerTiznow beat Walkslikeaduck by 1 1/4 lengths in 1:42.05 as Wooden Phone held on for third. It was not the blowout most expected a potential Horse of the Year to serve up in his 4-year-old debut. For those clutching tickets at 3-10, the final margin was way too close for comfort. But considering the recent interruptions and the chore of sating a high-maintenance competitor, Robbins was satisfied--and thoroughly relieved.
Santa Anita officials said racing wouldn't stop, although the tote boards would be shut down, if the track faced a power outage. The wagering information, which is controlled by computers, wouldn't be lost. Furer said there are about 22 tote machines that could be up and running during a blackout. Escalators and elevators would be immediately turned off before the blackout to ensure no one gets hurt or trapped. The track is equipped with an emergency generator that would provide lighting.
It was a priceless moment of ecstasy. Freedom Crest, the erstwhile claimer and pride of the six-horse Richard Baltas stable, had just wrestled the lead from Bosque Redondo in the $200,000 San Pasqual Handicap (gr. II). Now, with just over a furlong to run, the game was over. But the real action was in the stands. His composure long lost, Baltas had broken into a windsprint, a spirited dash down the aisle interrupted only by an occasional glance at the track, a check to make sure his dream hadn't ended.
Collect Call rallied in the stretch to win the $109,300 Santa Ysabel Stakes (gr. III) by 1 1/4 lengths over Irguns Angel Saturday at Santa Anita. Alex Solis booted the winner home, the pair crossed the wire after completing 1 1/16 miles in 1:44.69 on a fast track.
Breeders' Cup Classic (gr. I) winner Tiznow worked seven furlongs under jockey Chris McCarron at Santa Anita Saturday morning in 1:26 3/5, as the 4-year-old prepares for a possible start in the Jan. 13 San Fernando Breeders' Cup Stakes (gr. II).
Two Arcadia city council members met with Santa Anita racetrack owner Frank Stronach this past week and shared their concerns about his expansion plans. Although only some specifics about the plan were discussed, Arcadia Mayor Gary Kovacic and Councilman Mickey Segal said the meeting couldn't have gone any better.
Tricky Elaine, a daughter of Kentucky Derby (gr. I) winner Grindstone and half-sister of champion Favorite Trick, will attempt to win her second career race in Saturday's Santa Ysabel Stakes (gr. III) at Santa Anita.
Santa Anita Park has added two new wagers to its exotic betting menu and becomes one of a growing number of tracks to offer a pick four wager. Beginning Wednesday, the track will offer a daily $1 pick four and $2 rolling daily doubles.
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.
Freespool set quick fractions en route to winning the $108,700 El Conejo Handicap (gr. III) by 1 1/2 lengths Sunday at Santa Anita. Under jockey Chris McCarron, Freespool completed the 5 1/2 furlongs in 1:02.50 on a fast track. McCarron and Freespool teamed to win the last running of the El Conejo, Jan. 2, making this the second time in 2000 the two have won the race.
Robert and Beverly Lewis' talented 3-year-old colt Tribunal, a half-brother to Chief's Crown, returned to the races Saturday for the first time since being sidelined in April, winning a seven-furlong optional claiming race by three-quarter lengths over Jimmy Z.
Spain made a case for herself for 3-year-old filly Eclipse Award honors with an upset win in the Breeders' Cup Distaff (gr. I) only to be trumped three weeks later when Surfside convincingly defeated males in the Clark Handicap (gr. II). Spain put in some last-minute campaigning Saturday, defeating reigning 2-year-old champion Chilukki in the $200,000 La Brea Stakes (gr. I) at Santa Anita.
Evening Promise rallied from 10th-place in the 12-horse field to win the $114,400 Monrovia Handicap (gr. IIIT) Friday on the downhill turf course at Santa Anita. The win improves her career record on the Santa Anita turf to five wins from six starts.
Breeders' Cup Classic (gr. I) and Super Derby (gr. I) winner Tiznow worked seven furlongs in 1:24 2/5, handily, under regular rider Chris McCarron Friday at Santa Anita.
Breeders' Cup Classic (gr. I) winner Tiznow worked six furlongs Friday in preparation for a possible start in the San Fernando Breeders' Cup Stakes (gr. II) at Santa Anita Jan. 13. The work, however, left trainer Jay Robbins uncertain if the colt's left front foot is completely healed.
The connections of Caller One remain undecided whether to run the 3-year-old in the seven-furlong Malibu Stakes (gr. I), where he would likely face Haskell Invitational (gr. I) winner Dixie Union, or take on older horses in the 5 1/2-furlong El Conejo Handicap on New Year's Eve at Santa Anita. The $200,000 Malibu will be run on Tuesday, opening day at Santa Anita.
Breeders' Cup Sprint winner Kona Gold breezed five furlongs in 1:05 Sunday at Santa Anita. Also working Sunday were Hawksley Hill, Full Moon Madness, and Manndar.
The president of Santa Anita cautioned Tuesday that downsizing and possible layoffs may occur at the Arcadia, Calif. track, which was purchased by his boss, Frank Stronach, two years ago. Only on the job for two weeks, Jack Liebau said that Stronach's company, Magna Entertainment, is re- evaluating operations at its seven racetracks across the United States. Liebau issued a one-page memo to Santa Anita employees last Thursday alerting them to potential future changes.
Manhattan Handicap (gr. IT) winner Manndar and Del Mar Derby (gr. IIT) winner Walkslikeaduck each worked five furlongs Wednesday at Hollywood Park. Also working Wednesday morning were Lady at Peace, Caffe Latte, Tribunal, and Purely Cozzene.
The 32nd Oak Tree Racing Association meeting at Santa Anita ended Monday with an increase in total handle despite a decline in on-track attendance and handle from last season. The meeting's total combined average daily handle of $9,760,972 was up 2.7 percent over 1999 while on-track average daily attendance for the 27-day meeting was 11,170, a decline of 4.1 percent from last year. Average daily on-track handle also declined to $2,352,124 down 1.2 percent from last year.
The barns emptied Sunday morning as local Breeders' Cup contenders finished local preparations prior to shipping east for Saturday's Breeders' Cup at Churchill Downs. Trainer Bob Baffert worked his entire Kentucky-bound contingent Sunday morning.
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