Santa Anita Notebook

There was a quartet of graded races over the opening week of the Santa Anita meet.


JANUARY 3, 2013

by John Mucciolo

There was a quartet of graded races over the opening week of the Santa Anita winter/spring meeting.

Malibu S. (G1): Spendthrift Farm's JIMMY CREED (Distorted Humor) saved ground along the inside, moved to contend at the top of the lane and inched clear late to post the victory under Garrett Gomez. The three-year-old Richard Mandella trainee sped seven-eighths on the dirt in a swift 1:20 1/5.

La Brea S. (G1): Gary and Mary West's homebred BOOK REVIEW (Giant's Causeway) commenced her big late run at the top of the lane and got up in the final strides to eclipse this field in her debut for Bob Baffert. The three-year-old traveled seven furlongs in 1:22 2/5 under Rafael Bejarano.

Sir Beaufort S. (G3): Wertheimer and Frere's homebred SILENTIO (Silent Name) rated kindly to the top of the stretch and powered home a game winner for Gary Mandella. The sophomore colt sped one mile on the firm lawn in 1:34 1/5 beneath Bejarano.

Robert J Frankel S. (G3): Michael Tabor et al's QARAABA (Shamardal) was last after the opening six furlongs of this affair, but the mare really kicked into gear in the stretch and pulled away late to post a 1 1/4-length win under Julien Leparoux. The five-year-old endured 1 1/8 miles on the "good" turf in 1:49 1/5 for conditioner Simon Callaghan.

Track Stats

From a total of 54 races held at the Arcadia, California racetrack during the past week, favorites won at a 33 percent clip and the top two betting choices combined for 53 percent of the wins. From 43 frays contested on the dirt oval, 10 animals won in wire-to-wire fashion (23 percent), while two of the 11 grassy tussles went all the way on the lead (18 percent).

Speed is still very viable so far at this meeting on the main oval, as the right runner who secures the early advantage has a big chance to streak home first under the wire. Front runners did not dominate this week, but many who led early either won or held on for a placing.

Of the two wire jobs on the lawn, one came in a sprint on Friday and the other in a route event on Tuesday.

Meet Totals

RACES:   54
DIRT:   43
TURF:   11
FAVORITES:   18 (33 percent)
2ND CHOICES:   11 (20 percent)
TURF WIRE:   2 (18 percent)
DIRT WIRE:   10 (23 percent)


Wednesday (12/26)

5TH -- BATTLE FORCE (Giant's Causeway) put in a sharp stakes try here in his second off the shelf and seems poised for a good 2013 campaign for John Shirreffs.

6TH -- FOOTBRIDGE (Street Cry) had a poor post and a bad break, but the Eoin Harty trainee looked pretty good in earning third and should be primed for a nice showing second time out for a barn that is better with experienced runners. This one is bred to run long and should also move forward with distance.

9TH -- SCORPION WARRIOR (Dixie Union) came off a very long absence to post a convincing tally in here for trainer Kristin Mulhall, who should be commended for a fine training job with this one. The sophomore colt is a visually impressive animal and could be a useful performer if properly placed this year.

Friday (12/28)

8TH -- DISTINCTIV PASSION (With Distinction) exited his maiden win in fine order and impressed yet again, this time cruising home a facile allowance winner over a decent cast. The fleet Jeff Bonde pupil has a ton of early foot and could be any kind after this sensational score, winning under light pressure in 1:08 3/5.

Saturday (12/29)

7TH ? QUIZZICAL (Cindago) didn't look a picture in closing on her wrong lead and lugging in through the lane, but the three-year-old lass still got up with big strides against a loose on the lead opponent under Bejarano. The Mark Glatt pupil could be dangerous when she puts it all together.

9TH -- We think Mulhall made a nice claim in here in grabbing winner HALF DOME DUDE (Kela) out of this one. The four-year-old gelding was tons the best in rallying from off the pace here and should be in line with a small class rise.

Sunday (12/30)

2ND -- MAKER OR BREAKER (Empire Maker) defeated only two foes in this race, but the Baffert charge was still impressive and continues to improve. Expect the filly to be stakes bound next out.

Monday (12/31)

9TH -- OMEGA STAR (Candy Ride) made a nice impression in his West Coast debut with a stylish graduation in this spot for John Shirreffs. The intriguing prospect has run a pair of big races to begin his career and could be a stakes caliber performer as a sophomore in 2013.

Tuesday (1/1)

7TH -- HIDETHEGOODSTUFF (Old Topper) put in a fine debut try for trainer Jerry Hollendorfer in here, chasing a wicked early pace, taking the lead into midstretch and hanging on for a nice second in this dash. We think the three-year-old lass could turn out to be a good one, and should graduate next out.

A Look Ahead

The Grade 2, $150,000 San Pasqual Stakes and the Grade 3, $100,000 Sham Stakes top the Saturday card at The Great Race Place.

Sunday plays host to the Grade 2, $150,000 Monrovia Stakes.