Even-money favorite Kalookan Queen alternately set and pressed a fast pace, drew away in upper stretch, and held off a fast-closing Leading Light in deep stretch to win Saturday's $200,000 Santa Monica Handicap (gr. I) by a half-length at Santa Anita.
For some owners and trainers, the $100,000 LeComte Stakes at Fair Grounds on Jan. 26 was the goal. For others, the mile race was just a pop quiz. Questions had to be answered before the final exam, the $750,000 Louisiana Derby (gr. II) scheduled for March 10. Intentions were hard to read.
Stronach Stable's homebred Wrangler beat Late Carson by 2 3/4 lengths Saturday in the 94th running of the $80,725 Paumonok Handicap for horses 3-years-old and older. Run Kush Run was third in the field of five, followed by Peeping Tom and Kashatreya.
Jerry Bailey's bag was packed for a flight to Southern California to ride Squirtle Squirt in the next day's Palos Verdes Handicap (gr. II). However, having just piloted Del Mar Show to victory in Gulfstream's Fort Lauderdale Handicap (gr. IIIT), the Hall of Fame rider was steamed enough to power the airplane by himself.
Yvonne Azeff, an assistant to trainer John T. Ward Jr., was injured Saturday morning at Gulfstream Park when she was thrown from the horse she was riding after it became agitated by another horse. Azeff was taken to Memorial Regional Hospital and was listed in "serious" condition as of 1:00 p.m.
Jockeys Heberto Castillo Jr. and Roberto Villafan were released from the hospital Saturday, a day after being injured in a spill during a race at Aqueduct.
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