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Kona Gold Faces Tough Field in Crosby

Only three foes showed up to challenge Kona Gold in last year's running of the Bing Crosby Breeders' Cup Handicap (gr. II) at Del Mar, but on Saturday 10 rivals line up to face the defending champion.

Santa Anita Race Report: Can't Knock Wood

The Southern California handicap division looks ripe for the taking, and following the $200,000 San Pasqual Handicap (gr. II) on Jan. 5, expect nothing but knock-down, drag-out brawls during the coming weeks. The current king of the unorganized heap is Wooden Phone, best known as the obscurely-bred gelding who shook Tiznow out of his socks a year ago in the Strub Stakes (gr. II). If you still can't picture him, don't worry. You'll be hearing plenty from him in 2002.

Overbrook's Snow Ridge Posts El Conejo Upset

Snow Ridge swept past two-time defending champion Freespool turning for home and drew clear for a 3 1/2-length victory Sunday in the $109,500 El Conejo Handicap at Santa Anita Park. Ridden by Mike Smith at 114 pounds, Snow Ridge ran 5 1/2 furlongs in 1:03.05 on a fast main track and paid $39.20, $13.60 and $8.60.

Caller One Sprints to Los Angeles Handicap Victory

Carolyn Chapman and Theresa McArthur's Caller One pressed a fast early pace and drew away in the stretch under a hand ride to win Sunday's $107,300 Los Angeles Handicap (gr. III) at Hollywood Park. Under jockey Corey Nakatani, 4-year-old Caller One completed the six furlongs in 1:08.35 on a fast track.

No Heavy Gold Here: Champ Was Scratched

Champion sprinter Kona Cold was among the seven horses entered for Sunday's 49th running of the Palos Verdes Handicap, but was scratched out of the race due to his weight assignment. The 7-year-old gelded son of Java Gold started last year's championship campaign with a win in the Palos Verdes and was assigned top weight of 126 pounds for Sunday's renewal.

The unanimous choice for champion sprinter of 2000 would have faced last year's second- and third-place Palos Verdes finishers -- Big Jag and Freespool, respectively. Big Jag has been assigned 120 pounds and Freespool 116.

Freespool Sprints to Second El Conejo Win of 2000

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.

Santa Anita Report: Dixie Union Bows Out On Top

Alex Solis, decked out in fine threads and swathed in the thrill of Dixie Union's dynamite return in the Malibu Stakes (gr. I), was standing next to a childhood dream. His Porsche 911, the 2001 model. Mint-condition, just days off the lot. It's sleek and stylish, sporting a black coat just a shade darker than Dixie Union himself--and just as fun to steer.

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