Balance, the nation's leading 3-year-old filly last year before going off kilter, continued her ascent toward the top of the older female division on Saturday while overcoming obstacles to win Santa Anita's $300,000 Santa Margarita Invitational Handicap (gr. I) at 1 1/8 miles.
Mr. Sekiguchi, a son of Storm Cat purchased as a yearling for $8 million in 2004 by Fusao Sekiguchi, won Santa Anita's $52,100 allowance feature Friday by a head over 52-1 longshot Absolute Glory.
John Amerman's Balance, a two-time grade I winner last year, resembled her old self while winning the $200,000 La Canada Stakes (gr. II) for 4-year-old fillies by 4 1/4 lengths over Bai and Bai Sunday at Santa Anita.
Jockeys Jon Court, Victor Espinoza, Roberto Gonzalez, Aaron Gryder, and Mario Pino are finalists for the prestigious George Woolf Memorial Jockey Award, Santa Anita Park announced Dec. 13.
Foxysox, successfully making the transition from turf to Hollywood Park's new Cushion track, rallied under jockey Victor Espinoza to win Sunday's $150,000 Bayakoa Handicap (gr. II) by a neck over 35-1 shot Round Heels.
California horsemen, who have been nearly unanimous in their praise of the new Hollywood surface in recent weeks of training, continued to give Cushion Track a thumbs up after the first day of racing at the fall meeting.
Midnight Lute, a recent arrival from California trained by Bob Baffert, drew off by 4 3/4 lengths in winning the $200,000 Perryville Stakes (presented by Budweiser Select) (gr. III) for 3-year-olds at Keeneland Friday.
Great Hunter, shipped east from California by trainer Doug O'Neill, won the Lane's End Breeders' Futurity (gr. I) Saturday at Keeneland, upsetting odds-on favorite and previously unbeaten Circular Quay.
Pamela Ziebarth's Healthy Addiction helped solidify plans for the Emirates Airline Breeders' Cup Distaff (gr. I) with a repeat win in the $233,500 Lady's Secret Breeders' Cup Handicap (gr. II) at Oak Tree's Santa Anita meeting Sunday.
The 8-year-old veteran The Tin Man did just enough to win Saturday's $250,000 Clement L. Hirsch Memorial Turf Championship (gr. IT), a race he also won in 2002 on the lawn at Santa Anita Park.
Jockey Victor Espinoza set a Del Mar record with seven victories Monday when favored Point Ashley proved a handy winner in the $250,000 Del Mar Debutante (gr. I).
Behaving Badly, the 3-5 favorite under jockey Victor Espinoza, provided trainer Bob Baffert with a record 75th stakes success at Del Mar Friday evening as she breezed to victory in the featured $200,000 Rancho Bernardo Handicap (gr. III) for older fillies and mares.
The 8-year-old gelding The Tin Man had Saturday's Arlington Million (gr. IT) at his mercy, going gate to wire to defeat a powerful field on the Arlington Park turf.
Pamela Ziebarth's Healthy Addiction put away the challenge of even-money favorite Happy Ticket mid-stretch and went on to a 1 3/4-length victory in the $300,000 Clement L. Hirsch Handicap (gr. II) for fillies and mares at Del Mar Sunday.
Favored Untouched Talent inched away from the pack leaving the turn and rolled to a three-length victory in the $150,000 Sorrento for 2-year-old fillies at Del Mar Saturday.
Reunited with jockey Victor Espinoza, Attima rebounded from her last-place finish in the American Oaks (gr. IT) by dominating the $150,000 San Clemente Handicap (gr. IIT) for 3-year-old fillies Saturday on the Del Mar turf course.
Harris Farms' Spot the Diplomat, the 8-5 favorite under Del Mar's defending riding champion Victor Espinoza, held on resolutely through the stretch to win Wednesday's $133,400 Graduation Stakes for California-bred 2-year-olds.
Victor Espinoza finished with 60 winners to clinch his second Hollywood Park spring/summer meeting title as the Inglewood track closed its 61-day meet on Sunday.
Ageless The Tin Man earned a repeat victory in the $250,000 American Invitational Handicap (gr. IIT) Sunday on the Hollywood Park turf, which isn't all that remarkable until you consider that his first win in the 1 1/8-mile event came in 2002.
The Japanese star Dance in the Mood, whose connections were disappointed when she ran second in the 2004 American Oaks (gr. IT) on the Hollywood Park turf, provided redemption Saturday when she romped to victory in the $750,000 CashCall Invitational Mile (gr. IIIT).
Somethinaboutlaura earned her first graded stakes win by a whisker following a terrific battle with the favored Maryfield in the $150,000 A Gleam Invitational Handicap (gr. II) for fillies and mares at Hollywood Park Saturday.
Memorette, a filly that is often close but seldom wins, finally had her opportunity to shine in the $150,000 Beverly Hills Handicap (gr. II) for fillies and mares on the Hollywood Park turf Saturday.
In a desperate battle to the wire with A.P. Warrior, jockey Victor Espinoza urged everything he could from favored Point Determined, who responded on the outside to win by a nose in the $100,000 Affirmed Handicap (gr. III) for 3-year-olds at Hollywood Park Saturday.
Odds-on choice Attima, given a confident armchair ride on the lead by Victor Espinoza, cruised to a 1 1/4-length win over Foxysox in the $137,150 Honeymoon Breeders' Cup Handicap (gr. IIT) for 3-year-old fillies on the Hollywood Park turf Sunday.
Shining Energy isn't just a mile specialist anymore. The Julio Canani-trained 4-year-old filly trailed the field in Monday's $349,500 Gamely Breeders' Cup (gr. IT) into the far turn, then unleashed a tremendous bid in the stretch to win going away in a mild surprise on the Hollywood Park turf.
California-bred Scottsbluff set a world record of 1:00.26 for 5 1/2 furlongs under jockey Victor Espinoza in winning Monday's $70,800 Bullet Stakes on the Lakeside Turf Course at Hollywood Park.
Mike Pegram's odds-on favorite Wanna Runner ran his five rivals in the $300,000 Walmac Lone Star Derby (gr. III) into the ground on the far turn and cakewalked through the stretch under Victor Espinoza for an easy win Saturday in Grand Prairie, Texas.
Favored Willow O Wisp broke on top and was never headed while cruising to a 1 1/4-length victory over Artiste Royal under jockey Victor Espinoza in Saturday's $100,000 Inglewood Handicap (gr. IIIT) at Hollywood Park.
Likely Kentucky Oaks (gr. I) favorite Balance turned in a six-furlong work in 1:11.60 at her Hollywood Park base Friday. She is scheduled to ship to Churchill Downs April 29.
The Kentucky Oaks (gr. I) field is beginning to take shape with leading contender Balance scheduled to ship from Southern California to Kentucky April 29.
Santa Anita's jockeys will be available for autographs from 11 a.m. to noon on closing day Sunday in the East Paddock Gardens.
Sweet Fourty, the 7-10 favorite in Saturday's $250,000 WinStar/Sunland Park Oaks for 3-year-old fillies, had to battle through the stretch before scoring a half-length victory under Victor Espinoza.
Odds-on choice Wanna Runner left the pacesetting Blaze It behind on the far turn on his way to demolishing an overmatched field by 4 3/4 lengths in the $600,000 WinStar Derby at Sunland Park in New Mexico Saturday.
Martin S. Schwartz's fighting Silver Cup registered her third consecutive grade II win on the Santa Anita turf this meeting, turning back favored Argentina in Sunday's $150,000 Santa Ana Handicap (gr. IIT) for fillies and mares.
Jockey Victor Espinoza drove Fear No Darkness to victory in the fourth race Sunday at Santa Anita Park to reach win number 2,000, fittingly enough on a horse trained by Bob Baffert.
Amerman Racing's Balance overpowered her eight rivals in Sunday's $300,000 Santa Anita Oaks (gr. I) to make it back-to-back grade I victories for trainer David Hofmans and established herself as Southern California's leading contender for the May 5 Kentucky Oaks (gr. I).
Trainer Bob Baffert moved a step closer to his Santa Anita record for stakes victories Saturday when overwhelming favorite Behaving Badly cruised home in the $107,000 Las Flores Handicap (gr. III) over five overmatched fillies and mares.
Overlooked Silver Cup got a good a stalking trip before kicking home impressively in the final sixteenth of a mile to defeat an evenly matched field in the $150,000 Buena Vista Handicap (gr. IIT) for fillies and mares on the Santa Anita turf course Monday.
Beaten by just a half-length in her first try for a grade I victory in December, Amerman Racing's Balance got the job done in fine fashion Saturday, winning the $250,000 Las Virgenes (gr. I) for 3-year-old fillies at Santa Anita Park.
Mark Guidry, a Louisiana native who began riding in 1974 and has won more that 4,700 races, was selected the winner of the 2006 George Woolf Memorial Jockey Award by his fellow jockeys.
There was never much doubt in Saturday's $102,500 Sham Stakes (gr. III) as the Bob Baffert-trained Bob and John finally got his first stake victory with little suspense at Santa Anita Park.
Heavy betting favorite Behaving Badly popped the gate in front for jockey Victor Espinoza and was never seriously threatened, becoming a grade I winner with little trouble in the $250,000 Santa Monica Handicap (gr. I) for fillies and mares at Santa Anita Park Sunday.
Favored Da Stoops left the field far behind on the turn and swept to the easiest of victories in the $250,000 Sunshine Millions Dash for 3-year-olds, the first of four stakes races at Santa Anita Park for California and Florida-bred horses Saturday.
The 8-year-old gelding The Tin Man showed plenty of heart in Sunday's San Marcos (gr. IIT) at Santa Anita Park, registering his first stakes victory in nearly three years.
The Irish-bred outsider Silver Cup overtook Ticker Tape in the final strides to win the $150,000 San Gorgonio Handicap (gr. IIT) for fillies and mares on the Santa Anita Park lawn Sunday.
Bob and Beverly Lewis' With Distinction prevailed in a driving three-horse finish and survived a jockey's claim of foul to emerge victorious in Monday's grade III, $112,100 El Conejo Handicap at Santa Anita.
Sierra Sweetie, under Victor Espinoza pressed the pace to the quarter pole and went on to an impressive three-length win in Wednesday's $125,000 added California Breeders' Champion Stakes for 2-year-old fillies at Santa Anita.
Balance, a disqualification away from being undefeated, successfully made the transition from turf to dirt while rolling to a 1 3/4-length victory under jockey Victor Espinoza in Sunday's $100,000 Sharp Cat Stakes for 2-year-old fillies at Hollywood Park.
Bob and John's apparent six-length victory as the 1-5 favorite in Saturday's $100,000 Real Quiet Stakes for 2-year-olds was overturned by Hollywood Park stewards, who gave the victory to Genre, ridden by Martin Pedroza.
Eastern Sand, the 1-2 favorite in Saturday's $100,000 Silky Sullivan Handicap (gr. IIIT) for 3-year-olds, needed every step of the 1 1/8-mile distance, getting to the wire first in his final lunge to defeat Mr. Splash by a head at Golden Gate Fields.
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