ARCADIA, Calif. (Dec. 30, 2017)–The New Year gets underway with a bang on Monday at Santa Anita, as a full field of 10 older horses go 6 ½ furlongs down the Camino Real Hillside Turf Course in the $75,000 Joe Hernandez Stakes.
With a deep and contentious lineup from the rail out, Richard’s Boy, Mr. Roary, Law Abidin Citizen and Om all rate big chances in the race named for the original Voice of Santa Anita, who manned the announcing duties at The Great Race Place from its opening on Dec. 25, 1934 until he collapsed while calling what would be his final race on Jan. 27, 1972.
Owner: Rockingham Ranch Trainer: Peter Miller
Idle since running a gallant second, beaten a head by his stablemate Stormy Liberal in the Grade I Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint on Nov. 4, this consistent soon to be 6-year-old California-bred gelding by Idiot Proof adores the hillside layout, as he has two wins, five seconds and a third place finish from nine starts over it. Evacuated from the San Luis Rey Downs fires on Dec. 7, he’s been in steady training with Miller at Del Mar and with his favorable outside draw and Flavien Prat up, rates a big chance on Monday.
Owner: Kretz Racing, LLC Trainer: George Papaprodromou
An upset winner of the Grade III Eddie D. Stakes in his only hillside try three starts back on Sept. 29, this soon to be 5-year-old gelding by Scat Daddy was sixth and last going a mile and one sixteenth on turf in the Grade II Seabiscuit Handicap at Del Mar Nov. 26 and will thus be cutting back significantly in distance on Monday. Ridden by Tyler Conner to his Eddie D. win and by Javier Castellano in his most recent start, he’ll try to make it two for two down the hill when handled for the first time by Mike Smith in the Joe Hernandez.
LAW ABIDIN CITIZEN
Owner: Dan Agnew, Gerry Schneider and John Xitco Trainer: Mark Glatt
Undefeated in his lone try down the hill, which was also his most recent start on March 24, this lightly raced soon to be 4-year-old Kentucky-bred gelding by Twirling Candy is likely to show plenty of early speed with Tyler Baze up for the first time in what will be his eighth career start. An impressive maiden special weight winner going 6 ½ furlongs on the main track three starts back on Jan. 29, he was then a solid second in the Grade II, seven furlong San Vicente Stakes here on Feb. 12. A classy sort who could be at the threshold of a breakout season, Law Abidin Citizen, who is drawn just to the outside of speedy Tribalist, figures to be in a stalking position as the field heads towards the dirt crossing at the top of the lane.
Owner: Sareen Family Trust Trainer: Dan Hendricks
Arguably the class of the Hernandez field, this soon to be 6-year-old full horse by Munnings has amassed earnings of $936,845 from 21 lifetime starts but although he’s been close on several occasions, is winless in 11 starts since annexing the Grade II Mathis Brothers Mile (turf) here two years ago on Dec. 26, 2015. Most recently fourth, beaten two lengths going 1 1/16 miles on turf in the Grade II Seabiscuit Handicap Nov. 26, he’ll cut back in distance as he seeks his first hillside win in his third attempt over the unique course. With ample speed signed on, Om will hope to be moving late under Drayden Van Dyke, who tries his hand for the fourth consecutive time.
THE $75,000 JOE HERNANDEZ STAKES WITH JOCKEYS & WEIGHTS IN POST POSITION ORDER
Race 7 of 9 Approximate post time 3:30 p.m. PT
- Gold Rush Dancer–Evin Roman–124
- Pee Wee Reese–Joe Talamo–124
- Cimpl Man–Rajiv Maragh–122
- Roary–Mike Smith–124
- Tribalist–Victor Espinoza–120
- Law Abidin Citizen–Tyler Baze–120
- Om–Drayden Van Dyke–120
- Richard’s Boy–Flavien Prat–120
- Krsto Skye–Stewart Elliott–120
- Next Shares–Rafael Bejarano–122
- Smokey Image–Gary Stevens–120
- Sycamore Lane–Kent Desormeaux–120
- Conquest Daddyo–Tyler Conner–120
First post time for a nine-race card on Monday is at 12:30 p.m. Admission gates open at 10:30 a.m. For additional information, please visit www.santaanita.com.