ARCADIA, Calif. (June 8, 2017)–A Grade I winner that helped put trainer Richard Baltas on American Racing’s national radar, Big Macher, idle since November, 2015, heads a field of five in Sunday’s $100,000 Thor’s Echo Handicap at Santa Anita.  For 3-year-olds and up at six furlongs, the Thor’s Echo is restricted to horses bred or sired in California.

Claimed as an also-ran out of a maiden $20,000 claiming race in his debut 19 starts back in July, 2013, Big Macher’s crowning achievement was a victory in the Grade I Bing Crosby Stakes a year later, on July 27, 2014.


BIG MACHER: A 7-year-old gelding by Beau Genius who was bred in California by Ballena Vista Farm, he’s a five-time stakes winner for Baltas and owners Tom Mansor and Tachycardia Stables.  In addition to the Bing Crosby, Big Macher was also a winner of Santa Anita’s Grade II Portero Grande Stakes in April, 2014.  His most recent stakes score came three starts back in the restricted Pirate’s Bounty Stakes going six furlongs at Del Mar on Sept. 7, 2015.  Tenth, beaten seven lengths in the Grade I Breeders’ Cup Sprint at Keeneland Oct. 31, he broke poorly and was well beaten at 2-5 in the seven furlong Cary Grant Stakes on Nov. 22.  Strictly the horse to beat despite his lack of recency, Big Macher has earnings of $684,288 from an overall mark of 19-7-2-2.


GOLD RUSH DANCER: Originally based in Seattle, he was a runaway winner of the 1 1/16 miles Gottstein Futurity at Emerald Downs in September, 2015.  A four-time stakes winner, with two of those coming on turf, this 4-year-old colt by Private Gold has proven a versatile sort for trainer Vann Belvoir, who’s had him for his last eight starts.  Idle since running a non-threatening fourth in Del Mar’s Cary Grant Stakes on Nov. 20, Gold Rush Dancer has a solid work tab for his return that includes a bullet six furlong move from the gate in 1:13 flat here on May 25.  Owned and bred by John E. Parker, Gold Rush Dancer is 15-5-3-2 with earnings of $386,613.


HE WILL: Owned in-part and trained by Jerry Hollendorfer, this 5-year-old full horse by Cyclotron has been idle since running a big fourth, beaten two lengths by highly regarded Follow Me Crev in a 1 1/16 miles allowance here on Feb. 20.  A first-out maiden $50,000 claiming winner going 6 ½ furlongs 13 starts back in April, 2015, He Will has two main track sprint wins to his credit, but his best races have come at middle distances on turf.  Ridden last time by Mike Smith, he’ll get the services on Sunday of top apprenctice Evin Roman.  Owned by Hollendorfer, Team Green, LLC and Randall, He Will is 13-5-1-2 with earnings of $206,774.  Bred in California by Old English Rancho and Patsy Berumen, he’s out of the Lear Fan mare, Could She.


K THIRTY EIGHT: Although winless in two turf stakes sprinting, this 6-year-old Surf Cat gelding has good recent form, as he’s won two out of three starts this year, including his most recent, 1 ¼ length score going 6 ½ furlongs down the hillside turf course in an open $50,000 claimer here on May 11.  Trained by Karen Headley, K Thirty Eight has three wins from 11 tries on dirt–all of them sprinting.  Quick from the gate, he’s a solid fit in a race in which the top contenders have been idle for significant periods.  Bred in California by Old English Rancho and Bruce Headley, K Thirty Eight, who is out of the Corwyn Bay mare Butterfly Kiss, is owned by the Elwood Johnston Trust and Matson.  With earnings of $251,335, he has an overall mark of 21-5-1-4.


GOT EVEN: A California-bred stakes winner at age two in December, 2011, this venerable 8-year-old gelding by Stephen Got Even will be making his 55th career start in the Thor’s Echo on Sunday and he remains in search of his second career stakes victory.  Dispatched at odds of 4-5 in a one mile, $50,000 claimer on April 16, Got Even, as is his custom, went to the front, but tired late to finish second, beaten 1 ½ lengths.  Claimed for the $50,000 tag, Got Even has returned to the barn of his original trainer, Peter Miller, who lost him via a $50,000 claim to Bill Spawr in January of 2016.  Although he has routed in his last 11 starts, 10 of them for Spawr, Got Even is in sharp recent form and thus looms dangerous as he cuts back in distance and is ridden by regular pilot Martin Pedroza.  Bred in California by Madera Thoroughbreds, Got Even is 54-7-11-11 with earnings of $568,440.



Race 3 of 10                                                                                                        Approximate post time 2 p.m. PT


  1. Gold Rush Dancer–Flavien Prat–123
  2. He Will–Evin Roman–121
  3. K Thirty Eight–Tiago Pereira–118
  4. Big Macher–Rafael Bejarano–124
  5. Got Even–Martin Pedroza–118


First post time for a 10-race program on Sunday is at 1 p.m.  Admission gates will open at 11 a.m.