SOLID GROUP OF EIGHT CAL-BREDS, INCLUDING RECENT CAL CUP TURF CLASSIC RUNNER-UP BOOZER SET TO GO
ARCADIA, Calif. (Feb. 16, 2015)–Course specialist Bettys Bambino heads a field of eight older California-bred or sired horses in Saturday’s $100,000 Sensational Star Stakes at 6 ½ furlongs down Santa Anita’s hillside turf course.
A winner of the Grade III Daytona Stakes down the hill on Dec. 28, the Peter Eurton-conditioned Bettys Bambino seeks his fourth consecutive win over the course and his sixth win from 10 career starts. Bred in California by Alesia, Ciaglia and Mellen, the 5-year-old Unusual Heat gelding is owned by Sharon Alesia, Bran Jam Stable and Ciaglia Racing, LLC.
A gem of consistency, Bettys Bambino has four wins and a third from five starts down the hill and has earnings of $258,036. Blessed with ample tactical speed, he’ll be ridden by Martin Garcia, who has been aboard for his last four trips to the post.
Trainer Mark Glatt’s Boozer, a sharp second to highly regarded Alert Bay in the California Cup Turf Classic at 1 1/8 miles Jan. 24, cuts back in distance and has an impressive 6-3-2-1 resume down the hillside. A 5-year-old gelding by Unusual Heat, he’s owned by Al and Sandee Kirkwood and will be ridden back by Gary Stevens. Although he’s shortening up, he’s been on or near the lead in all of his hillside races. Boozer is 14-5-3-2 overall with earnings of $345,242.
Third, beaten a neck by Alert Bay in the Cal Cup Turf Classic, Patriots Rule will hope for a fast pace in his first hillside attempt. Trained by Sean Williams, the 4-year-old gelding by Tribal Rule is owned by Charles Garvey and has an overall mark of 14-4-2-3. He has earnings of $271,920 and will be handled by regular pilot Fernando Perez.
Seventh, beaten just three lengths in the Grade I, Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint Nov. 1, Pamela Ziebarth’s homebred Ambitious Brew enters the Sensational Star fresh and dangerous for trainer Marty Jones. Second, beaten a nose in the Grade III Eddie D. Stakes down the hill two starts back on Sept. 26, Ambitious Brew won last year’s Sensational Star and has three wins and a second from five starts down the hillside. A 5-year-old gelding by Tizbud, Ambitious Brew is 9-4-4-0 overall with earnings of $247,920.
Trainer Carla Gaines’ Big Bane Theory finished fourth, beaten three quarters of a length to Alert Bay and is one of three horses exiting the Cal Cup Turf Classic. Owned and bred by Scott Gross and Mark Devereaux, the 6-year-old horse by Artie Schiller won his only start down the hill.
Idle since June 8, speedy Pathway to Yes draws the outside post for trainer Dan Blacker and will be ridden for the first time by Tyler Baze. The Harris Farms homebred gelding by Lucky J.H. is undefeated in two starts down the hill and will be making his seventh career start on Saturday.
Idle since winning the Cal Cup Turf Classic on Jan. 25, 2014, trainer Brian Koriner’s Weewinnin tries the hill for the first time in his seventh career start. Owned by e-Racing.Com, Gray, Gray, Lyons and partners, the 5-year-old Comic Strip gelding is 6-3-1-0 overall with earnings of $281,880.
A winner of the Cal Cup Sprint going six furlongs on Jan. 24, trainer Paul Aguirre’s Spirit Rules has ample natural speed and tries the hillside for the first time. A 6-year-old Tribal Rule gelding, he’s owned by Accardy, Murphy, Siedler and partners. He’s 16-5-2-4 overall with earnings of $318,378.
The complete field for the Sensational Star Stakes, to be run as the eighth race on a nine-race card Saturday, with jockeys and weights in post position order: Patriots Rule, Fernando Perez, 118; Boozer, Gary Stevens, 123; Weewinnin, Elvis Trujillo, 118; Bettys Bambino, Martin Garcia, 123; Big Bane Theory, Joe Talamo, 123; Ambitious Brew, Brice Blanc, 118; Spirit Rules, Iggy Puglisi, 123, and Pathway to Yes, Tyler Baze, 118.
First post time on Saturday is 12:30 p.m. Admission gates open at 10:30 a.m.