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February 25, 2011

“Night School”—the racing industry’s first national, interactive online fan education forum—will offer its second of 40 weekly sessions on Monday, February 28. Presenting title sponsors of the program are the National Thoroughbred Racing Association, Daily Racing Form (DRF), the American Quarter Horse Association (AQHA) and Keeneland.

Co-hosted by Horseplayernow.com owners Jeremy Plonk and Joe Kristufek, the weekly Night School lessons are offered free to any racing fan who wants to learn more about the game and will include both novice and advance-level fan education.

February 24, 2011

ARCADIA, Calif. (Feb. 24, 2011)—By a vote of his peers nationwide, jockey Garrett Gomez, a two-time Eclipse Award winner, and who was North America’s leading rider by money-won in 2006, ’07,’08 and ’09, will become the 62nd recipient of the prestigious Santa Anita George Woolf Memorial Jockey Award in a winner’s circle ceremony at Santa Anita on Sunday, March 20.

Gomez outpolled fellow jockeys Joe Bravo, Javier Castellano, Corey Lanerie and Gallyn Mitchell.

Nicknamed “Go-Go” for his hard-charging style, Gomez is considered one of the best finishers in modern racing history. This ability was never more evident than in the $5 million Breeders’ Cup Classic at Churchill Downs on Nov. 6.

February 23, 2011

February 22, 2011

ARCADIA, Calif. (Feb. 22, 2011)—Santa Anita Park has announced that pending approval from the California Horse Racing Board, it will remain on a four-day race week schedule through March 20, and will transition to a five-day race week beginning Wednesday, March 23. The five-day race week would remain in effect through closing day, April 17.

Santa Anita’s 76-day winter/spring meeting began on Dec. 26, and with exception of holiday Mondays, racing has been conducted on a Thursday through Sunday basis. Santa Anita had originally planned to run five days a week beginning March 2, but due to a variety of factors, Santa Anita has opted to remain on a four-day schedule for the first three weeks in March.

February 21, 2011

ARCADIA, Calif. (Feb. 21, 2011) – Without multiple Grade I winner Evening Jewel to deal with, comebacking Cozi Rosie uncorked a sizzling rally to spurt past pace-setter Briecat Monday and win Santa Anita’s Grade II, $150,000 Buena Vista Handicap for older fillies and mares by a widening 1 ¼ lengths while covering one mile over a “good” turf course in 1:35.94.

The victory by the 4-year-old filly, who had not raced since losing by a head to Evening Jewel in the Grade II Honeymoon Stakes at Hollywood Park on May 31, provided trainer John Sadler with his eighth graded stakes win of the meet that began Dec. 26. That averages out to a graded stakes victory each week of a season that completed its eighth week on Monday. “I’m not counting,” Sadler said in reaction. “I’m just enjoying it and working hard.”

February 20, 2011

ARCADIA, Calif. (Feb. 20, 2011) – The Factor, whom Hall of Famer trainer Bob Baffert likes to think of as his 3-year-old “cannon,” blasted the competition in his first graded stakes venture Sunday with a stylish three-quarter-length victory over Sway Away in Santa Anita’s 70th running of the Grade II, $150,000 San Vicente Stakes while racing seven furlongs in 1:20.34 over a surface termed “wet fast.”

On the meet’s opening day, Dec. 26, the gray colt named for Bill O’Reilly’s top-rated Fox News program, “The O’Reilly Factor,” had virtually streaked away from his rivals while breaking his maiden by 8 ¼ lengths and setting a track record of 1:06.98.

February 19, 2011

ARCADIA, Calif. (Feb. 19, 2011) – Saturday’s Grade II, $150,000 San Luis Obispo Stakes at Santa Anita had been billed strictly as a duel between the West Coast’s foremost grass marathoners, Bourbon Bay and Champ Pegasus, and was it ever.

The 1 ½-mile competition simply could not have been any closer or more dramatic. After the two battled in tandem through the final eighth-of-a-mile, Champ Pegasus emerged victorious by the bob of a head.

“They are both very good horses,” said winning jockey Joel Rosario. “You saw how the race came out. I only beat him by this much,” as Rosario held his thumb and forefinger less than an inch apart. “I thought I got in front of him a couple of times,” added Rosario, “but he came back again.” The final time was 2:31.55.

February 18, 2011

ARCADIA, Calif. (Feb. 18, 2011) – Second in her two previous starts after Corey Nakatani had taken the reins, Church Camp raced into the winner’s circle under the veteran jockey on Friday when scoring a mild upset in Santa Anita’s $64,140 Moondance Purse for fillies and mares at seven furlongs.

The 4-year-old daughter of Forest Camp outfinished Excellent News by one-half length while 13-10 favorite Crisis of Spirit, who had been competing in graded stakes company last year, settled for third, another three-quarters of a length back in the field of nine.

ARCADIA, Calif. (Feb. 18, 2011)—Santa Anita Park and the City of Hope have announced a partnership that will unite the track’s racing fans and the entire California racing industry in the fight against cancer by presenting the first-ever “On-Track to Beat Cancer” event at Santa Anita on closing day, April 17.