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February 18, 2011

ARCADIA, Calif. (Feb. 18, 2011)—Amid considerable fanfare, Santa Anita officials unveiled the exclusive Arcadia Suite on Friday, with a ribbon-cutting ceremony attended by several area politicians, including Arcadia Mayor Pro-Tem Gary Kovacic, Councilman Roger Chandler and City Manager Don Penman.

February 17, 2011

ARCADIA, Calif. (Feb. 17, 2011) – Joel Rosario, the Dominican Republic native who began riding in the United States in 2007, registered his 1,000th career victory Thursday aboard 7-5 favorite Coo Cachoo in the seventh race at Santa Anita Park.

The 4-year-old colt had won by 4 ½ lengths under Rosario when claimed for $20,000 by trainer Julio Canani on behalf of Charles I. Gold on Jan. 16. Rosario again took Coo Cachoo wire-to-wire for the repeat in the $58,000 optional claimer at one mile while racing for a $40,000 claiming tag.

ARCADIA, Calif. (Feb. 17, 2011)—By a vote of 6-0 on Thursday, the California Horse Racing Board (CHRB) awarded fall dates to Santa Anita Park, to be run from Sept. 28 through Nov. 6.

Santa Anita, in conjunction with the Oak Tree Racing Association, had conducted a live fall meeting since 1969, with the exception of 2010, when Santa Anita’s main track was closed for repair, resulting in the dates being transferred to Hollywood Park.

“This is great news for Santa Anita and for the California horse racing industry,” said Santa Anita President George Haines. “This means so much to so many people. From all of our employees and the people who work within the industry, to our fans and to the entire business community here in the San Gabriel Valley, this means jobs, revenue and the opportunity to remain viable and to grow our business into the future.”

ARCADIA, Calif. (Feb. 17, 2011) – Following last weekend’s muddling of the West Coast’s Derby picture, trainer Bob Baffert’s record-setting The Factor will be among nine 3-year-olds aiming to elevate their status on Sunday in Santa Anita’s 70th running of the Grade II, $150,000 San Vicente Stakes at seven furlongs.

ARCADIA, Calif. (Feb. 17, 2011) – Trainer Bob Baffert’s Bulldogger, idle since fading to fifth when favored in the Jimmy V. Stakes at Churchill Downs last Nov. 5, made a triumphant return in Santa Anita’s $60,062 allowance feature at six furlongs on Thursday.

Baffert removed the blinkers that the son of Dixie Union had worn in his first five starts, and the colt owned by Patti and Hal Earnhardt responded with a 1 ¼- length victory while coming from off the pace for the first time in his career.

February 16, 2011

ARCADIA, Calif. (Feb. 16, 2011) – Bourbon Bay and Champ Pegasus, the West Coast’s foremost turf marathoners, renew their long-range relationship in Santa Anita’s Grade II, $150,000 San Luis Obispo Stakes at 1 ½ miles on Saturday when they meet for the third time in what promises to be the “rubber game” of their racing rivalry.

Bourbon Bay got the better of favored Champ Pegasus most recently in the Jan. 17 San Marcos Stakes, a Grade II at 1 ¼ miles. Before that, Champ Pegasus made good on his 8-5 favoritism when besting third-place Bourbon Bay by one length in Oak Tree’s Grade I Clement L. Hirsch over 1 ¼ miles at Hollywood Park on Oct. 3.

February 13, 2011

ARCADIA, Calif. (Feb. 13, 2011) – Four weeks after Always a Princess appeared to steal the Grade II El Encino Stakes from Blind Luck, last year’s 3-year-old filly champion, she ran off with Santa Anita’s Grade II, $150,000 La Canada Stakes for 4-year-old fillies in strikingly similar fashion on Sunday.

Again, Always a Princess set all the pace. Again, she triumphed by three-plus lengths. But if this was a theft, Always a Princess slammed the door on the way out of the vault.

There were some extraneous differences. The La Canada, at 1 1/8 miles, was one-sixteenth longer than the earlier match. The difference in odds compacted from 7/2 on Always a Princess to Blind Luck’s 7-10 in the Grade II El Encino to 6-5 and 11-10, respectively.

February 11, 2011

ARCADIA, Calif. (Feb. 11, 2011) – A three-horse speed duel helped unbeaten Bench Points gain his fourth victory Friday when rallying to win Santa Anita’s $64,960 The Gum Purse by 1 ¼ lengths over 3-10 favorite Da Ruler in the six-furlong event for 3-year-olds which was run in 1:08.22.

Even though the late scratches of Rumor and Polished Nickel had reduced the starting field to four, Bench Points and jockey Alonso Quinonez found a beneficial scenario despite the field’s lack of depth.

“The race did unfold like I thought,” said winning trainer Tim Yakteen. “We got a strong pace and he (Bench Points) finished like I knew he could.”

February 10, 2011

ARCADIA, Calif. (Feb. 10, 2011) – Lieve, a 6-year-old Brazilian import who had not won a race since September of 2009 in his native country, emerged victorious in a three-horse driving finish in Santa Anita’s featured $60,200 Lennyfromalibu Purse on Thursday to generate only the third Pick Six carryover of the 29-day-old meet.

Under an aggressive ride by Corey Nakatani, Lieve nudged former stablemate Times Gone By by a head in the one-mile turf event timed in 1:34.69 to ensure a carryover of $68,093 into Friday’s Pick Six.

ARCADIA, Calif. (Feb. 10, 2011)—Apprentice jockey Abel Cedillo and journeyman Victor Espinoza were injured as a result of a spill on the Club House turn during the first race at Santa Anita on Thursday.

Cedillo’s mount, Saint’s Crown, who was at the rail, in second position approaching the 6 ½ furlong pole, clipped the heels of the pacesetter, Sky Brite Miss, unseating Cedillo. Espinoza, who was trailing the early leaders at the rail aboard Lucy Got Lucky, collided with the fallen Saint’s Crown, unseating Espinoza.

Espinoza, who was taken to the track’s First Aid Station, sustained what appeared to be a significant abrasion to his forehead but was not hospitalized. Although he took off of his remaining mounts, Espinoza said that he intended to ride at Santa Anita on Friday.