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February 17, 2011

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.

February 6, 2011

ARCADIA, Calif. (Feb. 5, 2011) – Gladding, a 4-year-old gelding who joined John Sadler’ barn just two months ago, provided the 54-year-old trainer with yet another serious stakes competitor Sunday with a dogged gate-to-wire victory in Santa Anita’s 73rd running of the Grade II, $150,000 San Antonio Stakes.

With leading rider Rafael Bejarano aloft, Gladding sped to a comfortable early lead, set temperate fractions, rejected a bold bid by Spurrier entering the stretch, and pulled away to a one length victory while running 1 1/8 miles in 1:48.00.

February 5, 2011

ARCADIA, Calif. (Feb. 5, 2011) – Trainer John Sadler, who won three graded stakes on Santa Anita’s opening day Dec. 26, added a couple more on Saturday when Zazu upset previously unbeaten Turbulent Descent in the Grade I, $250,000 Las Virgenes Stakes and heavily favored Twirling Candy ran away with the Grade II, $200,000 Strub Stakes in front of a rollicking on-track crowd of 17,396.

Zazu’s dramatic score in the event for 3-year-old fillies broadened Sadler’s grasp on serious contenders to those in no less than six of racing’s divisions, a remarkable showing by the 54-year-old trainer who once was a show horse rider.

February 4, 2011

ARCADIA, Calif. (Feb. 4, 2011) – Third behind Dilemma when favored in last month’s Grade III Daytona Stakes, Regally Ready easily took the measure of the Daytona winner and five others in Friday’s $68,800 Born to Run Purse at 6 ½ furlongs over Santa Anita’s downhill turf course.

Bet down to 3-2 favoritism this time and under a hand ride by Corey Nakatani, Vinery Stable’s 4-year-old gelding scored by 3 ¼ lengths over graded stakes winner Gallant Son while covering the distance in 1:12.62.