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March 20, 2010

ARCADIA, Calif. (March 20, 2010)—Santa Anita’s $1 million St. Patrick’s Horseshoe Pitch nearly produced its second million dollar winner in three years as Kory Curtis of La Habra missed by just 5 5/8 inches from a distance of 47 feet following the seventh race on Saturday.

Curtis, 18, was the first of five contestants and was “closest to the pin” in Santa Anita’s annual horseshoe toss that enables all fans in attendance to fill out an entry blank and have a chance at having their names randomly drawn.

Two years ago, on March 15, 2008, John Placzankis of Rancho Cucamonga tossed a perfect ringer and thus became the first-ever winner of the $1 million contest.

For his efforts, Curtis will receive a check for $5,000 and three other contestants, Eddie Garcia of Long Beach, Mario Jauregui of Whittier and David Felix of La Puente will each receive checks of $1,000 each.

“It looked like it was dead-on,” said Curtis, who graduated from La Habra High School in 2009 and is currently an Electrical Engineering major at Cal State Fullerton. “Even though we didn’t get the million, this is very exciting. I don’t think I’ve stopped smiling.”

Curtis noted that the St. Pat’s Pitch competition is what brought him to Santa Anita. “We come once a year, to the infield for the St. Pat’s Pitch. I came today with my dad (David) and we’ve got a group of about 60 people.”

When asked if he’d practiced for the $1 million opportunity, he said, “No, I wish I did. We had a great day though and I might be back again before St. Patrick’s day next year.”


March 19, 2010

ARCADIA, Calif. (March 19, 2010) – Sidelined since winning the Grade III San Simeon Handicap at Santa Anita last April, 6-year-old gelding Mr Gruff picked up where he left off Friday with a dominant triumph in Santa Anita’s $54,200 allowance feature over 6 ½ furlongs on turf.

March 18, 2010

ARCADIA, Calif. (March 18, 2010)—A Pick Six carryover of $74,546 awaits Santa Anita players on Friday, with the possibility of a total pool of $500,000 by third race post time.

Thursday’s Pick Six began in race three and it was won by Warren’s Tony R., who was ridden by Rafael Bejarano and paid $9.80 to win. Owned and bred in California by Benjamin Warren, the 4-year-old colt by Lake George is trained by Jorge Gutierrez.

Bejarano made it two-in-a-row in race four, winning with Face and an Ace, who is trained by Paco Gonzalez.

ARCADIA, Calif. (March 18, 2010) – A virtual money machine each time she runs, 6-year-old mare Welken expanded on her remarkable consistency Thursday with a neck victory over Hermione’s Magic in Santa Anita’s $52,800 feature for fillies and mares at one mile on turf.

Running the distance in 1:35.50 with Mike Smith aboard, 8-5 favored Welken bettered her record to 9-9-4 in 26 career races.

March 17, 2010

ARCADIA, Calif. (March 17, 2010) – After coming up a head short in a blistering comeback race, Jay Em Ess Stable’s Canonize accomplished his mission Wednesday in dominant fashion as the 4-5 favorite in Santa Anita’s $53,916 allowance feature at six furlongs.

While being geared down by jockey Jose Valdivia Jr. in the closing stages, the 4-year-old gelded son of Aldebaran defeated fast-closing Star Nicholas by 3 ¼ lengths while clocked in 1:08.44.

It wasn’t as rapid as his return on Jan.

With Joe Talamo aloft, Sidney’s Candy rocketed to top-tier Derby status with his authoritative gate to wire victory in Saturday’s Gr. II San Felipe Stakes at 1 1/16 miles, his first start around two turns. Trained by John Sadler and owned by his breeder, the Craig Family Trust, the chestnut colt by Candy Ride is scheduled to make his next start in the Gr. I, $750,000 Santa Anita Derby on April 3.

Sidney’s Candy prevailed by one-half length in the San Felipe, after controlling the pace through fractions of 24.39, 48.55, 1:13.53 and 1:36.26. The final time was 1:42.30.

“The plan was to get to the lead, relax and kick when they came to him,” said Talamo following the race. “We knew last summer he was a quality horse and the way he did this today was so impressive. He has the demeanor of an older horse.”

Sidney’s Candy, who ran second in his debut on July 25 at Del Mar, was stretching out on Saturday following a 4 1/2 –length score in the Gr. II San Vicente Stakes at seven furlongs on Feb. 15.

“He relaxed on the lead good,” said Sadler on Saturday. “When I saw those splits, I was pretty confident…We’ll see how he comes out of it. We always take it (next objective) on a race by race basis.”

“Sidney’s” record now stands at 3-1-0, from five starts and he has earnings of $223,560.

In addition to Sidney’s Candy, those listed as probable for the April 3 Santa Anita Derby are: Alphie’s Bet, Caracortado (beaten favorite in the San Felipe), Intercif, Setsuko and Who’s Up.

March 16, 2010

ARCADIA, Calif. (March 16, 2010)—The 2009 Breeders’ Cup World Championships, which were run at Santa Anita’s Oak Tree meeting on Nov. 6 and 7, has been selected as one of five nominees in the Sports Event of the Year category for 2010 by the prestigious Street and Smith’s Sports Business Journal and Sports Business Daily.

“The two-day Breeders’ Cup was a tremendous success, no question about it,” said Santa Anita President Ron Charles. “This is really the icing on the cake. To be so recognized by Street and Smith, is really an honor.

March 14, 2010

Calvin Borel, left, with brother Cecil, accepts the trophy as the winner of the 61st Santa Anita George Woolf Memorial Jockey Award following Sunday’s sixth race at Santa Anita. Borel won the award via a vote of his peers, outpointing other finalists Garrett Gomez, Randy Meier, Gallyn Mitchell and DeShawn Parker. A 43-year-old native of St. Martin Parish, Louisiana, Borel is one of the most beloved and highly respected jockeys in American racing history.

“Calvin’s probably the hardest-working jockey in the world,” said fellow Cajun and 2005 Woolf winner Ray Sibille…I had the bug with Calvin’s brother Cecil and he could have been the greatest rider to ever come out of Louisiana, he was that good…Cecil saw that Calvin had the ability to be a top rider and he saw to it that Calvin learned everything he could about the business. I’ll tell you one thing, when Jerry Hissam (Borel’s agent) gives you a call, you’re gonna get a really good, honest ride.

“There’s no doubt this means a lot to Calvin. When your peers vote on something like this, it means a lot. It’s a great honor and Calvin deserves it.”

ARCADIA, Calif. (March 14, 2010) – Back from the Fair Grounds in Louisiana where she had won a minor stakes race sprinting on the grass at odds of 5-1, Annihilation ran down 2-1 Czechers in the final strides of Sunday’s inaugural running of the $64,050 Clocker’s Corner Handicap for fillies and mares at 6 ½ furlongs over Santa Anita’s downhill turf course.

With Alex Solis in the saddle at odds of 6-1, Annihilation rallied from eighth in the field of 11 to prevail by a neck for her fifth victory in her last eight starts while running the distance in 1:12.50.

ARCADIA, Calif. (March 14, 2010)—Jerry Moss, owner of Zenyatta, was reached by phone at his home in Beverly Hills and asked to comment on Jess Jackson’s announcement that Rachel Alexandra will not run as originally scheduled in the Gr. I Apple Blossom Handicap at Oaklawn Park on April 9.

JERRY MOSS: “We’re disappointed that we’re not going to be able to face each other in the Apple Blossom. Hopefully, we can meet down the line. We respect both Steve (Asmussen) and Mr. Jackson as horsemen and they’re going to do what’s right for their horse.