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March 3, 2010

March 2, 2010

Turf specialist Loup Breton will try a synthetic surface for the first time in Saturday’s Gr. I, $750,000 Santa Anita Handicap. A winner of the Gr. II San Marcos Stakes on Jan. 24, the 6-year-old Irish-bred has an all-turf record of 5-4-2 from 21 starts, and $677,614 in career earnings. The Julio Canani trainee made his U.S. debut on Nov. 19 at Hollywood Park, after immigrating from France. Loup Breton has won two of his three starts for Canani and has been ridden on all three occasions by Garrett Gomez, who is scheduled to ride him in the Big ’Cap. Although he’s a newcomer to a synthetic surface, Loup Breton is well acquainted with the Big ’Cap distance of 1 ¼ miles, as he has posted three wins from 11 lifetime tries. Gomez, America’s leading rider by money won the past four years, will be seeking his first-ever win in the Big ’Cap, while the Peruvian-born Canani will pursue a Big ’Cap double, as he won the race with longshot Martial Law in 1989.

February 28, 2010

ARCADIA, Calif. (Feb. 28, 2010) – After finishing third in his racing debut, 4-year-old gelding Compari powerhoused to his fifth straight victory Sunday with a stunning 3 ¼-length triumph in Santa Anita’s 13th running of the $100,000 Crystal Water Handicap for California-breds at one mile over a “yielding” turf course.

With Garrett Gomez gaining his fourth riding victory of the afternoon, the 13-10 favorite took command at once, took a breather rounding the far turn before spurting away from 19-10 second choice Liberian Freighter to complete the journey in 1:35, with a strong final eighth of 11.74.

ARCADIA, Calif. (Feb. 28, 2010)—World famous boxing trainer Freddie Roach will be at Santa Anita on Sunday, March 7, and he will present the trophy for the afternoon’s feature race in a winner’s circle ceremony.

Roach, 49, is a former boxer who is a member of the World Boxing Hall of Fame and he has been voted Trainer of the Year by the Boxing Writers Association of America on four different occasions. Regarded as one of the greatest trainers of all time, Roach currently works for superstar fighter Manny (Pac Man) Pacquiao.

February 27, 2010

ARCADIA, Calif. (Feb. 27, 2010)—Santa Anita officials announced that live racing for Saturday has been cancelled due to heavy overnight and early morning rain, which was expected to continue throughout the afternoon. The announcement was made at 9:45 a.m.

Saturday’s nine race program was to be highlighted by the Gr. III, $150,000 Sham Stakes for 3-year-olds at 1 1/16 miles. The field for the Sham will be redrawn and run this coming Saturday, March 6. The Sham is an important steppingstone to the Gr. I Santa Anita Derby on April 3.

Saturday’s cancellation marked the fifth such weather related closure of the current winter/spring meet which began on Dec. 26.

“This is terribly disappointing to everyone involved,” said Santa Anita President Ron Charles. “Our main problem continues to be with the way the main track is draining. We’ve had a very problematic area near the finish line and we were successful in keeping the surface area there dry with the use of tarps, but we have standing water in other areas and it therefore would not be suitable to run on, especially with the prospect of more heavy rain through the afternoon.

“As we’ve said many times, in this very difficult situation, safety has to be our number one priority. As disappointing as it is to our horsemen, fans and employees, we simply cannot jeopardize the well being of our athletes, be they human or equine.”

Charles also noted that Santa Anita will remain open Saturday for simulcast wagering from across the country, with free admission offered throughout the day and that officials are optimistic about conducting live racing on Sunday.

“The weather forecast for Sunday is good,” said Charles. “We are very optimistic that we’ll have the main track in good shape for tomorrow and that we’ll be able to run all nine races. We have four races scheduled to be run on the grass tomorrow and we’ll make a decision on the status of the turf course in the morning.”

First post time for Sunday’s nine race card is at 12:30 p.m.

February 26, 2010

ARCADIA, Calif. (Feb. 26, 2010) – Lightly raced 5-year-old Total Bull, a son of 2000 Kentucky Derby winner Fusaichi Pegasus who had disappointed in two previous sprints, ran to the expectations of trainer Bob Baffert when routing for the first time on Friday in Santa Anita’s $49,200 allowance feature at 1 1/16 miles.

With Martin Garcia sending Total Bull to the lead from his outside position in a field of eight, the bay owned by Hal and Patti Earnhardt was in control throughout and withstood a stubborn stretch-long bid by Launching Pad to prevail by one-half length in 1:42.88.

February 25, 2010

ARCADIA, Calif. (Feb. 25, 2010) – A bargain claim for $12,500 11 months ago, 5-year-old mare Blame the Wine won her fifth race for Santa Ines Stable Thursday when victorious by one-half length over Be Driven in Santa Anita’s $48,800 optional claiming feature for California-bred fillies and mares at seven furlongs.

Omar Berrio, who has been the winner’s constant saddle companion since the claim, drove Blame the Wine between horses in the closing stages to send her earnings to $97,360 for Santa Ines with the winning purse of $28,800.

February 24, 2010

ARCADIA, Calif. (Feb. 24, 2010) – Alpha Kitten, the 17-10 favorite who hadn’t raced since winning the Grade II Santa Ynez Stakes 13 months before, simply couldn’t catch her more active stablemate, Emmy Darling, in Wednesday’s $49,000 Fair Margarita Purse at Santa Anita as trainer John Sadler saddled the first two finishers.

With Joel Rosario aboard, Emmy Darling sped to the lead early in the six-and-one-half-furlong event for fillies and mares and held Alpha Kitten and jockey Tyler Baze safe by 2 ½ lengths while running the distance in 1:15.36. It was one length back to third-place Zilla in the field of five.

February 23, 2010

Two months in front of the Kentucky Derby, and Mike Machowsky is sitting pretty. The 44-year-old trainer has two promising Triple Crown hopefuls in the unbeaten Caracortado and promising maiden winner Nextdoorneighbor, who runs in Saturday’s Grade III, $150,000 Sham Stakes, a major steppingstone to the Grade I, $750,000 Santa Anita Derby on April 3.

Caracortado, who captured the Grade II Robert B. Lewis Stakes on Feb. 6 for his fifth victory, goes next in the Grade II, $150,000 San Felipe Stakes on March 13 against Kentucky Derby Future Book favorite Lookin At Lucky.

February 21, 2010

ARCADIA, Calif. (Feb. 21, 2010) – After closing strongly to win his first test at 1 ½ miles in an allowance event last month, Bourbon Bay established his stakes credentials as a marathoner Sunday when running away with Santa Anita’s 54th running of the Grade II, $150,000 San Luis Obispo Handicap at 1 ½ miles on turf.

With leading rider Rafael Bejarano in the irons, the 4-year-old Sligo Bay gelding burst away from his competition in midstretch to score by 4 ¼ lengths over Unusual Suspect while negotiating the distance in 2:28.89.

It was the first stakes victory for Bourbon Bay and the second San Luis Obispo for Hall of Fame trainer Neil Drysdale, whose other entrant, Obrigado, wound up a distant fifth after having provided the first San Luis Obispo win for his trainer in 2007.