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March 8, 2012

ARCADIA, Calif. (March 8, 2012) – Overlooked in her United States debut despite fast works and a solid record in her native Brazil, Gem of Soul dominated her opposition Thursday with a 2 ¾-length victory at odds of 8-1 in Santa Anita’s $60,094 Special 28FX Purse for older fillies and mares at one mile on turf.

And she did so, according to trainer A.C. Avila, with no sleep the previous night after a pet sheep, who resides in her stall, gave birth.

ARCADIA, Calif. (March 8, 2012)—Actor John Ortiz, who portrays colorful trainer Turo Escalante on HBO’s hit series LUCK, will welcome and entertain fans at Santa Anita’s first-ever “Fiesta de Santa Anita” this Sunday, March 11. The family-friendly event will take place in the track’s spacious infield area and will include live entertainment provided by Los Rieleros del Norte and Graciela Beltran, with renowned entertainer Don Cheto serving as emcee.

ARCADIA, Calif. (March 8, 2012) – Her gritty victory in the Grade I Santa Monica Stakes seems certain to cast Craig Stables’ Home Sweet Aspen as the solid choice on Sunday in Santa Anita’s 60th running of the Grade III, $100,000 Las Flores Stakes for older fillies and mares at 6 ½ furlongs.

Only five rivals were entered to face the 4-year-old daughter of Candy Ride, bred by Sidney and Jenny Craig, who gamely prevailed in a stretch-long duel with Sugarinthemorning to take the Jan.

HRTV's Caton Bredar will be on-track at Tampa Bay Downs this Saturday for the Grade 2, $350,000 Tampa Bay Derby for 3-year-olds. The track’s signature event has produced two Kentucky Derby winners in the last five years -- Street Sense (2007) and Super Saver (2010).

Bredar will be at the Oldsmar, FL track to report on Tampa Bay Derby, offering analysis, insight and interviews with key personalities throughout the day. The 1 1 /16 mile event is expected to attract a solid field, including the first two finishers from Tampa's Sam F.

March 7, 2012

ARCADIA, Calif. (March 8, 2012)—Santa Anita Park will present its fifth annual “Santa Anita Uncorked” wine and culinary festival on March 25.

ARCADIA, Calif. (March 7, 2012) – Bob Baffert, who has trained the winners of nine Triple Crown races, faces a compelling challenge with Liaison and Bodemeister, his two entrants among ten 3-year-olds signed up for Santa Anita’s Grade II, $300,000 San Felipe Stakes at 1 1/16 miles on Saturday.

Liaison, who has earned $469,560 from 3 wins in 5 starts including last December’s Grade I CashCall Futurity, will be trying to regain his elite status following a disastrous outing in the Grade II Robert B. Lewis Stakes on Feb. 4. Bodemeister simply will be trying to prove that a stunning maiden victory can belatedly launch him into becoming a genuine Kentucky Derby principal.

Baffert had been planning to enter his provocative youngster Fed Biz -- a consensus Top Five choice among Kentucky Derby prospects despite never having run in a stakes race -- in the event that serves as the final stepping stone to the Grade I, $750,000 Santa Anita Derby on April 7. Six of the last 15 San Felipe winners have successively transitioned to the Santa Anita Derby. But early this week Fed Biz was struck by a setback.

March 4, 2012

ARCADIA, Calif. (March 4, 2012) – Like clockwork, perennially punctual 8-year-old gelding Mr Gruff registered his sixth victory in eight starts over Santa Anita’s hillside turf course Sunday when scoring a one-half length victory over Ain’t No Other in the 5th running of the $79,880 Joe Hernandez Handicap at 6 ½ furlongs.

As the 4-5 favorite, Mr Gruff was instrumental in spreading the wealth generated by Santa Anita’s largest total Pick Six pool in over three years, $3,110,484, after a two-day carryover materialized from Saturday’s Santa Anita Handicap Day.

There were 35 winning tickets in Sunday’s Pick Six, each worth $53,204.80. The total pool was the largest since fans poured a total $4,315,720 into the track’s Pick Six pool on Jan. 10, 2009.

March 3, 2012

By BETH HARRIS AP Racing Writer

ARCADIA, Calif. (AP) _ Ron the Greek won the $750,000 Santa Anita Handicap by 3½ lengths on Saturday, sending Setsuko to a runner-up finish for the second consecutive year.

Ridden by Jose Lezcano, Ron the Greek ran 1¼ miles in 2:00.41 and paid $9.20, $4.40 and $3.40 at 7-2 odds for Hall of Fame trainer Bill Mott.

Ron the Greek topped a field that was sorely lacking in name recognition after defending champion Game On Dude bypassed the race in favor of running in the $10 million Dubai World Cup later this month.

"At the half-mile pole, I had a lot of horse," Lezcano said, "but I had to keep asking my horse. My horse is like a bicycle, you keep asking and he will keep running."

Setsuko returned $3.60 and $2.80. The 5-year-old gelding was second last year by a nose to Game On Dude, who won in a disputed finish for trainer Bob Baffert. Jockey Chantal Sutherland became the first woman to win the race, although she had to wait out a 12-minute video review by the stewards for a bumping incident involving third-place Twirling Candy that drew the crowd's ire.

ARCADIA, Calif. (March 3, 2012) – Failure by each favorite in the three Grade I races that concluded Saturday’s Santa Anita Handicap Day program witnessed by an on-track crowd of 26,147 sealed a season-high, two-day Pick Six carryover of $430,581 into Sunday’s nine-race card at Santa Anita.

The huge carryover, which is expected to generate a pool in excess of $1.5 million on Sunday, became a certainty when Hall of Fame trainer Bill Mott’s Eastern import Ron the Greek decisively took the 75th Big ’Cap at odds of 7-2 as 2-1 favorite Ultimate Eagle faded to 10th in the field of 13.