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February 1, 2012

ARCADIA, Calif. (Feb. 1, 2012) – Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert amps up his assault on the April 7 Santa Anita Derby (Grade I) and Triple Crown events beyond on Saturday when sending out his most accomplished Kentucky Derby prospect, Liaison, in Santa Anita’s Grade II, $200,000 Robert B. Lewis Stakes for 3-year-olds at 1 1/16 miles.

The Lewis is one of three Grade II stakes to be contested on Saturday’s Strub Stakes Day, a reference to the track’s historic $200,000 Strub Stakes at 1 1/8 miles for 4-year-olds which is headed by trainer Steve Asmussen’s Tapizar, already deemed a leading candidate for the March 3 Santa Anita Handicap. The $150,000 Arcadia, at one mile on turf, completes the afternoon’s graded stakes tripleheader.

January 29, 2012

ARCADIA, Calif. (Jan. 29, 2012) – After disappointing as the prohibitive favorite in 4 of her 6 previous starts, 6-year-old Unzip Me reaffirmed her status as the West Coast’s premier female turf sprinter Sunday with a half-length victory over Teroda in Santa Anita’s $86,600 Wishing Well Stakes.

With longtime companion Rafael Bejarano in the saddle, Unzip Me gained control entering the stretch and safely rebuffed the runner-up’s last charge while running the 6 ½-furlong distance of Santa Anita’s hillside turf course in a swift 1:11.94.

Her connections had considered stretching the California-bred chestnut mare out to one mile for the first time in Saturday’s $100,000 Valentine Dancer Stakes for state-breds, but changed course in an eleventh-hour decision. “It looked like there was a lot of pace in there on Saturday,” trainer Marty Jones had explained.

January 28, 2012

ARCADIA, Calif. (Jan. 28, 2012) – Following a stirring stretch-long duel with Sugarinthemorning, Craig Stables’ Home Sweet Aspen emerged victorious by a neck Saturday in Santa Anita’s 55th running of the Grade I, $300,000 Santa Monica Stakes for older fillies and mares at seven furlongs before an on-track crowd of 30,514 on Sunshine Millions Day.

Timed in 1:21.42 under a vigorous ride by Joel Rosario, the homebred daughter of Candy Ride rebounded from a faltering fourth in the Grade I La Brea Stakes on Dec. 31 to gain her first graded stakes victory in her ninth start.

It wasn’t easy. Home Sweet Aspen and Sugarinthemorning, with Rafael Bejarano aboard, began to separate themselves from the other five entrants at the head of the lane. But neither would yield. It was Home Sweet Aspen, a 5-1 shot, along the rail with 9-2 Sugarinthemorning on her flank. Finally, Rosario’s mount slowly edged clear.

January 27, 2012

January 26, 2012

ARCADIA, Calif. (Jan. 26, 2012) – Owned by renowned sports talk radio and television commentator Jim Rome’s Jungle Racing, Miss Radiance determinedly drove between horses under jockey David Flores Thursday to score as the 3-2 favorite in Santa Anita’s $59,048 Bug Brush Purse for fillies and mares at 1 1/16 miles.

Rome and trainer Mike Puype opted to run Miss Radiance in the Bug Brush after scratching from Sunday’s Grade II La Canada Stakes, and the decision proved prudent.

ARCADIA, Calif. (Jan. 26, 2012) – After having been entered and established as the 5-2 morning line favorite in Saturday’s $100,000 Valentine Dancer Stakes at one mile on turf, Unzip Me instead is likely to stick with her familiar distance of 6 ½ furlongs over Santa Anita’s hillside turf course in Sunday’s $70,000 Wishing Well Stakes.

“It looked like there was a lot of pace in there on Saturday,” trainer Marty Jones said in favoring the downhill sprint layout over which the speedy 6-year-old mare has won 6 of 10 starts.

LEXINGTON, Ky. (January 26, 2012) – The Breeders’ Cup today unveiled the official event logo for the 29th running of the Breeders’ Cup World Championships at Santa Anita Park, in Arcadia, Calif., on November 2-3, 2012. The 2012 World Championships will mark the sixth time that Santa Anita will host the event, returning for the first time since back-to-back years in 2008 and 2009. The 2011 World Championships were held at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Ky.

January 25, 2012

ARCADIA, Calif. (Jan. 25, 2012) – Caracortado, who recently staged one of the most stunning stretch runs in track history, and swiftly developing Grade I winner Teddy’s Promise will be in action Saturday when Santa Anita presents its10-race Sunshine Millions Day that includes five stakes races and starts at 12 noon.

Teddy’s Promise will attempt to replicate her authoritative triumph in the Grade I La Brea Stakes for 3-year-olds on New Year’s Eve when returning at the same seven-furlong distance in Saturday’s Grade I, $300,000 Santa Monica Stakes for fillies and mares.

But the horse that had pulses stirring like none other so far this Santa Anita meet is 5-year-old California-bred Caracortado, whose torrid closing rush in the Grade III Daytona Stakes on Jan. 8 even confounded such a keen race observer as iconic track announcer Trevor Denman.