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March 17, 2012

ARCADIA, Calif. (March 17, 2012) – Jay Em Ess Stable’s Include Me Out surged to the fore among the West Coast’s older females on Saturday with a thoroughly dominant display in Santa Anita’s Grade I, $300,000 Santa Margarita Stakes contested over a “sloppy” main track at 1 1/8 miles.

The 75th running of the event that serves as the meet’s divisional championship was supposed to be little more than a recital for front-running Ellafitz, the 4-5 choice in search of her fourth straight stakes victory, but Include Me Out wasn’t buying into it.

With Joe Talamo directing the way, she shot past Ellafitz rounding the far turn and blazed to a 3 ¾-length victory over Love Theway Youare in 1:47.62. Meanwhile, the prohibitive favorite backed up to last in a field lessened to four by weather-related scratches.

March 16, 2012

ARCADIA, Calif. (March 16, 2012)—With the National Weather Service predicting a 90 percent chance of heavy rain on Saturday, Santa Anita Park has announced that its $1 million St. Patrick’s Day Horseshoe Pitch has been cancelled.

“We apologize to all of those who were looking forward to coming out for the St. Pat’s Pitch,” said Chris Quinn, Santa Anita Vice President of Sales and Marketing. “This is one of our most popular events of the year and we all look forward to it.

March 15, 2012

ARCADIA, Calif. (March 15, 2012) – Under a well-timed ride by Victor Espinoza, solidly favored Kingpin Ryno came from off the pace Thursday to secure a 1 ¼-length victory over Valley Cat in Santa Anita’s featured $59,750 Maywood Purse for California-breds at one mile on turf.

After being overtaken by one-half length as the favorite under similar conditions in his previous start, Kingpin Ryno was settled into a stalking position on Thursday as Tricky Mandate sped to a 3 ½-length lead down the backstretch.

“I didn’t want to go to the lead today,” explained Espinoza.

ARCADIA, Calif. (March 15, 2012) – With Sunday’s Grade II, $150,000 San Luis Rey Stakes turf marathon postponed for one week due to the prospect of foul weather, the 9th running of the $70,000 Santana Mile steps into the feature spot with a contentious field of seven set to compete.

The Santana Mile will be contested as the seventh race on an eight-race program with first post at 12:30 p.m.

ARCADIA, Calif. (March 15, 2012)—Due to a forecast calling for heavy rain over the weekend, Santa Anita racing officials have made the decision to postpone until Sunday, March 25, the Grade II, $150,000 San Luis Rey Stakes, which was originally scheduled to be run this Sunday. The San Luis Rey, for older horses at 1 ½ miles on turf, will be run for the 61st time this year.

“We’ve got some significant rain coming our way over the weekend,” said Santa Anita Vice President of Racing, Rick Hammerle.

ARCADIA, Calif. (March 15, 2012)—Santa Anita officials and horsemen reacted with dismay and sorrow upon the news of the highly publicized equine fatality here on Tuesday morning and the subsequent decision Wednesday by HBO to cease production on season-two of LUCK.

“All of us here at Santa Anita, including horsemen, management and employees are deeply saddened by the stable area accident which resulted in the death of a horse being used in the production of LUCK here on Tuesday morning,” said Thoroughbred horse owner Mark Verge, speaking on behalf of the Stronach Group.

March 14, 2012

ARCADIA, Calif. (March 14, 2012) – Late-blooming 5-year-old Ellafitz will aim for a career high note as well as her fourth straight stakes victory Saturday when facing five challengers in Santa Anita’s Grade I, $300,000 Santa Margarita Stakes, the season’s racing highlight for older fillies and mares at 1 1/8 miles.

“She’s in a zone right now,” trainer Bob Baffert said of the bay daughter of Tiznow who did not win her first stakes race until last Dec. 11 when taking the Grade II Bayakoa Handicap at Hollywood Park in her 12th start. Moving to Santa Anita, Ellafitz promptly followed with impressive victories in the Paseana Handicap and the Grade II Santa Maria on Feb. 18.

She clearly made a believer of Baffert. “Ellafitz runs hard, she runs fast,” he said. “Last time (Santa Maria), they took all kinds of shots at her. She took a lot of heat and kept going. They sent a rabbit out there, but my mare is doing better for this race than she was before the last race.”

ARCADIA, Calif. (March 14, 2012)—Santa Anita Park will proudly host an equine baby shower in honor of the great Zenyatta’s newly arrived foal this Saturday, March 17. All on-track attendees will receive one “It’s a Boy” poster, free with their paid admission and will have an opportunity to meet “Team Zenyatta” in an autograph session prior to the races.

“The entire racing world is buzzing about Zenyatta’s new colt, who was born in Kentucky last Thursday night (March 8),” said Chris Quinn, Santa Anita’s Vice President of Sales and Marketing.

March 11, 2012

ARCADIA, Calif. (March 11, 2012) – Extending a remarkable winning streak that began in a $20,000 claimer last December, Izzy Rules registered her fourth straight decisive victory and first in a stakes race Sunday with a dazzling display while capturing Santa Anita’s Grade III, $100,000 Las Flores Stakes for older fillies and mares at 6 ½ furlongs.

As jockey Edwin Maldonado gained his first stakes win at Santa Anita, the 5-year-old Florida-bred mare simply blew away her graded stakes opposition while covering the distance in 1:14.59 after paving the way through robust fractions of 21.73, 43.31 and 1:07.40.

She crossed the wire 4 ¼ lengths ahead of Spectacular Sky, who took up the chase early, tried to make an impression in early stretch, but wound up withering in the winner’s wake. Home Sweet Aspen, recent winner of the Grade I Santa Monica Stakes, never could get involved. She ran fifth. Nor could Great Hot, a Grade II stakes winner. She ran fourth.