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February 29, 2012

ARCADIA, Calif. (Feb. 29, 2012) – With defending champion Game On Dude a last-minute non-player, Ultimate Eagle swoops into the spotlight as the 5-2 morning line favorite among 13 entrants in Saturday’s 75th running of the Grade I, $750,000 Santa Anita Handicap presented by San Manuel Indian Bingo and Casino. The Big ’Cap will be run for the first time ever as the day’s last race and will follow the Las Virgenes Stakes and the Frank E. Kilroe Mile as the card concludes with three successive Grade I stakes.

The way Martin Pedroza, Ultimate Eagle’s 46-year-old jockey, sees it, Game On Dude’s absence simply removes a speed bump on his extraordinary mount’s rise to stardom. Trainer Bob Baffert announced just prior to Wednesday’s post position draw that Game On Dude would make his next start in the $10 million Dubai World Cup on March 31.

February 26, 2012

ARCADIA, Calif. (Feb. 26, 2012) – Along with his 31st victory of the meeting, 18-year-old apprentice jockey Eswan Flores gained his first career stakes win Sunday when driving Irish-bred Tones to a narrow upset victory in the $81,140 Baffle Stakes for 3-year-olds at 6 ½ furlongs over Santa Anita’s hillside turf course.

The high school senior maintained his third-place standing behind such nationally renowned riders as Joel Rosario (49 wins) and Rafael Bejarano (37 wins) while vigorously encouraging 13-1 Tones to hold off Stoney Fleece, the hard-charging 2-1 favorite ridden by Rosario. The winning margin was a neck.

Flores’ accomplishment was instrumental in generating a Pick Six carryover of $135,405 into Thursday’s program when racing resumes at Santa Anita. It is projected that Thursday’s Pick Six pool will exceed $750,000.

ARCADIA, Calif. (Feb. 26, 2012)—Two-time Eclipse Award winning jockey Ramon Dominguez has been selected by a vote of his fellow jockeys nationwide as the 63rd winner of the prestigious Santa Anita George Woolf Memorial Jockey Award.

ARCADIA, Calif. (Feb. 26, 2012)—Santa Anita’s popular on-line handicapping contest, Showvivor will again be available to all fans, free of charge, beginning Friday, March 2. Santa Anita’s original ShowVivor, which attracted 5,600 players earlier in the current winter/sprint meeting was hit on Feb. 11, enabling one lucky fan to win $3,000.

February 25, 2012

ARCADIA, Calif. (Feb. 25, 2012) – Little matter that the opposition included 2011 champion sprinter Amazombie, trainer Bob Baffert can do little wrong these days, and his torrid reign of national dominance continued on Saturday when The Factor won Santa Anita’s Grade II, $200,000 San Carlos Stakes.

The half-length victory over Sway Away in the seven-furlong event represented the 16th victory in 17 races at Santa Anita, Golden Gate Fields and Oaklawn Park for the Hall of Fame trainer. Small wonder that The Factor, sometimes enigmatic, was bet down to 7-10 favoritism in the 74th running of the San Carlos.

February 24, 2012

ARCADIA, Calif. (Feb. 24, 2012)—Santa Anita Park has announced plans to host its fourth Photographers Day, Friday, March 9. Photo Day IV will get underway with registration at Clockers’ Corner at 7:30 a.m. and the day will include breakfast, morning workouts and afternoon racing. Amateur and professional photographers are invited.

“The participation we’ve experienced for these events has been amazing,” said Santa Anita Vice President of Sales and Marketing Chris Quinn. “These folks come from all walks of life and their enthusiasm is contagious. They love being out here.

February 23, 2012

ARCADIA, Calif. (Feb. 23, 2012)—For the 14th time in 37 racing days, no one correctly tabbed all six winners in Santa Anita’s popular Pick Six wager, resulting in a carryover of $71,097 into Friday. With 3-5 favorite Matto Mondo finishing out of the money in race seven, the carryover was assured. It is expected Friday’s total Pick Six pool could reach $500,000.

ARCADIA, Calif. (Feb. 23, 2012) – Stoney Fleece, winner of Hollywood Park’s Grade III Generous Stakes last November, is the 122-pound high weight and likely favorite among nine entrants in Sunday’s $70,000 Baffle Stakes for 3-year-olds at 6 ½ furlongs over Santa Anita’s hillside turf course.

Sunday’s featured eighth race will mark Stoney Fleece’s first race over the unique downhill grass layout. Including the Generous, he won two competitions at one-mile on turf before most recently finishing third in Santa Anita’s Eddie Logan Stakes at the same grass distance on Dec.