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December 31, 2011

ARCADIA, Calif. (Dec. 31, 2011) – Teddy’s Promise, a California-bred daughter of Salt Lake who previously had been walloped by a combined 65 ¼ lengths in three relatively minor stakes tries, turned Santa Anita’s Grade I La Brea Stakes for 3-year-old fillies on its ear Saturday.

Not only did she record a stunning 16-1 upset in the prestigious $300,000 event after coming off a pair of optional claiming event victories, Teddy’s Promise did it with authority under jockey Victor Espinoza. The winning margin over Sugarinthemorning was 2 ¼ lengths. The final time was a sprightly 1:20.47.

December 30, 2011

ARCADIA, Calif. (Dec. 30, 2011) – Lady of Shamrock, purchased privately after breaking her maiden at Churchill Downs last month, stamped herself as a filly with a bright future Friday when drilling her opposition in Santa Anita’s $81,000 Blue Norther Stakes for 2-year-old fillies at one mile on turf.

Under a vigorous hand ride by Garrett Gomez, Lady Shamrock burst between rivals in midstretch to overtake Batalha and score by 2 ¾ widening lengths in 1:34.24.

December 29, 2011

ARCADIA, Calif. (Dec. 29, 2011) – Cranky Jack, a 4-year-old son of Unusual Heat, notched his second career victory Thursday when closing boldly between horses to take Santa Anita’s $59,750 Temecula Purse for California-breds at 6 ½ furlongs over the track’s hillside turf course.

The Temecula Purse, run as the seventh race on an eight-race card, was the next-to-last leg in the afternoon’s Pick Six. A carryover of $148,184 awaited fans, who bet an additional $775,980 for a total Pick Six pool of $924,164.

ARCADIA, Calif. (Dec. 29, 2011)--The National Thoroughbred Racing Association (NTRA), Daily Racing Form and the National Turf Writers And Broadcasters (NTWAB) announced today that HRTV has won the 2011 Media Eclipse Award in the Television-Features programming category for its documentary “Inside Information: Randy Romero,” about the triumphs and lifelong struggles for survival of the Hall of Fame jockey. The program aired on December 26, 2010.

This is the second consecutive Media Eclipse Award won by HRTV for programs which were written and produced by the network.

ARCADIA, Calif. (Dec. 29, 2011) – Jerry Hollendorfer, who this year became the fourth trainer in history to saddle 6,000 winners, will send out the most accomplished runner, City to City, Sunday in Santa Anita’s Grade II stakes race that memorializes fellow Hall of Fame trainer Bobby Frankel, the $150,000 Robert J. Frankel Stakes for fillies and mares at 1 1/8 miles on turf.

City to City, a 5-year-old mare to be ridden by Rafael Bejarano, heads a field of six in the race Frankel won seven times within 12 years prior to his death on Nov. 16, 2009.

December 28, 2011

ARCADIA, Calif. (Dec. 28, 2011) – Solidly favored in each of her nine races and a winner of three Grade I stakes, Turbulent Descent might have some explaining to do after her fifth-place failure in the Grade I Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Sprint on Nov. 4.

Trainer Mike Puype stepped into the breach as the 3-year-old bay filly prepared for Saturday’s Grade I, $300,000 La Brea Stakes at Santa Anita. “She’ll redeem herself on the 31st,” Puype told the Daily Racing Form.

December 26, 2011

ARCADIA, Calif. (Dec. 26, 2011) – While Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert filled a significant blank in his extensive resume by winning the Grade I Malibu Stakes with 5-2 choice The Factor, Santa Anita turned back the clock 17 years Monday with an opening day crowd of 44,579, its largest opening day throng since 46,904 attended in 1994.

Baffert entered four 3-year-olds in the field of 10 after citing the $300,000 Malibu at seven furlongs as the most glaring omission on his glistening record, but it was the enigmatic The Factor who rose to the occasion.

With Martin Garcia aboard, the gray colt with the name taken from Bill O’Reilly’s widely-watched cable news show put on quite a show while timed in 1:19.89.

ARCADIA, Calif. (Dec. 26, 2011)—A rollicking opening day crowd of 44,579 was rendered silent following the afternoon’s fourth race, as 80-1 longshot maiden Kessabtsi blew out the tote board, returning $162.80, thus guaranteeing a high likelihood of an eventual Pick Six carryover of $148,184 into Thursday. It is expected Thursday’s total pool will exceed $750,000.

Kessabtsi, an 0-15 California-bred son of Unusual Heat who was facing a starter allowance field of 10 winners, was ridden by Agapito Delgadillo for trainer Javier Sierra and owners Sierra Stables, Inc.

December 22, 2011

ARCADIA, Calif. (Dec. 22, 2011)--Longtime Paddock Guard John Shear, who was seriously injured while protecting a young girl from a loose horse on March 12, was a Santa Anita press box visitor Thursday and informed that he would be back in action on opening day. As a result of his heroic act, Shear has been honored by the cities of Arcadia and Sierra Madre.

“My doctor said I’m okay to come back to work,” said Shear, who will turn 91 on Jan. 17. “I’ll be back at my same job, which is Paddock Supervisor.

December 21, 2011

ARCADIA, Calif. (Dec. 21, 2011) – Santa Anita commences its 75th winter/spring season on Monday with four stakes races highlighted by the Grade I, $300,000 Malibu Stakes on a nine-race program that is enhanced by the track’s popular opening-day giveaway of colorful wall calendars.

Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert, while beginning pursuit of a record tenth Santa Anita training title, is taking dead aim on the elusive Malibu with a vengeance. He will send out four 3-year-olds, including a freshened The Factor, in the seven-furlong event that has eluded him with 20 previous starters.

Baffert failed to win the Malibu with such stellar performers as Kentucky Derby champion Silver Charm, Santa Anita Handicap winner Misremembered and Breeders’ Cup Sprint champion Midnight Lute. He cites the Malibu as the most notable omission on his seemingly endless list of stakes victories.