BREEDERS' CUP DIRT MILE CHAMP RESURFACES IN SAN PASQUAL

ARCADIA, Calif. (Jan. 6, 2010) – An affinity for Santa Anita’s Pro-Ride racing surface has helped to inspire the resurfacing of Furthest Land, winner of Oak Tree’s $1 million, Grade I Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile last Nov. 7, in Santa Anita’s 73rd running of the Grade II, $150,000 San Pasqual Handicap at 1 1/16 miles on Saturday.

Based in the East prior to his stellar showing in the Breeders’ Cup, Furthest Land will carry high weight of 121 pounds among seven entrants in the event that dates to Santa Anita’s opening season in 1935 and that has come to serve as the first major stepping stone to the Grade I Santa Anita Handicap, scheduled this year on March 6.

ARCADIA, Calif. (Jan. 6, 2010) – An affinity for Santa Anita’s Pro-Ride racing surface has helped to inspire the resurfacing of Furthest Land, winner of Oak Tree’s $1 million, Grade I Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile last Nov. 7, in Santa Anita’s 73rd running of the Grade II, $150,000 San Pasqual Handicap at 1 1/16 miles on Saturday.

Based in the East prior to his stellar showing in the Breeders’ Cup, Furthest Land will carry high weight of 121 pounds among seven entrants in the event that dates to Santa Anita’s opening season in 1935 and that has come to serve as the first major stepping stone to the Grade I Santa Anita Handicap, scheduled this year on March 6.

A 5-year-old gelding owned by Ken and Sarah Ramsey and trained by Michael Maker, Furthest Land maintained a perfect record in his third start over a synthetic surface and first over Santa Anita’s Pro-Ride in the world championship competition.

At odds of 21-1 with Julien Leparoux in the saddle, the Kentucky-bred son of Smart Strike took the Dirt Mile by three-quarters of a length over 24-1 shot Ready’s Echo with Calvin Borel aboard for trainer Todd Pletcher.

“That was incredible,” Maker said in the Breeders’ Cup winner’s circle. “His record on synthetics speaks for itself.” Recounted Leparoux, “A hole opened up at the quarter-pole. I found room to strike, and that was it. He always runs big on synthetics.”

Garrett Gomez, who rode Furthest Land to victory in the Grade II Kentucky Club Classic over Turfway Park’s synthetic surface prior to the Breeders’ Cup, will regain the mount on Saturday. Claimed for $35,000 by the Ramseys on Oct. 24, 2008, Furthest Land has career earnings of $863,689 from an overall record of 8-2-1 in 16 trips to the post.

The Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile champion will have to contend with hard-hitting California-bred millionaire Bold Chieftain in the San Pasqual. Trained by William J. Morey Jr. for a partnership, the 7-year-old son of Chief Seattle is on a roll with three straight wins to bring his career record to 14-6-4 in 32 starts for earnings of $1,122,411.

Russell Baze, North America’s all-time winningest rider who has been aboard for all but two of Bold Chieftain’s wins, will be back in his usual spot astride the bay horse who is 3-2-0 in eight starts over synthetics. In his most recent start at Santa Anita, Bold Chieftain captured Oak Tree’s $196,000 California Cup Classic on Oct. 3. His millionaire status notwithstanding, Bold Chieftain will be searching for his first graded stakes victory in the San Pasqual as the second high weight at 119 pounds.

The field includes another Breeders’ Cup champion, Nownownow, who took the 2007 Juvenile Turf while rallying from last in a field of 12 at Monmouth Park in New Jersey. The son of Whywhywhy added a win in Santa Anita’s Grade II San Fernando Stakes to his resume in January of last year.

Joe Talamo, aboard in the San Fernando, has the mount Saturday on the 5-year-old trained by Patrick Biancone for Fair Oak Stable and partners. Nownownow, 1-for-4 over synthetics, shows an overall record of 3-3-2 in 15 starts for earnings of $836,024. He will carry 116 pounds.

The complete field for the San Pasqual Handicap, with jockeys and weights in post position order: Cherokee Artist, Rafael Bejarano, 115; Bold Chieftain, Russell Baze, 119; Nownownow, Joseph Talamo, 116; Goldsville, Alex Solis, 113; Neko Bay, Mike Smith, 115; Spurrier, Joel Rosario, 113, and Furthest Land, Garrett Gomez, 121.

Silver Swallow, second to Zardana last month in Hollywood Park’s Grade II Bayakoa Handicap, is the 120-pound high weight among nine entrants in the $65,000 Paseana Handicap, a supporting feature for fillies and mares at 1 1/16 miles.

Mike Smith rides the 6-year-old grey daughter of Alphabet Soup trained by Bruce Headley for Gainesway Farm and partners. “I worked her about two weeks ago and she went dynamite,” Smith said. “I look for her to have a big year this year. She’s coming into her own.” Silver Swallow enters the Paseana with earnings of $371,038 from a 3-8-5 mark in 21 starts.

The complete field for the Paseana Handicap, with jockeys and weights in post position order: Briecat, Martin Garcia, 118; Devine Actress, no rider, 111; Cherryblossommiss, Tyler Baze, 112; Silver Swallow, Smith, 120; Made for Magic, Omar Berrio, 115; My Baby Baby, Gomez, 116; St Trinians, Rosario, 116; You Lift Me Up, Bejarano, 118, and Floating Heart, Talamo, 114.

On a nine-race program, the San Pasqual will be contested as the eighth event with the Paseana going as the sixth. First post is at 12:30 p.m.

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