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TUSCAN EVENING NAMED HORSE OF MEET IN MEDIA POLL SADLER, BEJARANO EARN HONORS AS TOP TRAINER AND JOCKEY
ARCADIA, Calif. (April 18, 2010) – In one of the closest votes in recent memory, queen of the turf Tuscan Evening outpolled Santa Anita Derby winner Sidney’s Candy and undefeated Santa Margarita Invitational Handicap winner Zenyatta to be named Horse of the Meet in Santa Anita’s annual Media Poll.
Tuscan Evening, a 5-year-old Irish-bred mare owned by William de Burgh and trained by Jerry Hollendorfer, completed a graded stakes “Grand Slam” by winning four of those events at the meet, at distances from about 6 1/2 furlongs on turf to a mile and a quarter on turf. They were the Grade III Monrovia Handicap at about 6 1/2 furlongs on turf Jan. 3; the Grade II Buena Vista Handicap at one mile on turf Feb. 15; the Grade II Santa Ana Handicap at 1 1/8 miles on turf March 21; and the Grade II Santa Barbara Handicap at 1 1/4 miles on turf April 17.
Tuscan Evening’s sweep also was named Achievement of the Meet. She was a unanimous winner as Outstanding Grass Filly or Mare.
“She’s something. I give her all the credit,” said Hollendorfer. “We’re thrilled at how she ran and very proud of what she’s accomplished.”
In addition to the Grade I Santa Anita Derby, Sidney’s Candy, a 3-year-old son of Candy Ride trained by John Sadler, also won the Grade II San Vicente Stakes at seven furlongs and the Grade II San Felipe Stakes at 1 1/16 miles. He was named Outstanding male 3-year-old.
“He’s very deserving,” Sadler said. “He had a brilliant campaign. His San Vicente win was very, very fast (seven furlongs in 1:20.91), and his Santa Anita Derby was really good, so I think he’s a deserving winner.” Sadler won his second straight Santa Anita training title and was named Trainer of the Meet. Sadler also won seven stakes races, one behind leaders Bob Baffert and Hollendorfer. One of Sadler’s stakes victories came in the Grade I Santa Anita Oaks, won by Crisp, who was named Outstanding 3-year-old filly over Blind Luck.
Zenyatta was named on several Horse of the Meet ballots by virtue of her dramatic last-to-first triumph in the Santa Margarita, which was named Race of the Meet.
Rafael Bejarano rolled to his third consecutive Santa Anita riding title. The 27-year-old native of Peru won 94 races to outdistance runner-up Joel Rosario, who finished with 73. Bejarano won 11 stakes races (if he wins the San Juan) to tie Rosario in that category.
For the second straight year, Ron Valenta, who races as La Caňada Stables, LLC, was named Owner of the Meet for winning 14 races. He won that honor in 2008-09 with 24 victories.
Valenta’s horses are trained exclusively by Jack Carava. Benjamin Warren, Jenny Craig, and Jerry and Ann Moss also received votes. “We might have won a lot more races if a few photo finishes had gone our way,” Carava lamented.
2009-10 Santa Anita Media Poll
Other poll winners were: Older Horse, Santa Anita Handicap winner Misremembered; Older Filly or Mare, Zenyatta; Grass Horse, Bourbon Bay, who became the first horse since 1993 Horse of the Year Kotashaan to sweep the marathon San Luis Obispo Handicap, the San Luis Rey Handicap, and the San Juan Capistrano Invitational Handicap; and Outstanding Sprinter, Kinsale King, who won the Grade II Palos Verdes Handicap and validated that triumph by coming back to win the $2 million Golden Shaheen in Dubai.
Christian Santiago Reyes, Eclipse Award winner as Outstanding Apprentice jockey of 2009, was named the meet’s Outstanding Apprentice rider. The native of Puerto Rico won 21 races at the meet.
Also, Welken, a 6-year-old Sky Classic mare owned by Nick Alexander and trained by Mike Mitchell, was named Claiming Horse of the Meet. The Kentucky-bred chestnut won three of four starts since she was claimed for $40,000 on Dec. 31, including a first-condition allowance race on April 15.
2009-10 Santa Anita Winter/Spring Media Poll
Horse of Meet: Tuscan Evening
Sprinter: Kinsale King
Older Horse: Misremembered
Older Filly/Mare: Zenyatta
Trainer: John Sadler
Grass Horse: Bourbon Bay
Jockey: Rafael Bejarano
Grass Filly/Mare: Tuscan Evening
Apprentice: Christian Santiago Reyes
3-Year-Old: Sidney’s Candy
Race: Santa Margarita Invitational
3-Year-Old Filly: Crisp
Achievement: Tuscan Evening 4 stakes wins