THE LUMBER GUY, FED BIZ HEAD GRADE I MALIBU ON OPENING DAY, DRYSDALE TRAINEE HAS NINE ‘TREES’ TO TOPPLE; GRADE I LA BREA, GRADE II SIR BEAUFORT COMPLETE DECEMBER 26TH STAKES BONANZA AT SANTA ANITA

ARCADIA, Calif. (Dec. 21, 2012)—Santa Anita’s traditional opening day headliner, the Grade I, $300,000 Malibu Stakes for 3-year-olds at seven furlongs, attracted a field of nine and will likely be headed by The Lumber Guy, who comes off a huge second-place finish in the Breeders’ Cup Sprint at The Great Race Place on Nov. 3. The Kentucky-bred colt by Grand Slam had been trained by New York-based Mike Hushion, but will make his first start for trainer Neil Drysdale in the Malibu.

The Malibu will be complemented by the Grade I, $300,000 La Brea Stakes for 3-year-old fillies at seven furlongs, which attracted a field of seven, and the Grade II, $150,000 Sir Beaufort Stakes, for 3-year-olds at one mile on turf, which drew eight.

Owned by Barry Schwartz, The Lumber Guy has been stabled at Betfair Hollywood Park since the Breeders’ Cup and has four works to his credit, including a six furlong drill on Dec. 14, in 1:14.20.

A winner of the Grade I Vosburgh at Belmont Park on Sept. 29, The Lumber Guy has shown good speed both sprinting and routing and is drawn well in post nine. He is a perfect one-for-one at seven furlongs and has a career mark of 7-4-1-0, with earnings of $735,800.

While Drysdale is no doubt pleased with his post position, trainer Bob Baffert, who will saddle a total of four horses in the Malibu, is likely less than happy with Fed Biz’s rail draw. The ultra-talented son of Giant’s Causeway was never a factor in the Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile on Nov. 3, finishing eighth in a nine-horse field.

Regarded by many as Baffert’s top Kentucky Derby prospect last winter, Fed Biz went to the sidelines after winning a first-condition allowance at Santa Anita on Feb. 9, and resurfaced at Del Mar on Aug. 31, winning the El Cajon Stakes under Joe Talamo by a neck. He was subsequently third in the Grade II Indiana Derby on Oct. 6 with Rafael Bejarano.

Ridden by Talamo in the Dirt Mile, he will be handled for the first time in the Malibu by Mike Smith. Fed Biz also drew the rail in his only sprint try, his debut on Nov. 11, 2011, and rallied from off the pace to finish fourth, beaten 2 ½ lengths going six furlongs. As an indication of his readiness, Fed Biz worked five furlongs in a rapid 58 flat on Friday at Santa Anita. Owned by Kaleem Shah Inc., his record stands at 6-3-0-1, with earnings of $184,206.

In addition to Fed Biz, Baffert will also send out Drill, Castaway and Guilt Trip. Idle since winning the Grade III Lazaro Barrera Stakes on May 12, Drill has a solid resume that includes victories in the Grade I Del Mar Futurity and the seven furlong, Grade II San Vicente, run on Feb. 12 at Santa Anita. He is undefeated in three starts at seven furlongs. Owned by Pegram, Watson or Weitman, the Kentucky-bred colt by Lawyer Ron has earnings of $419,710, from an overall record of 11-4-2-0. Drill was impressive from the gate on Friday at Santa Anita, working a bullet six furlongs in 1:10.20, handily.

Castaway, a son of Street Sense, also enters the Malibu fresh, as he’s been away since running a troubled ninth in the Grade III Lexington Stakes on April 21 at Keeneland. A winner of the Grade III, one-mile Southwest Stakes on Feb. 20 at Oaklawn Park, Castaway has a mark of 9-2-1-2, with earnings of $222,597. He is owned by Mrs. John Magnier and Smith.

Guilt Trip is the least accomplished of the Baffert foursome, as the son of Pulpit has two lifetime wins at Belmont Park to his credit; a maiden score on Sept. 26, and an allowance victory on Oct. 27. He is owned by Gary and Mary West.

Although he was well beaten in the Breeders’ Cup Sprint on Nov. 3, trainer Richard Mandella has high hopes for Jimmy Creed, a son of Distorted Humor who was third, beaten three quarters of a length, in the Grade I Santa Anita Sprint Championship on Oct. 6.

A close third in the El Cajon at Del Mar, Jimmy Creed has trained forwardly since the Breeders’ Cup and drilled seven furlongs in company on Wednesday at Santa Anita in 1:24.80. Private clocker Toby Turrell rated the move “brilliant.” Owned by Spendthrift Farm, Jimmy Creed drew post position two and figures to be sent from the gate. His record stands at 6-2-2-1, with earnings of $133,000.

A winner of the downhill turf Grade III Eddie D Stakes on Sept. 28, Unbridled’s Note was subsequently second coming down the hillside in the Grade I Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint on Nov. 3. Trained by Steve Asmussen and owned by Mike McCarty, the Kentucky-bred by Unbridled’s Song has solid dirt credentials, as he was a close third in both the Grade III Amsterdam and King’s Bishop Stakes on July 29 and Aug. 25 at Saratoga.

He’ll break from the outside post in the Malibu and has earnings of $375,741 from a record of 7-4-1-0.

Trainer Wesley Ward will saddle the well-traveled Politicallycorrect, who comes off sharp seven furlong win in the Damascus Stakes at Santa Anita on Nov. 3. The Ken and Sarah Ramsey homebred son of Kitten’s Joy has made nine starts at eight different tracks this year: Gulfstream Park, Keeneland, Churchill Downs, Belmont Park, Thistledown, Saratoga, Remington Park and Santa Anita.

Politically Correct has two wins and a second from three tries at seven furlongs. His overall mark is 13-4-3-2, with earnings of $411,375.

This year’s Kentucky Derby-winning owner, trainer and jockey; Zillah Reddam, Doug O’Neill and Mario Gutierrez, will team up with Malibu longshot Basmati, an impressive allowance winner going seven furlongs at Santa Anita on Nov. 2. Second in the Grade III, $1 million Delta Jackpot as a 2-year-old, the Kentucky-bred colt by Borrego is 9-2-3-1 overall, with earnings of $320,800.

The complete field for the Malibu, which will be run as the eighth race on a nine-race program, with jockeys and weights in post position order: Fed Biz, Mike Smith, 118; Jimmy Creed, Garrett Gomez, 118; Drill, Martin Garcia, 118; The Lumber Guy, John Velazquez, 123; Politically Correct, Joel Rosario, 118; Basmati, Mario Gutierrez, 118; Castaway, Joe Talamo, 118; Private Zone, Martin Pedroza, 120; Guilt Trip, Rafael Bejarano, 118, and Unbridled’s Note, Corey Nakatani, 118.

GRADE I LA BREA HEADED BY CHAMPION FILLY MY MISS AURELIA, ECLIPSE WINNER COMES OFF BIG 2ND IN B.C. LADIES’ CLASSIC

My Miss Aurelia, an overwhelming choice as Eclipse Award-winning 2-year-old filly for 2012, heads a field of seven in Wednesday’s Grade I, $300,000 La Brea Stakes for 3-year-old fillies at seven furlongs. Trained by Steve Asmussen, My Miss Aurelia tasted defeat for the first time when an impressive second, beaten 1 ½ lengths, to Horse of the Year candidate Royal Delta in the $2 million Breeders’ Cup Ladies’ Classic at Santa Anita on Nov. 2.

Although she’s shortening up from 1 1/8 miles, the Kentucky-bred daughter of Smart Strike has three sprint victories to her credit and drilled five furlongs in a bullet 59 flat on Dec. 12, indicating she’s on edge for the La Brea. Her star-studded resume includes three grade I wins; the Frizette at Belmont Park, the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies at Churchill Downs, and the Cotillion Stakes at Parx Racing and Casino in Pennsylvania.

Bred by Stonestreet Thoroughbred Holdings and owned by Stonestreet Stables and George Bolton, My Miss Aurelia has been installed as the solid La Brea favorite at 4-5 by Morning Line Maker John White. My Miss Aurelia has earnings of $2,386,000 from a record of 7-6-1-0.

Trainer Peter Miller is hoping for an upset in the La Brea, as he sends out the aptly named Reneesgotzip, who comes off a neck victory in the six furlong Skillfull Joy Stakes at Betfair Hollywood Park on Dec. 1. Owned by the Lanni Family Trust, the Kentucky-bred daughter of City Zip was third, beaten 1 ¾ lengths by Mizdirection, in the Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint on Nov. 3.

Reneesgotzip drew post three and will have to contend early with the speedy Nechez Dawn, who drew alongside in post two and who was second to “Renee” in the Skillfull Joy. Reneesgotzip has banked $454,460 from a record of 9-5-2-1.

Baffert will saddle three in the La Brea: Book Review, Candrea and Mama Kimbo. Book Review, previously trained by Chad Brown, finished a disappointing fifth in the Grade I Gazelle Stakes at Aqueduct on Nov. 24. Owned and bred by Gary and Mary West, Book Review, by Giant’s Causeway, has a record of 9-4-2-1, with earnings of $414,955.

Lightly raced Mama Kimbo broke her maiden at first asking at Santa Anita on Feb. 12, earning a 101 Beyer Speed Figure while covering six furlongs in 1:07.60 and winning by 5 ½ lengths. She won the Grade II Fantasy Stakes at Oaklawn Park in her next start on April 11, and then tired badly to finish fourth as the even-money favorite in the Grade II Black Eyed Susan at Pimlico Racecourse on May 18. At odds of 3-5, she finished second, beaten a neck by stablemate Candrea, in a classified allowance race going 6 ½ furlongs on Nov. 29 at Betfair Hollywood.

Owned by Peachtree Stable, Mama Kimbo has earnings of $242,000 from a record of 4-2-1-0.

Candrea, owned by Pegram, Watson or Weitman, will try to make it two-in-a-row in the La Brea and will again get the services of Martin Garcia. A Florida-bred filly by Trippi, she has a record of 10-3-2-0 and earnings of $163,980.

The afore-mentioned Nechez Dawn, trained by Jeff Bonde, will again be ridden by Edwin Maldonado, who comes off his first major meet riding title in California at Betfair Hollywood Park. Nechez Dawn is owned by Ten Broeck Farm and has earnings of $167,400 from a record of 7-4-1-0.

Creditcardroulette will attempt to take a big step forward as she comes off a first-condition allowance tally at six furlongs on Dec. 1. Trained by Tom Proctor and owned by Glenn Hill Farm, she’ll be ridden for the first time by Joel Rosario.

The complete field for the La Brea Stakes, which will be run as race four, with jockey and weights in post position order: Mama Kimbo, Mike Smith, 118; Nechez Dawn, Edwin Maldonado, 118; Reneesgotzip, Garrett Gomez, 118; Creditcardroulette, Joel Rosario, 118; My Miss Aurelia, Corey Nakatani, 123; Candrea, Martin Garcia, 118, and Book Review, Rafael Bejarano, 118.

TURF SPECIALIST MIDNIGHT CROONER HEADS GRADE II SIR BEAUFORT

The Grade II, $150,000 Sir Beaufort Stakes, for 3-year-olds at one mile on turf, attracted an evenly matched group of eight and is headed by 3-1 morning line favorite Midnight Crooner, one of two Bob Baffert-trained entrants.

Owned and bred in Kentucky by Arnold Zetcher, Midnight Crooner has two wins from three lifetime tries at one mile on turf, including a victory in a division of the Oceanside Stakes on July 18 at Del Mar. Idle since running ninth in the Grade II Del Mar Derby on Sept. 2, Midnight Crooner, by War Chant, will be ridden for the first time by Martin Garcia. His record stands at 8-3-0-1, with earnings of $128,765.

Baffert will also send out Gary and Mary West’s Conspiracy, a son of Giant’s Causeway. Previously trained by Chad Brown, Conspiracy has one win from four starts.

Fit to Rule, a smashing 9 ½-length maiden winner going 1 1/16 miles on synthetic Cushion Track Nov. 24, is well drawn at the rail and tries turf for the first time. Trained by Doug O’Neill and ridden again by Edwin Maldonado, the Kentucky-bred colt by Hard Spun has a mark of 6-1-1-1. He is owned by George Bolton and Fog City Stable.

Big Bane Theory and Silentio, trained by Carla Gaines and Gary Mandella, both have solid turf credentials. While never a factor at 18-1 in the Grade I Hollywood Derby on Nov. 25, “Big Bane” was a neck shy of being 3-3 going into the Derby and will look to rebound under Joe Talamo. Owned by Devereaux or Gross, he has earnings of $93,720 from a record of 4-2-0-1.

Silentio has been freshened since Oct. 12, when he ran a close-up third going 1 1/8 miles at odds of 5-2. A Kentucky-bred son of the Sunday Silence stallion Silent Name, Silentio is 3-2-0-1, with earnings of $75,960. He’s owned by his breeders, Wertheimer and Frere.

Like Big Bane Theory and Silentio, Smart Ellis has also been lined at 9-2 by White. Trained by Richard Mandella, he was 12th in the Hollywood Derby after encountering trouble at the break and into the stretch. Seven of his nine lifetime starts have been on turf and his best races make him a legitimate threat. He’ll be handled for the first time by multiple Eclipse Award-winning jockey Julien Leparoux. By Smarty Jones, he was bred in Kentucky by his owners, Wertheimer and Frere. He has earnings of $115,590 from a record of 9-2-1-1.

Mike Smith will again ride the talented Battle Force, who broke his maiden going a mile on turf at Santa Anita on Nov. 4 and was third, beaten 1 ¾ lengths, as the even money favorite in the Grade III Generous Stakes on Nov.27. Smith will hope to have a lively pace to run at, as the son of Giant’s Causeway is best suited when allowed to make a big run from well off the pace. Owned by Woodford Racing, LLC, he’s trained by John Shirreffs. Battle Force has a record of 4-1-2-1, with earnings of $57,600.

The complete field for the Sir Beaufort Stakes, to be run as race five, with jockeys and weights in post position order: Fit to Rule, Edwin Maldonado, 118; Press Baron, Victor Espinoza, 118; Smart Ellis, Julien Leparoux, 118; Big Bane Theory, Joe Talamo, 118; Midnight Crooner, Martin Garcia, 118; Conspiracy, Garrett Gomez, 118; Battle Force, Mike Smith, 118, and Silentio, Rafael Bejarano, 118.

Special early first post time on opening day is 12 noon. Santa Anita’s traditional wall calendar will be given to all on-track attendees free of charge, with paid admission. Santa Anita also guarantees $400,000 in the Late Pick 4.

For more information or to make reservations, visit www.santaanita.com, or call (626) 574-RACE.

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