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December 30, 2009

TEAM SAAVEDRA OUT OF THE ‘SHADOW’ IN PURSUIT OF HISTORY

Shadow of Illinois will make history if he wins the $100,000 Sensational Star Handicap on New Year’s Day.

December 28, 2009

SHADOW OF ILLINOIS EYES A HISTORIC ‘10’ AT SANTA ANITA

Shadow of Illinois will attempt to write another chapter to Santa Anita’s storied history on New Year’s Day. The California-bred gelding will seek to become the first 10-year-old to win a stakes race at Santa Anita Friday when he runs in the $100,000 Sensational Star Handicap at about 6 ½ furlongs on turf.

“He’s doing as well as ever, and Anthony (trainer Anthony Saavedra) does a great job with him,” said Alex Solis, who has ridden the son of Illinois Storm 14 times in his 40-race career, the last seven in a row.

December 27, 2009

GRATEFUL ASCANIO MOVES FORWARD WITHOUT FRANKEL

The New Year marks a new beginning for Humberto Ascanio. It will be the first time he has not shared nearly every working hour with a man who was his trusted mentor and loyal friend, Hall of Fame trainer Bobby Frankel, who died Nov. 16 at the age of 68.

The 63-year-old Ascanio was Frankel’s faithful confidante and assistant for 36 years, more than half his life. Together, they reached racing’s heights, establishing records few ever reach.

December 23, 2009

ZENYATTA FAREWELL AT SANTA ANITA ON OPENING DAY

A gala farewell for the great Zenyatta unfolds at Santa Anita on opening day, Saturday, when the historic track celebrates its 75th anniversary season.

Zenyatta was retired following her dramatic last-to-first victory in the $5-million Breeders’ Cup Classic at Santa Anita on Nov. 7. The 5-year-old daughter of Street Cry was undefeated in 14 starts after becoming the first female to defeat males in 26 runnings of the mile and a quarter Classic.

December 22, 2009

SPECTACULAR SANTA ANITA SENDOFF FOR ZENYATTA SATURDAY

Zenyatta returns to the scene of her greatest triumph Saturday when the champion mare will be honored in a farewell appearance at Santa Anita Park, where she captured the hearts of the racing world with a historic victory in the $5 million Breeders’ Cup Classic on Nov. 7.

The 5-year-old daughter of Street Cry retired undefeated in 14 starts after becoming the first female to defeat males in 26 runnings of the mile and a quarter Classic.

April 17, 2009

MITCHELL SEEKS THREE-PEAT AND TRAINING FIRST IN MARATHON SAN JUAN

In more than 30 years as a trainer, Mike Mitchell has never won the same stakes race three years in a row. That void on his resume could be fulfilled Sunday if the 60-year-old Bakersfield native wins Santa Anita’s traditional closing-day feature, the Grade II, $200,000 San Juan Capistrano Handicap at about 1 ¾ miles on turf.

Mitchell sends out last year’s winner, Big Booster, and Church Service, in a compact field of six. Mitchell won the 2007 San Juan with former claiming horse On the Acorn.

April 16, 2009

ESPINOZA COMFORTABLE WITH SPEEDY MIDSHIPS IN MARATHON SAN JUAN

Victor Espinoza is not concerned with potentially quick fractions in Sunday’s closing day feature, the Grade II, $200,000 San Juan Capistrano Handicap at about 1 ¾ miles on turf. Comfort is the key, says the 36-year-old jockey, who rides probable pacesetter Midships for Hall of Fame trainer Bobby Frankel.

Frankel currently leads all trainers this meet in stakes wins with eight, and is second in career stakes wins with 145, behind Charlie Whittingham, who leads with 204.

April 15, 2009

PIONEEROF THE NILE IN ‘BEST WORK’ FOR DERBY; JOCKEY STILL OPEN

Santa Anita Derby winner Pioneerof the Nile had his final workout at Santa Anita Wednesday on a blustery but sun-drenched morning before departing for Churchill Downs Thursday where the son of Empire Maker will prepare for the 135th Kentucky Derby on May 2.

April 12, 2009

‘CANDY’ IN SWEET DRILL AS CALIFORNIA DREAMIN’ FOR DERBY GROWS

Chocolate Candy, runner-up in the Grade I Santa Anita Derby and one of four major Kentucky Derby contenders based in Southern California, worked five furlongs under new rider Mike Smith on Pro-Ride Sunday in :59.20. The son of Candy Ride is scheduled to leave Tuesday for Louisville to prepare for the 135th Kentucky Derby on May 2.

“I was happy with the work,” said trainer Jerry Hollendorfer. “Mike was able to familiarize himself with the horse, and he’s going to work the horse two times at Churchill Downs.”

April 10, 2009

SQUARE EDDIE TO USE LEXINGTON STAKES AS KENTUCKY DERBY PREP

Breeders’ Cup Juvenile runner-up Square Eddie, who had been expected to train up to the Kentucky Derby on May 2, instead will first run in next Saturday’s Coolmore Lexington Stakes at Keeneland, if all goes well following a scheduled six furlong workout at Hollywood Park tomorrow.
“That’s the tentative game plan,” trainer Doug O’Neill said Friday morning from his Hollywood headquarters, where Square Eddie has been training forwardly after recovering from shin problems that sidelined him since early February.