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March 8, 2009

‘ALL SYSTEMS GO’ FOR PIONEEROF THE NILE IN SAN FELIPE STAKES

Leading Triple Crown contender Pioneerof the Nile worked five furlongs on Pro-Ride Sunday morning in a bullet :58.80 under regular rider Garrett Gomez for next Saturday’s Grade II San Felipe Stakes at 1 1/16 miles.

March 6, 2009

FOR GOMEZ, EIGHT IS ENOUGH IN WIDE OPEN SANTA ANITA HANDICAP

With 14 entries and a 9-2 morning line favorite, Saturday’s $1 million Santa Anita Handicap presents handicappers with a plethora of perplexing propositions. Garrett Gomez, who rides 9-2 choice Colonel John in the Grade I race at 1 ¼ miles, recognizes the challenge, but was not overwhelmed with strategic options as post time drew within 24 hours.

March 5, 2009

TRAINER SAYS DANSANT IS REAL DEAL FOR BIG ’CAP’S PRO-RIDE SURFACE

Gerard Butler didn’t fly across the pond just for a Santa Anita reunion. The 42-year-old Irish trainer based in England came to run synthetic specialist Dansant in Saturday’s $1 million Santa Anita Handicap.

TRAINER SAYS DANSANT IS REAL DEAL FOR BIG ’CAP’S PRO-RIDE SURFACE

Gerard Butler didn’t fly across the pond just for a Santa Anita reunion. The 42-year-old Irish trainer based in England came to run synthetic specialist Dansant in Saturday’s $1 million Santa Anita Handicap.

March 4, 2009

EINSTEIN HEADS 14 IN SATURDAY’S $1 MILLION SANTA ANITA HANDICAP

Despite the fact that Einstein has never raced on a synthetic track, his participation in Saturday’s $1 million Santa Anita Handicap was a no-brainer.

“He’s doing well. He’s really settled in nicely,” said Helen Pitts, who trains the Brazilian-bred son of 1985 Kentucky Derby winner Spend a Buck. “He’s handled the track fine, and seems to be going good. We’ve had great weather (before Wednesday’s rain), and he’s adapted very well.”

March 1, 2009

LARGE FIELD NO DETERRENT FOR SMITH, TIAGO IN SANTA ANITA HANDICAP

A full field of 14 is in prospect for the Santa Anita Handicap next Saturday, and as far as Mike Smith is concerned, the more the merrier.

Smith rides Tiago, a stretch-running son of Pleasant Tap, in the mile and a quarter Big ‘Cap. Potential traffic problems are always a risk in a bulky field, but Smith was quick to take an optimistic stance for Tiago, a half-brother to Giacomo, 50-1 winner of the 2005 Kentucky Derby with Smith aboard.

LARGE FIELD NO DETERRENT FOR SMITH, TIAGO IN SANTA ANITA HANDICAP

A full field of 14 is in prospect for the Santa Anita Handicap next Saturday, and as far as Mike Smith is concerned, the more the merrier.

Smith rides Tiago, a stretch-running son of Pleasant Tap, in the mile and a quarter Big ‘Cap. Potential traffic problems are always a risk in a bulky field, but Smith was quick to take an optimistic stance for Tiago, a half-brother to Giacomo, 50-1 winner of the 2005 Kentucky Derby with Smith aboard.

February 28, 2009

EUROPEAN ACE DANSANT SETTLES IN FOR SANTA ANITA HANDICAP

European invader Dansant enjoyed taking in the scenic sights at Santa Anita for the first time Saturday morning, jogging twice around the track in preparation for the $1 million Santa Anita Handicap on March 7.

“He’s settled in very well and he’s very alert,” said Cindy Niemetz, West Coast representative for the International Racing Bureau. “He’s scheduled to canter tomorrow.”

Andrew Morris, traveling lad for trainer Gerard Butler, supervised Dansant’s maneuvers in Butler’s absence. No rider has been named for Dansant.

February 27, 2009

REDDAM MULLS SANTA ANITA HANDICAP FOR RED ROCKS
Red Rocks, winner of the Breeders’ Cup Turf in 2006 and the Grade I Man o’ War Stakes on turf at Belmont Park last July, could make his first start on a surface other than grass in the Grade I Santa Anita Handicap on March 7.
“He’s going to breeze Saturday (five furlongs at Payson Park in Florida) and then we’ll think about it,” trainer Mark Hennig said by phone late Thursday. “Paul’s never shy about taking a shot,” Hennig continued, referring to owner J. Paul Reddam. “He’s expressed some interest.”

February 26, 2009

COLONEL JOHN ON TRACK FOR MARCH 7 SANTA ANITA HANDICAP
A full field with ample speed is in prospect for the $1 million Santa Anita Handicap on March 7, and that’s encouraging news for Eoin Harty, who trains stretch runner Colonel John.
Winner of the Grade I Santa Anita Derby and the Grade I Travers Stakes as a 3-year-old last year, Colonel John worked seven furlongs on Pro-Ride Wednesday in 1:25.40.
“I would think there will be plenty of pace (in the Big ‘Cap),” Harty said. “He worked good. The track was tiring, because it was dug up Tuesday night, but he went well.”