Stable Notes

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January 14, 2009

SQUARE EDDIE EYES WINNER’S CIRCLE IN SATURDAY’S SAN RAFAEL
Lane’s End Futurity winner Square Eddie, second to Midshipman in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile at Oak Tree last Oct. 25, makes his 3-year-old debut Saturday in the San Rafael Stakes, a one-mile test that trainer Doug O’Neill hopes will propel the son of Smart Strike to the Kentucky Derby on May 2.

January 11, 2009

BROTHER KEITH, SQUARE EDDIE MEET IN SATURDAY’S SAN RAFAEL

Brother Keith, winner of his only start, steps into graded company next Saturday in the $100,000 San Rafael Stakes at one mile, an important prep for the $750,000 Santa Anita Derby on April 4.

“You gotta try him someplace,” Hall of Fame trainer Bobby Frankel said. When it was suggested he might go through his conditions, rather than face the likes of Lane’s End Futurity winner Square Eddie, Frankel countered: “Maybe the races won’t go.

January 10, 2009

CASSE PLANS TO MAKE HIS MARK ON PRO-RIDE AT SANTA ANITA
Mark Casse has moved a division from the cold clime of Canada to sunny Southern California, and he’s loving it.

January 9, 2009

NOTHING BUT FOND MEMORIES OF LEGENDARY JOE HIRSCH, DEAD AT 80

Memories of respect and praise are infinite for legendary turf writer Joe Hirsch, who died Friday at the age of 80 at St. Luke’s Hospital in New York City. Hirsch began his career with the New York Times, and in 1954 joined Daily Racing Form, where he was named executive columnist in 1974. He retired in November 2003.

“It was so much fun to work with him,” said current Racing Form writer Steve Andersen, “because he really led by example. He was the consummate gentleman.

January 8, 2009

SADLER SEEKS REPEAT IN SATURDAY’S SAN PASQUAL
John Sadler sends out two for the money Saturday in quest of his second consecutive victory in the San Pasqual Handicap when he saddles Mostacolli Mort and Noble Court in the Grade II event for older horses at 1 1/16 miles.
Sadler, who won 28 races at Santa Anita last season to finish second behind Mike Mitchell (33), won the 2008 San Pasqual with Gary and Cecil Barber’s Zappa.

January 7, 2009

ANOTHER ‘RACKET’ FOR ABRAMS IN SATURDAY’S SAN PASQUAL HANDICAP

In less than two weeks, Racketeer moves from a restricted downhill stakes race at about 6 ½ furlongs on turf to a mile and one-sixteenth Grade II stakes on Pro-Ride in Saturday’s $150,000 San Pasqual Handicap.

That is not uncharacteristic of Barry Abrams’ training strategy. “He’s a good horse and he fits in the race,” Abrams said in explaining the move for Racketeer, who last raced on Dec. 29. “He was one of the favorites (7-2) in the San Pasqual last year.

January 4, 2009

MAGNUM RETURNS IN SATURDAY’S SAN PASQUAL HANDICAP
Magnum is scheduled to make his first start in more than five months when the gelding bred in Argentina runs in Saturday’s Grade II, $150,000 San Pasqual Handicap, a major prep for the $1 million Santa Anita Handicap on March 7.
“He had a quarter crack,” trainer Darrell Vienna said in explaining his absence. “This is a logical starting point back for him, because he’s a horse without any conditions, and he’s got some age on him. He’s been a useful horse and he’s paid his way.”

January 3, 2009

WELL ARMED SET FOR RETURN IN NEXT SATURDAY’S SAN PASQUAL

Well Armed is scheduled to make his first start since a disappointing ninth as the 6-5 favorite in the Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile last Oct. 25 when the 6-year-old gelding runs in next Saturday’s Grade II, $150,000 San Pasqual Handicap for older horses at 1 1/16 miles.

“The rest helped him and he’s been working super,” trainer Eoin Harty said of the bay son of Tiznow owned by WinStar Farm.

January 2, 2009

NO RECORD, BUT GOMEZ IN LINE FOR SECOND STRAIGHT ECLIPSE AWARD
Garrett Gomez missed Jerry Bailey’s single-season earnings mark of $23,354,960 set in 2003 by $10,982 when Baroness Thatcher ran third in Wednesday’s Kalookan Queen Handicap, but all in all, 2008 was a very good year.
Gomez, who turned 37 on New Year’s Day, still outdistanced runner-up Robby Albarado in purse earnings by more than $5 million and is an overwhelming favorite to win his second straight Eclipse Award as the nation’s outstanding rider.

January 1, 2009

TROUBLE MAKER AN ENIGMA IN SATURDAY’S MONROVIA Trouble Maker makes her first start for trainer Jay Robbins in Saturday’s Grade III Monrovia Handicap after coming in from Belmont Park where she finished fifth by 1 ½ lengths in the Xtra Heat Handicap at six furlongs on turf Oct. 12.

Robbins hopes the daughter of the quirky Labeeb runs more to her most recent workout than to the preceding one.

“She’s not a good work horse,” Robbins said. “She worked terribly (five furlongs on turf in 1:07 2/5 on Dec. 21), then worked :58 and three (:58.80) Monday.