- FOUR DECADES LATER, JACOBSON’S AT SANTA ANITA
- RATTATAPTAP READY FOR GRADE I LA BREA STAKES
- OM OK OUTSIDE IN GRADE II MATHIS BROTHERS MILE
- TRAINER HOPES IT’S MILLER TIME IN DAYTONA STAKES
- MANDELLA ENTERS TWO FOR SUNDAY’S FRANKEL
- LIVE RACING AT SANTA ANITA WEDNESDAY, DEC. 30
- WALL CALENDAR AND MORE FREE ON OPENING DAY
JACOBSON A ‘NEW OLD FACE’ AT SANTA ANITA
David Jacobson was in his teens when his father sent him to work with Bobby Frankel at Santa Anita four decades ago. Now he’s here from the East Coast with a string of his own for the marquee Winter Meet that starts Saturday.
Jacobson has a multitude of memories of Frankel, who will be honored Sunday with the running of the Grade III Robert J. Frankel Stakes, named for the late Hall of Fame trainer who died Nov. 16, 2009, at the age of 68.
“I wish I had a horse to run in there, but I don’t,” Jacobson said. “Bobby was really good to me and very close with my father back in the day. It brings back memories when I see his picture hanging at Clockers’ Corner. Frankel was a trendsetter.”
David’s father was Hall of Fame trainer Buddy Jacobson, who died in May 1989 at 58.
Multiple graded stakes winner Salutos Amigos is among the horses Jacobson has at Santa Anita. He is scheduled to run in the Grade III Midnight Lute Stakes at 6 ½ furlongs on the main track Jan. 2.
“I came out here for the weather and the free coffee,” Jacobson said, joshing about the hot cups of java now available gratis at Clockers’ Corner. “Seriously, the racing looks good and I have some horses that fit.
“I was at Santa Anita in the 70s as an assistant with Bobby when my father sent me out here, and I’ve had fond memories of Santa Anita ever since. (Santa Anita Racing Director) Mike (Lakow) approached me and I decided to give it a shot and see what goes. Right now I’ve got 15 horses here and another 10 coming at the beginning of the year.”
Trainer Eddie Truman, who turns 69 on Jan. 23, was excited to see Jacobson back at The Great Race Place.
“I’ve known David for 40 years,” Truman said. “We both worked for Bobby way back when. David’s a good guy. I knew his dad in Florida, even rode for him in the 60s at Hialeah when he was stabled real close to our barn.
“At Santa Anita after the races, I would play volley ball with David’s brother, Douglas, who works for him now.
“Like most of us, I’ve got many memories of Frankel. I respected him so much. He was a genius. He knew his horses and we really worked well together. He was really good to me; he respected my opinion.
“But I’d wonder why he did some of the things he did and ask myself, ‘Why’s he doing that?’ but it worked. He just knew what to do.”
LA BREA TIMING GOOD FOR RATTATAPTAP
Trainer Phil D’Amato, who finished with a flourish at the recent Los Alamitos meet, hopes to continue on a roll when he sends out Rattataptap in the Grade I La Brea Stakes for three-year-old fillies at seven furlongs, one of four graded stakes on opening day, including the Malibu for three-year-olds at seven furlongs.
“She’s doing well,” D’Amato said of the gray daughter of top sire Tapit, winner of a one-mile allowance race at Del Mar Nov. 21 by 4 ½ lengths. “The timing is right for the La Brea.
“We’re backing up from two turns to one. Hopefully we can get the money in a Grade I.”
The La Brea: Birdatthewire, Mike Smith, 6-1; Hot City Girl, Jose Ortiz, 3-1; Cavorting, Irad Ortiz Jr., 5-2; Maybellene, Rafael Bejarano, 15-1; Lily Pod, Mario Gutierrez, 20-1; Ben’s Duchess, Joe Talamo, 3-1; Rattataptap, Tyler Baze, 12-1; Pleasant Tales, James Graham, 20-1; Moyo Honey, Drayden Van Dyke, 20-1; and Finest City, Gary Stevens, 8-1.
First post time opening day is 12 noon. Admission gates open at 10 a.m.
OUTSIDE POST NO CONCERN FOR OM IN MATHIS MILE
Del Mar Derby and Twilight Derby winner Om drew post position 10 in a field of 12 for Saturday’s Grade II Mathis Brothers Mile on turf but trainer Dan Hendricks was not unduly concerned about the outside post.
“He’ll be able to break right on out and he’s got a long run to the first turn,” Hendricks reasoned. “He’ll get a good position, either be first or second, and hopefully run a big race.
“If they go silly-fast, he’ll just sit right behind them. If they set a moderate pace, he’ll be in front; pretty simple.”
Owned by the Sareen Family Trust, the chestnut son of Munnings has been a gem of consistency, with a 4-1-2 record from nine starts with earnings of $430,500.
The field: Ground Rules, Rafael Bejarano, 12-1; Perfectly Majestic, Kent Desormeaux, 12-1; Crittenden, Martin Garcia, 12-1; Professor Berns, Brice Blanc, 15-1; Soul Driver, Tyler Baze, 8-1; Mister Brightside, Mike Smith, 4-1; Acceptance, Alonso Quinonez, 12-1; Ike Walker, Victor Espinoza, 20-1; Vigilante, Joe Talamo, 6-1; Om, Gary Stevens, 5-2; Ocho Ocho Ocho, Santiago Gonzalez, 10-1; and Fueled by Bourbon, Joel Rosario, 10-1.
MILLER HAS TWO FOR THE MONEY IN DAYTONA
Peter Miller entered two horses in Saturday’s Grade III Daytona Stakes scheduled for about 6 ½ furlongs on turf, Big Cazanova and Richard’s Boy.
Big Cazanova has been routing and has never run down the hill. Richard’s Boy has been sprinting and is one-for-one on Santa’s unique downhill course.
“We thought we’d give it a shot,” Miller said in explaining Big Cazanova’s participation. “A lot of the milers run really good down the hill, and he’s doing very well. The post (two) isn’t very good, but the horse is doing very well, so we’re going to give it a go.
“Richard’s Boy fires every time I run him. He’s just a rock-solid horse.”
As for an overview of the meet, Miller always looms a threat to win the training title, or at least be a major presence.
“We feel good about it,” Miller said. “We’ve got a lot of live horses. Hopefully, we can carry on from 2015.”
Big Cazanova worked three furlongs on a muddy main track Wednesday in 36.60 with Flavien Prat aboard, while Richard’s Boy went the same distance in 37.80.
The field for the Daytona: Richard’s Boy, Victor Espinoza, 6-1; Big Cazanova, Joel Rosario, 8-1; Mystery Train, Martin Pedroza, 30-1; Rocket Heat, Edwin Maldonado, 12-1; Big Bane Theory, Flavien Prat, 12-1; Alert Bay, Martin Garcia, 5-1; Bench Warrant, Abel Lezcano, 20-1; Holy Lute, Santiago Gonzalez, 9-2; The Great War, Kent Desormeaux, 8-1; Somethings Unusual, Drayden Van Dyke, 20-1; No Silent, Gary Stevens, 7-2; Toowindytohaulrox, Tiago Pereira, 12-1; and Coastline, Tyler Baze, 20-1.
MANDELLA PLANS ONE-TWO PUNCH IN FRANKEL
Richard Mandella has two horses entered in Sunday’s Grade III, $100,000 Robert J. Frankel Stakes for fillies and mares, three and up, at 1 1/8 miles on turf, and seems covered whether the race stays on grass or comes off due to recent rains.
“Alexis Tangier is a nice mare; she would run only if it stays on turf,” Mandella said. “If it happens to come off the turf, Gas Total will run anyway. She’s a pretty good mare on either surface. It would probably be to her advantage if it did come off.”
Alexis Tangier won the restricted Swingtime Stakes at a mile on grass Oct. 3 at Santa Anita. Eight of her 11 lifetime races have been on turf. Gas Total was 10th and last by 33 lengths in a one-mile dirt race at Del Mar Sept. 2, but won the restricted Osunitas Stakes on a “good” dirt track at the seaside course on July 18. She was second in the Possibly Perfect on turf at Santa Anita last June and second in the Grade I Vanity here in May.
The Frankel: Nancy From Nairobi, Drayden Van Dyke; Three Hearts, Joe Talamo; Alexis Tangier, Gary Stevens; Rusty Slipper, James Graham; Star Act, Kieren Fallon; Peace and War, Joel Rosario; Stormy Lucy, Kent Desormeaux; Fresh Feline, Victor Espinoza; Warren’s Veneda, Tyler Baze; Sweet as a Rose, Brice Blanc; Gender Agenda, Rafael Bejarano; Glory, Mike Smith; Honey Ride, Abel Lezcano; Gas Total, Flavien Prat.
LIVE RACING AT SANTA ANITA WEDNESDAY, DEC. 30
Santa Anita will offer a five-day racing week beginning Wednesday, Dec. 30, through Sunday, Jan. 3. First post time throughout the week will be at 12:30 p.m.
Excluding weekday holidays, live racing usually is conducted Thursday through Sunday, but with the holiday season in full swing, an exception was made. Santa Anita will be dark on Monday, Dec. 28, and Tuesday, Dec. 29.
LONGTIME TRACK EMPLOYEE STEVEN GUINEY KILLED IN ACCIDENT
Longtime backside employee Steven Guiney, son of former jockey and trainer Irv Guiney, was killed early Tuesday morning while riding his bicycle to work in Austin, Texas, according to his mother, Francis.
Steven, 55, was employed by the late Willard Proctor as a groom and hot walker for nearly 20 years and worked a total of 30 years in Southern California for other trainers such as Tom Proctor, Howard Zucker and Gary Mandella.
Guiney is survived by his parents, a sister, Cindy, and brothers, Michael and Irvin, Jr.
Funeral services will be private.
FINISH LINES: Santa Anita will give away its popular full color Wall Calendar free on opening day to all fans at the track with paid admission while supplies last. The theme of the artfully crafted 2016 calendar is “What’s in a name,” describing how some Thoroughbreds come by their peculiar monikers . . . The first 20,000 paid attendees will receive a $100 Mathis Brothers Furniture gift certificate, and the first 5,000 kids 17 and under accompanied by a paid adult will get a plush, mini-Thoroughbred toy, courtesy of the Mathis Brothers . . . Santa Anita will offer an opening day Trackside Package that includes special trackside seating, a free first drink, and an officially licensed American Pharoah T-shirt commemorating the first-ever Grand Slam champion of horse racing. Use promo code PHAROAH for $5 off the package price . . . There will be a $1 million guaranteed pool on the Late Pick 4 opening day, and a $150,000 guaranteed pool on the Pick 6. Each Thursday, Friday and on holiday Mondays, there will be $300,000 guaranteed in the Late Pick 4, and Saturdays and Sundays, it will jump up to $500,000, while the Pick 6 guarantee will remain at $150,000 . . . Belvoir Bay, an English-bred filly formerly trained by Bill Mott, worked five furlongs Wednesday on a muddy main track in 1:04 for Sunday’s $75,000 Blue Northern Stakes scheduled for one mile on turf. Flavien Prat was aboard for new trainer Peter Miller . . . Harlington’s Rose, who won the Kalookan Queen Stakes last year, will be back to defend her title in the $75,000 race at 6 ½ furlongs Dec. 30, trainer Steve Knapp said. Joe Talamo, who was aboard for the Kalookan Queen win in 2014, again rides the bay daughter of Harlington. Talamo also won the Grade III Las Flores Stakes on Harlington’s Rose in March of this year . . . The Elite Racing Network, with former jockey Corey Black an on-air host, is up and running. For further information, visit www.eliteracingnetwork.com.