- ACCEPTANCE BACK DOWNHILL IN SAN SIMEON
- CHAO CHUM SEEKS ANOTHER UPSET IN LA BREA
- WALL CALENDAR AND MORE ON OPENING DAY
- CHAMP STELLAR WIND EYES SANTA MARGARITA
BLACK HOPES SAN SIMEON SUITS ACCEPTANCE
While the Grade I Malibu Stakes for three-year-olds and the Grade I La Brea Stakes for three-year-old fillies, both at seven furlongs, will take center stage opening day Monday, the Grade III San Simeon Stakes on the undercard presents an interesting storyline and a daunting challenge for handicappers.
Kenny Black, a former jockey virtually born into racing who now trains, entered Acceptance in the race at about 6 ½ furlongs down the hillside turf course for owners Finish Line Racing and The Ellwood Johnston Trust.
A four-year-old California-bred son of Vronsky, Acceptance won the California Flag Handicap over the same venue by a head last October. Acceptance worked five furlongs on the main track Wednesday in 1:00.40.
Acceptance was third by a length in the Cary Grant for Cal-breds at Del Mar Nov. 2, beaten a length after stumbling at the start of the seven furlong dirt race. “It looks like he’ll be facing the same caliber of horses in the San Simeon he beat in the California Flag,” Black said.
Stewart Elliott, who has ridden Acceptance in his last three starts, retains the mount in the San Simeon for Black, whose passion for the game never ebbs.
“I’ve got 15 head here for this meet including some nice older horses we’re bringing back off layoffs,” Black said, “and I’m really looking forward to that. Desiresoftheheart might be the most talented horse I’ve ever had. She won her only out here by like three (lengths) down the hill about two years ago in her only start.
“She did it with a slight stress fracture in her pelvis but we didn’t find out until later, after we had her sold to Peter Miller for $400,000. When the nuclear scan for the vet check was done for the sale four days after the race, they found the injury. She won the race with it, so that was impressive.
“I think Insubordination is my best three-year-old. He ran once and got beat a head going a mile on the grass, and when we scoped him after the race he was full of mucous. Burntaroundthedges, who will be six Jan. 1, also is coming back and he outworked What a View here last December.”
What a View gave Black his first Grade I win when he won the Kilroe Mile last March 12.
Black, recently turned 53, started riding match races when he was eight years old, mostly in Northern California. “They strapped me on a horse with a girth over my legs and tied me onto it with no saddle, Mexican-style,” Black said. “I only weighed 50 or 60 pounds.”
The San Simeon, race six of nine: Jimmy Bouncer, Mario Gutierrez, 12-1; Hobbits Hero, Rafael Bejarano, 15-1; Stormy Liberal, Norberto Arroyo Jr., 8-1; Drummer, Tyler Baze, 12-1; Ohio, Drayden Van Dyke, 6-1; Acceptance, Stewart Elliott, 6-1; Cape Wolfe, Santiago Gonzalez, 15-1; Richard’s Boy, Victor Espinoza, 5-1; He Will, Flavien Prat, 6-1; Tough Sunday, Chantal Sutherland, 20-1; Betty’s Bambino, Joel Rosario, 6-1; Holy Lute, Jamie Theriot, 9-2; Horse Laugh, 30-1; and Iron Rob, Corey Nakatani, 50-1.
CHAO CHUM HOPES TO OVERTAKE SPEED IN LA BREA
At nearly 9-1 odds, Chao Chum upset Enola Gray, favored at 10 cents on the dollar, in the Betty Grable Stakes at Del Mar Nov. 13.
Chao Chum drew outside of expected pacesetter Enola Gray that day, but it’s a different story for Monday’s Grade I La Brea Stakes for three-year-old fillies at seven furlongs. Enola Gray drew outside Chao Chum in post seven, while Chao Chum has post six in a field of eight that on paper appears loaded with speed.
“Hopefully, we can let Enola Gray go and come outside of her again,” said Gary Stute, trainer of Chao Chum. “I’ve got Kent (Desormeaux), so whatever he does is OK with me.” The Hall of Fame jockey rode Chao Chum for the first time in the Betty Grable upset.
The La Brea: Lunar Empress, Norberto Arroyo, 20-1; Lightstream, Julien Leparoux, 2-1; Finley’sluckycharm, Brian Hernandez Jr., 5-2; Constellation, David Flores, 6-1; Coniah, Tyler Baze, 15-1; Chao Chum, Kent Desormeaux, 8-1; Enola Gray, Mike Smith, 9-2; Perfect Pic, Santiago Gonzalez, 6-1.
SANTA ANITA OFFERS POPULAR WALL CALENDAR AND MUCH MORE OPENING DAY
In addition to four graded stakes, Santa Anita will treat fans to its popular 2017 wall calendar and much more with the beginning of its traditional Winter Meet on Monday.
A fan favorite for decades, the Santa Anita 2017 wall calendar will be given free of charge to all attendees with paid admission.
The 2017 calendar is not only bucolic and picturesque, but contains information on Thoroughbreds so profound even a hard-core race tracker can learn something new.
Themed “Anatomy of a Champion,” the calendar contains a veterinarian’s glossary in layman’s terms.
In short, it’s a keeper!
First post time Monday is 12 noon; admission gates open at 10 a.m.
Here’s a schedule of opening day events:
–Grade I, $300,000 Malibu Stakes for 3-year-olds at seven furlongs.
–Grade I, $300,000 La Brea Stakes for 3-year-old fillies at seven furlongs
–Grade II, $200,000 Mathis Brothers Mile (turf) for 3-year-olds
–Grade III, $100,000 San Simeon Stakes for 3-year-olds and up, at 6 ½ furlongs down hillside turf
–Free 2017 Santa Anita Wall Calendar
–Free Mathis Brothers plush Thoroughbred toy to first 5,000 kids 12 and under
–A Mathis Brothers Gift Certificate, free with paid admission
–Craft Beer and Cider Festival on Grandstand Apron (packages available at santaanita.com/events)
–Guest Chef Series in the Chandelier Room featuring a catered menu from one of LA’s hottest restaurants, delicious whiskey tastings, live music and more, visit santaanita.com/events for details
–Infield Family Fun Zone featuring pony rides and much more, visit santaanita.com/events
–Bud Light Lounge, all you can eat buffet, first beer included, racing program and more, visit santaanita.com/events
For more racing and event information, visit santaanita.com or call (626) 574-RACE.
STELLAR WIND BACK ON TRACK FOR SADLER
Stellar Wind, champion three-year-old filly of 2015, went back to the track on a rainy Thursday morning for the first time since finishing fourth in the Breeders’ Cup Distaff on Nov. 4.
“We freshened her up but didn’t turn her out,” said John Sadler, who trains the four-year-old Curlin filly for principal owners Kosta and Peter Hronis.
“She’s back and looking great and we’ll see if she makes the Santa Margarita.”
The Santa Margarita is a Grade I stake at 1 1/8 miles for fillies and mares four and up on March 18, offering $400,000 in purse money.
HORSEMEN, HORSES KEEP BUSY, RAIN OR SHINE
“Rainy days and Mondays always get me down,” the late Karen Carpenter would sing so beautifully. Any rainy day affects horsemen, but they soldier on, rain or shine.
There is no training on the main track in wet weather, so horsemen go to Plan B.
“Typically, if the training track is muddy, we just jog, just something to get the horses out of the stall for a while if it’s not pouring down rain,” said 50-year-old trainer Jack Carava, born in Arcadia, site of Santa Anita.
“If the rain is too heavy, we’ll walk the horses under the shed row at the barn and keep them from getting wet. On days like today, when it’s not raining too hard, they can go out and jog and expend a little energy.”
Carava, whose father, Mike trained in the late 1970s and early 1980s, began his training career with current agent Joe Griffin in 1984, later joining Jerry Fanning. Carava has 21 head in training for the Santa Anita Winter Meet.
“We have a pretty diverse barn and I think we’ll be able to run in a lot of different spots,” Carava said. “I have a few young horses, but the jury’s still out on how much ability they have.”
DRESS YOUR VERY BEST ON OPENING DAY MONDAY
On opening day Monday, Santa Anita will host a contest to discover how many of its loyal fans have true enthusiasm for prize-worthy, race-day attire. Males and females 18 and over are eligible and encouraged to partake in this FREE trackside event.
The Grand Prize is a $2,500 Gift Certificate to Mathis Brothers Furniture and entrance to the VIP seating area of the Craft Brew & Cider Trackside event. Nine runners-up will receive a $250 Gift Certificate to Mathis Brothers.
FUND ESTABLISHED FOR TRAINER AFTER BARN FIRE
The National NHBPA Foundation and the HPBA state affiliates are rallying to assist trainer Eric Reed and his wife, owner Kay Reed, after 23 horses in their care were killed in an early morning barn fire in Kentucky Sunday.
The large barn, believed to have been struck by lightning, is one of three at the Reeds. Mercury Equine Center in Lexington. Another 13 horses were saved by the Reeds’ employees who risked going into the burning barn at the private training facility.
There are several ways horsemen and the public can help.
Donations to the Reeds’ fund through the National HBPA, a tax-exempt 501 (c) (3) fund are tax deductible. Contributions can be made online via credit card at https://nationalhbpa.com/donate/. Checks can be made out to the National HBPA Foundation, 870 Corporate Dr., Suite 300, Lexington, Ky. 40503-5419.
Donated tack and supplies can be dropped off at Horse Cents or any of three Kentucky HBPA offices: 3729 S. Fourth St., Louisville, 40214, or the backside offices at Turfway Park in Florence and The Thoroughbred Center in Lexington.
A GoFundMe account has been set up by the Reeds’ close friends Mike Manganello, a steward in Ohio and a Kentucky Derby-winning jockey, and Kitty Manganello, at http://bit.ly/2icnkYO.
FINISH LINES: Santa Anita will honor the memory of recently deceased jockey Garrett Gomez on opening day, Monday, with a moment of silence at 11:30 a.m. . . . In addition to Santa Anita Wall Calendars and Mathis Brothers Thoroughbred Toy Horses, The Great Race Place will guarantee $1 million in the all-stakes Late Pick 4, which will be comprised of the Grade III San Simeon, the Grade I La Brea, the Grade I Malibu and the Grade II Mathis Brothers Mile . . . Additionally, KMN Racing and owner/broadcaster Jim Rome have helped organize a silent auction on opening day featuring a beautiful color print of 2015 Santa Anita Handicap winner and 2013 Eclipse champion 2-year-old male Shared Belief. All proceeds from the print by John Rowe will benefit the Permanently Disabled Jockeys Fund. The PDJF Silent Auction will take place in the East Paddock Gardens throughout the day . . . One had to look twice at Santa Anita’s work tab Wednesday to see if that old stakes-winning turf sprinter, Caracortado, was making a comeback at age 10. Fact is, he’s not. The horse on the tab was an unraced filly, Caracortada (“a” instead of “o” at the end) trained by Mike Machowsky, the conditioner of the retired Caracortado, who, because of persistent hoof issues, is now “enjoying the good life” in Bradbury after last racing in 2014. “We bought her last spring and she acts like a pretty nice filly,” Machowsky said of Caracortada. “We were trying to come up with a name for her and one of the partners said, ‘Why don’t we name her that?’ I didn’t think it would get through (The Jockey Club), to tell you the truth. Freely translated from Spanish it means scar face or cut face.” Caracortada worked five furlongs in 1:03 . . . Santa Anita will be dark Tuesday and Wednesday, Dec. 27 and 28, and resume live racing Thursday, Dec. 29 at 12:30 p.m.