- FINEST CITY WORKS FOR THE SANTA MONICA
- MEGAHERTZ IS REMEMBERED BY ALEX SOLIS
- NEXTDOORNEIGHBOR STILL LOOKS LIKE A ’10’
- UNIQUE BELLA’S DRILL HAS TRAINER HAPPY
FINEST CITY ‘FIT’ FOR GRADE II SANTA MONICA
Finest City, winner of the Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Sprint at Santa Anita Nov. 5 and favored to win an Eclipse Award as outstanding female sprinter of 2016, worked five furlongs on a “fast” training track Sunday morning in a bullet 1:00.20 for her 2017 debut in next Saturday’s Grade II Santa Monica Stakes for older fillies and mares at seven furlongs.
“We had to play it by ear dealing with the weather that altered training schedules, but we managed to dance through the raindrops and she’s doing fine,” trainer Ian Kruljac said of the five-year-old chestnut daughter of City Zip owned by Zeltzer Thoroughbreds and bred in Pennsylvania by HnR Nothhaft Horseracing LLC.
“We’re ready to run and we’re ready to go,” said the 26-year-old Ian, son of trainer Eric Kruljac, who called the move under exercise rider Pedro Zavaletta “a beautiful work.”
Added Ian: “She’s fine; she’s fit.”
Probable for the Santa Monica: Bad Ju Ju, no rider; Cuddle Alert, no rider; Dr. Fager’s Gal, no rider; Fantastic Style, Rafael Bejarano; and Finest City, Mike Smith.
Dr. Fager’s Gal worked five furlongs Sunday in 1:01.80 for Jerry Hollendorfer and Fantastic Style went the same distance in 1:00.60 for Doug O’Neill, both on the main track.
MIGHTY MEGAHERTZ HONORED MONDAY
Megahertz, the mighty mite trained by the late Bobby Frankel for owner Michael Bello, will be honored at Santa Anita on Martin Luther King Jr. Day Monday with the running of a Grade III race named in her memory.
A chestnut daughter of Pivotal bred in Great Britain by Cheveley Park Stud Ltd. on May 4, 1999, Megahertz ran all 34 of her career races on turf, 13 at Santa Anita where she won nine, generally coming from dead last to triumph in dramatic fashion.
Alex Solis rode her 21 times, winning 11, including two Grade Is, the Yellow Ribbon and the John C. Mabee.
“She was a little tiny filly with a big heart and a big finish,” said the Hall of Fame rider. “I don’t remember riding a filly with that kind of kick. She was very special.”
Megahertz won 14 races, finished second six times and third five times, earning $2,261,594. She last raced on Oct. 29, 2005, finishing eighth of 14 in the Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf at Belmont Park.
Her last win came in the Yellow Ribbon at Santa Anita Oct. 1, 2005, when she roared from seventh and last to score by a length under Solis as the 1-2 favorite.
The field for the Megahertz for older fillies and mares at one mile turf, going as the seventh of 10 races: Do the Dance, Tyler Baze, 6-1; Prize Exhibit, Mike Smith, 5-2; Poster Girl, Alex Solis, 15-1; Jeremy’s Legacy, Mario Gutierrez, 10-1; Kenriya, Julian Auge, 5-1; Tiz a Kiss, Kent Desormeaux, 2-1; and Into The Mystic, Flavien Prat, 7-2.
WITH NEXTDOORNEIGHBOR, IT’S ALWAYS MILLER TIME
Whether you cash a bet on him or not, you gotta love a horse like Nextdoorneighbor.
The old boy just keeps trying.
The bay gelding bred by John and Jerry Amerman in Florida is a virtual win machine, still going strong at age 10, as his 5 ¼-length victory in Saturday’s fourth race for $8,000-$12,500 claimers attests.
While no California Chrome, the son of Lido Palace out of the Wild Rush dam Fencelineneighbor has compiled 15 victories, 11 seconds and seven thirds from 54 starts, earning $358,629.
“I’ve won 10 out of 12 with him,” said trainer Peter Miller, who lost the horse via claim to Steve Knapp after yesterday’s race. “I love the horse and he likes me, too.”
Knapp, who claimed Nextdoorneighbor for $12,500, took the horse from Miller for $8,000 last Oct. 30 then lost him back for $12,500 after the old warhorse ran fourth at Del Mar on Nov. 18. Apparently, Miller knows his hole card.
“”We’ve got certain things that we do with him,” allowed Miller, without giving away any trade secrets. “His hole card is that he really likes being at San Luis Rey (Downs, where Miller has a string of horses).
“If I had to point out anything, I think he likes the calm, quiet environment down there. That’s the main thing with him.”
FINISH LINES: Santa Anita’s iconic Paddock Captain, John Shear, who will celebrate his 96th birthday on Tuesday and be honored in the Winner’s Circle following tomorrow’s sixth race, will also be Tom Quigley’s special handicapping guest tomorrow in the East Paddock Gardens beginning at 10:50 a.m. . . . Santa Ynez winner Unique Bella, prepping for the Grade II Las Virgenes Stakes at one mile on Feb. 5, worked a half-mile Sunday in 46.80. Trainer Jerry Hollendorfer said he was “real happy” with the drill . . . Horsemen took advantage of a welcome extended break in the weather, with 290 recorded workouts at Santa Anita, including 34 on the training track. Jockey Club Gold Cup winner Hoppertunity breezed five furlongs for Bob Baffert in a minute flat . . . There is a single Pick Six Jackpot carryover of $179,083.51 into today’s races . . . With two wins Saturday, Tyler Baze holds a 12-10 lead over Flavien Prat in the early going for riding honors at the Winter Meet . . . Santa Anita’s popular horn blower Jay Cohen has been hors de combat recently but is expected back on the beat with his melodic calls to the post soon . . . Santa Anita offers holiday racing tomorrow, Monday, Martin Luther King Jr. Day. It will also be Dollar Day, with beer, sodas and hot dogs on sale for a buck apiece. First post time is 12 noon. Admission gates open at 10 a.m. Santa Anita will be dark for live racing Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. Live racing resumes on Friday, Jan. 20, at 1 p.m.
|SANTA ANITA STATISTICS|
|(Current Through Saturday, Jan. 14)|
|Norberto Arroyo, Jr.||39||7||3||0||18%||26%||$309,580|
|Drayden Van Dyke||41||4||8||1||10%||32%||$268,920|