- ROYAL MO WORKS FOR SAN FELIPE OR REBEL
- THE RAIL NO PROBLEM FOR BETTYS BAMBINO
- ELLIOTT WINS THE PRESTIGIOUS WOOLF AWARD
- BEJARANO RESUMES RIDING NEXT THURSDAY
- SANTA ANITA RIDERS EDGED IN CHARITY GAME
- STEVENS HAS CALLS DURING BIG ‘CAP WEEK
- FIRST-EVER SANTA ANITA MARDI GRAS SATURDAY
TRIPLE CROWN CONTENDER ROYAL MO BREEZES
Robert B. Lewis Stakes winner Royal Mo, one of the West Coast’s leading Triple Crown
contenders, worked six furlongs on Santa Anita’s fast main track Friday morning in 1:15.40 under regular rider Victor Espinoza.
Trainer John Shirreffs sent the son of Uncle Mo owned by Jerry and Ann Moss in company with Tiz Adore, who was clocked in 1:17.40.
“I’m very happy with the work,” Shirreffs said, adding that there was still no public decision on whether Royal Mo would run in the San Felipe Stakes at Santa Anita on March 11 or the Rebel at Oaklawn Park March 18.
The lone certainty at this point is that Royal Mo and the other Triple Crown contender trained by Shirreffs for the Mosses, Sham Stakes winner Gormley, will not race against each other in the immediate future.
“The decision on where and when each horse runs won’t be made until we talk with Dottie (John’s wife and racing manager for the Mosses) and the Mosses,” Shirreffs said.
NO. ONE POST OF LITTLE CONCERN FOR BETTYS BAMBINO
Bettys Bambino seeks his sixth straight victory, his fourth stakes win in a row, and his seventh in eight tries on Santa Anita’s downhill turf course at about 6 1/2 furlongs in Saturday’s $100,000 Sensational Star Stakes for California-bred or sired horses.
Trainer Peter Eurton is not sweating the fact that Bettys Bambino drew the No. One post position in a field of five entrees that will be reduced to four at post time.
“He’s been on the rail before,” Eurton said. “The rider just lets him settle, the field kind of spreads out, and then he goes to the outside. That’s his best place. You try and send him out of the one hole, it’s a silly thing to do.”
Acceptance, entered in both the Sensational Star and Sunday’s Tiznow Stakes at one mile on dirt, will scratch from the Sensational Star and run in the Tiznow.
“We’re going to go in the mile,” trainer Kenny Black said Friday morning between sips of coffee at Clockers’ Corner. “We didn’t want to hook the other four that are in the Sensational Star. That’s a helluva race.
“Outside of Obviously and Om, you’ve got the best downhill horses on the grounds.”
Black’s a keen observer on that point. Between them, Ambitious Brew, Bettys Bambino, Forest Chatter and Richards Boy are a combined 18 for 31 over the unique venue, a winning average of better than 58 percent.
The Sensational Star, race three of nine: Bettys Bambino, Corey Nakatani, 6-5; Richards Boy, Victor Espinoza, 3-1; Acceptance, Stewart Elliott, 8-1; Ambitious Brew, Mike Smith, 2-1; and Forest Chatter, Flavien Prat, 7-2.
STEWART ELLIOTT WINS PRESTIGIOUS GEORGE WOOLF AWARD
Stewart Elliott, best known for his 2004 Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes wins aboard Smarty Jones, has been selected by a nationwide vote of his peers as winner of the 2017 George Woolf Memorial Jockey Award.
A dominant force for many years in the Mid-Atlantic region, Elliott, 51, shifted his tack on a full-time basis to Southern California in 2016 and is now firmly established as one of the circuit’s top riders.
“On behalf of our membership, I’m elated that Stewart has been selected as this year’s Woolf Award winner,” said Jockeys’ Guild National Manager Terry Meyocks. “Stewart is an exemplary example of what the George Woolf Award is all about. He’s not only a top rider, he’s a top human being as well and continues to be a solid role model for jockeys everywhere. On behalf of the Guild, I congratulate him on a crowning achievement in his career.”
One of the most highly coveted honors in all of American racing, the Woolf Award, which was named in honor of the legendary George “The Iceman” Woolf, can only be won once and was first presented by Santa Anita in 1950. The award, which honors riders whose careers and personal character earn esteem for the individual and the sport of Thoroughbred racing, was won last year by Victor Espinoza.
Born in Toronto, Canada, on March 11, 1965, Elliott has won more than 4,700 races and earned the respect of horsemen nationwide for his wide array of skills and consistent work ethic. Regarded as a strong finisher who is also an outstanding judge of pace, Elliott currently counts local trainers Bob Baffert, Kenny Black, Mike Puype, Art Sherman, Neil Drysdale, Mike Harrington, Jeff Bonde and many others among his regular clientele.
“He’s just class through and through,” said Elliott’s agent, Craig Stephen. “He loves to work. He’s happiest when he’s on the back of a horse.”
One of five Woolf finalists, Elliott outpolled contemporaries Kerwin Clark, Julien Leparoux, Glen Murphy and Scott Stevens to win this year’s edition. In becoming the 68th Woolf Award winner, Elliott follows in the footsteps of most of the greatest riders of the modern era.
The Woolf Award Trophy, a replica of the life-sized statue of Woolf that adorns Santa Anita’s Paddock Gardens area, will be presented in a Winner’s Circle ceremony in March.
SANTA ANITA JOCKEYS FALL TO HOLY ANGELS, 26-20
In a game that went down to the wire, Holy Angels Elementary School defeated Santa Anita’s Jockeys, 26-20, in the 50th annual charity basketball game played between the two squads Thursday night at La Salle High School in Pasadena.
Proceeds will benefit the Permanently Disabled Jockeys Fund (PDJF), Holy Angels athletic program and the Eye on Jacob Foundation.
The Jockeys led at halftime, 14-13, and trailed by only three points until Holy Angels hit a three-point basket at the buzzer to produce the final score.
“It was a lot of fun,” said TVG’s Kurt Hoover, who coached the riders for the 16th consecutive season. “It was close until the final three-point basket.”
Said Derek Lawson, agent for jockey Flavien Prat: “It was a wrestling match out there. Nakatani should have been tossed out of the game.”
But it was for a worthy cause and all in good fun.
The following played in the game and scored (points in parentheses): Kent Desormeaux (five), his son, Josh (four), Corey Nakatani (four), Chester Bonnet (two), Edwin Maldonado (two), Jamie Theriot (two) and Chantal Sutherland (one).
Playing but not scoring were agent Nelson Arroyo, Chad Lindsay, Mario Gutierrez, Gallyn Mitchell, Tiago Pereira, Flavien Prat, Joe Talamo and Jose Verenzuela.
On behalf of event organizers Nancy Dollase and Angie Stevens, the Holy Angels Athletics program, the Permanently Disabled Jockeys Fund and the Eye on Jacob Foundation, Santa Anita offers a huge thank you to all sponsors who donated their time and money to such worthy causes:
Baltas Racing, Dennis O’Neill, Eclipse Racing, Ruis Racing, Phil D’Amato, Solis/Litt Bloodstock, Bonne Chance Farm, Madeline Auerbach, Desormeaux Racing, Dollase Racing, LNJ Foxwoods, ERJ Racing, KM Racing Enterprise, Inc., Cash Call, Bayern, Little Red Feather Racing Club, Brazilian Friends, West Point Thoroughbreds, Stud RDI, Spendthrift Farm and last but not least, Arrogate.
BEJARANO TO RESUME RIDING ON MARCH 2
Perennial Southern California riding king Rafael Bejarano is scheduled to resume riding at Santa Anita next Thursday after recovering from minor injuries when he was unseated from Eaglemaker in the ninth race on Feb. 18.
“He just stayed home and got the (left) knee 100 percent,” said Bejarano’s agent Tora Yamaguchi. “He banged up the knee a little bit in the spill and it was still a little sore. He had to serve a three-day suspension so we figured we might as well take those days at this time. Why come back for one day, Sunday?”
Bejarano, a 32-year-old native of Peru, had 18 wins from 99 mounts before his mishap, still good for fourth in the standings right now but well behind leader Flavien Prat at 37.
MARDI GRAS COMES TO SANTA ANITA SATURDAY
The bayou comes to Santa Anita Saturday for the first-ever Mardi Gras Trackside celebration. Join in on the festivities a few days early and let the good times roll.
The $28 package includes Cajun fare courtesy of “Ragin’ Cajun on Wheels” (choice of ½ shrimp or ½ catfish Po’ Boy sandwich with choice of side, or a combo plate of red beans and rice with smoked sausage and Gumbolaya, (a Ragin Cajun on Wheels specialty), live music and Mardi Gras-inspired decorations.
Also, one 12 oz. craft beer, Club House admission, program, tip sheet and seating. –
For more info and to purchase your ticket visit: http://www.santaanita.com/events/mardi-gras-at-santa-anita-park/
Upcoming Trackside events at the Winter Meet: Feb. 25, Mardi Gras Celebration; March 18, Big ‘Cap Beer & Cider Festival; March 18, St. Patrick’s Day; April 8, Santa Anita Derby Day Extravaganza; May 6, Kentucky Derby Day Celebration; May 13, Tacos y Cervezas; May 20, Preakness Party; May 27, Gold Cup Beer & Sour Festival; and May 27, Belmont Day.
FINISH LINES: Gary Stevens is back on horses in the mornings but doesn’t expect to ride in a race for another two weeks. “I’m available from March 4 on but I’ve got calls for the weekend of (Friday) March 10 and 11,” said the Hall of Fame jockey who has recovered from surgery on having his right hip replaced last Dec. 21 . . . Jockey Luis Contreras rides at Santa Anita Saturday but leaves Sunday to ride full time at Oaklawn Park where he will be given first call by Hall of Fame trainer Steve Asmussen. Contreras enjoyed noticeable success under agent Craig O’Bryan at Santa Anita where he has nine wins, 10 seconds and 21 thirds through Monday. “He was a joy to work for,” said O’Bryan . . . Jockey Brice Blanc is approaching a milestone of 1,000 career wins in North America. Blanc has 998 victories in the United States and Canada, and is named on four horses at Santa Anita Friday . . . Chantal Sutherland also is approaching 1,000. She stands at 994 but has no scheduled mounts today . . .Trainer Vladmir Cerin said he is “considering” the Santa Anita Handicap on March 11 for Follow Me Crev, who returned to the races Monday with a rail-skimming victory under Kent Desormeaux after a seven-month absence. The five-year-old Quality Road gelding missed last year’s Big ‘Cap with an injury . . . Abel Tasmin, winner of the Grade I Starlet at Los Alamitos, worked five furlongs Friday for Simon Callaghan who has her ticketed for next Saturday’s Santa Ysabel Stakes and a meeting with super filly Unique Bella . . . Other notable Friday works were recorded by champion Stellar Wind (five furlongs in 1:01.80 for John Sadler); impressive San Vicente winner Iliad (four furlongs under Flavien Prat in 50.20 for Doug O’Neill for the March 11 San Felipe); Silent Bird with Prat aboard for Mark Glatt for the Grade I Triple Bend March 11); multiple graded stakes winner Bal a Bali (seven furlongs for Richard Mandella in 1:26.80); Grade I Gold Cup winner Hard Aces (five furlongs for John Sadler in 1:01.40, breezing) and Grade I Kilroe Mile winner What a View (four furlongs for Kenny Black on the training track in 49.60). For comprehensive morning workout video, please visit the XBTV.com, “video on demand.” TVG reporter/host/analysts Christina Blacker and handicapping author James Quinn will be Tom Quigley‘s guests, Saturday and Sunday, 11:20 a.m. in the East Paddock Gardens . . . There was a single winning ticket in Monday’s Pick 6 that paid $109,732.80 purchased through a Maryland hub for $1,880.
|SANTA ANITA STATISTICS|
|(Current Through Monday, Feb. 20)|
|Norberto Arroyo, Jr.||71||11||7||4||15%||31%||$562,035|