- ILLUMINANT BACK QUICK ON DIRT IN LA CANADA
- GLORY GOES FOR STAKES GOLD IN MEGAHERTZ
- FRANTIC FRIDAY FOR TRAINER KEITH DESORMEAUX
- DOLLAR DAY AGAIN AT SANTA ANITA ON MONDAY
BRIGHT FUTURE FOR ILLUMINANT IN LA CANADA?
Illuminant ran such a creditable race finishing fourth in the Grade II Monrovia Stakes at
about 6 ½ furlongs on Santa Anita’s hillside turf course Jan. 3, her connections thought enough to put up $4,000 and supplement her to Saturday’s Grade II La Canada Stakes at 1 1/16 miles on dirt, running the four-year-old daughter of Quality Road back in an Abramsesque two weeks.
After winning an overnight race at 1 1/16 miles on grass at Del Mar Nov. 27, Illuminant rallied five wide in a field of 11 to finish fourth in the Monrovia at 8-1, beaten only a length.
“I thought she ran a respectable race,” said Mike McCarthy, who trains the
Pennsylvania-bred filly for Aron Wellman, campaigning as Eclipse Thoroughbred Partners.
“It didn’t seem like she was handling the turf quite as well as she had here last year,” said McCarthy, succeeding on his own after a lengthy tour as assistant to Todd Pletcher.
“It’s always been in the back of our minds to give her a try on the dirt. The La Canada
seemed like it might be the right time to try it.
“I know it’s back a little quick, but she came out of her last race in good order.”
The field: Tara’s Tango, Martin Garcia, 4-1; Illuminant, Flavien Prat, 8-1; Oscar Party, Santiago Gonzalez, 20-1; Honey Ride, Tyler Baze, 12-1; Yahilwa, Mike Smith, 5-2; Birdatthewire, Drayden Van Dyke, 3-1; and Taris, Gary Stevens, 2-1.
GLORY EYES FIRST STAKES VICTORY IN MEGAHERTZ
Glory, an ultra-consistent daughter of Tapit, seeks her first stakes win when she runs in the Grade III Megahertz Stakes on Monday’s Martin Luther King Jr. holiday card.
“She ran fantastic last out,” said Dan Ward, assistant to Jerry Hollendorfer, who is en route to Florida where unbeaten Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies winner Songbird will receive an Eclipse Award Saturday as two-year-old filly champion of 2015.
“Glory ran against older on a soft turf at a mile and an eighth in the Frankel (Dec. 27),” Ward noted. Glory was beaten a neck after leading until the final strides. The four-year-old bay filly owned by Rick Porter’s Fox Hill Farms shortens up to a mile on grass in the Megahertz.
In nine career starts, Glory has three wins, two seconds and two thirds, with earnings of $145,370.
The Megahertz drew a full field of 14, including two on the also-eligible list.
KEITH DESORMEAUX ALIVE FOR FIVE AT SANTA ANITA
Keith Desormeaux could have a breakthrough day Friday. The 48-year-old trainer had five horses entered on the eight-race program at Santa Anita, not a personal record, but certainly a record for Desormeaux at The Great Race Place.
“I’ve done that several times before,” said Desormeaux, a relative newcomer as a regular on the Southern California circuit. “The extra races went and conditions were right,” he said. “It’s not like I have a ton of horses (20) back there. It’s just the way it worked out.”
Desormeaux has Mended entered in the first race, Swag Money in the fourth, Where Y’at Joe Joe in the sixth, and Passau in the eighth. He also entered Decked Out in the seventh but the filly was scratched and was entered back Monday.
Otherwise, Desormeaux’s focus is on stakes winners who turned four Jan. 1: Texas Red, Swipe and Exaggerator.
“Texas Red is back on the track here and well on his way to making his four-year-old debut about March,” Desormeaux said. “He just started back in training in mid-December, and in two or three more weeks, he’ll be ready to breeze.
“Swipe is recovering from a chip and he’s doing aqua-tred therapy right now. He’ll be back in Feb. 1.
“Exaggerator is running in the San Vicente (Monday, Feb. 15 at seven furlongs and a possible meeting with undefeated Eclipse Award champion Nyquist).”
FINISH LINES: This Monday, Martin Luther King Jr. Day, Santa Anita will offer another of its popular Dollar Days, with draft beers, hot dogs and sodas on sale for just a buck. Santa Anita will be dark Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday of next week. Live racing will resume Friday, Jan. 22, at 1 p.m. . . . Get me Guinness: Congrats to owner/breeder Madeline Auerbach and trainer Barry Abrams on becoming the first to win two Thoroughbred races this year with the same horse, that being McHeat, who captured yesterday’s fifth race by a half-length under Fernando Perez to help formulate a Pick Six carryover into Friday of $45,040. McHeat, a four-year-old son of the remarkable 26-year-old stallion Unusual Heat, won on Jan. 1 after a nine-month layoff at odds of 11-1 and came back Thursday at a $36 payoff. Both races were on the grass. “If this continues, I might have three or four wins before anybody else,” said Abrams, never bashful at the entry box. “With the way the weather’s been, it’s been hard to find two races on turf,” Abrams noted. “I figured if I didn’t run in this race, I might have to wait a month for another race, so I put him in, he’s sharp, and he got the job done.” . . . ESPN’s Kenny Mayne, never one to pass up a bizarre challenge, will call Sunday’s fifth race at Santa Anita, a 5 ½-furlong sprint with seven horses entered . . . Olympic and World Champion gold medal skier Bode Miller hopes he doesn’t go downhill after dipping into his pockets for $16,000 to claim Carlot Cowboy out of Thursday’s second race, a seven furlong test in which the six-year-old Silver Train gelding finished second as the 3-5 favorite. George Papaprodromou is the new trainer of the eight-time career winner . . . Stewart Elliott, winner of the 2004 Kentucky Derby aboard Smarty Jones, is diligently working horses in the mornings as he prepares for his return to the saddle next week. “I went back to Kentucky when I left Del Mar and rode a bit at the fall Keeneland meet,” said Elliott, who is represented by agent Nelson Arroyo. “I got into the hunting business for a while, but kept thinking about coming back to California, because although I wasn’t here long, I met a lot of good people and I missed it, so here I am.” . . . Agent Tony Matos has booked Martin Garcia on Los Alamitos Futurity runner-up Toews On Ice for Bob Baffert in Monday’s $150,000 Smarty Jones at a flat mile at Oaklawn Park . . . Owner/player Randy Dang and Derek Lawson, agent for jockey Flavien Prat, will be Tom Quigley‘s handicapping guests Saturday and Sunday, respectively, 11:20 a.m.. in the East Paddock Gardens . . . Condolences to former jockey and retired long-time pari-mutuel clerk Richard Griffiths, whose wife, Lorale, passed away this morning at 78 following a brief bout with cancer. Services are pending.
|SANTA ANITA STATISTICS|
|(Current Through Thursday, Jan. 14)|
|Drayden Van Dyke||23||3||1||1||13%||22%||$124,930|