Horse of the Year 2016 will be announced Saturday at Gulfstream Park in Florida, and while it’s certain to be either Arrogate or California Chrome, the outcome could be closer than Arrogate’s dramatic half-length victory over Chrome in the $6 million Breeders’ Cup Classic run at Santa Anita last Nov. 5.

Voters had to submit their ballots by Jan. 3.

They had to weigh whether Arrogate’s victory over Chrome, despite it being only the second stakes race ever won in a brief six-race career, was enough to warrant the crown, or whether Chrome’s overall body of work that included six straight triumphs from Dubai to California before he yielded grudgingly in the final yards of the Classic, trumped Arrogate’s win in their lone head-to-head meeting.

This is the quandary voters, fans and horsemen pondered, as did private clocker and bloodstock agent Gary Young, who, though he did not have a vote, did have an opinion.

“Over the years when there are two great horses and it comes down to the Breeders’ Cup, the winner of the Classic usually gets Horse of the Year,” Young said. “The year that pops into mind is 1989 when Sunday Silence beat Easy Goer and was named Horse of the Year.

“That year, Horse of the Year pretty much came down to whoever won the Breeders’ Cup Classic. Obviously, Sunday Silence beat Easy Goer and got the award. But that was a different kettle of fish, because they had a year-long rivalry, whereas Arrogate and Chrome only had a one-race rivalry.

“I guess Chrome is going to get it because of his body or work and his popularity, but if I had a gun to my head, I’d probably vote for Arrogate. I know they weren’t that far apart in price in the Breeders’ Cup Classic (Chrome was the 9-10 favorite, Arrogate the 17-10 second choice), but I’ve been a huge Arrogate fan for a long time and I don’t think what happened on Nov. 5 was an accident.

“Based on his body of work, Chrome might win it, but it’s pretty tough when two horses stand out as much as they do to vote against the horse that won in their only match-up.

“I know Victor (Espinoza, Chrome’s regular rider) took some heat for his ride in the Classic, and when you’ve got a three-length lead at the eighth pole and get beat, you don’t have many excuses in my book, although I’m not faulting him at all. Both ran races that would have won the Breeders’ Cup Classic four out of five years. Chrome just happened to get beat by Arrogate that day and it was their only match-up.”

Arrogate and California Chrome are scheduled to meet in the inaugural $12 million Pegasus World Cup Invitational at Gulfstream next Saturday, Jan. 28, but the race will have no bearing on Horse of the Year since votes for 2016 honors are already in. The winner will be announced on TVG2 live at approximately 7:30 p.m. Pacific Time tomorrow.

“I think people who voted for Arrogate have a valid point, and I think those who voted for Chrome because of his victories in the Dubai race, the Pacific Classic and the others, also have a valid point,” Young said.

“Both horses are very good. It’s not like they’re evenly matched. They’re quite a bit better than everything else in the country. It’s kind of what we hoped we would get with Shared Belief and California Chrome before Shared Belief’s unfortunate death.

“From a fan’s standpoint and being selfish, you’d like for them to continue on all year, but with Chrome going on to stud, it’s probably not going to be feasible.

“Arrogate is a terrific, terrific horse, and his workout (last Sunday) and his gallop Wednesday morning makes me feel he’s going to run a very good race in the Pegasus. Unfortunately, it could not be run before the (2016) calendar year ended, because it could have been the determining race for voters.

“Even though they both deserve it, because Arrogate won their only match-up, I probably would have given my vote to Arrogate.”



            California-bred Thoroughbreds will be in the spotlight next Saturday when Santa Anita offers $1 million in purse money on five stakes in the Golden State Series for California-bred or sired horses.

Following are the stakes with probable entrants:

–$250,000 California Cup Turf Classic presented by City National Bank for four-year-olds and up at 1 1/8 miles on turf: Ashleyluvssugar, Call Saul, He Will, Patriots Rule, Rye, The Big Train, Tribal Tribute and Ward ‘N Jerry.

–$250,000 California Derby for three-year-olds at 1 1/16 miles: Ann Arbor Eddie, California Diamond, Coils Gold and Mr. Hinx.

–$150,000 Sunshine Millions Filly & Mare Turf Sprint for fillies and mares, four and up, at about 6 ½ furlongs down the hillside course: Cuddle Alert, Desert Steel, Enola Gray, How Unusual and Mai Tai.

The $200,000 California Cup Oaks at one mile on turf and the $150,000 Donald Valpredo California Cup Sprint for four-year-olds and up at six furlongs also will be presented.



Uber and Santa Anita Park are once again putting fans first, as those who travel to and from The Great Race Place via Uber will receive 50 percent off their fare.

As the “Official Ride of Santa Anita Park,” fans using the Uber/Santa Anita promotional code SANTAANITA2017, receive a maximum $20 off each way, per visit, a terrific way to “go racing” from throughout the metro LA area.

The 50 percent discount promotion is available to fans for an unlimited number of visits through closing day, July 4.

Uber, which has become a way of life for millions nationwide, offers everyday low prices utilizing a wide variety of available vehicles, from low-cost models to high-end luxury. Uber drivers use their own vehicles and come from all walks of life. The Uber experience has been designed with safety and security as top priorities.

The official Santa Anita/Uber pick-up and drop-off zone is located at the track’s Club House East entrance gates. For additional information, please visit, or call (626) 574-RACE.


FINISH LINES: There is a Single Ticket Pick Six Jackpot carryover of $222,684.74 into Friday . . . With the Grade II Santa Monica Stakes heading Saturday’s card, Jon White notes that a former Santa Monica winner can be found in the pedigree of an entrant in Saturday’s seventh race. “Salt Champ is the dam of Town Champ, a first-time starter for trainer Phil D’Amato,” said White, who is Santa Anita’s morning-line odds maker. “Salt Champ won the Santa Monica in 2005 for owner Arturo Vargas, who also owns Town Champ. Salt Champ’s sire, Speightstown, was an Eclipse Award-winning sprinter (in 2004). One of Salt Champ’s foals, Champ Pegasus, was a Grade I winner at Santa Anita a number of years ago.” A son of 2000 Kentucky Derby winner Fusaichi Pegasus, in 2010 Champ Pegasus won the Grade I Clement L. Hirsch Memorial Turf Championship on Santa Anita’s grass course before finishing second to Dangerous Midge in the Grade I Breeders’ Cup Turf at Churchill Downs. Champ Pegasus earned $1,052,520 during his career . . . Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint winner Obviously is doing well back at Phil D’Amato‘s barn, with the Grade I Kilroe Mile March 11 on his radar, while Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint runner-up Om worked three furlongs Wednesday in 37.20 for trainer Dan Hendricks, who has the grassy one mile Grade II Arcadia Stakes Feb. 11 on the docket . . . Also working Wednesday was recent Grade III Sham Stakes winner Gormley, going four furlongs in 51.20 for John Shirreffs who has the Triple Crown prospect ticketed for the Grade II San Felipe Stakes on March 11 . . . Fans can celebrate the inaugural running of the $12 million Pegasus World Cup Invitational run at Gulfstream Park next Saturday at a party in Santa Anita’s Chandelier Room. To purchase tickets, visit . . . Diners will have a new and delicious option for breakfast or lunch without leaving the grounds at Santa Anita beginning 4:30 a.m. this Sunday when Debby’s Stable Café, located in the backstretch recreation facility, makes it debut. Under the direction of Debby Baltas, wife of trainer Richard Baltas, the eatery will be open from 4:30 a.m. until the last event on racing days and 4:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. on dark days. Debby, who drew rave reviews for her fare when she ran the backstretch kitchen for many years at Hollywood Park, has pledged to serve high quality food at reasonable prices for those working the backside and the front side. Try the potato salad and pulled pork: chef recommends! . . . Racing With Jason Radio Show correspondent Jay Friedlander and Santa Anita simulcast host Megan Devine will offer their handicapping selections Saturday and Sunday, respectively, in the East Paddock Gardens at 11:20 a.m. Tom Quigley moderates.

(Current Through Monday, Jan. 16)        
Jockey Mts 1st 2nd 3rd Win% ITM% Money Won  
Tyler Baze 70 16 9 7 23% 46% $531,937  
Flavien Prat 60 13 6 10 22% 48% $784,023  
Kent Desormeaux 44 8 6 5 18% 43% $622,843  
Rafael Bejarano 50 7 6 9 14% 44% $467,713  
Norberto Arroyo, Jr. 47 7 3 2 15% 26% $323,685  
Martin Pedroza 37 6 6 4 16% 43% $209,690  
Stewart Elliott 44 6 5 7 14% 41% $217,585  
Mike Smith 19 5 1 4 26% 53% $485,940  
Drayden Van Dyke 45 4 8 2 9% 31% $276,965  
Mario Gutierrez 32 4 6 4 13% 44% $242,221  
Victor Espinoza 23 4 5 5 17% 61% $256,770  
Joseph Talamo 41 4 4 8 10% 39% $153,340  
Corey Nakatani 23 4 2 1 17% 30% $210,169  
Trainer Mts 1st 2nd 3rd Win% ITM% Money Won  
Peter Miller 26 7 6 4 27% 65% $344,860  
Doug O’Neill 51 6 7 9 12% 43% $323,083  
Jerry Hollendorfer 38 6 7 7 16% 53% $602,624  
William Spawr 11 6 0 2 55% 73% $169,341  
Richard Baltas 41 5 8 5 12% 44% $336,613  
John Sadler 18 5 4 5 28% 78% $254,234  
Bob Baffert 23 5 3 4 22% 52% $395,441  
Philip D’Amato 20 4 4 4 20% 60% $377,190  
J. Keith Desormeaux 14 4 2 3 29% 64% $310,595  
Peter Eurton 18 4 2 0 22% 33% $148,095  
Gary Sherlock 15 4 1 1 27% 40% $88,600