- ‘GIANT KILLER’ CASSIDY EYES AN UPSET IN AFFIRMED
- FOREST CHATTER ON DIRT IN MONDAY’S THOR’S ECHO
- BIG ‘CAP ACE MELATONIN LIKELY FOR PACIFIC CLASSIC
- NEW TURF COURSE INSTALLED FOR AUTUMN CAMPAIGN
- WRONA SET TO TIE THE KNOT FOLLOWING SPRING MEET
- BIG BANG FOR YOUR BUCK ON MONDAY AT SANTA ANITA
- KENTUCKY DERBY WINNER NYQUIST TO WORK ON JULY 4
CASSIDY SEEKS AFFIRMED UPSET WITH PRINCE OF ARABIA
Jim Cassidy, who quietly pulled a $29.60 shocker when he sent out Shh She’s Ours to win Sunday’s Grade II Desert Stormer II Stakes over 1-2 favorite Sensitively, hopes to register another upset with Prince of Arabia in Saturday’s Grade III Affirmed Stakes for three-year-olds at 1 1/16 miles.
It will mark only the second stakes start for the son of Mineshaft, who was ninth after a slow start last out in the grassy Rainbow Stakes June 18.
“He’s a decent horse,” Cassidy said. “He’s just been a little unlucky. Last time he broke slowly, but he’s coming up to this race well.”
The field for the Affirmed, named for the 1978 Triple Crown winner: Curlin Rules, Victor Espinoza, 5-1; Dalmore, Kent Desormeaux, 4-1; Beaumarchais, Joe Talamo, 20-1; Prince of Arabia, Santiago Gonzalez, 6-1; and Danzing Candy, Rafael Bejarano, 2-5.
FOREST CHATTER SET FOR MAIN TRACK MONDAY
Rather than stand around and watch the grass grow, Team Mandella will run downhill turf course specialist Forest Chatter on dirt in the $100,000 Thor’s Echo Handicap, one of two stakes races in the Golden State Series on Monday’s Independence Day holiday program.
In 13 career starts, 11 have been on grass for Forest Chatter, a gelded son of Dixie Chatter trained by Richard Mandella for Pam and Martin Wygod. Forest Chatter was unbeaten in five races on Santa Anita’s unique downhill course at about 6 ½ furlongs until finishing second under regular rider Mike Smith in the Lennyfromalibu on May 28.
He was second in the seven furlong Cary Grant on Del Mar’s main track last November and unplaced in his lone start on synthetic.
“He’ll run on dirt and he’s doing well right now,” said Smith, alluding to two recent bullet works on Santa Anita’s main track. “He got away slow last time, too (from the No. 1 post position), so with a better break he’s certainly going to run a lot better.”
HOFMANS EYES PACIFIC CLASSIC FOR MELATONIN
Melatonin, who has performed well when his races are well-spaced, likely will make his next start in Del Mar’s $1 million TVG Pacific Classic at a mile and a quarter on Aug. 20, David Hofmans said Friday.
“We’ll see; we’ll take it as it comes,” said Hofmans, who trains the winner of the Santa Anita Handicap and the Gold Cup at Santa Anita for Susan Osborne’s Tarabilla Farms. “We’re probably going to end up running in the Pacific Classic, I would think.”
Hofmans had mentioned last Sunday that the Awesome Again Stakes at Santa Anita on Oct. 1 could be the next race for Melatonin, but noted Friday that “three months between starts is a little difficult to do. The San Diego (Handicap at 1 1/16 miles on July 23) is too soon and too short, so the Pacific Classic is probably the way we’re going to go.”
NEW TURF COURSE IN FOR SANTA ANITA’S AUTUMN MEET
With precision like timing and teamwork, Santa Anita Park has completed installation of its all-new Bermuda turf course, which will be ready for use with the onset of the track’s 2016 Autumn Meet on Sept. 30.
Including the Camino Real hillside component, Santa Anita’s unique turf course encompasses approximately nine acres of surface area, which has now been amended and covered. The Bandera Bermuda turf mixture was grown in La Quinta, California, approximately 120 miles to the east, near Palm Springs.
“This has been a major undertaking and we’re very pleased with how the entire project has progressed,” said Joe Morris, Senior Vice President, West Coast Operations for The Stronach Group. “The hillside portion of the course was completed about three weeks ago and the oval was finished late Wednesday. This particular turf has proven very resilient in our immediate area and right now, with the warm temperatures we’ve been experiencing, conditions are optimal for fast growth.
“The hillside has already begun to root, so that’s great news. About 40 percent of our races are run on grass, so this project is obviously a huge priority for us, our customers and horsemen.
“We’ve been told that we’d be able to run on it in 45 days, but with the installation completed on time, we’ll have 90 days before we have horses competing on it. We’re excited about opening day on Sept. 30 and we’re looking forward to welcoming the best horses in the world here for the Breeders’ Cup in November (4 and 5).”
Santa Anita’s current 40-day Spring Meet, which began May 5, will conclude a week from Sunday, July 10.
WRONA TO MARRY FOLLOWING SPRING MEET
In a column by Art Wilson in today’s Los Angeles Newspaper Group daily publications, Santa Anita announcer Michael Wrona revealed that he’ll be getting married in Lake Tahoe one week after the current Spring Meet concludes on July 10.
And, with the relocation process to Southern California fully underway, the 50-year-old native Australian is well aware of the large footsteps he’s following, cast over parts of nine decades by legendary announcers such as Hernandez, Johnson and Denman.
“I’m well aware of how few people have occupied this booth,” he told Wilson yesterday. “This place is renowned for not being a turnstile, or a revolving door, of announcers. So there’s a legacy that I hope that I can uphold. That weighs on my mind.
” . . . I hope I can have a good, long run and contribute to the legacy for as long as I can keep calling at the appropriate level, the top level.”
FANS CAN WIN MERCEDES-BENZ AND MORE ON DOLLAR DAY, JULY 4
Monday, July 4, is Fan Appreciation Day at Santa Anita. Fans can enter to win a chance at a 2016 Mercedes-Benz GLC, presented by Rusnak/Arcadia, reserved seating for the 2016 Breeders’ Cup World Championships at Santa Anita Nov. 4 and 5, VIP packages good for the track’s Autumn Meet which begins Sept. 30, and $500 betting vouchers.
Veterans and active duty military will receive free General Admission Monday at Santa Anita as well. Monday also is also Dollar Day, with one dollar beers, sodas and hot dogs available throughout the day.
Following are details on Santa Anita’s Fan Appreciation Day offerings:
- Each fan (with paid admission) will receive a contest entry card as they enter Santa Anita. The card, once completed, can be placed in a number of designated contest locations or bins throughout the facility. All entries must be submitted by 3 p.m.
- The contest cards will be used to draw the winners, who will be announced throughout the day from the Winner’s Circle.
- One lucky fan will become the final contestant entered into the drawing for the 2016 Mercedes-Benz GLC presented by Rusnak/Arcadia. All 10 qualifiers will be on-track and will be assigned to a specific horse in a designated race on Monday. The contestants will watch their race from the Winner’s Circle and the winning horse will determine the winner of the Mercedes-Benz GLC.
- Betting vouchers worth $500 will be given away, as will four 2016 Autumn Meet “VIP Day at the Races” packages.
- Two Breeders’ Cup Reserved Seating Packages, including a Four-Pack for Friday, Nov. 4, and a Four-Pack for Breeders’ Cup Classic Day, Saturday, Nov. 5, will be given away.
VISIT http://www.santaanita.com/events-and-tickets/ FOR CONTEST RULES PLUS ALL ADDITIONAL INFORMATION REGARDING GIVEAWAYS AND VIP PACKAGES.
HALL OF FAME JOCKEYS TO SIGN ONE-OF-A-KIND POSTER JULY 10
On Sunday, July 10, closing day of the Spring Meet, Hall of Fame jockeys Gary Stevens and Mike Smith will be available from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. to sign one-of-a-kind posters featuring three-time champion mare Beholder and the undefeated filly Songbird, arguably the two best (dirt) females in the country.
Signings will take place in the shaded saddling enclosure. Families are invited to bring the kids, as Santa Anita mascots, Winnie and Lucky, will be on-hand to greet fans and offer Beholder’s favorite treat, peppermints!
FINISH LINES: Kentucky Derby winner Nyquist, who galloped a mile and a half today, is scheduled to work five furlongs Monday, Doug O’Neill assistant Leandro Mora reported Friday, while Richard Mandella has three-time champion Beholder set to work Sunday or Monday . . . Kent Desormeaux rides at Belmont Park Monday, Swipe in the Dwyer and Decked Out in the Belmont Oaks Invitational, both horses trained by brother Keith . . . Today through Sunday, July 3, the largest Asian-themed night market in the United States takes place at Santa Anita in the form of 626 Night Market. The growing entertainment tradition features merchandise vendors, games, food, music, and more. For more information, visit santaanita.com/events or www.626nightmarket.com.
|SANTA ANITA STATISTICS|
|(Current Through Thursday, June 30)|