- WOOLF WINNER LUZZI ENJOYS DAY IN THE SUN
- YIANNUS STEPS UP IN SUNDAY’S SAN PEDRO
- FIRING LINE WORKS FOR KENTUCKY DERBY
- RACING RADIO PIONEER BILL GARR PASSES AT 98
‘GREAT HONOR’ FOR LUZZI TO WIN WOOLF AWARD
Mike Luzzi was basking in the sunshine of another glorious morning at Santa Anita
Saturday, 30 hours before he was to enjoy a more significant moment in the sun, acceptance of Santa Anita’s George Woolf Memorial Jockey Award after tomorrow’s sixth race.
“It’s a great honor,” said Luzzi (as in fuzzy), who was accompanied by his son, Lane as he greeted old friends and well wishers. “My grandfather (Virgil “Buddy” Raines) was a trainer and was friendly with George Woolf, so the award means a little extra to my Mom.
“Raines was a regular at Delaware Park and that’s where I grew up, right outside the gate there (in Stanton). My grandfather and George Woolf were close. I actually have some souvenirs from that time, the last program on the day he was killed, so this means more to me than it might to someone else, because I heard about George Woolf from Pops.”
Sidelined because of a broken leg and a fractured pelvis sustained in a paddock accident last Nov. 2 at Aqueduct, Luzzi, winner of 3,420 career races, has undergone reconstructive surgery and hopes to resume riding at some point this year.
Presented annually by Santa Anita since 1950, the Woolf Award is one of the most coveted honors in racing, as it recognizes riders whose careers and personal character have earned esteem for both the individual and the sport of Thoroughbred racing.
YIANNIS GOES FROM MAIDEN WIN TO STAKES SUNDAY
Yiannis moves from a maiden victory in his lone start to the $75,000 San Pedro Stakes for 3-year-olds at six furlongs Sunday.
“He won his first start (by a nose over subsequent stakes winner, Gimme Da Lute, as the 9-10 favorite on Jan. 31), we liked him, and we entered an allowance race but it didn’t fill,” said John Sadler, who trains the Kentucky-bred son of 2008 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile winner Midshipman for Hronis Racing LLC.
“We’re going from a maiden win to a stake but we think he’s a nice colt, he’s got a good post and he’s trained well (a bullet 57.20 on April 5, best of 68 drills at the distance).”
The field for the San Pedro: Well Maybe, Mike Smith, 6-1; Kentuckian, Rafael Bejarano, 8-5; The Man, Martin Garcia, 6-1; Guy Code, Gonzalo Nicolas, 30-1; Gloria’s Angelo, Drayden Van Dyke, 20-1; Yiannis, Victor Espinoza, 8-1; Om, Fernando Perez, 9-5; No Problem, Santiago Gonzalez, 10-1; and Serbian Syclone, Tyler Baze, 12-1.
RADIO RACING PIONEER BILL GARR VIEWING ON MONDAY
Bill Garr, who loved racing as much as life itself life and devoted the major portion of his career to the game he loved, died on March 28 at the age of 98.
Garr, a Southern California-based radio broadcaster who did countless shows from Santa Anita, Hollywood Park, Del Mar and the Los Angeles County Fair, was a notorious punster and teller of corny jokes who also enjoyed backing a horse he fancied with a few dollars. When once asked by an on-air listener, “Who do you like in the sixth race?” on a particular Saturday, Garr unhesitatingly responded, “I like Hot Dog in the sixth, he’s a Weiner.”
Garr’s first live show from Santa Anita was broadcast on Dec. 26, 1959. For nearly four decades, he broadcast his show from live racing venues on the Southern California circuit and unabashedly promoted loyal sponsors such as Kitty Queen, Canada Dry, Old English Rancho, Pro Express and many others.
A native of San Francisco, Garr’s first break in radio came as a station announcer at KNBR, which was the West Coast’s flagship station for NBC in the early 1940s.
Garr was preceded in death by his wife, Jean. He was the brother of the late Louis Eilken, a former racing secretary at Santa Anita and at Canterbury Downs in Minnesota. He is survived by his daughter, Jeannie, son Bill, and three grandchildren
A viewing will be held this Monday, April 13, 5:30 to 8:30 p.m., at Douglass and Zook Chapel of Remembrance Funeral Home, 600 East Foothill Blvd., Monrovia, 91016.
A memorial service will be held at Westminster Presbyterian Church, 1757 North Lake Ave., Pasadena 91104, on Tuesday, April 14, at 12 noon. In lieu of flowers, the family has requested donations to the Shadow Hills Equestrian Therapeutic Riding Club, www.shadowhillsridingclub.org, or U.S. Navy League, Navy Days 310 392-1275.
FINISH LINES: Firing Line, winner of the Sunland Derby by more than 14 lengths, worked five furlongs at Santa Anita Saturday in 59.20 under regular rider Gary Stevens, who will be seeking his fourth Kentucky Derby win when he rides the son of Line of David in the May 2 Run for the Roses. Owner Arnold Zetcher was a keen observer of the drill . . . Congratulations to Gary Stute for ending the “Gary Drought” among Santa Anita trainers yesterday. When Stute sent out I’ll Tell You What to win Friday’s eighth race by 3 ¼ lengths at a $15.80 payoff under Tyler Baze, it marked the first win this meet for a trainer whose first name is Gary. Stute had been oh for 18. Fellow trainers Gary Mandella and Gary Sherlock are oh for 21 and oh for 38, respectively. “It was a welcome win in more ways than one,” Stute said. “It was the first win for the stallion (Roman Commander) who stands at Milky Way Farm in Temecula. Tyler rode the rode the horse perfect, and if any Gary was going to get off the schneid, I’m glad it was me.” . . . Joe Steiner and William Antongeorgi III have moved their tack from Santa Anita to the Great Northwest and the Bay Area, respectively. . . Rosie Ybarra, hostess at Clocker’s Corner gab and grub pub, has tickets on sale at $5 a pop for Think Bright Pink in support of breast and ovarian health VIPink Weekend, May 2 and 3 . . . Condolences to the family of longtime Bay Area-based trainer Bill Morey, Jr., who passed away Friday following a long bout with cancer at age 74. Morey was best known as trainer and co-breeder and owner of Bold Chieftain, who won the 2010 Sunshine Millions Classic and was a two-time winner of the California Cup Classic in 2007 and 2009. Morey was also trainer of multiple stakes winner Dixie Dot Com, who won the 2000 San Pasqual Stakes. Morey is survived by his wife, Doris, son, trainer William E. Morey, daughter Kelley (Green), and two grandchildren.
|SANTA ANITA STATISTICS|
|(Current Through Friday, April 10)|
|Drayden Van Dyke||218||23||28||25||11%||$1,492,943|
|Doug F. O’Neill||185||23||17||25||12%||$1,126,402|
|John W. Sadler||141||22||20||18||16%||$1,479,100|
|Richard E. Mandella||70||16||10||13||23%||$992,946|