- SWEET SIGNS FOR ASHLEYLUVSSUGAR
- CHROME RARIN’ TO GO AFTER JOGGING
- JOCKEYS’ POSTER SIGNING ON SUNDAY
- MELATONIN TO WORK FOR BC CLASSIC
- POPULAR DOLLAR DAY MONDAY, OCT. 10
FAVORABLE JOHN HENRY SCENARIO FOR ASHLEYLUVSSUGAR
On paper, Ashleyluvssugar has much going for him Sunday in the Grade II, $200,000 John Henry Stakes for three-year-olds and up at a mile and a quarter on turf: a favorable pace scenario, a tendency to put together back-to-back victories; and a fondness for Santa Anita’s turf course, having won three of five starts over the layout.
The five-year-old California-bred son of Game Plan won three straight at Santa Anita from Feb. 5 through May 24, including the San Luis Rey and the Charles Whittingham, both Grade II stakes.
“He’s won at a mile and a quarter and won at a mile and a half,” pointed out Peter Eurton, who trains the bay gelding for Sharon Alesia, Bran Jam Stable and Ciaglia Racing, LLC. “If there’s pace for him to run at, it’s OK, if there isn’t, he makes his own as he did at Del Mar.”
Eurton was referring to the Grade II Del Mar Handicap on turf Aug. 20 which Ashleyluvssugar won by a nose after leading virtually throughout the 1 3/8-mile race.
“We just don’t know what kind of (grass) surface this is going to be, being recently renovated, whether it will favor speed or closers,” Eurton said.
“At Del Mar, I think it was pretty fair. We had three races down the hill on Friday, and I think everybody will be on the conservative side since we don’t know what to expect.”
The field for the John Henry, race six of nine: El Huerfano, Martin Pedroza, 20-1; Wanstead Gardens, Santiago Gonzalez, 20-1; Flamboyant, Mike Smith, 5-1; Ralis, Mario Gutierrez, 10-1; Ashleyluvssugar, Gary Stevens, 3-1; Metaboss, Rafael Bejarano, 7-2; Messi, Drayden Van Dyke, 4-1; Twentytwentyvision, Flavien Prat, 6-1; and Texas Ryano, Joe Talamo, 12-1.
FINISH LINES: Art Sherman had California Chrome out for a 5:30 jog Saturday morning. “He was so full of himself,” the trainer said, “I could hardly get him back to the barn.” . . . Former top jockey Ray Sibille, winner of more than 4,000 career races, including the 1988 Breeders’ Cup Turf with Great Communicator, will present a trophy to the winning connections of today’s Unzip Me Stakes . . . Fans can meet and greet Santa Anita’s jockeys Sunday from 10:45 to 11:45 a.m. outside the jockeys’ room where riders will autograph full color posters of the colony free to those with paid admission, while supplies last . . . Santa Anita Handicap and Gold Cup winner Melatonin is set to work six furlongs Sunday as the son of Kodiak Kowboy owned by Tarabilla Farms prepares for the $6 million Breeders’ Cup Classic at Santa Anita on Nov. 5 under the guidance of trainer David Hofmans, who won the 1996 Classic with longshot Alphabet Soup . . . R Sunday Surprise, who ran last at 4-1 in Friday’s seventh race, is a full sister to 2014 Horse of the Year California Chrome. The two-year-old chestnut filly is by Lucky Pulpit out of Love the Chase and was bred by Perry Martin and Steve Coburn, who also bred California Chrome . . . Santa Anita presents another of its popular bargain days on Monday, Oct. 10, Columbus Day, when beers, hot dogs and sodas will be on sale for just a buck on Dollar Day . . . You “Auto” Know Better: Goseecal, a two-year-old filly that ran third in Friday’s seventh race, is trained by Vladimir Cerin for principal clients David and Holly Wilson, owners of several major Toyota dealerships in Southern California. Goseecal, as any veteran Southland resident should know, has been the long-time commercial catch phrase of rival Ford auto dealer Cal Worthington, who became a cult celebrity before he died in September of 2013. Goseecal was sired by Cowboy Cal.