- BETTYS BAMBINO EYES HIS SIXTH STRAIGHT VICTORY
- BAFFLE STAKES HEADLINES PRESIDENTS’ DAY PROGRAM
- BAZE JOINS JOCKEYS CHARITY GAME ON THURSDAY
- POPULAR HORN BLOWER JAY COHEN BACK ON THE BEAT
- IT’S DOLLAR DAY TOMORROW, FIRST POST IS AT 12 NOON
STREAKING BETTYS BAMBINO SEEKS SENSATIONAL STAR REPEAT
Streaking Bettys Bambino guns for his sixth straight victory and his fourth straight
stakes win when the son of Unusual Heat runs in next Saturday’s $100,000 Sensational Star Stakes for California-bred or sired horses.
The seven-year-old gelding, with seven wins in an abbreviated career of 11 races, holds the remarkable record of having started only once in each of the past two years, each a stakes victory. In his last three races, on Dec. 28, 2014, Feb. 21, 2015 and Dec. 26, 2016, he won the Grade III Daytona Stakes, the Sensational Star Stakes and the Grade III San Simeon Stakes, all over Santa Anita’s unique downhill turf course at about 6 ½ furlongs.
This year’s edition of the Sensational Star, part of the popular and lucrative Golden State Series, also will be decided at about 6 ½ furlongs on turf.
“He can just flat out run,” trainer Peter Eurton said succinctly in explaining the reason for the gelding’s success.
Joel Rosario rode Bettys Bambino last out, but Eurton has Corey Nakatani booked for the Sensational Star. “He’s ridden him twice before (two thirds at Del Mar in 2014) and he’s worked him several times,” the trainer pointed out.
Bettys Bambino has overcome relatively minor ailments that limited him to only 11 starts in a span of four years, among them tibia and joint issues.
But with seven wins and three thirds, he has earned $378,036 for owners Sharon Alesia, Michael Mellen (Brand Jam Stable) and Joseph Ciaglia.
Also ticketed for the Sensational Star are Ambitious Brew with Mike Smith and Forest Chatter under Flavien Prat.
Eurton, with seven wins from 35 starts at the Winter Meet, has other upcoming stakes in view for his stable, which has earned $388,879 through Saturday’s races.
Kobe’s Back is ticketed for the Grade I Triple Bend Stakes on March 11; Ashleyluvssugar for the Grade II San Luis Rey Stakes at 1 ½ miles on turf March 25; and Eclipse Award champion two-year-old female Champagne Room for the $75,000 China Doll Stakes at a mile on turf March 11.
“We want to give her a taste of grass,” Eurton said of Champagne Room, who captured the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies at Santa Anita Nov. 4 going a mile and a sixteenth on dirt, enough to sway any wavering Eclipse Award voters to come on board for divisional honors.
TRAINER HAS ‘WRIGHT’ STUFF FOR BAFFLE
Bay Area-based trainer Blaine Wright has two horses entered in Monday’s Presidents’ Day feature at Santa Anita, the $75,000 Baffle Stakes scheduled for about 6 ½ furlongs on turf.
They are Anyportinastorm, an impressive maiden allowance winner at Golden Gate Fields on Jan. 21, and Bay Muzik, also an impressive maiden allowance winner in his solo outing last August at Golden Gate.
The Baffle goes as the 10th of 11 races with a first post time of 12 noon: Tipo Duro, Corey Nakatani, 9-2; Rockin Rudy, Mario Gutierrez, 5-2; Elwood J, Flavien Prat, 6-1; Souter, Kent Desormeaux, 8-1; Conquest Farenheit, Norberto Arroyo Jr., 2-1; Bay Muzik, Stewart Elliott, 6-1; and Anyportinastorm, Tyler Baze, 4-1.
SANTA ANITA VS. HOLY ANGELS CHARITY GAME FEB. 23.
Tyler Baze found his calling as a jockey, but he did have “a cup of coffee” as a basketball player more than two decades ago.
Whether it will stand him in good stead Thursday night when Santa Anita’s jockeys play Holy Angels School in their annual charity game remains to be seen, but there’s no doubt his participation will be for a worthy cause.
“It’s good for all the charities involved,” said the 34-year-old Baze, second in Santa Anita’s standings with 28 wins through Saturday, seven behind front runner Flavien Prat. “I played on a team in the fourth and fifth grades, but when I got in the sixth grade, they said I was too short to play.”
The 50th annual Santa Anita Jockeys vs. Holy Angels Elementary School game will be
played at La Salle High School in Pasadena, with proceeds to benefit the Permanently Disabled Jockeys Fund (PDJF), Holy Angels athletic program and the Eye on Jacob Foundation.
Given the historic nature of the game, individual jockey sponsors, representing a wide array of racing industry stakeholders, will lend financial support to this worthy cause. Tip off is scheduled for 7:15 p.m., with admission doors opening at 6:15 p.m.
Hall of Fame jockeys Kent Desormeaux, Laffit Pincay, Jr., Mike Smith, Alex Solis and Gary Stevens will be available for an autograph session at 6:30 p.m. TVG’s Kurt Hoover will be back for his 16th consecutive season as Jockeys’ Coach. Tickets are $5 per person, and for every two tickets purchased, individuals receive one free admission ticket to Santa Anita.
HORNBLOWER JAY COHEN BACK ON THE BEAT
Jay Cohen was a welcome and familiar sight at Santa Anita Saturday after being absent since Dec. 27 of last year battling a painful and persistent case of shingles.
“It was the most relentless pain I ever experienced,” said the popular horn blower, a fixture at Santa Anita beckoning horses to the post for 30 years.
“I was here opening day (Dec. 26), and yesterday was my first day since then (a span of seven weeks). Needless to say, I’m delighted to be back.”
A New Jersey native, the 60-year-old Cohen has ingratiated himself with fans and horsemen alike through the years, fulfilling requests in his extensive repertoire from A to Z.
MARDI GRAS AT SANTA ANITA PARK
The bayou comes to Santa Anita Park on Saturday, Feb. 25 for the first-ever Mardi Gras Trackside celebration. Join in on the festivities a few days early and let the good times roll. The all-inclusive $28 package includes: authentic Cajun fare courtesy of “Ragin’ Cajun on Wheels” (your choice of ½ shrimp or ½ catfish Po’ Boy sandwich with choice of side, or a combo plate comprised of red beans and rice with smoked sausage and Gumbolaya, (a Ragin Cajun on Wheels specialty), live music, loads of Mardi Gras-inspired decorations, one 12 oz. craft beer, Club House admission, racing program, tip sheet and trackside seating.
For more info and to purchase your ticket visit: http://www.santaanita.com/events/mardi-gras-at-santa-anita-park/
Upcoming Trackside events at the Winter Meet: Feb. 25, Mardi Gras Celebration; March 18, Big ‘Cap Beer & Cider Festival; March 18, St. Patrick’s Day; April 8, Santa Anita Derby Day Extravaganza; May 6, Kentucky Derby Day Celebration; May 13, Tacos y Cervezas; May 20, Preakness Party; May 27, Gold Cup Beer & Sour Festival; and May 27, Belmont Day.
FINISH LINES: Santa Anita offers Dollar Day tomorrow Presidents’ Day. Enjoy draft beer, soda and hot dogs for just a buck. First post time for the 11-race program is 12 noon. Admission gates open at 10 a.m. Santa Anita will be dark for live racing Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. Live racing will resume Friday, Feb. 24 at 1 p.m. . . . There is a single ticket Pick Six carryover of $23,345.87 into Sunday . . .Congrats to 18-year-old apprentice and Puerto Rican native Evin Roman on winning his first race in the Continental United States when he piloted Sly Humor to a 6 ¼-length victory for Jerry Hollendorfer in Saturday’s first race . . . There was a Peter Miller exacta in Saturday’s third race worth $74.60 when Annie’s Candy and Stormy Rocit finished one-two for the trainer, but Bob Baffert trumped that with a cold trifecta in the fourth race when he sent out Bronze Age to win, West Coast to finish second, and Glacier to run third, good for a $145.80 return . . . Trainer Ian Kruljac has two races in mind for Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Sprint winner and Eclipse champion in that category Finest City, the Triple Bend at seven furlongs against males on March 11 or the Grade I Santa Margarita Stakes at 1 1/8 miles against her own sex on March 18 . . . Agent Tom Knust has Mario Gutierrez booked on stakes engagements next weekend, Saturday at the Fair Grounds and Sunday at Sunland Park in New Mexico, while agent J.R. Pegram has Hall of Fame member Kent Desormeaux at the Fair Grounds Saturday to ride Dalmore, Majestic Quality and Sorry Erik in stakes for his brother, trainer John Keith Desormeaux. All three horses were among the 26 recorded works on Santa Anita’s “fast” main track Sunday, each going five furlongs, Dalmore in 59.80, Majestic Quality in a bullet 59.60 and Sorry Erik in 1:00.40 . . . All THOROUGHBREDS members at Santa Anita on Big ‘Cap Day, March 11, will receive a free Santa Anita umbrella with paid admission while supplies last. There will be a $1 million guaranteed Late Pick 4 and a $100,000 guaranteed Pick 6. First post time will be 12 noon, with admission gates opening at 10 a.m. . . .Royal Albert Hall, conditioned by Doug O’Neill, will be the first American-trained Thoroughbred to race in Qatar. He is entered in the $1 million Emir’s Trophy at 1 ½ miles on turf Feb. 25. Royal Albert Hall left California this past Thursday and settled in nicely after arriving in Doha, Qatar on Friday
|SANTA ANITA STATISTICS|
|(Current Through Saturday, Feb. 18)|
|Norberto Arroyo, Jr.||67||10||5||4||15%||28%||$507,790|
|J. Keith Desormeaux||30||7||2||5||23%||47%||$434,570|