- CALCULATOR HAS RIGHT NUMBERS FOR KONA GOLD
- FREE BACKPACKS AT SANTA ANITA PREAKNESS DAY
- FORMER RIDER AND VALET LUIS LEON ON THE MEND
- SIRCAT SALLY DRILLS, SONGBIRD WORKS THURSDAY
KONA GOLD COULD BE MILLER TIME WITH CALCULATOR
Peter Miller expects a return to familiar surroundings at Santa Anita in next Saturday’s
Grade II Kona Gold Stakes for three-year-olds and up at 6 ½ furlongs on dirt will result in a return to form for Calculator, a versatile Florida-bred who was “never involved” finishing 11th and last in the Grade I Maker’s 46 Mile on Keeneland’s turf course April 14.
“The turf course at Keeneland was real sandy, and he doesn’t like a sandy course,” said
Miller, who with two wins yesterday tied Phil D’Amato for second at 11 each, one behind Santa Anita leader Richard Baltas in the trainers’ standings.
“He didn’t like Belmont, either,” Miller said, referring to Calculator’s 10th-place finish by nearly 30 lengths in the Grade I Metropolitan Handicap on dirt last June. “He likes it firm underneath him, and he’s probably a little bit better on the dirt.
“He does like this track (two wins, a second and a third in four starts), and he’s doing good right now. He worked (six furlongs in one) 10 and two last week (May 10 at San Luis Rey Downs) and did it easy.”
Calculator, a five-year-old full horse bred in Florida by Ocala Stud, is a gray son of In Summation who has won at seven furlongs on the main track, sprinting on turf, and at a mile on dirt in the Grade III Sham Stakes as a three-year-old in January of 2015.
Perhaps his best effort came as a two-year-old when second by 3 ¼ lengths to eventual Triple Crown winner American Pharoah in the Grade I FrontRunner Stakes on Sept. 27, 2014.
Norberto Arroyo Jr., who rode Calculator to a head victory in an overnight race on Santa Anita’s downhill turf course at about 6 ½ furlongs March 2, is back aboard for the Kona Gold.
FREE BACKPACKS AT SANTA ANITA ON PREAKNESS DAY
Santa Anita will offer a free cooler backpack presented by San Manuel Indian Bingo & Casino on Preakness Day next Saturday, May 20, to Thoroughbred members only at Santa Anita while supplies last, one per paid admission.
Fans at Santa Anita can watch and wager on the second leg of the Triple Crown from the Preakness Trackside Event, or camp out in the Infield for the Californian Motorcycle Show.
Event admission is $10.
FORMER JOCKEY, LONGTIME VALET LOUIS LEON RECOVERING FROM STROKE
Popular former jockey and longtime jockey valet Luis Leon, 86, is back home at his 10-acre ranch near San Diego following a massive stroke he suffered on April 29, according to his son, David. “My dad got out of the hospital this past Monday and he’s recovering well,” David said on Saturday. “My mom and little brother are there to help him and he’s walking and talking. He remembers people and his walking is probably 80 to 90 percent of normal.
“He had a clot removed from his brain with a minimally invasive procedure, so he’s on the road to recovery and looking forward to trying to go to the races at Del Mar this summer.”
A Fresno, CA, native, Leon started working on the racetrack at age 17 in 1948 and worked for future Hall of Fame trainer Mesh Tenney and leading national money-winning owner/breeder Rex Ellsworth, riding stakes winners for them in the 1950s and early 60s. One of the most popular members of the Southern California racing community, Leon was known as “The Cheetah,” a nickname he picked up while employed by Tenney and Ellsworth.
Leon assisted a number of top riders prior to his retirement in 1995, including Eddie Delahoussaye, Chris McCarron, Martin Pedroza and Patrick Valenzuela.
FINISH LINES: Undefeated streaking stakes winner Sircat Sally worked four furlongs under Mike Smith Sunday in 49.20 for Jerry Hollendorfer, who has two-time champion Songbird scheduled to breeze Thursday for either the Grade I Beholder Mile at Santa Anita June 3 or the Grade I Ogden Phipps at Belmont Park June 10. Versatile Sircat Sally, winner of the Senorita Stakes last Saturday, could surface in either the Grade II Honeymoon Stakes for three-year-old fillies at 1 1/8 miles on turf June 17 or the $200,000 Melair Stakes for three-year-old fillies at 1 1/16 miles on dirt May 29 . . . Pee Wee Reese, named for the Brooklyn Dodgers’ Hall of Fame shortstop of yesteryear by his prominent owner/breeder Nick Alexander, worked five furlongs on Santa Anita’s training track Sunday in a bullet 1:00.60 for next Saturday’s $100,000 Crystal Water Stakes at a mile on turf for horses bred or sired in California, one in the Golden State Series. Phil D’Amato trains the four-year-old son of the late Tribal Rule. Alexander also owns and bred Nap Lajoie, 5-1 winner of Saturday’s first race under Flavien Prat for trainer Steve Miyadi. A three-year-old son of Into Mischief, the Cal-bred Nap Lajoie is named for the Hall of Fame second baseman of a century ago, who established an American League single-season batting average high of .426 for Connie Mack‘s Philadelphia Athletics in 1901 and compiled a lifetime average of .339 . . . The jockeys’ race is tighteningup. Currently suspended Rafael Bejarano leads runners-up Flavien Prat and Joe Talamo by two victories, 16-14, with Tyler Baze next in line at 10 . . . Moments Notiz, 2-1 morning line second choice in today’s fifth race, has 21 career victories, almost as many as his seven rivals combined (22) . . . There is a single ticket Pick Six Jackpot carryover today of $114,797.57.
|SANTA ANITA STATISTICS|
|(Current Through Saturday, May 13)|
|Norberto Arroyo, Jr.||44||7||6||8||16%||48%||$388,348|