- LIGHTSTREAM COULD SHINE IN GRADE I LA BREA
- BC SPRINT KING DREFONG LIKELY FOR MALIBU
- FREE WALL CALENDAR OF PLENTY OPENING DAY
- AIMEE DOLLASE IS AN ‘ASSISTANT IN MOTION’
- WORKERS KEEP SANTA ANITA CLOCKERS BUSY
LIGHTSTREAM HAS (LITTLE RED) FEATHER IN HER CAP FOR LA BREA
Lightstream, winner of the Grade II Raven Run at Keeneland on Oct. 22, will have
additional ownership representation when she runs in the Grade I La Brea Stakes for three-year-old fillies on opening day next Monday, Dec. 26.
Little Red Feather Racing, a major player in California, purchased a share of the daughter of Harlan’s Holiday after she captured the Raven Run under Julien Leparoux, who is unbeaten in three starts on the bay Kentucky-bred.
“We bought a minority interest after the Raven Run,” said Little Red Feather founder and managing partner Billy Koch, 47. “(Existing owners) Up Hill Stable and Head of Plains Partners LLC were generous enough to let us come in for a minority share and we’re excited about the filly.
“She’s training awesome for Brian Lynch at Palm Meadows in Florida and she arrives at Santa Anita this week. We’re excited about the prospects of running in the La Brea.
“I think she will definitely be one of the favorites, if not the favorite. She just needs a good trip. Julien will ride and he knows her very well. I don’t know exactly who’s going in the race but it looks like there’s a lot of speed so it could set up nicely for her.”
A deep closer, Lightstream has run four races at seven furlongs in her six-race career, winning three including the Raven Run and the Grade III Beaumont, both at Keeneland. She was second in the Grade I Test Stakes at seven furlongs at Saratoga last August, beaten less than a length.
Koch, the grandson of famed Hollywood producer and director Howard Koch, has been syndicating horses since 1991 and formed Little Red Feather in 2002.
DREFONG HEADS MALIBU NOMINATIONS
Headed by Breeders’ Cup Sprint winner Drefong, Santa Anita’s prestigious Grade I, seven furlong Malibu, to be run on opening day, has attracted a star-studded roster of 22 three-year-old nominations, with entries to be taken for the Malibu and three other graded stakes on Wednesday.
Trained by Bob Baffert and owned by Baoma Corp., Drefong, who also won the Grade I, seven furlong Kings Bishop Stakes at Saratoga Aug. 27, has five wins from six starts and is a leading candidate to be voted America’s Eclipse champion sprinter of 2016.
Drefong is likely to be joined in the starting gate by Mind Your Biscuits, who finished a close third in the Breeders’ Cup Sprint on Nov. 5 and has remained in training at his Belmont Park base for trainer Robert Falcone, Jr.
Trainer Mark Casse’s multiple stakes-winning Awesome Banner, who has been based at Palm Meadows in south Florida, is also probable for the 65th running of the Malibu, won last year by eventual Eclipse Sprint champ Runhappy.
Also prominent among Malibu nominees is Baffert’s Mor Spirit, absent since he was well-beaten in the Kentucky Derby May 7. Owned by Michael Lund Peterson, he was winner of the Grade I Los Alamitos CashCall Futurity at two and the Grade III Robert B. Lewis Stakes at Santa Anita on Feb. 6. He was subsequently second in both the Grade II San Felipe Stakes March 12 and the Grade I Santa Anita Derby April 9.
Although Breeders’ Cup Classic winning Arrogate is also among five horses nominated by Baffert, the grey son of Unbridled’s Song is expected to run instead in the Grade II San Pasqual Stakes at 1 1/16 miles on Jan. 1, as he points to a rematch with California Chrome in the inaugural $12 million Pegasus World Cup Invitational at Gulfstream Park Jan. 28.
In addition to the Malibu, three other opening day stakes closed Friday; the Grade I, $300,000 La Brea, for 3-year old fillies at seven furlongs, the Grade II, $200,000 Mathis Brothers Mile (turf) for 3-year-olds, and the Grade III, $100,000 San Simeon, for 3-year-olds and up at about 6 ½ furlongs down Santa Anita’s hillside turf course.
Santa Anita presents a nine-race card on opening day, with special early first post time at 12 noon. Admission gates open at 10 a.m. and fans will receive Santa Anita’s popular 2017 wall calendar free, with paid admission.
Courtesy of Mathis Brothers Furniture, the first 5,000 kids 12 and under will receive a plush Thoroughbred toy and all paid attendees will receive a Mathis Brothers gift certificate.
For more information on opening day events and racing at Santa Anita, please visit santaanita.com, or call (626) 574-RACE.
SANTA ANITA OFFERS POPULAR WALL CALENDAR AND MUCH MORE OPENING DAY
In addition to four graded stakes, Santa Anita will treat fans to its popular 2017 wall calendar and much more with the beginning of its traditional Winter Meet next Monday.
A fan favorite for decades, the Santa Anita 2017 wall calendar will be given free of charge to all attendees with paid admission.
The 2017 calendar is not only bucolic and picturesque, but contains information on Thoroughbreds so profound even a hard-core race tracker can learn something new.
Themed “Anatomy of a Champion,” the calendar contains a veterinarian’s glossary in layman’s terms.
In short, it’s a keeper!
First post time Monday is 12 noon; admission gates open at 10 a.m.
Here’s a schedule of opening day events:
–Grade I, $300,000 Malibu Stakes for 3-year-olds at seven furlongs.
–Grade I, $300,000 La Brea Stakes for 3-year-old fillies at seven furlongs
–Grade II, $200,000 Mathis Brothers Mile (turf) for 3-year-olds
–Grade III, $100,000 San Simeon Stakes for 3-year-olds and up, at 6 ½ furlongs down hillside turf
–Free 2017 Santa Anita Wall Calendar
–Free Mathis Brothers plush Thoroughbred toy to first 5,000 kids 12 and under
–A Mathis Brothers Gift Certificate, free with paid admission
–Craft Beer and Cider Festival on Grandstand Apron (packages available at santaanita.com/events)
–Guest Chef Series in the Chandelier Room featuring a catered menu from one of LA’s hottest restaurants, delicious whiskey tastings, live music and more, visit santaanita.com/events for details
–Infield Family Fun Zone featuring pony rides and much more, visit santaanita.com/events
–Bud Light Lounge, all you can eat buffet, first beer included, racing program and more, visit santaanita.com/events
Entries for opening day races will be taken this Wednesday, Dec. 21. For more racing and event information, please visit santaanita.com or call (626) 574-RACE.
AIMEE DOLLASE AIDS MOTION AT SANTA ANITA
Aimee Dollase, daughter of the late multiple Grade I-winning trainer Wally Dollase and sister of trainers Craig and Michelle, is on hand at Santa Anita with 15 horses as an assistant for internationally accomplished horseman Graham Motion.
“I started with Graham about a week before the Keeneland meet started (opening day was Oct. 7),” Aimee said. “We have close to 12 stalls here and a lot of nice stakes horses. Graham and his wife (Anita) are great people. The whole operation is first class.
“Racing is in my blood, it’s my passion, so it’s great to have the opportunity to work for an outfit like Graham’s.”
FINISH LINES: Santa Anita clockers had their stopwatches working overtime Sunday and Monday, with a total of 476 recorded workouts, 262 Monday and 214 Sunday . . . Santa Anita Handicap and Gold Cup winner Melatonin is being pointed to the Grade II, $300,000 San Antonio Stakes at 1 1/8 miles Feb. 4, trainer David Hofmans said, while Breeders’ Cup Sprint runner-up Masochistic is ticketed for the Grade III Midnight Lute at 6 ½ furlongs Dec. 31, according to trainer Ron Ellis . . . FrontRunner winner Gormley is set to make his three-year-old debut in the Grade III Sham Stakes at one mile on Jan. 7, according to John Shirreffs. . . Drayden Van Dyke “is very happy” with how things are going under new agent Brad Pegram. “Riding for (trainer) Graham Motion is a plus, and I’m very fortunate to have people like him behind me,” Van Dyke said . . . Agent Craig Stephen, who developed Santiago Gonzalez into an “overnight sensation,” now represents veteran Stewart Elliott, while Vic Lipton has brought in 25-year-old Edgar Velasco, a 10-pound apprentice who has been riding at Sam Houston Park in Texas . . . Former jockey Carlos Arias, while still owner of Arias Whips, has become a first-time agent, representing Kayla Stra . . . Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint runner-up by a nose Om is scheduled to return from a three-week break at Oakmont in Murrieta to prepare for the Grade II Arcadia Stakes at a mile on grass Feb. 11, trainer Dan Hendricks said . . . Hostess with the Mostess Rosie Ybarra is in her 38th year serving bagels and banter at Clockers’ Corner. “When I first arrived, I expected to be here one day,” said Rosie, who is one year shy in seniority behind Isabel Estrada, who works at Club House stand 33 in the Lanai Room.