- KEITH DESORMEAUX HAS FOUR READY FOR SATURDAY
- ARROGATE AND DREFONG DRILL FOR BREEDERS’ CUP
- GOODYEARFORROSES BREEZES FOR THE RODEO DRIVE
- CLASSIC CHOICE GUN RUNNER ARRIVES AT SANTA ANITA
- ‘VOICE OF SANTA ANITA’ WRONA RETURNS ON FRIDAY
- MEMORIAL SERVICES ARE MONDAY FOR PENNY CHENERY
- FREE PROMOTIONAL ITEM TO THOROUGHBREDS MEMBERS
KEITH DESORMEAUX HAS QUARTET FOR ‘WIN AND YOU’RE IN’ GOLD
Keith Desormeaux will be a busy man Saturday. The 50-year-old trainer plans to enter horses in four of the five Grade I, $300,000 “Win and You’re In” stakes at Santa Anita, none likely to be favored, but with Keith’s reputation as a giant killer, that’s not necessarily a precursor of defeat.
His marquee stakes upsets have included Texas Red at 13-1 in the $2 million Breeders’ Cup Juvenile at Santa Anita in 2014; Crucero, back in a week to win the 2015 San Juan Capistrano at 23-1; and the 2013 Risen Star, with stunner I’ve Struck a Nerve, who lit up the tote board at a $272.40 win payoff.
Desormeaux will enter Decked Out in Saturday’s Rodeo Drive Stakes; Ayacara in the FrontRunner; Dancing Belle in the Chandelier; and Motown Lady in the Zenyatta.
“Hopefully, Decked Out can improve in her second race this year,” Desormeaux said of the four-year-old Street Boss filly that was an eventful fifth in the Grade II John C. Mabee at Del Mar Sept. 2, her first race since Dec. 31, 2016, when she won the Grade I American Oaks by a nose at odds of 9-2.
“Her first race (fifth by five lengths while steadying near the eighth pole) wasn’t bad.”
Ayacara, a chestnut son by the Medaglia d’Oro sire Violence out of the Pulpit dam Pacifica Highway bred in Great Britain, broke his maiden on Aug. 25, winning by a nose at 7-1 going a mile on dirt.
“Ayacara broke his maiden impressively,” Desormeaux said. “He has some turf pedigree, so I’m wondering what surface he’ll be better on at the moment. I’m kind of conflicted about it, but we’ll keep him on the dirt for now.”
As for Dancing Belle, a maiden that was fourth by 7 ½ lengths behind Moonshine Memories in the Grade I Del Mar Debutante at seven furlongs Sept. 2, Desormeaux said, “I just hope she progresses a little going two turns. She’s been right in there running seconds (twice) and third (once in five starts).
“If two turns can help her, then we’ll be right there.”
As to Motown Lady, who was fourth behind champion Stellar Wind in the Grade I Clement L. Hirsch and third behind Shenandoah Queen in the restricted Tranquility Lake, Desormeaux recognizes she’ll have to step up.
“It’s a little tough for her,” he said, “but she’s pretty consistent and pays her way.”
In 17 career starts, the four-year-old daughter of Uncle Mo has a 3-1-4 record with earnings of $143,279.
ARROGATE, DREFONG WORK TOWARDS BREEDERS’ CUP
Arrogate and Drefong, two of a seemingly endless string of Grade I stakes winners in Bob Baffert’s barn, each worked on Santa Anita’s fast main track Tuesday morning for their expected Breeders’ Cup engagements on Nov. 4.
Arrogate, prepping for the Classic, went five furlongs under Rafael Bejarano in a bullet 59.40 in company with Uninvited (four furlongs in 48.40). Drefong, with Mike Smith aboard, went four furlongs in 48.20 for the Sprint, also on Nov. 4. Drefong worked in company with Show Me Da Lute who was clocked in 48.40.
“Arrogate went well, a nice, smooth work,” Baffert said of North America’s richest Thoroughbred with purse earnings of more than $17 million despite a two-race losing streak.
“I’m happy with him. As long he’s doing well, we’re looking at the Classic.”
Arrogate’s work was the fastest of 44 drills at the distance, the average time of which was 1:01.49.
Added Baffert on Breeders’ Cup Sprint champion Drefong: “He went easy, just a little maintenance drill.” Noted Smith: “He went really, really well.”
GOODYEARFORROSES IN SHARP DRILL FOR RODEO DRIVE
Trainer Richard Baltas declared Goodyearforroses at the ready for Saturday’s Grade I Rodeo Drive Stakes after the five-year-old Irish-bred mare worked four furlongs Monday in 47.60 under regular rider Corey Nakatani.
“She was just breezing,” Baltas said of the bay daughter of Azamour, winner of seven of her 18 career races, with earnings of $476,495. “Corey was real happy. I know there will be a few shippers, but if she runs her best race, hopefully she’ll win and we’ll go on to the Breeders’ Cup ($2 million Filly & Mare Turf on Nov. 4).”
CLASSIC CHOICE GUN RUNNER ON HAND AT SANTA ANITA
Gun Runner, who figures to vie for favoritism with Arrogate in the Breeders’ Cup Classic, landed 6:30 last night at Ontario Airport from where he was vanned to Santa Anita to start preparations for the $6 million Classic at Del Mar on Nov. 4.
“He shipped well (from the East Coast),” said Greg Otteson, Sales Manager for the Tex Sutton Forwarding Company, LLC, which transported Gun Runner for trainer Steve Asmussen, who has the horse bedded down in Barn 86.
‘VOICE OF SANTA ANITA’ WRONA POISED TO RETURN FRIDAY
Visual imagery aside, fans nationwide will clearly know Friday at 1 p.m. that Santa Anita is back in operation as they’ll hear the clarion call, “Racing!” signifying that live racing is not only back at The Great Race Place, but so is the “Voice of Santa Anita,” Michael Wrona.
A 51-year-old native of Brisbane, Australia, Wrona, who was named Santa Anita’s full-time announcer in March, 2016, has been quite busy since the conclusion of Santa Anita’s Spring Meet this past July.
“We had a great summer,” he said. “Kathy and I got married a year ago July in Lake Tahoe and we spent a week there, which was fantastic. After that, we headed over to Santa Rosa (Sonoma County Fair) and then I called the four-week meet at Golden Gate, which ended on Sept. 17. It was great seeing everyone again up north, but I can’t wait to get back into stride here on Friday. We’ve got some of the best horses in the world on the grounds and I’m really looking forward to calling the Eddie D coming down the hillside turf on Friday.”
An understudy of the legendary Australian announcer John Tapp, Wrona made his American racing debut at the tender age of 24 in 1990 at Hollywood Park and then took a circuitous route to full-time employment at Santa Anita, as he toiled for periods of time at tracks in Chicago, Texas, Louisiana, the eastern seaboard and the San Francisco Bay Area over a period of 26 years.
“This will be my second Autumn Meet assignment and I really can’t express how grateful I am to be in this position,” he said. “To be working at the most beautiful track in America and calling races with the best jockeys and the best horses, is beyond a dream come true. Here’s hoping everyone stays healthy and we have a great meet. I’ve been out at Clockers’ Corner over the past week and you can feel the anticipation. It’s exciting.”
First post time for a nine-race card on Friday is 1 p.m. Santa Anita will present a blockbuster 11-race program on Saturday, highlighted by five Grade I, Breeders’ Cup “Win and You’re In” Challenge Races. First post time on all weekends is 12:30 p.m.
For more information on Santa Anita’s 19-day Autumn Meet, please visit santaanita.com or call (626) 574-RACE.
MEMORIAL SERVICES ANNOUNCED FOR PENNY CHENERY
The Tweedy family has announced that a public celebration of Helen “Penny” Chenery’s life will be held at 1:30 p.m. on Monday, Oct. 9, at the Keeneland Sales Pavilion in Lexington, Ky., where friends of the late “First Lady of Thoroughbred Racing” will reminisce and honor her contributions to the sport. All are invited to attend.
Scheduled speakers include Mrs. Chenery’s daughter Kate Tweedy, as well as other family, friends, and racing luminaries.
“One of Mom’s great passions was to strengthen the sport of Thoroughbred racing,” Tweedy said. “It is only fitting that we would remember her by going to beautiful Keeneland, where Riva Ridge set the stage for Meadow Stable’s Triple Crown hopes when he won the 1972 Blue Grass Stakes.”
Mrs. Chenery managed Meadow Stable after her father, Christopher Chenery, became ill, and she oversaw the racing careers of both Riva Ridge, winner of the 1972 Kentucky Derby and Belmont Stakes, and 1973 Triple Crown winner Secretariat. A well-loved figure in her own right, Mrs. Chenery was a champion of Thoroughbreds and women in business and sports. She died on her father’s birthday, Sept.16, at her Colorado home. She was 95.
In lieu of flowers, the Secretariat Foundation is offering special Penny Chenery Memorial fundraising projects on behalf of selected equine-related charities. For details, visit Secretariat.com.
PROMOTIONAL ITEM FREE TO SANTA ANITA ‘THOROUGHBREDS’ MEMBERS
In addition to a world class racing menu that will include five Grade I Breeders’ Cup “Win & You’re In” Challenge stakes, Santa Anita will for the first time offer fans a free Santa Anita Windshield Sunshade this Saturday, Sept. 30, day two of the track’s 2017 Autumn Meet.
This one-of-a-kind item, which features a full-color image of fillies and mares (including four-time Eclipse Champion Beholder) breaking from the starting gate in the 2015, Grade I Zenyatta Stakes, will be available to Santa Anita THOROUGHBREDS Club members, free with paid admission.
Fans are encouraged to register to become a THOROUGHBREDS Club member in person free of charge at Santa Anita at any THOROUGHBREDS Center located throughout the facility.
In addition to the Windshield Sunshade giveaway, Santa Anita will also stage a two-day Trackside Oktoberfest, on Sept. 30 and Sunday, Oct. 1. To purchase tickets, visit http://www.santaanita.com/events/oktoberfest/ .
Additionally, Santa Anita will also be offering an upscale Chandelier Room Party that includes gourmet faire, cocktails, fine wines (including a wine tasting that embraces nine different red and whites), live entertainment and more on Sept. 30.
Steeped in tradition with a glamorous, modern appeal, the legendary Chandelier Room has attracted Hollywood’s elite and the stars of Thoroughbred racing dating back to the 1930s.
To purchase tickets for the Chandelier Room Party, fans are encouraged to visit http://www.santaanita.com/events/chandelier-room-party/.
Opening weekend promotions and amenities, including Santa Anita’s Infield Family Fun Zone, Forty Dollar Handicapping Contest, Bud Light Lounge, Turf Terrace, FrontRunner dining packages and more are available at santaanita.com, or by calling (626) 574-RACE.
FINISH LINES: Recent stakes winner Terra’s Angel, prepping for the Grade I Chandelier Stakes on Saturday, worked four furlongs Tuesday under regular rider Sasha Risenhoover for trainer Dallas Keen in 51.80 . . . Also working Tuesday for Bob Baffert were Awesome Again nominee Mubtaahij (five furlongs in a minute flat) and multiple graded stakes winner Hoppertunity, who went the same distance in the same time. Additionally, Baffert supervised a five furlong move Monday for Pacific Classic winner Collected in a minute flat, while stablemate American Anthem went the same distance in a bullet 59 flat, fastest of 68 drills at the distance . . . Multiple graded stakes winner Kobe’s Back, nominated to the Eddie D Stakes on grass and the Grade I Santa Anita Sprint Championship Oct. 7, will pass both races for the $70,000 Comma to the Top Stakes on Oct. 28, trainer Peter Eurton said. Formerly run as the Big Bear Stakes, the Comma to the Top is for three-year-olds and up at one mile . . . Victor Espinoza, on hand at Clockers’ Corner Tuesday morning, took time to express his gratitude for those who voted him into racing’s Hall of Fame, where he attended induction ceremonies in Saratoga Springs, N.Y., on Aug. 4. “I took a little time off for that, rode at Del Mar, and now I’m back in action at Santa Anita,” said Espinoza, who is looking forward to riding champion Stellar Wind in the Breeders’ Cup Distaff on Nov. 3 . . . Last year’s Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Filly champion Champagne Room arrived back at Santa Anita Tuesday morning from her authoritative 3 ¾-length victory under Mario Gutierrez in Sunday’s Remington Park Oaks. Trainer Peter Eurton said the $2 million Breeders’ Cup Distaff would be considered for the bay filly’s next race . . . Caesar Dominguez, who aborted his training career last Jan. 1 to become an agent, is back training full time with four head . . . Retired Los Angeles Times racing reporter Bill Christine will be on hand Saturday to sign his new book entitled “Bill Hartack–The Bittersweet Life of a Hall of Fame Jockey.” Published by McFarland and available at Barnes & Noble, Christine’s book chronicles the life of the legendary Hartack, who along with Eddie Arcaro, won a record five Kentucky Derbies throughout his meteoric career. Christine will greet well wishers and sign copies of the book Saturday beginning at 10:30 a.m. outside Champions! Gifts & Apparel.