- PROCTOR SENDS OUT PAIR IN GRADE II MONROVIA
- NAKATANI ON THE MARK WITH CASSE IN SAN GABRIEL
- SANTA ANITA WORKERS HAVE TO WARM TO THEIR TASK
- UNUSUAL HEAT STILL A HOT STUD AS HE TURNS 25
GLEN HILL FARM HAS TWO FOR THE MONEY IN MONROVIA
Should anyone ask if there’s a Proctor in the house for Sunday’s Monrovia Stakes, the answer is not only yes, but yes, yes.
Trainer Tom Proctor will enter a pair in the Grade II race at about 6 ½ furlongs on turf for older fillies and mares that offers $200,000 in purse money, Biorhythm and Wishing Gate.
Biorhythm is a specialist on the unique downhill layout, with two wins and a second in four starts over it. Wishing Gate will be making her debut on the course. The 5-year-old daughter of Indian Charlie has not raced at less than one mile in her last 15 starts.
Her only sprint came in her debut, a five furlong dash on Arlington Park’s synthetic surface in July of 2012.
“I just thought I’d see if this race would fit her well,” Proctor said. “She’s got a little speed and wants to be somewhat rank early in races, and I thought I’d let her run down the hill before a race in the book going a mile about three weeks later, so it ought to be perfect.”
Biorhythm, a 5-year-old daughter of Malibu Moon, was third after a slow start going five furlongs on Del Mar’s turf course Nov. 21. She has been on the lead at some point in eight of her 12 career races, but not last out, when she rallied from her tardy beginning.
“I think we’ll try to rate her this time,” Proctor said.
Each horse is owned by long-time Proctor client Leonard Lavin, who races as Glen Hill Farm.
MILLIONAIRE STATUS AWAITS DYNAMIC SKY IN SAN GABRIEL
Corey Nakatani hopes to continue his successful run with Mark Casse when he rides Dynamic Sky in Saturday’s Grade II San Gabriel Stakes for the trainer who has a high-powered string of 28 head based at Santa Anita this meet.
“He may not be in the Hall of Fame yet, but he’s definitely on his way,” Nakatani said. “He’s a future Hall of Famer in my eyes. He does a great job with his horses, he’s always buying new ones and he’s got the right clients behind him.”
One is John Oxley, owner of Dynamic Sky, who turns five tomorrow. The Canadian-bred son of Sky Mesa won the Grade III Red Smith Handicap at 1 3/8 miles over a yielding turf course at Aqueduct Nov. 15.
The San Gabriel, for 4-year-olds and up at 1 1/8 miles on the grass, offers $200,000 in purse money, with the winner getting $120,000.
Dynamic Sky has raced once at Santa Anita, finishing sixth in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile on the main track in 2012. Overall, he has a 5-4-5 record from 20 starts, and with a victory Saturday, would surpass $1 million in earnings, which now stand at $938,797.
The field for the San Gabriel: Edge of Reality, Flavian Part; Big Bane Theory, Joe Talamo; Dynamic Sky, Corey Nakatani; Patrioticandproud, Drayden Van Dyke; Persuasive Paul, Elvis Trujillo; Finnegans Wake, Victor Espinoza; Power Ped, Tyler Baze; Skyring, Kieren Fallon; and Tom’s Tribute, Mike Smith.
CLIMATE CURTAILS WORKOUTS AT SANTA ANITA
Only 26 workouts were recorded on Santa Anita’s main track Wednesday morning due to Tuesday rain and a subsequent sealing of the surface.
Even though the sun was out, temperatures flirting with the freezing mark and a biting wind didn’t provide a fit clime for man or beast.
How windy was it? “It was so windy,” one race tracker said, “It was the first time I ever spit in my own eye.”
Five of the workers were trained by Richard Baltas. There was one recorded drill on the dirt training track, that by Wildling, who went six furlongs in 1:14 for A.C. Avila.
UNUSUAL HEAT STILL AT STUD AS HE TURNS 25
Every Thoroughbred turns a year older on Jan. 1, including Unusual Heat, still going strong as a stallion at 25.
“Jan. 1 is his actual birth date,” said Harris Auerbach, Managing Partner of the syndicate for Unusual Heat, who stands at Harris Farm in Coalinga for $20,000. “He was born on Jan. 1, 1990. We’re limiting him to 35 or 40 mares next year and most of his book is already full.”
Recently retired downhill turf course specialist Lakerville, a son of Unusual Heat, also stands at Harris Farm for no fee.
“We want to give breeders a chance get in on the ground floor and see how Lakerville does and also thank those who supported Unusual Heat through the years,” Auerbach said in explaining the complimentary service.
“We did the same thing with Unusual Heat the first three years. Hopefully, the results will be the same.” (Grade II winner Gervinho, owned by Santa Anita Park Chairman Keith Brackpool and a full brother to Lakerville, will also be standing his first season at stud at Tommy Town Thoroughbreds in the Santa Ynez Valley).
FINISH LINES: Turf mile specialist and multiple Grade I stakes winner Obviously is enjoying his usual vacation after his third start in the Breeders’ Cup Mile last Nov. 1. “We always give him like three months off after his Breeders’ Cup race,” trainer Phil D’Amato said of the speedy Irish-bred gelding, who turns seven tomorrow. “We point him to the middle of the year with the Breeders’ Cup (Mile) our goal again. He’s doing great. I looked at him the other day at Bonnie Acres Farm in Hemet and he was the only horse that was all dappled out.” D’Amato is but one of a vast majority of trainers enthralled with the work track superintendent Dennis Moore and his staff does in keeping the main track in optimum condition. “He does such a good job,” D’Amato said . . . Santa Anita offers its heartfelt condolences to the family and friends of Jackie Farrow, who lost her battle to cancer on Dec. 19. “In nearly 30 years at Santa Anita, Jackie touched all of our lives and will be greatly missed,” said Gina Lavo, Santa Anita’s Vice-President, Finance . . . A memorial service will be held in Del Mar’s Directors’ Room on Tuesday, Jan. 27, from 2 to 5 p.m., for Dr. Jack Robbins, founder of the Oak Tree Racing Association and a pioneer and leader in veterinary medicine for nearly 70 years, who died at 93 on Nov. 29 . . . “O” what a trifecta: Harlington’s Rose ($37.60), Tribal Gal and Doinghardtimeagain, the first three finishers in Sunday’s Kalookan Queen Stakes, were ridden by the only three jockeys in the race whose last names end in the letter O–Joe Talamo, Rafael Bejarano, and Elvis Trujillo. The “O” trifecta paid $339 . . . The “O’s” struck again in the ninth race, when Verraco ($49.20, Trujillo; Sunbeamsfromheaven, Bejarano; and A Colt Following, Edwin Maldonado, combined for a trifecta payoff of $2,119.40. The longshots triggered a Pick Six carryover into Wednesday of $95,175 . . . Clocker Toby Turrell‘s Winners Card had trainer Steve Knapp‘s Harlington’s Rose on top at 17-1 in the Kalookan Queen . . . With the year coming to a close, four of the top 10 jockeys in purse earnings were based at Santa Anita: Mike Smith (sixth, $14,493,493); Victor Espinoza (seventh, $12,102,245); Rafael Bejarano (eighth, $11,688,957); and Martin Garcia (10th, $10,850,460). Bob Baffert ($14,400,599) and Jerry Hollendorfer ($12,788,158) were third and fourth, respectively, among trainers.