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STABLE NOTES BY ED GOLDEN
• JIM CASSIDY AND THE SUNSHINE MILLIONS ON SATURDAY
• THE FACTOR POINTS TO SAN VICENTE STAKES ON FEB. 20
• MARTIN GARCIA RESUMES RIDING TODAY
THE USUAL Q.T., EVENING JEWEL SET FOR SUNSHINE MILLIONS
Trainer Jim Cassidy would appear to have a powerful one-two punch at the ready this Saturday, as he’ll be saddling a pair of Grade I stakes winners in the ninth annual Sunshine Millions, a series of races that pits California-bred horses versus those bred in Florida.
Cassidy will send out The Usual Q.T. in the $300,000 Turf at 1 1/8 miles, and Evening Jewel in the $300,000 Distaff at 1 1/16 miles on the main track.
Santa Anita and Gulfstream will each host three Sunshine Millions races, worth $1.8 million in purse money.
Santa Anita will host the $200,000 Sprint at six furlongs; the $300,000 Distaff at 1 1/16 miles; and the $300,000 Turf at 1 1/8 miles. Gulfstream presents the $200,000 Filly & Mare Sprint at six furlongs; the $300,000 Filly & Mare Turf at 1 1/8 miles; and the $500,000 Classic at 1 1/8 miles.
The Usual Q.T. and Evening Jewel, each a millionaire, will try to get back on the winning track Saturday after disappointing losses in their last starts.
“Evening Jewel just needed the race,” Cassidy said in explaining the 4-year-old California-bred filly’s fifth-place finish in the Grade III Monrovia Stakes on Jan. 2. “That’s just the way I look at it. She hadn’t recovered from the Breeders’ Cup (third in the Filly & Mare Sprint last Nov. 5), and we gave her a lot more time between works than we had in the past.”
Evening Jewel, a versatile daughter of Northern Afleet, has six career wins from 15 starts, three on turf and three on synthetic.
“The Usual Q.T. is another one who needed the race,” Cassidy said. The 5-year-old Unusual Heat gelding was third as the 7-10 choice in the Grade II San Gabriel Stakes Dec. 27. It was his first start since finishing third to champion Goldikova in the Breeders’ Cup Turf seven weeks earlier.
Victor Espinoza rides both horses for Cassidy. The 38-year-old jockey has ridden Evening Jewel in her last six races, The Usual Q.T. in his last 11. Obviously, he knows them well.
“They’re both easy to ride,” Espinoza said. “When they’re feeling good, they give you everything they can. Jim knows how to train them and he’ll have them ready for their best performance. That makes my job easier and gives me more confidence.”
TIM CONWAY JR. AT GOURMET FOOD FESTIVAL SATURDAY
Tim Conway Jr., host of the popular Tim Conway Jr. Show, heard weeknights, 7 to 10 p.m., on KFI, AM 640, will be at the first-ever Gourmet Food Truck Festival on Sunshine Millions Day Saturday in the East Infield. Conway will be on hand to assist his high-profile board operator at KFI, Randy Wang, as Wang will be hosting a live internet podcast throughout the afternoon.
Conway, who previously worked at 97.1 FM, has been at KFI for over a year now and is generating the highest ratings of any show the station has ever run in that time slot. Irreverent, bold and impulsive, Conway is a lifelong devotee of Thoroughbred racing, as his father, famous comedian Tim Sr., began taking the younger Conway to the races at a very young age.
It is expected that Conway will offer his handicapping prognostications on the 10-race program—for better or worse!!
Wang and Conway can be heard on Saturday at www.prettygoodpodcast.com
Admission to the Food Truck Festival is $5, in addition to regular admission. Food charges are also separate and will vary according to the vendor.
First post time on Saturday’s 10-race card is 12 noon.
THE FACTOR UNDER CONSIDERATION FOR SAN VICENTE STAKES FEB. 20
Triple Crown hopeful The Factor, who broke his maiden while setting a track record of 1:06.98 for six furlongs on opening day and who worked a blistering :58 seconds flat for five furlongs on Jan. 9, likely will make his next start in the Grade II San Vicente Stakes at seven furlongs on Feb. 20, Bob Baffert said Thursday morning.
Although The Factor has not had a recorded workout since Jan. 9, Baffert said the son of War Front is healthy and has been galloping. “He didn’t need a breeze,” said the Hall of Fame trainer, who is the meet’s conditioning leader through Sunday with 19 victories from 44 starters.
The Factor, owned by George Bolton and Fog City Stable, was named for Bill O’Reilly’s popular “The O’Reilly Factor,” which airs on the Fox News Channel.
GARCIA EAGER FOR RETURN TODAY AFTER LENGHTHY VISA SESSION
After a visa ordeal in his native Mexico that prevented him from riding for more than two months, jockey Martin Garcia resumes riding at Santa Anita today. The 26-year-old from Veracruz is named on 4-1 morning line choice El Martillo for Bob Baffert in the seventh race.
“I had to sign a lot of papers and go through the process,” the affable Garcia said between working horses Thursday morning. “When Immigration tells you to do something, you have to do it, but I’m excited to be back. Hopefully, everything will go all right.”
Garcia was Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert’s go-to guy before the visa voyage. Now he has to work his way back into play.
“I think it’s like everything else,” Garcia said. “If I do well for him, I think he will give me a shot again. I’ll have to prove myself all over again.”
BOXING GREAT JAMES ‘LIGHTS OUT’ TONEY TO PRESENT TROPHY SATURDAY
James “Lights Out” Toney, one of the greatest boxers of the last 30 years, will present the trophy to the winning connections of Saturday’s Sunshine Millions Turf on behalf of San Manuel Indian Bingo & Casino. Toney also will be available to sign autographs at the San Manuel Indian Bingo & Casino booth near the main entrance, and which will adjoin the Kingsbury Fountain and John Henry statue.
Toney is a former middleweight, super middleweight and cruiserweight champion who has amassed a record of 72 wins from 83 fights over a remarkable 22-year ring career. Born Aug. 24, 1968, in Grand Rapids, Michigan, Toney has 44 wins by knockout. The Sunshine Millions Turf is scheduled as the sixth race. Toney will be defending his IBA heavyweight championship against “Dangerous” Damon Reed on Feb. 24. The 12-round main event will be televised on Fox Sports.
FIRST FOAL BY PAPA CLEM ARRIVESThe first foal by millionaire and multiple graded stakes winner Papa Clem arrived Jan. 25 at Valley Oak Ranch in Oakdale California.
The colt is out of Candi Capri, a full sister to stakes winner and stakes producer Nifty Slew. Her produce include Hostility, a stakes winner of $401,829. His breeder Jack Owens describes him as “quite a looker, big, tall, strong, well-boned and nicely muscled.”
Papa Clem, a leading 3-year-old of 2009, won the Grade II Arkansas Derby in an impressive effort that put him in the spotlight of leading contenders for the Kentucky Derby, where he managed to salvage fourth place after a very troubled trip. Trained by Gary Stute, Papa Clem also finished second in the Grade I Malibu Stakes, the Grade II Robert Lewis Stakes, and the Grade II Louisiana Derby.
He began his 4-year-old campaign with a game win in last year’s Grade II San Fernando Stakes at Santa Anita. An injury discovered shortly thereafter brought a premature end to his career. He retired with earnings of $1,121,190 and a lifetime record of 3 wins, two seconds and two thirds from 13 lifetime starts.
He stands at Legacy Ranch in Clements, California for $6,500.
MID ADDS BLACK-EYED SUSAN BONUS TO PREAKNESS BONUS
MI Developments Inc., in conjunction with MID’s premier racing properties, Gulfstream Park, Santa Anita Park, Golden Gate Fields, Portland Meadows, Pimlico Race Course, XpressBet Inc. and AmTote International Inc., has announced the introduction of the Black-Eyed Susan 2.2, a bonus program similar to the much acclaimed and unique Preakness 5.5 which was announced on Aug. 27, 2010. This significant bonus program for fillies could award $2.2 million in bonuses ($2 million to the owner and $200,000 to the trainer) to the winner of the 2011 Black-Eyed Susan Stakes.
The Black-Eyed Susan 2.2 is designed to allow both east and west coast based three-year-old fillies to qualify by having the preliminary races at Gulfstream Park, Santa Anita Park, Golden Gate Fields and Portland Meadows.
To qualify for the Black-Eyed Susan 2.2, a three-year-old filly must first win the requisite qualifying races, plus the Gulfstream Park Oaks. MID also announced that it will pay all reasonable shipping costs for any west coast-based three-year-old filly eligible for either the Black-Eyed Susan 2.2 or the XpressBet Consolation prize to compete in the Gulfstream Park Oaks and/or the Black-Eyed Susan Stakes.
In addition, there will be an AmTote Jockey Bonus worth $50,000 to the winning jockey of the Black-Eyed Susan Stakes who also rode the winner of one of the qualifying races and competed in at least one other qualifying race.
To qualify for the Black-Eyed Susan 2.2 at Gulfstream, a horse must win the Forward Gal Stakes on Saturday, January 29, 2011 plus win the Davona Dale on Saturday, February 26, 2011 and then win the Gulfstream Park Oaks on April 2.
To qualify for the Black-Eyed Susan 2.2 at Santa Anita, a horse must win the Las Virgenes on Feb. 5, plus win the Santa Anita Oaks on March 5 and then win the Gulfstream Park Oaks on April 2.
George Haines, President of Santa Anita, said, “Traditionally, Santa Anita has the country’s top 3-year-old filly program. The Black-Eyed Susan 2.2 significantly complements that program. The creation of this bonus provides west coast horsemen the opportunity to win millions more on a national stage.”
FINISH LINES: Misremembered, prepping for defense of his Santa Anita Handicap victory, worked four furlongs at Hollywood Park Thursday morning in :49.60 for Bob Baffert . . . Champ Pegasus, runner-up in the Jan. 17 San Marcos Stakes, worked five furlongs on Santa Anita’s main track Thursday in :59.80 for Richard Mandella. It was one of 48 recorded at the distance, the average time being 1:00.49. There were 24 drills at three furlongs averaging :37.19; 47 at four furlongs, averaging :48.11;and 16 at six furlongs averaging 1:13.15 . . . Steve Andersen will host Saturday’s Daily Racing Form seminar from 11 to 11:30 a.m. in the East Paddock Gardens. His guest will be three-time Santa Anita training champion Doug O’Neill . . . HRTV’s Peter Lurie and Jeff Siegel square off on Sunday’s Fans’ Forum hosted by Jack Disney, 11:15 a.m., also in the East Paddock Gardens.