There will be a new shooter in town for Saturday’s Strub Stakes. His name is Honour the Deputy, a gray son of Honour and Glory who has made each of his four career starts on dirt at Laurel Park in Maryland prior to Santa Anita’s Grade II Strub for 4-year-olds at 1 1/8 miles.

Honour and Glory now runs for Jerry Hollendorfer, who trains the 4-year-old gelding for new owners Michael Barnett, Mark Dedomenico and George Todaro. “It was a private purchase,” said Hollendorfer assistant Dan Ward. “He came in from Maryland and I think we got him around Jan. 5. He’s improving in his races and his training, and he’s got a very good record anyway.”

The Strub will be Honour the Deputy’s first stakes race. His only loss came by a neck at seven furlongs. His three wins have come by a combined margin of nearly 10 lengths, including his last two at 1 1/16 miles and a flat mile, both by open lengths.

“I worked him twice and he worked good both times,” said Garrett Gomez, who has the mount Saturday. “He worked with another horse and he went around there in a nice timely fashion. The first time we worked him, he went around like he was kind of lost, but he improved a lot the second time.

“Now that he’s had time to acclimate and become familiar with his surroundings, he’s turned into a nice horse like they anticipated he’d be when they bought him.”

The field for the Strub, which goes as the ninth of 10 races Saturday: Honour the Deputy, Gomez; Indian Firewater, Mike Smith; Twirling Candy, Joel Rosario; Tweebster, Rafael Bejarano; Paris Vegas, Brice Blanc; Make Music for Me, Chantal Sutherland; Do It All, Patrick Valenzuela; and Oilisblackgold, Victor Espinoza. Each is assigned 118 pounds except Indian Firewater and Twirling Candy, who have 123 each.


In seven career starts, California Nectar has finished worse than second only once, when she ran fourth on turf in the Grade III Miesque at Hollywood Park last November.

Since then, the California-bred daughter of Stormy Atlantic has won two straight, including the Grade II Santa Ynez Stakes at seven furlongs in open company on Jan. 15.

Saturday, the 3-year-old filly owned by Suarez Racing Inc. faces her stiffest test yet when she runs in the Grade I Las Virgenes Stakes at one mile.

“She’s doing well,” said Doug O’Neill, who is second in the Santa Anita standings behind Bob Baffert in pursuit of his fourth Santa Anita training title. “She likes this track and she’s doing great, so we’re pumped up.”

The field for the Las Virgenes, Saturday’s fourth race: Plum Pretty, Martin Garcia; Bluegrass Chatter, Garrett Gomez; Tiz the Route, Brice Blanc; California Nectar, Patrick Valenzuela; May Day Rose, Rafael Bejarano; Turbulent Descent, David Flores; and Zazu, Joel Rosario.


Outrider Blake Heap was at his Monrovia home Thursday, five days after suffering multiple injuries in a training mishap at Santa Anita Sunday morning. He was taken to Huntington Memorial Hospital for treatment following the incident, which included a 4 ½ hour reconstructive surgery to repair his right shoulder.

“I’m just trying to get stable,” the 54-year-old Heap said in a telephone interview. “I have a broken (right) shoulder, (fractured) orbital bones, my nose is broken and I have a chip in my knee and a break or something in the D12 (vertebrae) of my back. The shoulder is the worst of my injuries, and I also have a pretty bad sprained (right) ankle. My face looks like it went through a sand blaster."

Heap who was released from the hospital on Wednesday, approximately 48 hours after his surgery, has been on the racetrack since infancy.

“I’ve been working on the race track all my life, but these are the worst injuries I’ve ever had, for sure. This is definitely the most pain and the most restrictive. I can’t walk, I can’t use my arms, I can’t do anything.”

In addition to his outriding duties, Heap also oversees a small public stable, which is currently operating with the help of owner and former pari mutuel clerk, Rick Bassett.

Along with Basset, Heap is being assisted by his youngest son, Tom. Heap’s oldest son, Cody, is currently on active duty in the Marine Corps.


HRTV will offer live coverage of the inaugural Secretariat Vox Populi Award presentation, which will be bestowed upon 2010 Horse of the Year Zenyatta, at Santa Anita Park on Saturday.

The newly-created award was recently announced and is the first of its kind in horse racing. The annual award will recognize a horse whose popularity and racing excellence resonated with racing fans and gained additional recognition for the sport during the previous year.

Secretariat's charismatic owner, Penny Chenery, will present the award to Zenyatta's owners, Ann and Jerry Moss, following the fifth race. Also expected to be on hand are Chenery's daughter, Kate Tweedy, along with Zenyatta's trainer, John Shirreffs, and his wife, Dottie, as well as the mare's jockey, Mike Smith.

In addition to the live coverage of the award, the presentation will also feature footage from earlier in the day of Zenyatta at Lane's End Farm in Versailles, Ky. Zenyatta was retired to the Lane's End Farm last December and the Mosses have announced that she will be bred to 2006 champion 3-year-old Bernardini.

"All of us at HRTV joined the fans around the world in watching Zenyatta's amazing career," said Amy J. Zimmerman, Executive Producer of HRTV. "This award unites two of racing's most popular horses of all time. We are excited to bring this coverage to the many Zenyatta and Secretariat fans, but also to show them how well the great mare is adapting to her new home."

Zenyatta captured the imagination of racing fans, and casual observers, during an astounding career that included only one hard-fought loss (to Blame in last year's Breeders' Cup Classic) in 20 races. In addition to her Horse the Year recognition, she is a three-time Older Female Eclipse Award winner (2008-10), and a two-time Breeders' Cup winner, 2008 (Ladies Classic) and 2009 (Classic). The daughter of Street Cry earned more than $7.3 million in purses.

There will be a press conference following Saturday’s first race in the BC Press Room under the grandstand. Mrs. Chenery and the Mosses will attend.


Santa Anita’s popular Champions! Gift Shop will be busier than usual on Saturday. For those who can’t get enough of Vox Populi (Secretariat/Zenyatta), here’s what’s happening that day:

From 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., Penny Chenery, Jerry Moss, John Sherriffs and Mike Smith will autograph a special poster, Racing’s Royalty, featuring a portrait of both Secretariat and Zenyatta. Each poster sells for $40, with a portion of the proceeds going to the Secretariat Fund.

The autograph session is expected to last about one hour, so fans are advised to line up early and asked not to bring any outside memoriabilia. It will take place in the event tent across from Champions! The print can be purchased at the event.

From 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., Kate Tweedy (Penny Chenery’s daughter) will autograph her book, “Secretariat’s Meadow.” Books are available at Champions!

All day Saturday, jewelry designer Jane Heart will present her Secretariat jewelry at Champions! A portion of her sales also goes to support the Secretariat Fund.

FINISH LINES: Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile winner Dakota Phone was entered in both Saturday’s Thunder Road Handicap at one mile on turf and Sunday’s Grade II San Antonio Stakes at 1 1/8 mile on dirt. “The turf race is coming up with a lot of speed and it looks like a better spot,” said Jerry Hollendorfer assistant Dan Ward of the late-running gelding . . . Matto Mondo makes his first start in nearly two years in Friday’s $68,000 feature allowance race at about 6 ½ furlongs on turf. “He’s been off a long time and this should shake the cobwebs off,” Richard Mandella said of the 7-year-old Chilean-bred son of Sir Cat, who won the Thunder Road Handicap in February of 2009 and who last raced on March 7, 2009, when he finished third to Einstein in the Santa Anita Handicap. “He bowed a tendon and it took a lot of time. I don’t think 6 ½ down the hill is his real thing, but it’s a way to get him going.” . . . Riviera Cocktail worked seven furlongs on Santa Anita’s firm turf course (dogs up) Thursday in 1:30 under Alonso Quinonez. Trainer Neil Drysdale is pointing the sixth-place finisher in the San Marcos Stakes to the Grade II San Luis Obispo Stakes at 1 ½ miles on turf Feb. 19. San Marcos runner-up Champ Pegasus worked six furlongs on turf in 1:17.80 for Mandella . . . John Sadler reports that Cost of Freedom, third as the 3-5 favorite in the Sunshine Millions Sprint, beaten two heads, was “tired” after the race, “but he’ll battle back.” . . . The family of former longtime Santa Anita employee Loretta Molinar, who passed away Friday following complications related to surgery, invites friends to view her memorial website at Services for Molinar are scheduled for Friday afternoon at Douglass & Zook Chapel of Remembrance in Monrovia . . . Brad Free of Daily Racing Form will be Steve Andersen’s guest at Saturday’s Daily Racing Form seminar in the East Paddock Gardens from 11:15 a.m. to 12 noon . . . Ed Golden of Santa Anita and Jay Privman, national correspondent for Daily Racing Form, will be Jack Disney’s guests at Super Bowl Sunday’s Fans’ Forum, 9:45 a.m., also in the East Paddock Gardens. First post time for Super Bowl Sunday’s eight-race program is 11 a.m. Gates open at 9:30 a.m. There will be no Early Bird wagering on “Big Game” Sunday . . . The main track will close at 8:30 a.m. Sunday and there will be no schooling in the paddock.