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STABLE NOTES BY ED GOLDEN
• TAPIZAR SET FOR GRADE II ROBERT B. LEWIS ON SATURDAY
• BLIND LUCK DRILLS FOR SUNDAY’S LA CAŇADA STAKES
• WASHINGTON BRIDGE EYES FOURTH STRAIGHT IN SANTA MARIA
TAPIZAR FAVORED IN SATURDAY’S ROBERT B. LEWIS STAKES
Tapizar, who stamped himself as a major player for this year’s 3-year-old classics by virtue of his impressive victory in the Jan. 15 Sham Stakes, looms a heavy favorite to continue on the Triple Crown trail in Saturday’s Grade II Robert B. Lewis Stakes at 1 1/8 miles.
The Lewis is part of the Preakness 5.5 Bonus program, which also includes the Grade II San Felipe Stakes, to be run on March 12, and the Grade I Santa Anita Derby on April 9. The owner of any horse that wins the Lewis, San Felipe, Santa Anita Derby and then the Preakness Stakes on May 21, would win a bonus of $5.5 million, with $5 million going to the owner and $500,000 to the winning trainer.
“He’s doing good and we’re excited about running him,” two-time Eclipse Award-winning trainer Steve Asmussen said on a picturesque morning at Clockers’ Corner Thursday. “We’re thrilled the way he won the Sham. We’ve been very fortunate. The weather’s stayed good and we like the rhythm we’ve established with the horse.”
Tapizar, a bay son of Tapit owned and bred by Winchell Thoroughbreds, won the Grade III Sham by 4 ¼ lengths in his Santa Anita debut. He was the 11-10 favorite that day. He broke his maiden by 10 ½ lengths at Churchill Downs in his previous start, at 1 1/16 miles on Nov. 27. A victory Saturday could propel him to the Grade I, $1 million Santa Anita Derby on April 9.
Asmussen revealed no race for the 3-year-old debut of Astrology, a stakes winner at two who worked four furlongs at Santa Anita Saturday in 52 seconds flat. “He’s very athletic,” Asmussen said of the son of A.P, Indy. “He shouldn’t take long to get ready.”
The field for the Lewis, which goes as race six on a 10-race program: Wegner, Rafael Bejarano; Anthony’s Cross, Joel Rosario; Comma to the Top, Corey Nakatani; Tapizar, Garrett Gomez; Ten Devils, Joe Talamo; Riveting Reason, Victor Espinoza; Quail Hill, Martin Pedroza; and Thirtyfirststreet, Patrick Valenzuela.
Comma to the Top is also entered in the El Camino Real Derby at Golden Gate on Saturday. Trainer Peter Miller said the winner of five straight races including the Grade I CashCall Futurity last Dec. 18 was “100 percent” to run up north. “We only entered here as a precaution,” Miller said.
BLIND LUCK WORKS FOR SUNDAY’S LA CAŇADA STAKES
Dan Ward called Blind Luck’s four furlong workout on Santa Anita’s dirt training track Thursday “fabulous” after the Eclipse Award winner as 2010’s outstanding 3-year-old filly was clocked in :49.20 under Rafael Bejarano.
Blind Luck is scheduled to make her second start as a 4-year-old in Sunday’s Grade II, $150,000 La Caňada Stakes at 1 1/8 miles.
“She gallops on the training track and we worked her on it because it’s easier on her feet,” said Ward, assistant to trainer Jerry Hollendorfer. “She’s ready for the La Caňada and certainly should like the longer distance.” Blind Luck was upset by front-running Always a Princess in the 1 1/16-miles El Encino Stakes on Jan. 16.
STREAKING WASHINGTON BRIDGE SET FOR SANTA MARIA STAKES
Washington Bridge seeks her fourth straight victory Saturday when she runs in the Grade II, $150,000 Santa Maria Stakes for older fillies and mares at 1 1/16 miles. Dan Ward is confident she is up to the task.
“This is a filly who has matured and learned to relax,” said Ward, trainer Jerry Hollendorfer’s top assistant. “We always felt she had a lot of ability, from the time she set a track record in her debut, but she appeared to lose some confidence along the way. She’s back at her best right now, however.”
Washington Bridge, a 4-year-old Kentucky-bred daughter of Yankee Gentleman, established a four furlong record of :44 4/5 when she made her first start, on Golden Gate Fields’ synthetic Tapeta track on May 23, 2009.
The field for the Santa Maria, the eighth of 10 races: St Trinians, Joe Talamo; Vision in Gold, Joel Rosario; Washington Bridge, Rafael Bejarano; Miss Match, Garrett Gomez; Zardana, Victor Espinoza; Mona de Momma, Alonso Quinonez; and It Tiz, David Flores.
HRTV'S ‘INSIDE INFORMATION: FERDINAND’ PREMIERES THIS SUNDAY
Ferdinand provided racing fans with many thrills en route to a Kentucky Derby win in 1986, a Breeders' Cup Classic triumph, and an Eclipse Award as Horse of the Year, a year later.
On HRTV's award-winning "Inside Information" show, this Sunday at 6 p.m., the half-hour newsmagazine will chronicle his many victories, and soberly recount his shocking death that affected much-needed change within the industry.
"Everyone has a few special horses in their lives who you know personally, who touch your heart, and hold onto a piece of your soul," said Amy J. Zimmerman, HRTV's Executive Producer. "Ferdinand was one of those horses for me. He was as kind as they come, and all of us at HRTV are proud to present this tribute to his memory."
An offspring of Nijinsky II, and grandson of Northern Dancer, Ferdinand sported an impeccable pedigree. Yet, despite the regal bloodlines, he offered an exceptionally kind temperament, and underachieving racetrack personality. It would take a pair of Hall of Fame horsemen--iconic trainer, Charlie Whittingham, and legendary jockey, Bill Shoemaker--to unearth Ferdinand's underlying talents. And they did it masterfully.
Ferdinand became one of only four horses to win a Kentucky Derby and Breeders' Cup Classic. His untapped potential was nurtured by Whittingham, and fully realized with Shoemaker at the controls. He earned more than $3.77 million in a career that included numerous stakes wins.
After retiring to Claiborne Farms in 1989, he was later sold to Japan breeding interests in 1996. It was the beginning of an unconscionable end for one of the sport's most prominent stars. In 2003, in a location believed to be the northern part of Japan, Ferdinand was sent to a slaughterhouse. An unsuspecting racing industry tried to come to grips with an unfathomable ending. Stunned and shaken, the industry vowed never to allow this to happen again.
Ferdinand's legacy has been honored by an industry that acted resolutely. Since then, a host of Thoroughbred retirement organizations have been created, contractual clauses have been added to stallion agreements, and the future of retired champions now shines brightly.
Among those interviewed for the show are: Janet Johnson, Whittingham's assistant and Ferdinand's exercise rider; Peggy Whittingham, Charlie Whittingham's widow; Del Hancock of Claiborne Farms, and numerous others.
CASSIDY, CHEW, LLOYD HOST FREE TOC CONFORMATION CLINIC FEB. 19The public is invited to a free horse “Conformation Clinic” hosted by Thoroughbred Owners of California (TOC) on Saturday, Feb. 19, 10 a.m. at The Top o’ the Stretch at Santa Anita. Participants will meet California trainers Jim Cassidy, Matt Chew, and Jamie Lloyd and have a chance to get a close-up look at racehorses during a tour of the barn area.
The trainers will cover the basics of racehorse conformation and how it relates to soundness and performance, after which attendees will have a chance to ask questions.
Cassidy has been around horses since his youth on Long Island, N.Y. He trained in New York, New Jersey and Florida before moving to California in 1981. His current stable stars include Grade I winners The Usual Q.T. and Evening Jewel, and he has trained stakes winners Katdogawn, Moscow Burning and Ticker Tape, among others.
Raised in a racing family, Chew has been successfully training Thoroughbreds since 1982. A third-generation horseman, he operates the Matthew Chew Racing Stables in both northern and southern California. He regularly runs horses at Santa Anita, Del Mar, Hollywood Park, and Golden Gate Fields.
Lloyd grew up in England and moved to California in 2001, where he worked under Cassidy and trainer Paddy Gallagher before going on his own in 2006. His stakes winners include Hamieldaeme and Shermeen. He’s also had a successful career as a Bloodstock agent, helping with the acquisitions of Monzante, Battle of Hastings, and St. Trinians.
Although it is free and open to the public, reservations for the conformation clinic are recommended and can be made by calling TOC at (626) 574-6620, or online at www.toconline.com. Santa Anita Racetrack is located at 285 W. Huntington Drive in Arcadia.
FINISH LINES: Trainer Mike Machowsky plans to work Sunshine Millions Turf winner Caracortado a half-mile on grass Sunday under Joe Talamo for the Grade I Kilroe Mile on March 5 . . . Dan Hendricks said he will nominate Oak Leaf Stakes winner Rigoletta to the Grade III La Habra Stakes on Feb. 21. “It’s a good place to start her back,” the trainer said of the $100,000 race for 3-year-old fillies at about 6 ½ furlongs on turf . . . HRTV researcher Karen Johnson won first prize of $180 in Kurt Hoover’s Super Bowl pool. Chris Quinn of Group Sales won second prize of $80 on a tie-breaker with seven others . . . Marike Emery and her husband will be GradeOneRacing.com’s guests at Santa Anita Saturday for winning the site’s handicapping contest that includes a $1,000 voucher to bet on Saturday’s races at Santa Anita. Two other handicapping contests are in the works, one on the Kentucky Derby, the other on Santa Anita Handicap day. GradeOneRacing’s Steve Davidowitz will also be on hand over the weekend. For further information, go to GradeOne Racing.com . . . Ken Davis, Equibase call taker and former Daily Racing Form statistical guru, will be Jay Privman’s guest handicapper at the DRF seminar Saturday at 11:15 a.m. in the East Paddock Gardens . . . .Hollywood Park publicity director and top handicapper Bob Mieszerski will square off against Santa Anita oddsmaker and HRTV’s Jon White in Sunday’s Fans’ Forum, 11:15 a.m., also in the East Paddock Gardens. Jack Disney hosts.