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STABLE NOTES BY ED GOLDEN
DERBY FAVORITE LOOKIN AT LUCKY WORKS HALF-MILE IN BLINKERS
Wearing blinkers for the first time, Kentucky Derby Future Book favorite Lookin At Lucky worked four furlongs on Pro-Ride Saturday in preparation for his 3-year-old debut, probably in the San Felipe Stakes on March 13.
With regular rider Garrett Gomez aboard, the son of Smart Strike was clocked in :47.40, working in company with Indian Firewater, who was timed in :48.20.
“Gomez felt the horse might need blinkers,” Bob Baffert said, “because when he makes the lead, he feels like a sitting duck. Today, I worked him behind a horse, and as soon as he got by his workmate—usually, he shuts it down—but today he just kept on going. Garrett likes him better with the blinkers. It just keeps him focused. If he goes in the San Felipe, he would wear them.”
It was the first official breeze for Lookin At Lucky since winning the CashCall Futurity at Hollywood Park on Dec. 19. Lookin At Lucky is one of three finalists for an Eclipse Award as outstanding male 2-year-old of 2009. His lone loss in five starts came in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile, when he missed by a head to longshot Vale of York after he was bumped in deep stretch.
Lookin At Lucky already has three Grade I wins on his resume: the Del Mar Futurity, the Norfolk Stakes and the CashCall Futurity. He has earned $1,243,000.
IKE HOPES ‘FUNOMENAL’ RUN CONTINUES IN SANTA YNEZ STAKES
Bob Ike already has made his selection for next Saturday’s Grade II $150,000 Santa Ynez Stakes, even though the race hasn’t been drawn yet. The syndicated handicapper usually waits 48 hours before publicly rendering his expert opinion, but since he has a vested interest in the filly that’s running in the seven-furlong race, his early conclusion is understandable.
Ike is one of the owners of She’s Funomenal, a daughter of 2000 Kentucky Derby winner Fusaichi Pegasus, who is unbeaten in her two starts, both 6 1 /2-furlongs sprints on Hollywood Park’s Cushion Track. She is managed by STD Racing Stable or Summit Racing, and trained by Jerry Hollendorfer.
“Summit Racing consists of myself and Brett Lindenbaum, who’s a bloodstock agent,” Ike said. “We got together and formed Summit at the end of 2008, so we’re in business just over a year. We have seven horses, three with Hollendorfer and two with Bob Baffert. A couple are back east right now.”
She’s Funomenal won her maiden race by 5 1/2 lengths, then came back to win a minor stakes race by three-quarters of a length while breaking from the challenging No. 1 post position. Each time she was ridden by Joel Rosario, who will be aboard in the Santa Ynez.
“She had trained really well from the beginning for her debut,” Ike said. “She came to us around the Del Mar meet. Hollendorfer and his partners owned her, and sold us a piece. We brought in STD Racing (Steven and David Kenly of Paradise Valley, Az.). We thought she was a good filly, but you never know until they run.
“We weren’t expecting her to be as impressive as she was in her first race. It was pretty awesome the way she won, geared down. Going into the race we knew we had a good shot (she went off as the 3-2 favorite, winning handily). I thought she’d be better going long, and I still believe that.
“She was 3-10 in a four-horse field in her second race, so we were supposed to win. She showed a different dimension sitting behind a horse early, because we were on the rail and she didn’t break that well. But she dug in pretty gamely. She looked like she was beat at the eighth pole and I thought we were going to run third, but she galloped out full of run. She’s got ability and she’s got some heart and I’m looking forward to the race very much.”
Ike could be cited for conflict of interest if he didn’t offer She’s Funomenal to his clients as his top selection on Saturday. Honesty has proved to be the best policy, in racing as in other industries diminished by a downturn in the economy.
“I’ve managed to hang in there (as a handicapper) since 1985,” Ike said. “I’m one of the sole survivors. Will I pick She’s Funomenal on Saturday? It’s safe to say I’ll put her right on top.”
Probable for the Santa Ynez: Amen Hallelujah, Chantal Sutherland; Franny Freud, Garrett Gomez; and She’s Funomenal, Rosario. She’s Funomenal worked six furlongs on Pro-Ride Saturday in 1:14.
HOT-RIDING ESPINOZA EYES SAN FERNANDO WIN ON QUINDICI MAN
With two wins yesterday, Victor Espinoza took the lead in the Santa Anita jockeys’ race, 11-10 over runners-up Garrett Gomez and Rafael Bejarano. Espinoza rides Quindici Man for trainer Craig Lewis in next Saturday’s Grade II $150,000 San Fernando Stakes for 4-year-olds at 1 1/16 miles. Espinoza won the Pomona Derby on the gray son of Came Home at Fairplex Park last Sept. 29.
“It’s different,” Espinoza said about the five-eighths mile track at Fairplex Park and the one-mile of Santa Anita’s Pro-Ride, “but he likes this track. He ran good on this track before (beating Eclipse Award Sprint finalist Zensational in a one-mile race last March). I think we have a good chance.”
As for his quick start at Santa Anita, Espinoza said, “It’s important. The colony here is very competitive. I have to keep it going.”
Probable for the San Fernando: Gallant Son, Alex Solis; Mythical Power, Joel Rosario; Papa Clem, Tyler Baze; Quindici Man, Espinoza; Rendezvous, Rafael Bejarano; and Supreme Summit, Michael Baze.
Rendevous worked seven furlongs on Pro-Ride Saturday in 1:25 for Jerry Hollendorfer.
FINISH LINES: Dottie Ingordo, wife of trainer John Shirreffs and racing manager for Jerry and Ann Moss, owners of Breeders’ Cup Classic winner and Horse of the Year finalist Zenyatta, enjoyed a sun-filled morning at Clockers’ Corner Saturday along with her 3-year-old toy poodle, Sophie. The question everyone is asking her is, “Will Zenyatta be retired as announced after she won the Classic on Nov. 7, or race again?” Three recent workouts at her Hollywood Park headquarters have raised speculation in that regard. “It’s very cold in Kentucky, two degrees,” Ingordo said when asked when Zenyatta might ship there for breeding. “We sent one horse there and it got sick.” . . . Today’s Pick Six carryover of $76,179 is only the second one through the first 11 days of the meet. In contrast, there were five Pick Six carryovers through the first 11 days last meet . . . Breeders’ Cup Ladies Classic winner Life Is Sweet worked four furlongs on Hollywood Park’s Cushion Track Saturday in :49.80, breezing, for Shirreffs . . . Blind Luck, prepping for her 3-year-old debut in the Grade I $250,000 Las Virgenes Stakes at one mile on Feb. 6, worked five furlongs on Pro-Ride Saturday in 1:02.80 for Jerry Hollendorfer. Rafael Bejarano was aboard . . . Probable for next Saturday’s Grade III $100,000 San Rafael Stakes for 3-year-olds at one mile: Cardiff Giant, Christian Santiago Reyes; Conveyance, Garrett Gomez; and Domination, Joel Rosario . . . Probable for next Sunday’s Grade II $150,000 El Encino Stakes for 4-year-old fillies at 1 1/16 miles: Best Lass, Alex Solis; Dream Empress, Tyler Baze; Freedom Star, Martin Garcia; Gilded Gem, Victor Espinoza; Justwhistledixie, Gomez; and Spirit Seeker, Rosario. Dream Empress worked four furlongs on Pro-Ride Saturday in :47.80 for Ken McPeek . . . Probable for the Grade II $150,000 San Marcos Stakes for older horses at 1 ¼ miles on turf on Monday, Martin Luther King Jr. Day, Jan. 18: Aggie Engineer, Solis; High Court Drama, Michael Baze; Obrigado, Rosario; Quasicobra, Julien Leparoux; and Ridge Dance, Martin Garcia . . . Entering Saturday’s races, there were 289 contestants alive in ShowVivor. WinVivor ended with seven tied for first, each sharing $2,500 in prize money.