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STABLE NOTES BY ED GOLDEN
• NO REST FOR ROSARIO AFTER TAKING RIDING LEAD
• WARREN’S GOT GAME GOES FOR THE CANDY IN SATURDAY’S VALENTINE DANCER
• SANTA ANITA JOCKEYS IN ANNUAL HOOPS GAME THURSDAY
ROSARIO OVERTAKES BEJARANO IN SANTA ANITA JOCKEYS’ RACE
Joel Rosario won four races Sunday to take command in Santa Anita’s jockeys’ race, but he wasn’t resting on his laurels.
Monday morning it was business as usual for the 26-year-old native of the Dominican Republic, who worked four horses for his main client, trainer John Sadler. Rosario was aboard Gladding (five furlongs in 1:01.20 for the Santa Anita Handicap); Switch (six furlongs in 1:12.80 for the Santa Margarita); Twirling Candy (six furlongs in 1:12 for the Santa Anita Handicap); and Zazu (five furlongs in 1:01.40 for the Santa Anita Oaks). Twirling Candy worked in company with Hammurabi, who was clocked in 1:13.60.
With Sunday’s four-bagger, Rosario took a 49-48 lead over Rafael Bejarano, who was 12 up three weeks ago, 38-26, on Jan. 29.
“The competition (between Rosario and Bejarano) makes it fun and keeps us both on our toes,” said Rosario’s agent, Ron Ebanks. “Bejarano had a better start (this meet) than we did. We were unlucky with a ton of seconds. (Bob) Baffert put him on the lead right away with all those maiden winners and that made it tough on us early on.
“Now the playing field is leveling out some. Baffert has slowed down a bit, moving the horses around and giving other jocks like (Martin) Garcia a chance and Joel’s come into a zone. Sadler started off real slow and he’s my main guy, but now he’s got momentum and is rolling with all the big horses.
“But all this is definitely fun. It’s exciting, but more importantly, we’re excited about how many good horses and big races we’re able to capture right now, especially on a national level.”
GUTIERREZ SEEKS UPSET IN SATURDAY’S VALENTINE DANCER
Jorge Gutierrez knows he won’t have an easy assignment to win Saturday’s Valentine Dancer Handicap scheduled for one mile on turf.
The 45-year-old trainer sends out Warren’s Got Game in the $100,000 race for older California-bred fillies and mares. The heavy favorite, if she runs, figures to be speedy turf specialist Unzip Me, a win machine who has captured 10 of her 17 starts, but who has never raced beyond 6 ½ furlongs.
Warren’s Got Game’s best efforts have come from well off the pace, and Gutierrez doesn’t plan to change tactics for the 4-year-old daughter of Ancient Art.
“Putting her too close kind of takes her out of her style,” Gutierrez said. “Just letting her sit last time and making one big run was more comfortable for her. It was like her first race, where we just let her sit and she was way off the pace.”
That was at Hollywood Park last June when she rallied from eighth and last in a 6 ½ furlong race to win by 2 ½ lengths. Last out, Warren’s Got Game also rallied from eighth and last in a one-mile turf event at Santa Anita on Feb. 10, winning by a half-length under Patrick Valenzuela, who has the mount in the Valentine Dancer.
Each of the filly’s races save one has been consistent. The exception was the Torrey Pines at Del Mar last September, when she finished sixth behind the John Sadler-trained Switch, a multiple Grade I winner who will be favored in the Grade I Santa Margarita Stakes on March 12.
“She only got beat four-and-a-quarter lengths in that race,” Gutierrez pointed out. “That day she was coming up on the inside and actually made a little run. On paper, it looks like she faded, but she was a little timid going along the inside rail.
“I’m not saying if she gets through she wins, but she could have been a bit closer. She loves the turf, so it’s worth giving her a chance.”
Unzip Me was assigned 125 pounds for the Valentine Dancer, and 121 for Sunday’s $100,000 Sensational Star Handicap at about 6 ½ furlongs on turf. “We’re not real thrilled with the weights, but she’s a good filly and I guess that goes with the territory,” said trainer Marty Jones, who supervised a four furlong drill at Hollywood Monday in :50.80, breezing, for the 5-year-old daughter of City Zip.
“We’ll see how she comes out of this work and make a decision.”
CHANTAL ON THIN ICE FOR THURSDAY’S CHARITY BASKETBALL GAMEIf it were hockey instead of basketball, Santa Anita’s jockeys might stand a better chance against Holy Angels School in their annual charity hoops game Thursday at La Salle High School.
That’s because Chantal Sutherland is on the team, and being a native of Winnipeg, Ontario in Canada, where hockey is the national sport, she’s more adept in the rink than she is on the court.
“I’m going to shoot some goals,” joked Sutherland, who celebrates her 35th birthday on Wednesday. “I played in the basketball game last year. That was my first year. I wish we were playing hockey. Then maybe I could make a contribution. But basketball, that hoop is so high. Hockey’s my game. Maybe Thursday night I’ll throw a few hip checks.”
The 44th annual Holy Angels-Santa Anita Jockeys Charity Basketball Game will take place at La Salle High School in Pasadena. Tip off is set for 7 p.m.
Proceeds will benefit the Holy Angels athletic department and the Permanently Disabled Jockeys Fund (PDJF).
Legendary Hall of Fame jockeys Eddie Delahoussaye, Don Pierce, Laffit Pincay Jr., Gary Stevens and Mike Smith will serve as honorary captains and will be on hand to autograph memorabilia from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m. in the La Salle High gymnasium.
This year’s Santa Anita jockey squad figures to include: Team Captain David Flores, Pedro Arambula, Paul Atkinson, Rafael Bejarano, Alex Bisono, Brice Blanc, Antonio Castanon, Victor Espinoza, Martin Garcia, Garrett Gomez, Kerwin John, Edwin Maldonado, Corey Nakatani, Iggy Puglisi, Alonso Quinonez, Joel Rosario, Christian Santiago Reyes, Mike Smith, Chantal Sutherland, Kayla Stra, Joe Talamo, Patrick Valenzuela and perhaps others.
La Salle High School is located at the southwest corner of Michillinda Ave. and Sierra Madre Blvd. in Pasadena, approximately four miles from Santa Anita. Admission is $5.
ATTA BOY ROY SCHEDULED TO RUN IN POTRERO GRANDE
Atta Boy Roy, a Grade II winner in 2010, has designs on Santa Anita’s Grade II Potrero Grande Stakes at 6 ½ furlongs on April 3.
“Joe Withee, the television commentator at Emerald Downs, told me that Atta Boy’s first race of the year will be the Potrero Grande, according to trainer Valerie Lund,” said Jon White, Santa Anita’s morning line maker who also provides paddock commentary for the track’s simulcast network. “Valerie also said that after the Potrero Grande, they’d like to head back to Kentucky for the same race that Atta Boy Roy won at Churchill Downs last year.”
Atta Boy Roy, with Calvin Borel aboard, splashed his way to a half-length victory in the Grade II Churchill Downs Stakes at seven furlongs on a sloppy track on the Kentucky Derby card last year. Owned by Roy and Ellie Schaefer’s R.E.V. Racing, Atta Boy Roy was honored as top Washington-bred sprinter of 2010 at Saturday’s Washington Champions and Annual Awards Banquet at Emerald Downs. The son of Tribunal also was named top Washington-bred sprinter in 2009.
“Noosa Beach, the Longacres Mile winner, edged Atta Boy Roy for 2010 Washington-bred Horse of the Year,” noted White, a well-documented Washington-bred himself.
Atta Boy Roy, who also won the Remington Park Sprint Cup last year, has not raced since finishing 10th under Borel in the Grade I Breeders’ Cup Sprint at Churchill on Nov. 6. Atta Boy Roy was vanned off after the race.
“According to chief Breeders’ Cup veterinarian Wayne McIllwraith, Borel noticed a bit of sensitivity in Atta Boy Roy’s right front leg while galloping out after the race,” White said. “So Borel jumped off and they vanned Atta Boy Roy off. But it turned out to be just a minor physical issue.”
After Atta Boy Roy was given a rest, he resumed training and had his first recorded workout at Turf Paradise. The 6-year-old gelding worked three furlongs in a bullet :35 1/5 at the Phoenix track Feb. 5, followed by another bullet drill on Feb. 14, when Atta Boy Roy zipped four furlongs in :45 3/5.
FINISH LINES: Jim Cassidy scratched Evening Jewel from today’s Buena Vista Handicap, citing unfavorable conditions for the 2010 California-bred Horse of the Year. “I’ll run her back in the Valentine Dancer (Handicap) on Saturday,” the trainer said . . . Cassidy did not nominate The Usual Q.T. to the March 5 Kilroe Mile. “He had an abscess on his right front foot and I couldn’t work him,” he said. “I’ll wait for the Arcadia (Handicap at one mile on turf April 9).” . . . Indian Winter, scratched from Sunday’s San Vicente Stakes, will run in the $50,000 Turf Paradise Derby at 1 1/16 miles on Saturday, Jerry Hollendorfer said. “This track was too speed-favoring for his style,” the trainer said of the San Pedro Stakes winner. Juan Rivera has the mount in Arizona . . . Champion 3-year-old filly of 2010 Blind Luck worked four furlongs on Santa Anita’s dirt training track in :48.40, possibly for the Santa Margarita Stakes on March 12 . . . At Hollywood Park, Mike Mitchell worked St Trinians four furlongs in :48.60, breezing, for the Santa Margarita, while Bob Baffert worked San Felipe Stakes candidate Jaycito seven furlongs in 1:24.80 handily from the gate. He also worked Santa Anita Handicap prospect Spurrier six furlongs in 1:12.60 . . . Scott Blasi, assistant to Steve Asmussen, said there were “no plans yet” for Triple Crown candidates Silver Medallion and Astrology as far as their next race. “We haven’t figured it out yet,” he said. El Camino Real Derby winner Silver Medallion worked four furlongs at Santa Anita Monday in :50.80, breezing . . . Clubhouse Ride, second to Tapizar in the Sham Stakes, is likely to miss the Santa Anita Derby on April 9. “He’s had a minor setback, so we’re probably going to miss that race,” said trainer Craig Lewis, who won the 1995 Santa Anita Derby with Larry the Legend. “We won’t have enough time.” . . . Kevin Brown is enjoying his gig as Santa Anita horn blower in relief of Jay Cohen, who is on the shelf from neck surgery. “I’ve been friends with Jay for years,” said Brown, who resides in nearby La Caňada and who has been “playing the trumpet since I was a youngster. Playing at Santa Anita is a lot of fun. The people are great, very friendly. It’s a great atmosphere.”