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STABLE NOTES BY ED GOLDEN
• CASSIDY HOPES ‘LILLY’ BLOOMS IN SUNDAY’S CHINA DOLL
• FIVE-DAY RACE WEEK STARTS ON WEDNESDAY, MARCH 23
• CHOICE IN WIDE OPEN SAN FELIPE IS OPEN TO DEBATE
SINGAPORE LILLY SET FOR U.S. DEBUT IN CHINA DOLL STAKES
Jim Cassidy has high hopes for a European import that makes her U.S. debut in Sunday’s $75,000 China Doll Stakes for 3-year-old fillies at one mile on turf.
Singapore Lilly, an Irish-bred daughter of Mujadil, has not raced since last October, but has been training forwardly since Cassidy took charge 10 weeks ago.
“She’s a nice filly,” said Cassidy, who has enjoyed great success with foreign imports. “She’s got a lovely way of going. I think she could be the real thing. Maybe she’s a work or two away from running her best race, but I wouldn’t be surprised if she won anyway. She was turned out for a while before I got her last December, and she’s worked well for me since.”
Singapore Lilly, a bay filly owned by Jeffrey DeHaven of Del Mar, last raced at San Siro in Italy on Oct. 17, 2010, but competed at major European venues such as Goodwood, Newmarket and Epsom prior to that.
“It’s hard to judge from her races in Italy just how tough they are from one time to the next,” said Cassidy, a 65-year-old New York native who bought Singapore Lilly at the Tattersalls December sale. “I don’t remember the price, but we gave some money for her. I think it was $350,000. We were going to buy her privately but the deal fell through. Then she was put in the sale and we bought her.”
The field for the China Doll: Recipient, Joe Talamo, 12-1; Cambina, Garrett Gomez, 8-5; Singapore Lilly, Victor Espinoza, 5-2; Wallstreeter, Brice Blanc, 9-2; Cathy’s Crunches, Rafael Bejarano, 5-1; Up in Time, Joel Rosario, 5-1; and Secret Cove, Martin Pedroza, 20-1.
SANTA ANITA RETURNS TO FIVE-DAY RACE WEEK ON MARCH 23
Santa Anita will embark on an expanded five-day race week beginning Wednesday, March 23, and will reinstitute its popular “Free Fridays” promotion beginning March 25. In addition to March 25, all patrons will receive free General Admission on April 1, 8 and 15. Santa Anita’s 74th winter/spring meeting concludes April 17.
“We made the decision to expand to a five-day race week the final four weeks of the meet and we think it makes sense to offer ‘Free Fridays’ as well,” said Santa Anita President George Haines. “This promotion was very well received the past couple of years and it’s a great way for people to get their weekend started.
“In addition to free General Admission, we’re going to offer free box seats on those remaining Fridays as well, while they last. Along with that, we’ll be offering $2 beers, soft drinks and hot dogs and we expect this to be very well received also. Fridays should be a lot of fun and it’s a great way for us to say ‘thank you’ to our loyal customers and to hopefully expose newcomers to this great sport.”
First post time on all remaining weekdays will be 1 p.m. First post on weekends is 12:30 p.m., with the exception of Santa Anita Derby Day, Saturday, April 9, when it will be 12 noon.
WHITE EXPLAINS MORNING LINE FOR STRONG SAN FELIPE FIELD
The field for today’s Grade II, $250,000 San Felipe Stakes field is so deep in quality that it posed quite a challenge for Santa Anita oddsmaker Jon White.
“This was a real tough one,” White said. “It was very difficult to decide who to make the morning line favorite. I ultimately settled on Jaycito, but at a lukewarm 7-2. Jaycito won the Grade I Norfolk last year and a lot of people seem to be throwing out his disappointing Breeders’ Cup race because he essentially bolted going into the backstretch. His workouts for (trainer Bob) Baffert leading up to the San Felipe have been very good. Jaycito also is ranked pretty high on a lot of the Kentucky Derby polls, which gives an indication of how popular he might be in the betting for the San Felipe.”
White has Runflatout, Comma to the Top and Premier Pegasus pegged next at 4-1 each.
“I very rarely make three co-second favorites, but that’s an indication of the inscrutable nature of this race going into it,” White said. “Runflatout earned such an impressive speed figure in his debut, both in terms of his Beyer and Thoro-Graph numbers, that I considered making him the morning line favorite. But I'm thinking that some people might not be completely sold on him yet in terms of his ability to go a mile and a sixteenth, so I gave the slight edge to Jaycito for favoritism because Jaycito is a Grade I winner going a mile and a sixteenth.
“Comma to the Top is very tricky in terms of trying to figure out how strongly he will be bet. There is a chance a lot of people are going to jump off his bandwagon after his loss in the El Camino Real Derby. The Kentucky Derby polls indicate that’s a possibility. On the other hand, Comma to the Top did win five in a row before that, including the Grade I CashCall Futurity at a mile and a sixteenth. Considering he might be the type of horse who thrives on racing, like a Snow Chief in the 1980s, Comma to the Top might really move up off that Golden Gate race.
“The final adjustment I made was to lower Premier Pegasus to 4-1 and raise Bench Points from 6-1 to 8-1. I’m not crazy about having Bench Points that high when he’s undefeated and has improving speed figures. But the more I looked at Premier Pegasus, the more I didn’t feel comfortable having him higher than 4-1. Bench Points and Premier Pegasus both were three-for-three last year, but Premier Pegasus’ wins were not in state-bred races. And Premier Pegasus also has improving figures. He actually ran well in his 2011 debut against two very talented colts, The Factor and Sway Away. I currently have Sway Away ranked No. 2 on my Kentucky Derby Top 10, behind only Uncle Mo. And Premier Pegasus looks like he could be primed for a big effort in the San Felipe after drilling five furlongs in :57 3/5.”
FINISH LINES: Garrett Gomez will be presented Santa Anita’s George Woolf Memorial Jockey Award for 2011 in a winner’s circle ceremony between races on Sunday, March 20 . . . Gomez and Martin Garcia will be at Oaklawn Park next Saturday to ride Sway Away and The Factor, respectively, in the Rebel Stakes. The Factor worked six furlongs at Santa Anita Saturday in a bullet 1:12.20 for Bob Baffert, while Sway Away went seven furlongs in 1:23.60 for Jeff Bonde . . . With a hat trick yesterday, Joe Talamo notched his 38th win of the meet, one behind Patrick Valenzuela, who is third in the standings with 39 victories . . . Add Victor Espinoza to the list of Santa Anita jockeys going to Dubai for World Cup day March 26. The winner of the 2002 Kentucky Derby on War Emblem rides Shoemaker Mile and Citation winner Victor’s Cry for Eoin Harty in the $5 million Duty Free at 1 1/8 miles on turf . . . Champ Pegasus, bound for Dubai and the $5 million Sheema Classic on March 26 after his nose victory over Bourbon Bay in the San Luis Obispo Stakes, worked a mile on Santa Anita’s main track Saturday in 1:38.20 for Richard Mandella, while Bourbon Bay, headed for a rematch in Dubai with Champ Pegasus, went seven furlongs on turf in 1:31.20 for Neil Drysdale . . . Probable for next Saturday’s Grade II, $150,000 Santa Ana Stakes for older fillies and mares at 1 1/8 miles on turf: Eclair de Lune, no rider; Harmonious, Joel Rosario; Lilly Fa Pootz, Corey Nakatani; Spring Style, Patrick Valenzuela; and Turning Top, Brice Blanc . . . The California Horse Racing Board will conduct its regular monthly meeting this Monday, March 14, in the Baldwin Terrace Room at Santa Anita Park at 9:30 a.m. The public is encouraged to attend. An audio-only Webcast of this and all monthly Board meetings can be heard through the “Webcasts” link on the CHRB Website (www.chrb.ca.gov). The audio is available through iPhone, Blackberry, and other mobile devices. The agenda, supporting package of materials, and Webcast for this meeting can be accessed through the following links: agenda, package, Webcast. The audio archive for past meetings is also available on the CHRB Website . . . Daylight Saving Time begins tomorrow. Set your clocks ahead one hour tonight.