Class told in the San Luis Obispo Stakes when the two horses that looked far superior on paper finished one-two. They were Champ Pegasus and Bourbon Bay, but with that duo set to run in the $5 million Sheema Classic in Dubai on March 26, Haimish Hy could be the benefactor in Sunday’s Grade II San Luis Rey Stakes for older horses at 1 ½ miles on turf.

“He tried to run with them, and it was first time going a mile and a half,” said Garrett Gomez, who rode the son of Ecton Park in the San Luis Obispo and who retains the mount Sunday. “He actually ran a really good race. If he runs back to that, he’ll be super-tough.”

Trained by Art Sherman, the versatile Haimish Hy won the Grade I Hollywood Derby on grass but has also won on synthetic. He has five wins from 12 career starts, with earnings of $305,980, but has never won on conventional dirt. He was sixth in the Grade II San Fernando Stakes in his only try.

“He’s got a good turn of foot,” continued Gomez, who was aboard for the neck victory in the Hollywood Derby at 11-1. “He should be all right going a mile and a half as long as I get him in some kind of rhythm. He doesn’t have to be at the back, but sometimes that’s just where he’s at. That’s where he ends up placing himself.”

Gomez, who scored the biggest upset in Santa Margarita Invitational history aboard Miss Match ($96.20) last Saturday, was understandably proud to be named Santa Anita’s George Woolf Memorial Jockey Award winner for 2011. He will be honored in a winner’s circle ceremony between races on Sunday.

“It’s great to be standing in the presence of all the great riders who earned the award previously,” the 39-year-old Tucson native said. “I’m glad to have won it.”

Probable for the San Luis Rey, which offers $150,000 in added money: Buenos Dias, Martin Pedroza; Dahoud, Joel Rosario; Haimish Hy, Garrett Gomez; Impotente Purse, Chantal Sutherland; and Romp, Alonso Quinonez.

Dahoud worked four furlongs on Santa Anita’s main track Saturday in :49 flat for Jerry Hollendorfer.

“The horse ran real well last time,” Hollendorfer said. “He was third in New Zealand going a mile and three-eighths, so it looks like he’ll get a mile and a half.”


Chalula One returns to the races Saturday after an absence of nearly a year and a half. Richard Mandella is hoping the 5-year-old Bertrando mare is up to the task in the $100,000 Irish O’Brien Stakes for California-bred fillies and mares at about 6 ½ furlongs on turf.

Chalula One has not run since Sept. 9, 2009, when she finished fourth in the Torrey Pines at Del Mar. In eight previous races, Chalula One was out of the money only once for long-time Mandella clients Ralph and Aury Todd of Santa Ynez.

“It was nothing terrible, just little things, one thing after another,” said the Hall of Fame trainer in explaining the absence. “I’d like to have an easy spot, but they don’t have any easy ones. She’s training well, however.”

The field for the Irish O’Brien, which goes as the fifth race on a 10-race program: West Ruler, Mike Smith; Logical Single, Chantal Sutherland; Chalula One, Victor Espinoza; Park Time Luck, Rafael Bejarano; Strawberry Tart, Joel Rosario; Saanneen, Corey Nakatani; Quisisana, Joe Talamo; La Nez, Martin Pedroza; and Ms. G.I. Jane, Brice Blanc.


Multiple graded stakes winner Caracortado immediate racing schedule was up in the air Thursday as trainer and co-owner of the California-bred gelding mulled Breeders’ Cup possibilities at Churchill Downs this November for the versatile son of Cat Dreams, winner of the Sunshine Millions Turf.

“The Breeders’ Cup contacted me, and I didn’t realize there was a new program,” Machowsky said Thursday morning. “Caracortado is not Breeders’ Cup-eligible, and if you pay $25,000 prior to June 30, he would be eligible. That’s a lot cheaper than it was, and if you win one of the ‘Win and You’re In’ races, they pay your entry fee, which is like $60,000.

“So that opens a whole new door for us, rather than ship around the country or around the world. It’s going to take a week or two to figure out what I’m doing.”

Machowsky noted that a three-quarter brother to Caracortado was born today at Gunston Hall Farm in Lexington, Ky. “He’s a colt by Giants Causeway,” Machowsky said. “We don’t have a name for him yet, but maybe we should call him St. Paddy’s Day.”


All fans attending Santa Anita Saturday will have a chance to “get their Irish up,” as The Great Race Place again stages its popular $1 million St. Patrick’s Horseshoe Pitch between races.

History was made at Santa Anita three years ago when John Placzankis of Rancho Cucamonga tossed a perfect ringer and became the first-ever winner of the $1 million competition, touching off a wild scene that was captured live on HRTV.

All fans attending Saturday will be eligible to sign up for the competition and five lucky finalists will have their entry cards drawn randomly earlier in the day.

“This is one of the most popular promotions we’ve ever had at Santa Anita,” said George Haines, Santa Anita President. “There’s just a great atmosphere and the whole day has a holiday atmosphere. Although tossing a ringer is very difficult, we saw a few years ago that it can be done.”

Fans are encouraged to enter the St. Pat’s Horseshoe contest, free of charge, when they arrive. Entries must be submitted by fifth race post time and a group of 20 prospective contestants will be posted throughout the facility. Further instructions and contest information will be available on designated television monitors.


Santa Anita President George Haines has announced that a portion of Santa Anita’s gate receipts on Saturday, March 26, Tokyo City Cup Day, will be donated by Santa Anita to the Japan Relief Fund to help the country in its latest natural disaster.

Takashi Toriumi from Santa Anita’s Tokyo City Cup partner, US EQUINE, will have volunteers from the Japanese-American Society collecting for the Relief Fund and a new booth will be dedicated specifically for fundraising in the Cultural Events center.


Santa Anita will embark on an expanded five-day race week beginning next 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.”


Karen Denovel could take only so much of the Great White North. When she had her fill of snow and chill, she moved to the sunny clime of Southern California in 1988 where the career horsewoman currently is paddock judge at Santa Anita Park.

Not much time is spent watching Lucy re-runs in the Denovel family. Her husband, Ben, is a security guard at Santa Anita and has worked in and around the jockeys’ room for two decades.

“I started (as paddock judge) Dec. 1 at Hollywood Park,” Karen said. “I’m a career race-tracker. I walked hots for Leroy Jolley as a kid when he had Cure the Blues and Genuine Risk in the 1980s. I trained horses back east for a long time and decided to come to sunny California in 1988.”

It’s been a fruitful move. In addition to taking entries, scheduling appointments for schooling and being responsible for equipment changes on the program, Karen also gives the familiar “riders up” call in the paddock before each race.

“We strive to do that 13 minutes before post time to remain on schedule,” she said. Karen’s husband is a native of California, “but I was raised in Fort Erie, Canada, and eventually got tired of the cold,” she said.

Canada’s loss is California’s gain.

FINISH LINES: Chantal Sutherland’s first-ever trip to Dubai is off. With the defection of Santa Anita Handicap winner Game on Dude from the $10 million World Cup on March 26, it left Sutherland with only Make Music for Me in the Godolphin Mile. “We’re going to stay here,” Sutherland’s agent, Brian Beach, said Thursday morning. “Game on Dude’s not running is part of the reason we decided to stay here. There will be a lot of riders out of town and hopefully we can pick up some nice mounts.” . . . Always a Princess underwent surgery on her left front leg Sunday after she was injured late in the stretch run of Saturday’s Santa Margarita Invitational. “They said the surgery was a success,” said Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert Thursday morning, at which time the 4-year-old filly was at Chino Valley Equine Hospital. “The main concern was whether there would be enough blood supply to the sesamoid area, and there was.” Always a Princess, winner of the El Encino Stakes and the La Caňada Stakes for owner Arnold Zetcher before the career-ending injury, is expected to become a broodmare . . . Atta Boy Roy zipped six furlongs in 1:08 2/5 in a Thursday morning workout at Turf Paradise as he continues to gear up for his scheduled 2011 debut in Santa Anita’s Grade II Potrero Grande Stakes at 6 ½ furlongs on April 3. Winner of the Grade II Churchill Downs Stakes at seven furlongs on the 2010 Kentucky Derby card for trainer Valerie Lund, the Washington-bred Tribunal gelding has not raced since finishing 10th in the Grade I Breeders’ Cup Sprint at Churchill Downs last Nov. 6. Atta Boy Roy has recorded four workouts this year at Turf Paradise. All four have been bullet drills. He worked three furlongs in :35 1/5 on Feb. 5, four furlongs in :45 3/5 on Feb. 14 and four furlongs in a sizzling :44 4/5 prior to his 1:08 2/5 workout Thursday . . . Defenseman Francois Beauchemin of the Anaheim Ducks was a Santa Anita visitor Thursday . . . Sutherland will be Steve Andersen’s guest at Daily Racing Form’s seminar Saturday, 11:15 a.m., in the East Paddock Gardens, weather permitting . . . Syndicated handicapper Bob Ike and Jason Levin of “Inside Racing,” KTLK, 1150 AM Saturdays at 8 a.m., will be Jack Disney’s guests on Sunday’s Fans’ Forum, 11:15 a.m., also in the East Paddock Gardens, weather permitting.