Santa Anita News
STABLE NOTES BY ED GOLDEN
• ROSARIO GOES FOR THE GOLD IN SUNDAY’S SAN LUIS REY
• GOMEZ WORTHY OF WOOLF AWARD, FORMER WINNER STEVENS SAYS
ROSARIO HOPES TO ADD TO MONEY LEAD IN SAN LUIS REY STAKES
Joel Rosario hopes to add to his lead in the national purse earnings race Sunday when he rides Dahoud in the Grade II, $150,000 San Luis Rey Stakes for older horses. The mile and a half race is scheduled to be run on turf.
Through March 17, Rosario’s mounts had earned $3,351,330 compared to runner-up Ramon Dominguez at $3,180,049.
All 10 of Dahoud’s career races have been on the grass, but rain or shine, the 5-year-old New Zealand-bred gelding has a major tactical pace advantage in the San Luis Rey—he is the lone speed in the field of eight.
“A mile and a half is a long race, and you have to get your horse to relax totally the whole way,” Rosario said. “Sometimes they get a little rank and you don’t have enough to finish. Getting the horse to relax and setting slow fractions are important.
“Dahoud is a good horse. I’ve ridden him in each of his three U.S. starts and he’s improved each time. I think he can go to the lead, I think he can come from a little bit off the pace. I think he can do anything.”
The San Luis Rey will be Dahoud’s first stakes start in the U.S. for trainer Jerry Hollendorfer and owner Mrs. S.K. Johnston Jr. of Chattanooga, Tennessee. Hollendorfer assistant Dan Ward said Dahoud would run turf or dirt.
Rosario’s agent Ron Ebanks has the money title as a major goal this year. Rosario, obviously, is in complete accord.
“Every jockey is looking to win the money race,” said Rosario, who at one point was 12 wins behind leader Rafael Bejarano in Santa Anita’s jockey standings, but through Friday, held a 71-69 lead. “I’m grateful that I’ve had the opportunity to get to the top and I hope I stay there.”
The field for the San Luis Rey, which offers $150,000 in purse money: Haimish Hy, Garrett Gomez, 5-2; Romp, Alonso Quinonez, 6-1; Falcon Rock, Brice Blanc, 6-1; Imponente Purse, Chantal Sutherland, 7-2; Buenos Dias, Martin Pedroza, 20-1; Restless Soul, Joe Talamo, 15-1; Juniper Pass, Rafael Bejarano, 6-1; and Dahoud, Joel Rosario, 3-1.
GOMEZ TO RECEIVE WOOLF AWARD AFTER SIXTH RACE SUNDAY
Gary Stevens won scores of awards and trophies in his illustrious Hall of Fame career, but none so cherished as Santa Anita’s George Woolf Memorial Jockey Award he garnered in 1996. Now an analyst for HRTV, Stevens said the 2011 Woolf winner, Garrett Gomez, is a most deserving recipient.
Gomez will receive the Woolf Award in a winner’s circle ceremony after Sunday’s sixth race.
“He’s come back strong from a difficult past to become the leading rider in the country,” Stevens said of the 39-year-old Gomez.
“He’s very well-respected, obviously. It’s the biggest honor you can get since it’s voted by your peers across the nation. I know for me, it was the nicest award I ever received, just for that reason.”
RIDER WHO GALLOPED RACHEL ALEXANDRA MAKES SANTA ANITA DEBUT
Dominic Terry, who galloped 2009 Horse of the Year Rachel Alexandra, makes his Santa Anita debut today when he rides Sipnzin for trainer Vod Farris in the sixth race.
The 25-year-old Baltimore native currently is working mornings for Steve Asmussen’s division at Santa Anita under the direction of assistant Scott Blasi.
“I’ve ridden at Los Alamitos, but this will be my first race at Santa Anita,” Terry said between chores at the Asmussen barn. “I’ve been working with Asmussen on and off for about six years. I’ve ridden first call for him at Evangeline Downs and Sunland Park and places like that. I didn’t ride a race for a year and a half until I came here and started at Los Alamitos, where I won a race the second week I was riding there.”
Terry, who tacks 116 pounds, took off the 18 months to gallop Rachel Alexandra.
Terry’s agent is Jerry Palermo, who has been in racing for 30 years, the same amount of time he’s spent as a bonafide sports fishing captain, which has earned him the nickname “The Fisherman.”
WEDNESDAY RACING, FREE FRIDAYS AT SANTA ANITA NEXT WEEK
Santa Anita will embark on an expanded five-day race week beginning this Wednesday, March 23, and will reinstitute its popular “Free Fridays” promotion beginning Friday, 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.”
FINISH LINES: Saturday’s light rain was the lull before the storm. “We got two one-hundredths of an inch into this morning, and I left the track unsealed,” track superintendent Richard Tedesco said Saturday morning. “But starting this evening between say 5 and 8 o’clock, from what the weather forecasters are telling me, it will start raining and it will rain hard, up to three inches going into Monday.” . . . Victor Espinoza won three races Friday giving him 26 for the meet. “Business is picking up and we’re continuing to work hard,” said Espinoza’s agent, Tony Matos. Espinoza leaves Tuesday for Dubai, where he rides Victor’s Cry for trainer Eoin Harty in the Godolphin Mile next Saturday . . . Chantal Sutherland, who recently announced she will be a regular on the Southern California circuit this year, rides Inglorious for trainer Josie Carroll in Saturday’s Grade II, $500,000 Fair Grounds Oaks at 1 1/16 miles, agent Brian Beach reports . . . Sunshine Millions Turf winner Caracortado worked four furlongs under regular rider Joe Talamo on Santa Anita’s turf course Saturday in :50 flat for Mike Machowsky . . . Clockers’ Corner Handicap winner Unzip Me worked four furlongs on Hollywood Park’s Cushion Track Saturday in :50.40, breezing. “She’s possible for the Las Cienegas (Handicap at about 6 ½ furlongs on turf April 9),” trainer Marty Jones said. Unzip Me won the Clockers’ Corner under 125 pounds . . . Mike Puype says Santa Anita Oaks winner Turbulent Descent is doing “excellent” and is scheduled to have her first work since the March 5 race this week for the Beaumont Stakes at Keeneland on April 17. The Grade II race offers $150,000 in prize money and will be decided at just over seven furlongs.