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STABLE NOTES BY ED GOLDEN
• PEDROZA ON A ROLL FOR GRADE III TOKYO CITY CUP
• CAL-BRED OFFLEE WILD BOYS EYES SANTA ANITA DERBY
• GARRETT GOMEZ HIRES TONY MATOS AS NEW AGENT
PEDROZA ‘WORTH’ A LOOK IN TOKYO CITY CUP
Don’t look now, but Martin Pedroza is having a heckuva meet. The 45-year-old native of Panama was fifth in Santa Anita’s jockey standings through Thursday with 34 victories.
“I’m having a fantastic meet,” Pedroza said unequivocally. “I’m very happy. I couldn’t be happier.”
Pedroza was even happier after he captured Santa Anita’s first race of the meet for 2-year-olds at two furlongs Thursday on Musical Miracle for trainer Walther Solis, and hopes to be happier still after he rides Worth Repeating in Saturday’s Grade III, $100,000 Tokyo City Cup for older horses at a mile and a half.
“He’s got speed so he’ll probably be on the lead or close to it,” Pedroza said of the 5-year-old Giant’s Causeway horse trained by Richard Mandella for Spendthrift Farm.
Pedroza’s only previous ride on Worth Repeating came in the Grade II Del Mar Handicap last Aug. 29 when he finished third by a length and a half to San Luis Obispo Stakes winner Champ Pegasus, after leading into the stretch in the mile and three-eighths turf race. “They went fast that day,” Pedroza recalled. “They went in :46 and three, 1:10 and 1:34 and one. That was fast . . . but he relaxed pretty good. I think he can definitely win on Saturday.”
The Tokyo City Cup is held in honor of the friendship agreement between Tokyo City Keiba and Santa Anita Park. Saturday, the entire family can enjoy cultural exhibits and performances at Japan Family Day, including Kado, Karate, Koto, Origami, Shinkendo, Shodo, Taiko and tea ceremony performances.
The field for the Tokyo City Cup: Honour the Deputy, Corey Nakatani, 5-2; Worth Repeating, Martin Pedroza, 6-1; Rendezvous, Brice Blanc, 5-1; Soul Candy, Joe Talamo, 2-1; Arcodoro, Edwin Maldonado-Alicea, 8-1; and Spurrier, Martin Garcia, 3-1.
Each horse is assigned 118 pounds.
SANTA ANITA DONATES TO JAPAN RELIEF FUND SATURDAYSanta Anita President George Haines has announced that a portion of Santa Anita’s gate receipts tomorrow, 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 booth will be dedicated specifically for fundraising in the Cultural Events center.
OFFLEE WILD BOYS JOINS SANTA ANITA DERBY PROBABLES
Add a new shooter to the list of probable starters for the Grade I, $1 million Santa Anita Derby on April 9. That would be Offlee Wild Boys, winner of his last two starts at Golden Gate Fields in the Bay Area.
“He’s doing fine or we wouldn’t be entertaining running in a race like that,” said trainer Steve Miyadi. “Obviously, he’ll have to run better than he has to compete well against these kinds of horses, but when we saw Jaycito defect to run in the Wood (Memorial), that was one of the reasons we decided to consider the Santa Anita Derby.”
Offlee Wild Boys, a California-bred gelding by Offlee Wild, ran in two ungraded stakes at Del Mar last summer but has never won one. He has a 4-1-0 record from 12 starts for owners Gary Barber, Roger Birnbaum and Kevin Tsujihara.
Probable for the Santa Anita Derby at 1 1/8 miles: Anthony’s Cross, Comma to the Top, Indian Winter, Mr. Commons, Offlee Wild Boys, Premier Pegasus and Silver Medallion.
GOMEZ, NEW AGENT MATOS SET SIGHTS ON THE FUTURE
Garrett Gomez was looking forward to the future Friday after hiring Tony Matos as his agent. The two-time Eclipse Award-winning jockey parted company with Ron Anderson Tuesday after a five-year run during which Gomez led the nation in purse earnings four straight years until 2010, when he finished second.
“I got in touch with Tony because he’s been in this position before and he seemed like the right kind of guy for the job,” said the 39-year-old Gomez, whose desire to be near his family in Southern California was a major reason for the split with Anderson, an “East Coast guy” who wanted to be closer to Eastern stables.
“I wanted to keep my options open and see who was available and willing before making a decision,” Gomez said.
Matos, who has represented Victor Espinoza for 13 years, will continue as agent for the 38-year-old Espinoza. Matos will help find a new agent for Christian Santiago Reyes, a rider he had been representing.
“Victor has never interfered with me taking another rider while representing him,” Matos said. “It’s not going to hurt his business.” Through Thursday, Gomez was sixth in the Santa Anita standings with 32 wins. Espinoza was seventh with 29.
“It just happened,” Matos said in explaining how he hooked up with Gomez. “I’m very fortunate to have two great riders and I’ll do the best I can for each of them. I’ve worked all over the country in my 45 years as an agent—Kentucky, Chicago, New York and Arkansas and I’m very excited about this opportunity. It was one that I couldn’t pass up.”
Matos, 66, represented riders who have won the Kentucky Derby six times: Angel Cordero for 10 years, during which he won the Derby on Cannonade and Bold Forbes; Laffit Pincay Jr. for 10 years, during which he won the Derby on Swale; Kent Desormeaux during his Derby-winning years on Real Quiet and Fusaichi Pegasus; and Espinoza, who won the Derby in 2002 on War Emblem.
Other top riders Matos has represented include Chris Antley, Rene Douglas, Corey Nakatani, Gary Stevens and Patrick Valenzuela.
ADVANCE WAGERING TODAY ON SATURDAY’S DUBAI RACES
Advance wagering on Saturday’s Dubai World Cup and its undercard will be offered at Santa Anita today.
The following races will be available for advance wagering: Race #2 – Al Quoz Sprint, Race #3; Godolphin Mile; Race #4, UAE Derby; Race #5, Dubai Golden Shaheen; Race #6, Dubai Duty Free; Race #7, Dubai Sheema Classic; Race #8, the Dubai World Cup. The races will be carded as Special Event #6, Races #2 - #8.
To place an advance wager at a teller window, ask for the Dubai card and the race number you wish to wager on, the wager amount, and horse number(s).
At a self-service window, select DUBAI CARD, the race you wish to wager on: Races #2 - #8, then select the appropriate wagering pool, then enter the wager amount, and horse number(s).
If using bet slips to place an advance wager, mark the bet slip Special Event #6, Races #2 - #8, then enter the appropriate wagering pool, the wager amount, and horse number(s).
CAL-RODS 5TH ANNUAL CAR SHOW AT SANTA ANITA SUNDAY
Street Rods, Classics, Customs and Corvettes will be the order of the day at Santa Anita Sunday as the track showcases Cal-Rods 5th annual Car Show in its spacious infield.
“We’re looking for the biggest Santa Anita car show ever,” said John Niedzwiedz of Santa Anita’s marketing department. “We have more than 500 pre-entries.”
The event is hosted by Cal-Rods San Gabriel Valley. For more information, call 909 616-0300.
POPULAR ‘UNCORKED’ WINE AND CULINARY FESTIVAL AT SANTA ANITA SUNDAY
Santa Anita Park will present its fourth annual “Santa Anita Uncorked” wine and culinary festival in the track’s paddock gardens area on Sunday. The “Uncorked” event features fine wines, cuisine sampling from popular local restaurants, a paddock art show and a full day of world-class racing.
“Santa Anita Uncorked” will again be sponsored by the Wine of the Month Club, which is based in nearby Monrovia.
“This event has grown each year and we expect it to be even bigger this year,” said Santa Anita Vice President of Marketing Allen Gutterman. “Our Paddock Gardens area is a perfect location for an event of this kind and we’ve found that horse racing is a perfect compliment to it. We’ve gotten tremendous response from a number of local restaurants and we expect to have several new wineries joining those who have participated in the past.”
“Santa Anita Uncorked” packages will include: parking, Club House admission with a grandstand seat, daily race program, wine tasting, cuisine sampling, art exhibit and a souvenir wine glass.
Tickets for admission, parking, program and restricted area wrist band are available for $60 each and can be purchased at the Santa Anita ticket office, or by phone at (626) 574-RACE. Tickets can also be purchased on-line at www.santaanita.com.
Proceeds from “Santa Anita Uncorked” will go to benefit Arcadia High School student programs and CARMA.
FREE TOC SEMINAR APRIL 2 AT SANTA ANITAOn Saturday, April 2, the Thoroughbred Owners of California (TOC) are offering a free seminar, “Derby Fever!” – an introductory course designed to explain the basics of racehorse ownership, beginning at 8:30 a.m.
A panel of leading owners and other industry professionals will share their experiences with regard to acquiring a racehorse, choosing a trainer and costs of ownership. They will also offer insights into one of the most exciting aspects of ownership--the thrill of having a horse on the Derby Trail. Speakers will include Kentucky Derby-winning owner Mike Pegram and trainer Dave Hofmans.
One of California’s most successful owners, Pegram won the Kentucky Derby in 1998 with Real Quiet. His well-known colors were also carried to post in the Run for the Roses last year by 3-year-old champion Lookin at Lucky. Other top Pegram horses include Captain Steve (Dubai World Cup), Midnight Lute (Breeders’ Cup Sprint twice), and Silverbulletday (Kentucky Oaks).
Hofmans trained Millennium Wind through the 2001 Derby Trail. His campaign included wins in the Toyota Bluegrass Stakes at Keeneland and the Santa Catalina Stakes at Santa Anita. He also trained 2011 Derby hopeful JP’s Gusto to a successful 2-year-old campaign, winning four stakes, including the Del Mar Futurity. Other leading charges have included Adoration, Breeders’ Cup Classic winner Alphabet Soup, Awesome Again, Balance and Desert Code.
The seminar will take place at the Top O’ The Stretch just past Clockers’ Corner. Santa Anita is located at 285 W. Huntington Dr, Arcadia, CA 91007. Although it is free and open to the public, reservations are recommended and can be made by calling TOC at (800) 994-9909 or visiting www.toconline.com.
FINISH LINES: Track superintendent Richard Tedesco said three-quarters of an inch of rain hit Santa Anita from yesterday into late Friday morning, for a total of 23 inches this meet, surpassing last meet’s figure of 21 inches . . . Bob Giambrone, better-known in the gaming world as “Bettor Bob” and known, too, for his theories on beating the odds, suffered a mild heart attack this morning and is resting comfortably in a Las Vegas hospital. Giambrone is a regular co-host on the Roger Stein Show, heard weekend mornings from 8 a.m. to 9 a.m. on AM 830, KLAA. . . Jockey Martin Pedroza is scheduled to be Steve Andersen’s guest at Saturday’s Daily Racing Form seminar, 11:15 a.m., in the East Paddock Gardens.