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STABLE NOTES BY ED GOLDEN
• ROSARIO ROLLING TOWARDS SANTA ANITA, MONEY TITLES
• ANDINA SEEKS FIRST STAKES WIN IN SANTA BARBARA
• VICTORY PETE WORKING WELL FOR RETURN IN SAN SIMEON
ROSARIO EYES NATIONAL MONEY CROWN, SANTA ANITA TITLE
Ron Ebanks had one major objective for jockey Joel Rosario this year: win the national purse earnings title. Capturing Santa Anita’s riding championship for the first time would be fine, too, but it was not a priority.
Turns out, Ebanks and Rosario could accomplish both goals. Through Sunday, Rosario was second in money won with $4,007,703, just $6,874 behind Eastern-based leader Ramon Dominguez. With four days remaining in the meet, Rosario led second-place Rafael Bejarano in victories, 88-78. Just a few weeks ago, Bejarano held a 12-win lead over Rosario, who leads Bejarano in stakes wins this meet, 13-12.
Rosario hopes to add to his stakes lead when he rides San Luis Rey runner-up Dahoud for Jerry Hollendorfer in Sunday’s closing day finale, the Grade II, $150,000 San Juan Capistrano Handicap at about 1 ¾ miles on turf.
The 26-year-old native of the Dominican Republic has five Southern California riding titles on his growing resume, but this would be his first at Santa Anita.
“It was a big turnaround in momentum,” Ebanks said. “Fortunately, it looks like we can still get there, even though we’ll be gone for three days (riding out of town today through Saturday), but Bejarano took a three-day suspension, so it kind of evened things out. He’d have to be very lucky to beat us. It’s not impossible, but it’s not probable.
“We’ve got a decent card to come back to on Sunday, but we’ve got some really great mounts out of town Thursday, Friday and Saturday, and that’s exciting.”
The field for the San Juan: Quindici Man, Martin Pedroza, 117; Haimish Hy, Mike Smith, 119; Dahoud, Joel Rosario, 115; Power Series, Joe Talamo, 112; Interpretation, Alex Jimenez, 111; Imponente Purse, Chantal Sutherland, 116; Romp, Alonso Quinonez, 114; Celtic New Year, Victor Espinoza, 113; Falcon Rock, Brice Blanc, 114; and Juniper Pass, Rafael Bejarano, 118.
STIFF TEST FOR ANDINA IN SANTA BARBARA HANDICAP
Andina has been a gem of consistency since arriving from Europe two years ago. The Irish-bred filly has never been worse than fourth in 10 starts, but gets her sternest class test Saturday in the Grade II, $150,000 Santa Barbara Handicap for older fillies and mares at a mile and a quarter on turf.
Andina, a 4-year-old daughter of 1996 Dubai World Cup winner Singspiel, worked six furlongs on Santa Anita’s firm turf course Sunday in a bullet 1:13.
“She’s very easy to train, very straightforward,” Ben Cecil said of the chestnut owned by Arnold Zetcher. “This is another step up for her, but she’s doing well and there’s really nowhere else to run her.
“I think pedigree-wise, she certainly should handle the mile and a quarter fine. Singspiel won the World Cup (on dirt) and the Canadian International at a mile and a half on the grass (in 1996). He’s a pretty solid sire.”
The field for the Santa Barbara, the ninth of 10 races: Cozi Rosie, Mike Smith, 121; Malibu Pier, Brice Blanc, 119; Calle Vista, Martin Pedroza, 116; Andina, Victor Espinoza, 115; Restless Soul, Alonso Quinonez, 114; and Turning Top, Rafael Bejarano, 118.
SUTHERLAND REUNITES WITH VICTORY PETE SATURDAY
Chantal Sutherland is hopeful Victory Pete runs to his works in Saturday’s Grade III, $100,000 San Simeon Handicap at about 6 ½ furlongs on turf.
“He’s been working good,” said Sutherland, who rode the 6-year-old Five Star Day horse for trainer Alexis Barba just once previously, finishing third by a length and a quarter at 31-1 in the Grade II Strub Stakes in February of 2009.
The San Simeon will be Victory Pete’s first start since last June 6. He has a 3-0-4 record from 16 starts, including two wins on turf, but has never raced on Santa Anita’s unique downhill grass course. He worked six furlongs on Hollywood Park’s Cushion Track April 5 in a bullet 1:12 1/5.
The field for the San Simeon, which goes as the third race: Supreme Summit, Rafael Bejarano, 118; Camp Victory, Joe Talamo, 114; Regally Ready, Mike Smith, 120; Gallant Son, Victor Espinoza, 116; Victory Pete, Sutherland, 116; and Compari, Alonso Quinonez, 119.
FINAL ‘FREE FRIDAY’ AT SANTA ANITA TOMORROW
Santa Anita offers the last of its “Free Fridays” this meet tomorrow. All patrons will receive free General Admission.
In addition, Santa Anita will offer $2 beers, soft drinks and hot dogs and free box seats as available.
FINISH LINES: Agent Craig O’Bryan reports that David Flores rides Santa Anita Handicap winner Game on Dude for Bob Baffert in the $1 million Charles Town Classic on Saturday and Santa Anita Oaks winner Turbulent Descent for Mike Puype Sunday in the Grade II, $150,000 Beaumont at Keeneland at seven furlongs and 184 feet . . . Maria Ayala, assistant to Myung Kwon Cho, said Premier Pegasus is doing well since surgery on his left front cannon bone last weekend. “Doctors say it will be two months before the screw is removed,” she said. “After that, X-rays will be taken for further evaluation.” . . . Jockey Danny Sorenson was a Clockers’ Corner visitor Thursday morning . . . Angel Felix makes his Santa Anita debut aboard Derby Memo for trainer Mike Pender in today’s eighth race. The 40-year-old native of St. Croix in the Virgin Islands is represented by agent Jerry “The Fisherman” Palermo . . . Last year’s 3-year-old filly champion Blind Luck was not entered in Friday’s Apple Blossom at Oaklawn Park in favor of the Grade II, $300,000 La Troienne at 1 1/16 miles at Churchill Downs on May 6. Garrett Gomez rides. “She’s scheduled to work Saturday at Hollywood Park,” Jerry Hollendorfer assistant Dan Ward said. “She’s doing terrific.” . . . Highlighted by Flightofalifetime's impressive maiden win Saturday at Santa Anita, Summit Racing LLC is off to a very fast opening quarter in 2011. The racing syndicate wrapped up its Santa Anita stand with two wins, four seconds and two thirds, while managing top-five finishes with 11 of there 12 starters at the meet. “Our runners made a healthy $108,360 collectively, for average per-start earnings of $9,030,” points out Summit partner and syndicated handicapper Bob Ike . . . Javier L. Gonzalez, Commissioner of the Santa Anita Soccer League, reports that Tuesday’s championship game between Team “Los Vatos” of Santa Anita, sponsored by jockey David Flores and Veterinarian Scott Meyer, won over Team “Garcia” from Hollywood Park, 2-1. After falling behind 1-0 in the first half, Martin Galvan Jr. (parking lot attendant) scored a goal and assisted in another goal by Noe Loa of trainer John Shirreffs’ barn to win the 2011 Soccer Championship game for team Los Vatos. The League is sponsored through the generous support of the California Thoroughbred Trainers. The first and second-place teams were awarded team and individual championship trophies . . . Before pulling up stakes from his successful run at Santa Anita this meet, Steve Asmussen asked who did the track’s morning line program odds. Told it was Jon White, the Eclipse Award-winning trainer heaped the ultimate in unsolicited praise by saying, “It’s the best morning line I’ve ever seen.” . . . White and Ike square off in Sunday’s Fans’ Forum finale with Jack Disney moderating, 11:15 a.m. in the East Paddock Gardens . . . Comedian Paul Rodriguez, a major racing aficionado, was a Santa Anita visitor Sunday. When Ed Golden stopped to tell him he was a long-time fan, Rodriguez was taken aback, but then breathed a sigh of relief. “I thought you wanted to borrow money,” he said.