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STABLE NOTES BY ED GOLDEN
• UPSTART ASK THE MOON VS. CHAMP BLIND LUCK IN LADY’S SECRET
• DUBAWI HEIGHTS SHARP FOR YELLOW RIBBON PRESENTED BY EMIRATES AIR
• BAFFERT EYES RECORD SIXTH NORFOLK WIN WITH TALENTED DRILL
WOLFSON HITS THE LOTTERY WITH ASK THE MOON
It may not be Seabiscuit vs. War Admiral, but Ask the Moon vs. Blind Luck offers a similarly contrasting story line.
It unfolds Saturday in the Grade I Lady’s Secret Stakes, when overnight sensation East Coast invader Ask the Moon takes on 2010 three-year-old filly champion Blind Luck in one of four Grade I stakes races at Santa Anita that day.
Five Grade I stakes races with major Breeders’ Cup implications highlight the first weekend: on Saturday, the $250,000 Norfolk Stakes for 2-year-olds at 1 1/16 miles; the $250,000 Goodwood Stakes for 3-year-olds and up at 1 1/8 miles; the $250,000 Yellow Ribbon Stakes presented by Emirates Airline for fillies and mares, 3 years old and up at 1 1/4 miles on turf; and the $250,000 Lady’s Secret Stakes for fillies and mares, 3 years old and up at 1 1/16 miles.
Each of those events is a “Win and You’re In” Challenge Race. The nominated winner will be entitled to automatic entry into the corresponding Breeders’ Cup race at Churchill Downs on Nov. 4 and 5.
The Grade I, $250,000 Oak Leaf Stakes for 2-year-old fillies at 1 1/16 miles on Sunday also is a “Win and You’re In” Challenge Race. The Grade II, $150,000 Clement L. Hirsch Turf Championship for 3-year-olds and up at 1 1/4 miles complements the Oak Leaf on Sunday.
Patience paid off for Marty Wolfson and Farnsworth Stables, who have had Ask the Moon for only the last three of her 32 career races. The 60-year-old trainer and Farnsworth Stables were in the market for a mare by top sire Malibu Moon for some time before they hit the Mother Lode in Ask the Moon.
The 6-year-old Maryland-bred mare was claimed for $75,000 on June 15 at Belmont Park. She ran third in her first race after that, the $60,000 Sky Beauty at Belmont on July 1, then pulled off a shocker by winning the Grade I Ruffian Handicap by nearly six lengths at 18-1 on July 31.
To prove it was no fluke, Ask the Moon came back on Sept. 3 to win the Grade I Personal Ensign by nearly three lengths. Next up: the Lady’s Secret and a showdown with Blind Luck, in what could lead to the $2 million Breeders’ Cup Ladies’ Classic at Churchill Downs on Nov. 4.
“We’d been after a Malibu Moon mare to claim or buy for the last year,” said Wolfson, the son of the late Louis Wolfson, whose Harbor View Farm owned Affirmed, the last Triple Crown winner in 1978. “We’d been waiting for an opportunity and it finally came along.”
Ask the Moon’s forte has always been speed, but since the claim, and unlike some of her other races, she’s been able to carry it to victory in two prestigious stakes.
Ask the Moon has 10 wins, five seconds and seven thirds for earnings of $713,640. “She goes fast and she goes long and keeps going,” Wolfson said. “That’s pretty rare, but it’s a good thing about my mare.”
In 2006, Wolfson earned the most important victory of his career when Miesque’s Approval captured the Breeders’ Cup Mile.
Ask the Moon left for California Sunday from Florida, escaping the Sunshine State just in time to avoid East Coast rains. “I’m glad we got out,” Wolfson said.
Ask the Moon worked four furlongs at Santa Anita Tuesday in :49.40.
The field for the Lady’s Secret, the sixth race on an 11-race card that starts at 1 p.m.: Blind Luck, Garrett Gomez, 124; Champagne d’Oro, Joe Talamo, 119; Ask the Moon, Martin Garcia, 124; Love Theway Youare, Christian Santiago Reyes, 116; Great Hot, Chantal Sutherland, 116; Ultra Blend, David Flores, 124; and Zazu, Joel Rosario, 118.
DUBAWI HEIGHTS ‘IN GREAT FORM’ FOR YELLOW RIBBON
Dubawi Heights, the likely favorite for Saturday’s prestigious Yellow Ribbon Stakes presented by Emirates Airline, has been training forwardly for the race since returning from Arlington Park where she finished second after setting the pace in the Grade I Beverly D on Aug. 13.
“She’s in great form,” said Gordon Storrie, assistant trainer to Simon Callaghan. “She’s exactly where we want her to be, really. She came back from Arlington thriving and now she’s doing really, really well.
“I’m certain the ground will be in her favor, unlike it was in Chicago; it was a bit yielding, so we’re really looking forward to the Yellow Ribbon. The Beverly D was a slow-run race, but because she’s so relaxed, she was in front.
“It doesn’t matter where you put her. She’s got tactical speed . . . she’s very adaptable. She just got left with the lead in the Beverly D.”
Dubawi Heights, a 4-year-old English-bred daughter of Dubawi, had won four straight from just off the pace before the Beverly D, including the Grade I Gamely at Hollywood in May.
The field for the Yellow Ribbon, which goes as the 10th race: Turning Top, David Flores, 119; Cozi Rosie, Garrett Gomez, 121; Dubawi Heights, Joel Rosario, 124; Malibu Pier, Brice Blanc, 121; City to City, Mike Smith, 119; Private Affair, Hector Berrios, 119; Harmonious, Martin Garcia, 121; Cambina, Patrick Valenzuela, 121; and Medaglia d’Amour, Joe Talamo, 119.
BAFFERT KNOWS THE ‘DRILL’ FOR NORFOLK STAKES
Drill, an early favorite for the 2012 Kentucky Derby, drew post position five in a field of six for Saturday’s Norfolk Stakes. Bob Baffert says the Del Mar Futurity winner is doing well for his first race around two turns.
“He’s been working good,” said the Hall of Fame trainer, who has a record five Norfolk wins on his resume. Drill is two for two after finishing eighth following a slow start in his debut on July 30 at Del Mar.
“He didn’t have blinkers on and that might have been the reason,” Baffert said. “We had to school him a lot about five days before that race and he didn’t break that day. He was back there and he never got into it. He was just flat.”
The field for the Norfolk, which is the fifth race: Super Candy, Hector Berrios; Loukas, Patrick Valenzuela; Ruler of Dubai, Mike Smith; Creative Cause, Joel Rosario; Drill, Martin Garcia; and Basmati, Joe Talamo. Each carries 122 pounds.
Sheer Talent, sixth in the Del Mar Futurity after winning his maiden race, was nominated to the Norfolk but is sidelined with “a lingering cough and a slight temperature,” trainer Dan Hendricks said. “We had to back off on him.”
Best Pal winner Creative Cause worked four furlongs at Hollywood Park Wednesday in 48.80 for trainer Mike Harrington.
MANDELLA EYES FIFTH GOODWOOD WIN WITH LONGSHOT PREAMBLE
Richard Mandella seeks his fifth victory in the Goodwood Stakes when he sends out outsider Preamble. The Hall of Fame trainer won the Goodwood with Soul of the Matter, 1995; Pleasantly Perfect in 2002 and 2003; and Rock Hard Ten in 2005.
Preamble, a son of Mr. Greeley, will be running in his first graded stakes. The Spendthrift Farm colt was fourth in the Windy Sands at Del Mar Sept. 3 in his stakes debut.
“He’s doing good,” Mandella said. “I just haven’t figured out why he didn’t run his race at Del Mar. He’s training good and we’ll try ‘em again.”
The field for the Goodwood, which goes as race seven: Acclamation, Patrick Valenzuela, 124; Coil, Martin Garcia, 121; Tres Borrachos, Joel Rosario, 119; Preamble, Victor Espinoza, 119; Golden Itiz, Joe Talamo, 119; Miss Match, Garrett Gomez, 121; Awesome Gem, David Flores, 119; Game on Dude, Chantal Sutherland, 121; and Nijinsky’s Song, Hector Berrios, 116.
SANTA ANITA BENEFIT SUNDAY FOR EYE ON JACOB (DESORMEAUX) FOUNDATION
Sight/Sound/Spirit, a benefit for the Eye on Jacob Foundation, will be held this Sunday, Oct. 2, 7 p.m. to 12 midnight, at the FrontRunner Restaurant at Santa Anita. Special guest speaker will be Dr. William Kimberling, Director of the Center for the study and treatment of Usher Syndrome, Carver School of Medicine at University of Iowa, and Boys Town National research Hospital. Dinner, music, dancing, a silent auction, a live auction and raffle drawings will be offered. Cocktail attire is required. Those wishing to attend can RSVP at EyeOnJacob.org.
Hall of Fame trainer Jack Van Berg will be the auctioneer, while master of ceremonies will be actor John D’Aquino. The raffle prize will be a Salvador Dali woven cotton printed tapestry with a retail value of $25,000.
Hall of Fame jockey Kent Desormeaux’s son, Jacob, is afflicted with Usher Syndrome, a relatively rare genetic disorder that is a leading cause of deafness and blindness. Jacob’s mother, Sonia Desormeaux, will attend the event. She is Board Chair and Founder of the Eye on Jacob Foundation Board.
CARAVA’S DAUGHTERS HONOR GRANDMOTHER WITH CHARITY WORK
Glendora residents Brittany and Megan Carava, daughters of trainer Jack Carava and his wife, Cindy, represented their city while enjoying a day at the Los Angeles County Fair recently.
Brittany, 18, and Megan, 17, volunteer for numerous organizations in their area, including the Girl Scouts, the city’s Rose Parade float, and the Glendora High School service group New Hope Club. Both have been part of the Glendora High School Pep Club. Brittany is attending the University of San Diego, while Megan is completing high school in Glendora.
“They do a lot of charity work,” said the proud father. “They lost their grand mom (Melba) to cancer so the charity work was something they wanted to do in her memory. They went to the Fair and it was kind of fun. It was nice to see them ride around in a car.
“Both are real good kids. Brittany had to come back from college to do it, so she made a real fast round trip. It made them feel special to do it.”
Both girls were the featured in a story and photo in the Sept. 21 San Gabriel Valley Tribune.
FINISH LINES: Martin Pedroza, taking a brief respite after capturing his 13th straight Fairplex Park riding title, all under the guidance of agent Richie Silverstein, and his 14th at the Pomona track overall, rides Frizette winner A Z Warrior for Bob Baffert in Saturday’s Grade II, $200,000 Indiana Oaks at Hoosier Park. “We should have a good meet at Santa Anita, because we finished fifth in the standings at Del Mar and fifth at Santa Anita, but I think we’re going to do more traveling this year than normal,” Silverstein said. “Now that he’s in the limelight, we’re going to try and take advantage of it. He’s taking a few days off before going to Indiana, but when he comes back, we’re coming back full force.” . . . Agent Vince DeGregory reports that jockey Alonso Quinonez is back from Mexico after a two-week sojourn to resolve visa problems and was working horses at Santa Anita Wednesday morning . . . San Felipe winner Premier Pegasus, who was favored to win the Santa Anita Derby before he was sidelined with an 11th-hour injury, is back at Santa Anita preparing for a return to the track. “Doctors say it’s OK for him to begin training, maybe in two more weeks,” said Maria Ayala, assistant to owner/trainer/breeder Myung Kwon Cho . . . California Flag, who worked five furlongs on Santa Anita’s main track Monday in a minute flat, is pointing to the Grade III Morvich Stakes at about 6 ½ furlongs on turf Oct. 10, trainer Brian Koriner said. “He really looked good,” Koriner said . . . Trainer Patrick Biancone is back at Santa Anita with 25 head for the 24-day session . . . Westfield Santa Anita will distribute coupons and giveaways encouraging fans to shop and have dinner at Santa Anita’s neighboring mall after the race. Westfield will have a table near the East Paddock Gardens from 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. on opening day, Friday. Also on site that day, next to the Westfield Santa Anita booth, will be ArcadiaPatch.com, an online community news source . . . The meet’s first Fans’ Forum Sunday features syndicated handicapper and ESPN.com contributor Terry Turrell and son Toby, head clocker and publisher of Winners Card, 11:45 a.m. in the East Paddock Gardens. Jack Disney hosts . . . Steve Andersen and Brad Free of Daily Racing Form will host the historic publication’s first seminar of the meet on Saturday, 11:45 a.m. to 12:15 p.m., in the East Paddock Gardens . . . Santa Anita Park and Bacardi USA have extended their partnership for the Autumn Meet beyond the exclusive naming rights of the Santa Anita winner’s circle as the Grey Goose Winner’s Circle to presenting a bottle of Grey Goose to the winning owner of each race on weekends. Under the partnership, each winning owner at Santa Anita will receive a bottle of Grey Goose. Also, Grey Goose is hosting a Grey Goose Bartenders Seminar at Santa Anita on Columbus Day, Monday, Oct.10, in the FrontRunner Restaurant.