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STABLE NOTES BY ED GOLDEN
• SQUARE EDDIE WORKS FOR NEXT SATURDAY’S ANCIENT TITLE
• STRETCH RUNNER HOPES TO GET HIRSCH ‘PURSE’ MONEY
• SHOWVIVOR RETURNS TODAY AT SANTA ANITA
SQUARE EDDIE TACKLES THE FACTOR IN GRADE I ANCIENT TITLE
J. Paul Reddam’s Square Eddie, winner of the Grade I Breeders’ Futurity as a 2-year-old in 2008, worked six furlongs on Santa Anita’s main track Saturday in a bullet 1:11.20 for next Saturday’s Grade I Ancient Title Stakes at six furlongs.
Patrick Valenzuela, who was aboard for the drill, has the mount in the Ancient Title, trainer Doug O’Neill said.
Square Eddie, a 5-year-old Smart Strike horse, was seventh, beaten only four lengths, in the six-furlong Pirates Bounty at Del Mar last out on Sept. 7. It was his first race in six months and O’Neill expects the chestnut to move forward off that effort.
Santa Anita’s track record holder for six furlongs (1:06.98 on Dec. 27, 2010) The Factor looms an odds-on favorite in the Ancient Title. The gray son of War Front is a winner of four of six starts including the Grade I Pat O’Brien at Del Mar on Aug. 28.
Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert said the lightning-quick colt is scheduled to have his final major breeze for the race on Monday.
Probable for the Ancient Title: Amazombie, Mike Smith; Mensa Heat, Joe Talamo; Square Eddie, Patrick Valenzuela; and The Factor, Martin Garcia.
AVILA NEEDS PACE FOR IMPONENTE PURSE IN SUNDAY’S HIRSCH
A.C. Avila got what he asked for in Sunday’s Grade II Clement L. Hirsch Turf Championship: pace. Problem is, it comes in the form of committed front-runner Acclamation, who will be seeking his fifth straight stakes victory, three of them Grade I’s, and on paper is the lone speed in the mile and a quarter race.
Also entered in today’s Goodwood Stakes on the main track, Acclamation was scratched from that race late Friday afternoon.
Avila trains Imponente Purse, a Brazilian-bred gelding that comes from well off the pace. The bay son of Public Purse won the Grade III Sunset Handicap July 17 going a mile and a half for his lone stakes triumph in 15 starts.
“He’s training super and he’s in good shape,” Avila said. “He’s a horse that always tries. All I need in this race is some pace.”
Richard Mandella, meanwhile, is hoping for improvement from Champ Pegasus, who was fifth in the Grade II Del Mar Mile on grass last out on Aug. 27.
The Hall of Fame trainer analyzed the disappointing performance succinctly: “It didn’t go as well as expected,” he said.
The field for the Hirsch, which goes as the fourth of nine races: Ashtar, Hector Berrios, 121, 15-1; Imponente Purse, Chantal Sutherland, 119, 9-2; Champ Pegasus, Garrett Gomez, 121, 5-2; Dynamic Host, David Flores, 119, 30-1; Buenos Dias, Brice Blanc, 119, 15-1; Acclamation, Patrick Valenzuela, 124, 4-5; and Make Music for Me, Jose Valdivia Jr., 119, 8-1. Dreamy Kid was scratched.
MTV HOST DYRDEK AT SANTA ANITA TO SEE HIS HORSES RUN THIS WEEKEND
Rob Dyrdek, who hosts “Ridiculousness,” “Rob and Big,” “Rob Dyrdek’s Fantasy Factory” and other shows on MTV, counts more than 3.3 million “Likes” on FaceBook and more than 1.9 million followers on Twitter, is expected to attend Santa Anita today and Sunday to see horses which he owns a share of run.
Dyrdek owns a share of Mega Heat, 8-1 morning line chance in today’s eighth race, and Weemissfrankie, who runs in Sunday’s Oak Leaf Stakes.
Weemissfrankie won the Grade I Del Mar Debutante on Sept. 3. The daughter of Sunriver trained by Peter Eurton is unbeaten in two starts.
The Oak Leaf field, which goes as the eighth race: Silent Saga, Victor Espinoza, 9-2; Self Preservation, Patrick Valenzuela, 4-1; Killer Graces, Joe Talamo, 15-1; Candrea, Martin Garcia, 4-1; My Gi Gi, Chantal Sutherland, 15-1; Wild Truffles, Alonso Quinonez, 30-1; Regal Betty, Joel Rosario, 20-1; Weemissfrankie, Rafael Bejarano, 5-2; Dreamcaster, Martin Pedroza, 8-1; and Charm the Maker, Garrett Gomez, 8-1.
Each carries 122 pounds.
BENEFIT AT SANTA ANITA FOR EYE ON JACOB (DESORMEAUX) FOUNDATION
Sight/Sound/Spirit, a benefit for the Eye on Jacob Foundation, will be held tomorrow night, 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.
POPULAR SHOWVIVOR STARTS FREE TODAY AT SANTA ANITA
Santa Anita’s popular on-line handicapping contest, ShowVivor, will be available free of charge to all fans beginning today and throughout Santa Anita’s 24-day meet.
The contest offers $5,000 in prize money, with $3,000 going to the top finisher. Prizes will also be awarded to the first runner-up ($1,500) and the second runner-up ($500). Contestants are required to select one horse per day to finish first, second or third in a race of the player’s choice. If a selection finishes lower than third, that player is eliminated. All selections must be registered on-line no later than 10 minutes before first post time at Santa Anita, which will be 1 p.m. most race days.
“We first launched this contest back in 2007,” said Santa Anita Vice President of Marketing, Allen Gutterman. “I think initially, a lot of people thought, ‘Hey, this is going to be easy,’ but I think anyone who has played realizes it’s a very difficult contest to win and if you do, you really are a ‘ShowVivor.’ “We’re happy to be able to once again offer it and ShowVivor has proven to be a great way for us to stay in touch with people on a daily basis throughout the country. We expected to have about 6,000 people signed up to play by opening day.”
Fans are encouraged to register for ShowVivor as soon as possible at www.santaanita.com. In order to participate, players must be registered by 12:45 p.m. today.
FINISH LINES: Agent Brad Pegram reports that Hall of Fame jockey Mike Smith rides Oceanside winner Mr. Commons for trainer John Shirreffs in next Sunday’s Grade II Oak Tree Mile on turf. Calimonco also is ticketed for the race with Victor Espinoza riding for John Sadler. Mr. Commons worked six furlongs Saturday on Hollywood’s Cushion Track in a bullet 1:11.80 . . . Venomous, trained by Tony Clout for owner Mrs. Magalen Bryant, is scheduled to arrive from France Oct. 7 for the Grade II Oak Tree Derby on Oct. 15. The colt will go to the barn of Leonard Powell and will stay with the trainer after the Derby . . . While Friday's opening-day card had many big fields, the horse installed as the favorite on Jon White's morning line started as the favorite in all nine races. There were three winning favorites . . . 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.