Santa Anita News
STABLE NOTES BY ED GOLDEN
• SARAH’S SECRET SET FOR COMEBACK IN SUNDAY’S RAMSER
• OCTAVIO VERGARA RECEIVES SANTA ANITA SENDOFF IN STYLE
• TRAINER WINS FIRST RACE OF CAREER WITH 26-1 SHOT
• SISTER MOON DRILLS FOR ANOAKIA; BREEDERS’ CUP HOPEFULS WORK
SARAH’S SECRET RETURNS IN SUNDAY’S GRADE III RAMSER
Sarah’s Secret has recovered from a foot ailment that forced her to miss the Grade I Del Mar Oaks on Aug. 20. Trainer Kathy Walsh has the daughter of Leroidesanimaux set for her return in Sunday’s Grade III Harold C. Ramser Sr. Stakes for 3-year-old fillies at one mile on turf. It will mark her first start in 10 weeks.
“She’s training great,” Walsh said. “Two days before the Oaks she ended up with an abscessed hot foot that ended up being an abscessed foot, so we stopped on her, gave her time off and got it right and she’s training good now.”
Prior to her scheduled Oaks appearance, Sarah’s Secret won the Grade II Honeymoon Handicap on June 11 before finishing sixth after a wide trip in the Grade II San Clemente Handicap on July 24.
With 11 of 12 Ramser nominees entered, Walsh says it’s a very competitive event.
“It’s a tough race,” she said. “It’s a real wide open race, to me.”
Another Ramser entrant returning after an absence is Bauble Queen for Eric Kruljac. The trainer hopes the daughter of Arch gets away well. She has been known to experience tardy starts, which likely cost her when she finished second in the Sandy Blue Handicap at Del Mar last out on Aug. 19.
“We had to give her time off but she came back good,” Kruljac said. “We have high hopes that she’ll move forward a little bit and break well this time. She had a horrible break (in the Sandy Blue). She’s our best chance of having a good horse, so we’re crossing our fingers.”
The field for the Ramser, the eighth of nine races: Bauble Queen, Joe Talamo, 4-1; Sarah’s Secret, Mike Smith, 7-2; Imperialistic Diva, Kerwin John, 20-1; Celestial Kitten, Patrick Valenzuela, 9-2; Going for a Spin, Daniel Vergara, 15-1; Glowing Spirit, Omar Berrio, 15-1; Entrustment, David Flores, 8-1; Tales in Excess, Victor Espinoza, 20-1; Rosehill Dew, Brice Blanc, 15-1; Up In Time, Martin Garcia, 4-1; and Cathy’s Crunches, Chantal Sutherland, 8-1.
FRANCIS MEZA CELEBRATES FIRST-EVER WIN AT SANTA ANITA
It was a miraculous day for Miraculous Baby and her trainer at Santa Anita on Friday.
The 4-year-old filly, 12th and last by 23 ¼ lengths in her debut against maiden allowance horses at Del Mar on Sept. 5, posted a $55.40 upset at the $30,000 maiden claiming level Friday, giving Francis Meza her first-ever victory as a trainer. Miraculous Baby led throughout the 6 ½ furlong race under Kayla Stra, winning by 4 ¼ lengths.
“It feels great,” Meza said after the victory for owners the Three Cent Stable. “It’s the best feeling in the world. The filly was sick at Del Mar, but we knew she could do much better. In the morning, she was working like a champion. We expected a win in this race and we got it.”
Francis comes from a racing background. She walked hots for Hall of Fame trainer Richard Mandella, and her husband, Eduardo, is Senior Chaplain at Santa Anita. Eduardo is the brother of retired jockey Rafael Meza.
“My family was in racing at Caliente and Tijuana,” Francis said. “My brother exercises horses for (trainer) Bob Hess Jr. All my family has a racing background. That’s why I’m so familiar with horses and the race track.”
Added Eduardo: “This is awesome. Francis and I have been married for close to 30 years and we met at the race track.”
Stra’s agent, Richie Silverstein, gave the 26-year-old Aussie kudos for obtaining the mount. “Give all the credit to Kayla,” said Silverstein, who also represents Martin Pedroza. “She works hard and finds all the small trainers to offer her services.”
OCTAVIO VERGARA GOES OUT IN STYLE IN FINAL RIDE
Although he didn’t win, Octavio Vergara went out in style on the last ride of his 40-year career Friday. The Chilean native, who turns 55 on Dec. 3, faced a daunting task aboard Powerofvoodoo, a 7-year-old mare who had a scant two wins from 69 starts going into the $10,000 claiming race. Trained by Barry Abrams, Powerofvoodoo made up ground to finish fourth, a nose in front of fifth place finisher Jana Gail and 6 ½ lengths behind victorious Monica C C in the 1 1/8 mile race.
“I want to thank everybody at Santa Anita, the owners, the trainers, the fans, my wife (Gigi), my daughter (the strikingly beautiful 27-year-old Alessandra, manager of Conrad’s Restaurant in Glendale) and all the fans,” Vergara told HRTV’s Kurt Hoover after the 1 1/8-mile race.
“Your body’s going to tell you when it’s time to stop, but I will keep in shape and continue to exercise horses for Barry. Maybe he’ll make me assistant trainer one day.
“It will make me very sad not to be around the jockeys. I love everybody, but what are you going to do? When the time comes, you gotta do what you gotta do.”
POPULAR BURBANK ROAD KINGS CAR SHOW AT SANTA ANITA SUNDAY
Santa Anita Park’s picturesque infield area will be site of the annual Burbank Road Kings Classic Car Show tomorrow. Hot rods, modifieds, street rods, sports cars, restored classics and muscle cars will all be on display and be complimented by live rock and roll provided by Captain Cardiac and The Coronaries.
Awards will be presented to the owner of cars in all categories, with celebrity and professional judges determining winners.
The Burbank Road Kings Car Show is free to all with paid General Admission. Show hours are from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Kids 17 and under are admitted free when accompanied by an adult. Pony rides, face painting and other family activities will be available throughout the day.
For more info, visit the website, www.burbankroadkings.com, or call (818) 842-KING.
FINISH LINES: Sister Moon, prepping for next Saturday’s $65,000 Anoakia Stakes for 2-year-old fillies at six furlongs, worked six furlongs on Santa Anita’s main track Saturday in a bullet 1:11.60 for John Sadler. The daughter of Dixie Union owned and bred by Jerry and Ann Moss won her maiden race on Aug. 21 by 9 ¼ lengths under Joel Rosario, who was aboard for the drill . . . Breeders’ Cup workers Saturday included Yellow Ribbon winner Dubawi Heights (F&M Turf), four furlongs in :47.60 for Simon Callaghan; unbeaten Oak Leaf winner Weemissfrankie (Juvenile Fillies), four furlongs in :46.60 for Peter Eurton; and Twirling Candy (Classic), six furlongs in 1:14 for John Sadler. At Hollywood Park, Unzip Me (Turf Sprint) worked four furlongs on Cushion Track in :50 flat for Marty Jones . . .Long-time friend and associate Blake Heap, a trainer in his own right, will saddle Cozy Kitten for trainer Wesley Ward in today’s Oak Tree Derby . . . ShowVivor lost 14 contestants Friday, shrinking the list to 68 going into Saturday’s races . . . Agent Tony Matos reports that Garrett Gomez has stakes mounts at Keeneland next week: In Step for Kiaran McLaughlin in the Grade III Pin Oak Valley View on Friday; Mizdirection for Mike Puype in the Grade II Lexus Ravens Run on Saturday; and Cheetah for Christophe Clement in the Rood and Riddle Dowager next Sunday . . . Agent Brian Beach has Chantal Sutherland booked on Great Hot for trainer A.C. Avila in the Ravens Run.