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STABLE NOTES BY ED GOLDEN
• MACHOWSKY’S CARACORTADO HAS QUICK WORK FOR DAYTONA STAKES
• SADLER OPTIMISTIC ABOUT FUTURE OF RACING
• CASSIDY HOPES DISTANCE HELPS FIRST COMMANDMENT
• HIERRO IN SMART WORK FOR SHAM STAKES
BEJARANO RIDES CARACORTADO IN DAYTONA STAKES
Caracortado worked five furlongs under Zoe Cadman on Santa Anita’s fast main track Sunday in a bullet 57.80 for next Sunday’s Grade III, $100,000 Daytona Stakes for older horses at about 6 ½ furlongs on turf. It was the fastest of 37 drills at the distance, for which the average time was 1:00.91.
When Caracortado does run, he’ll have a new rider: Rafael Bejarano. Joe Talamo had ridden the California-bred son of Cat Dreams in his last 10 races, winning the Sunshine Millions Turf on Jan. 29 last year and the Grade II Del Mar Mile last August 27.
As for the workout, trainer Mike Machowsky said it was a tad faster than planned. “It was a little quicker than I wanted, but he went nice and easy,” Machowsky said. “He was bouncing. He had a good three-quarters last week so I just went five-eighths today.”
Advised that the prospective field could include a Breeders’ Cup winner, Regally Ready; downhill specialist Mr Gruff; and Calimonco, a consistent son of Storm Cat, Machowsky said, “That’s fine. Bring ‘em on.”
Probable for the Daytona: Calimonco, Mike Smith; Caracortado, Rafael Bejarano; Mr Gruff, Joel Rosario; and Regally Ready, Corey Nakatani.
Regally Ready worked five furlongs on Santa Anita’s fast main track Sunday in 1:02.20 under the direction of Steve Asmussen assistant Scott Blasi. Mr Gruff worked six furlongs Saturday on Hollywood Park’s Cushion Track in 1:12.80 for Ron Ellis.
TALL ORDER FOR FIRST COMMANDMENT IN HOLIDAY FEATURE MONDAY
Fifth Commandment is tackling a Win Machine in Unzip Me on Monday in the Grade III, $100,000 Monrovia Stakes, but trainer Jim Cassidy is hoping the shorter distance will improve the performance of his charge, First Commandment, in the race for older fillies and mares at about 6 ½ furlongs on the turf.
The Irish-bred daughter of Holy Roman finished third in the Manhattan Beach at six furlongs on turf at Hollywood Park in her U.S. debut last June, then finished eighth and fourth in two one-mile stakes after the Manhattan.
“She got eliminated in that race,” Cassidy said of the Manhattan Beach. “She got bumped, and in the other two, they were too far. She just wants to sprint, but those races were all I had to run her in. She doesn’t want to run much further than 6 ½, so this race should suit her better.”
First Commandment is owned by Martin Kistler of Santa Monica, who races as Fontana Racing.
The field for the Monrovia: Mizdirection, Garrett Gomez, 9-2; Givine, Joel Rosario, 5-1; Up In Time, Martin Garcia, 8-1; Wild Mia, David Flores, 15-1 ; Remit, Corey Nakatani, 20-1; Champagne d’Oro, Joe Talamo, 12-1; Berg Bahn, Victor Espinoza, 20-1; Fifth Commandment, Mike Smith, 20-1; Separate Forest, Hector Berrios, 10-1; Unzip Me, Rafael Bejarano, 6-5; and Silver Rock, Edwin Maldonado-Alicea, 30-1.
HIERRO PREPS FOR NEXT SATURDAY’S SHAM STAKES
Hierro, a highly regarded son of Hard Spun who is scheduled to make his 3-year-old debut in Saturday’s Grade III Sham Stakes at one mile, worked four furlongs on Santa Anita’s fast main track Sunday in 47.60, breezing, for trainer Steve Asmussen.
Hierro, owned by Stonestreet Stables, broke his maiden last out at Churchill Downs by 5 ¼ lengths, winning “as rider pleased,” according to the Daily Racing Form’s comment line.
Probable for the $100,000 Sham, an important steppingstone to the Grade I, $750,000 Santa Anita Derby on April 7: Baby Blake, Handsome Mike, Hierro, Hodge, Holy Candy, Longview Drive, Out of Bounds and Secret Circle.
NEW YEAR BRINGS NEW HOPE FOR RACING, SADLER SAYS
As the New Year dawned Sunday, John Sadler took a moment to express optimism for racing in 2012. The 55-year-old Long Beach native, a fixture on the Southern California circuit for more than 30 years, has been active in promoting and supporting horsemen’s causes in recent years.
“Hopefully, as this economy comes out of a recession, we’re looking forward to a really good year of racing,” said Santa Anita’s training king in 2008-09 and 2009-10.
“I think we made positive steps last year with a lot of good things happening, the purses going up, and I think we just have to keep moving forward. Hopefully, everybody will pull together and do their part.”
RECORD 5,854 PLAYERS JOIN SANTA ANITA’S SHOWVIVOR CONTEST
Santa Anita’s popular on-line handicapping contest, ShowVivor, got underway again Sunday with a ShowVivor record 5,854 players choosing to participate by Sunday’s 12:15 p.m. deadline.
ShowVivor requires fans to select one horse each racing day that finishes no worse than third. It’s easy to play and free to enter.
The contest features $5,000 in prize money, with a $3,000 cash award going to the top finisher along with two complimentary nights at Treasure Island, Las Vegas. Prizes will also be awarded to the first runner up ($1,500) and the second runner up ($500).
ShowVivor participation is free of charge. 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.
FINISH LINES: Santa Anita Handicap winner and Breeders’ Cup Classic runner-up Game on Dude worked four furlongs on Santa Anita’s fast main track Sunday in 48.20 under Martin Garcia. “We’ll look at the San Antonio (Stakes on Feb. 5) and after that either the Big ’Cap or the Dubai World Cup,” Bob Baffert said. “We’ll see what the weights are for the Handicap.”… Kentucky Oaks winner Plum Pretty went three furlongs for Baffert with Garcia up in 35.80 . . . On the dazzling 3 ½-length maiden victory Saturday by first-time starter Princess Arabella, Baffert said, “I knew she was capable of that. She was off slow, but at the half-mile, I thought she would win from there.” The just-turned 3-year-old daughter of Any Given Saturday is owned by John Fort of Camden, S.C., who races as Peachtree Stable. . . Less than 24 hours after disappointing as the 1-2 favorite in Saturday’s Grade I La Brea Stakes, Turbulent Descent appeared none the worse for wear, but trainer Mike Puype plans to “check her out further in the next day or two and we’ll know more.” . . . Edwin Maldonado-Alicea, who rode Chop House George to a nose victory at 34-1 in Friday’s sixth race triggering a $2 Pick 6 payoff of $76,240.40 to one winner on a $144 ticket bought through a wagering hub in Montreal, came back Sunday to pilot former stakes winner Matto Mondo to a half-length triumph at 6-1 in a stretch-long duel with Stoneside. Matto Mondo won the Grade III Thunder Road Handicap when trained by Richard Mandella in 2009, but is now conditioned by Doug O’Neill, who claimed the Chilean-bred gelding for $62,000 on Sept. 30. The 29-year-old Maldonado-Alicea, a native of Puerto Rico, is represented by agent Vic Lipton . . . When Tiabelle came from next to last in a field of 11 to win Saturday’s first race by 1 ¼ lengths under Joel Rosario for trainer Sean McCarthy, it gave HRTV’s Peter Lurie (as in Murray) his first homebred winner. It was the dam Tialinga’s first foal. “Including this win, I have 61 as an owner (he runs as Black Diamond Racing, LLC), but my heart was pounding before this race,” Lurie said. “I felt like I won the Kentucky Derby. For my partners and I, it was a very special New Year’s present. We’ve got a real nice 2-year-old colt by McCann’s Mojave, out of Tialinga, so we’ve got a lot to look forward to.”. . . There will be special holiday racing tomorrow, bargain day at the concession stands, where Santa Anita will offer $2 beers, hot dogs and soft drinks.