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STABLE NOTES BY ED GOLDEN
• LONGVIEW DRIVE TRIES NEW VENUE IN SANTA ANITA’S SHAM STAKES
• CALIMONCO TAKES ON ‘TOUGH FIELD’ NEXT SUNDAY IN DAYTONA
• BIG ‘CAP WINNER GAME ON DUDE ECLIPSE WORTHY, BAFFERT SAYS
LONGVIEW DRIVE MAKES SANTA ANITA DEBUT IN SHAM STAKES
In a figurative sense, Longview Drive is like a rolling stone. The 3-year-old son of Pulpit gathers no moss, at least not in his first five races. Each has been at a different race track, and the chestnut colt trained by Jerry Hollendorfer will continue on that path Saturday when he runs at Santa Anita in the Grade III, $100,000 Sham Stakes for 3-year-olds at one mile.
“He’s kind of a lazy work horse,” said Hollendorfer assistant Dan Ward after Longview Drive worked six furlongs over Santa Anita’s fast main track Monday in 1:12.60.
Longview Drive was second at Golden Gate Fields in his debut last June 11, won by five lengths at Pleasanton on June 26, won by 5 ½ at Santa Rosa on Aug. 14, won by 1 ¼ lengths at Fresno on Oct. 16, and was third in the Grade III Delta Jackpot at Delta Downs on Nov. 19 under Joel Rosario, who retains the mount in the Sham.
“It’s a bull ring,” Ward pointed out of the six furlong track in Louisiana. “You can’t expect to start the race in eighth place and pass the whole field in a short stretch. What surprised me was that he was back so far, because he’s been up close in his other races. He ran good, considering.”
Added Hollendorfer: “We wanted to keep him on dirt. That’s why he’s here.”
Hollendorfer, who was inducted into racing’s Hall of Fame this past August, is one of only five trainers in history with more than 6,000 career victories--an achievement that didn’t come by accident.
“Years ago I saw him winning all those races in Northern California,” said Santa Anita clocker Tom Mitchell, “and I realized why. It’s because he works hard. He’s at it 24/7, and he’s just as determined to win a $5,000 claiming race as he is a Grade I stakes. There’s a reason he does so well.”
Probable for the Sham: Baby Blake, no rider; Handsome Mike, Corey Nakatani; Hierro, Julien Leparoux; Hodge, no rider; Holy Candy, no rider; Longview Drive, Rosario; Out of Bounds, Garrett Gomez; and Secret Circle, Rafael Bejarano.
DAYTONA DISTANCE SUITS CALIMONCO, SMITH SAYS
Mike Smith finished third aboard Calimonco in his lone ride aboard the son of Storm Cat, in the Grade II Citation Handicap at 1 1/16 miles on turf Nov. 26. He was beaten less than three lengths by the victorious Jeranimo, who was in peak form for the race.
The Hall of Fame rider reunites with the John Sadler-trained Calimonco in Sunday’s Daytona Stakes at about 6 ½ furlongs on turf, a distance better-suited to the son of Storm Cat, Smith says.
“I got through on the fence; it was a really good race,” Smith recalled of the Citation. “The horse that beat him, Jeranimo, is running out of his skin. To get beat a couple lengths by him is by no means a disgrace. The Daytona looks like a tough race, but 6 1/2 down the hill should be perfect for Calimonco. He should love it.”
Probable for the Grade III Daytona: Calimonco, Mike Smith; Caracortado, Rafael Bejarano; Mr Gruff, Joel Rosario; Regally Ready, Corey Nakatani; and Silver Summation, Garrett Gomez.
BAFFERT MAKES THE CASE FOR GAME ON DUDE AS ECLIPSE WINNER
When the Eclipse Award winners are announced on Jan. 16, Bob Baffert is hopeful that Game on Dude will be recognized as top male handicap horse of 2011. The Hall of Fame trainer feels the Santa Anita Handicap winner and Breeders’ Cup Classic runner-up accomplished enough last year to merit the honor, but he’s not dusting off a place on his mantle quite yet.
“He has a legitimate chance, but I think there’s an Eastern bias,” Baffert said. “I think Tizway’s going to get a lot of votes because he won (the Whitney) at Saratoga. But Game on Dude, he did travel outside of California and that helps his cause. He actually beat Tizway and Acclamation when he went to Charles Town and ran in the Charles Town Classic.
“Game on Dude, you have to give him credit. He won all year long. He won his opening race here, he won the Big ‘Cap, then went to Texas but didn’t run real well there.
“He wants to be on the lead. That’s his biggest weapon. He just missed (winning) the (Hollywood) Gold Cup by a quarter of an inch to First Dude, who is a good horse. He beat Twirling Candy there on the square.
“He hated Del Mar. He didn’t run as good as he could there. He came back and won the Goodwood and ran a tremendous race in the Breeders’ Cup (Classic), took all the heat, so off that, if you grade him for all year-round performances, he probably had the best year, and that would give him a legitimate chance, but you never know what they’re going to do.”
HRTV TO ANNOUNCE SECRETARIAT ‘VOX POPULI’ WINNER ON JAN. 5
HRTV will announce live Thursday, Jan. 5, the Vox Populi winner. The ceremony will be held at Santa Anita on Sunday, Jan. 15.
Online voting is now open for the second annual Secretariat Vox Populi Award. Created by Secretariat's owner Penny Chenery, the Vox Populi, or “Voice of the People,” Award recognizes the racehorse whose popularity and racing excellence resounded most with the American public and gained recognition for the sport during the past year.
This year’s nominees are: Rapid Redux, who with 19 wins during 2011, equaled Citation's modern day U.S. record for victories in a calendar year; Goldikova, the international star who attempted to win the TVG Breeders’ Cup Mile for the fourth consecutive year; Havre de Grace, the 4-year-old filly who captured the Woodward as well as other notable stakes races this year; and Uncle Mo, the 2-year-old king of 2010 who thrilled fans in 2011 despite battling a liver ailment during the year.
The Secretariat Vox Populi Award was established in 2010 and recognized the great Zenyatta as the inaugural winner. This year, the winner will be selected on the equally weighted basis of the public’s online poll results, opinions offered by the Vox Populi Committee, and input from Mrs. Chenery.
FINISH LINES: Breeders’ Cup Sprint winner Amazombie worked five furlongs on Santa Anita’s fast main track at 5:30 Monday morning in 1:03.80. “He went dynamite,” said regular rider Mike Smith, who was aboard for the drill. “He went nice and easy early this morning,” Smith continued. “He was on the muscle, feeling good, pulling, but in a good way. I was really happy with the way he went. He came back jogging like a champion.” Trainer Bill Spawr is preparing Amazombie for his 2012 debut in the Grade II, $150,000 Palos Verdes Stakes at six furlongs on Jan. 21 . . . Joe Talamo has been named to ride Skipshot in Saturday’s Grade II, $150,000 San Pasqual Stakes for older horses at 1 1/16 miles. In his only ride aboard the son of Skip Away, Talamo finished second by a half-length in the Grade III Affirmed Handicap in June of 2010. “This is a horse that wants to be near the lead,” said Jerry Hollendorfer assistant Dan Ward. “Talamo had him close to the pace in the Affirmed. He fits him well.” . . . Agent Jim Pegram said that jockey Martin Garcia took off his scheduled seven mounts Monday due to the flu . . . More than 3,000 participants have been eliminated since opening day in ShowVivor, Santa Anita’s popular on line handicapping contest. Going into Monday’s card, there were 2,787 players still alive . . . Among the nation’s top 100 trainers in earnings last year, Mike Mitchell had the highest win average at 33 percent.