I’ll Have Another tossed his hat in the Triple Crown ring with his unexpected victory in last Saturday’s Robert B. Lewis Stakes. At odds of 43-1, perhaps “unexpected” is an understated adjective.

Be that as it may, the son of Flower Alley trained by Doug O’Neill for J. Paul Reddam caught almost everyone by surprise with his 2 ¾-length victory under 25-year-old Mario Gutierrez, leaving such highly regarded prospects as Liaison, Sky Kingdom and Rousing Sermon in his wake.

Next up if all goes well: the Grade I, $750,000 Santa Anita Derby at 1 1/8 miles on April 7. Beyond that awaits the ultimate goal, the Kentucky Derby on May 5.

“The horse came out of the race great,” said Dennis O’Neill, Doug’s brother. “He looked super at Hollywood Park when I saw him Wednesday and he went back to the track Thursday. We’ll just take our time with him and start working him in the middle of March. That’s the plan: the Santa Anita Derby and I don’t want to say the next words.

“Gutierrez gave him a great ride. He had every chance in the world to kind of panic down the backside and rush him up, but he sat on him and he changed his goggles about the three-eighths pole.

“I watched the replay a couple times and that’s when the horse really took off. Mario was really calm and cool, and I was surprised. I was really, really impressed with the ride. He did a great job.”


Champion jockey Garrett Gomez has a target date of early next month to resume riding. The 40-year-old rider suffered a broken left heel leaving the Seabiscuit Walking Ring for the Sensational Star Stakes on Jan. 8.

“They took the stitches out yesterday and he rode the bike for six miles,” said his agent, Tony Matos, Saturday morning. “He did some swimming and he’s getting himself fit.

“We’re pointing for the first week of March. He’s right on schedule.”


Keibar Coa will be a new shooter for Santa Anita’s riders when they play Holy Angels School in their annual charity basketball game on Thursday, Feb. 23, at La Salle High School in Pasadena.

The 19-year-old son of jockey Eibar Coa, who is represented by agent Joe Ferrer, is an experienced hoopster from his days on the school yards of Florida.

“I played basketball in Florida on a club for the city,” said Keibar (pronounced KAY-ber). “I played pick up games with my friends almost every night of the week. I’m kind of at a disadvantage with my height (5’ 2”), but I still play hard.”

That’s good news for Kurt Hoover, who again will coach the jockeys in pursuit of their second straight win. They won in overtime last year, 36-35, when Kerwin John launched a game-winning shot from the baseline at the buzzer that hit nothing but net.

Proceeds from the game benefit the Holy Angels athletic program and the Kentucky-based Permanently Disabled Jockeys Fund (PDJF). Game time is 7 p.m.

The Eye on Jacob Foundation will co-sponsor the event which will again enjoy the support of Hall of Fame jockeys Eddie Delahoussaye, Laffit Pincay Jr., Gary Stevens and Mike Smith. All of these legendary jockeys will be available from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m. and at halftime to autograph photos and other memorabilia. They will all serve as honorary captains as well. David Flores will again be the jockeys’ game captain.

The Eye on Jacob Foundation is named for the 13-year-old son of Hall of Fame jockey Kent Desormeaux, who was diagnosed several years ago with Usher’s Syndrome, a rare disorder that causes loss of hearing, imbalance and eventual loss of sight in approximately 12,000 children in the United States.

“We’re very happy to be a part of this event,” said Jacob’s mother, Sonia Desormeaux. “We’re hoping to be able to provide some nice prizes and to make people aware of Usher’s Syndrome, which is extremely rare. Jacob is looking forward to the game and he’s elated that he’s going to be able to be a part of it and be able to be with the jockeys during the game. He’s really looking forward to this.”

This year’s Santa Anita jockey team is expected to include: Captain David Flores, Paul Atkinson, Rafael Bejarano, Hector Berrios, Alex Bisono, Brice Blanc, Antonio Castanon, Keiber Coa, Victor Espinoza, Omar Figueroa, Eswan Flores, Martin Garcia, Mario Gutierrez, Kevin Krigger, Modesto Linares, Edwin Maldonado, Corey Nakatani, Alonso Quinonez, Joel Rosario, Christian Santiago Reyes, Kayla Stra, Chantal Sutherland, Mike Smith, Joe Talamo and perhaps others.

La Salle High School is located at the southwest corner of Michillinda Ave. and Sierra Madre Blvd. in Pasadena, approximately four miles northwest of Santa Anita Park. Admission is $5.

FINISH LINES: The Usual Q.T., 4-1 on Jon White’s morning line for today’s San Marcos Stakes, was scratched this morning due to a quarter crack, trainer Jim Cassidy said. White made favored Sanagas 4-5 on the revised line, down from 8-5 . . . Dan Ward, assistant to Jerry Hollendorfer, said Longview Drive, third to Out of Bounds in the Grade III Sham Stakes, beaten only a length, will pass next Sunday’s Grade II San Vicente Stakes at seven furlongs in favor of the Grade II, $250,000 Southwest Stakes at one mile at Oaklawn Park on Presidents’ Day, Monday, Feb. 20. Martin Garcia has the mount on the son of Pulpit. Norfolk Stakes winner Creative Cause is set to make his 3-year-old debut in the San Vicente. Joel Rosario rides . . . Palomar Handicap winner City to City worked six furlongs on Santa Anita’s turf course Saturday in 1:16.80 under Corey Nakatani for Hollendorfer. The 5-year-old City Zip mare is scheduled to run in the Grade II, $150,000 Buena Vista Handicap at one mile on turf on Presidents’ Day. Other probables: Andina, Cambina, So Belle, Strawberrydaiquiri, Up In Time and Wild Mia . . . Kentucky Oaks winner Plum Pretty worked five furlongs on Santa Anita’s main track Saturday in 59.60. “She went nice,” Bob Baffert said of the 4-year-old daughter of Medaglia d’Oro, who has not run since she was unplaced in the Breeders’ Cup Ladies’ Classic on Nov. 4. “It was her first serious work. As she gets closer, we’ll decide on a race.” . . . On Trust Handicap winner Mensa Heat, third in the Palos Verdes Stakes on Jan. 21, worked five furlongs on Santa Anita’s fast main track Friday in 1:00.80 with Joe Talamo up for the Grade II San Carlos Stakes on Feb. 25. “He’ll work one more time and then maybe have a blowout just before the race,” trainer Ted H. West said of the durable 6-year-old son of Unusual Heat, who would be making his 42nd career start in the San Carlos. “The horse couldn’t be doing better,” West added . . . Racing trivia: El Vino, winner of Friday’s fifth race for owners Jerry and Ann Moss and trainer John Shirreffs, was often Zenyatta’s workmate. El Vino, who was making his first start since last June, was ridden by Mike Smith and moved him within 11 of career victory No. 5,000 . . . After Wild Revenge rallied from last to win Friday’s first race at 12-1 under Kayla Stra for trainer Julio Canani, actor John Ortiz, who portrays a character based on Canani named Turo Escalante in the HBO series, “LUCK,” tweeted the following: “HOLY COW. Dat cucaracha "wild revenge" run berry goooood . . . WHAT A SURPRISE!!!!!!" -Turo Escalante.” . . . HRTV’s Millie Ball and Kurt Hoover will be host Jack Disney’s guests at Sunday’s Fans’ Forum, 11:15 a.m. in the East Paddock Gardens.