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STABLE NOTES BY ED GOLDEN
• GOMEZ UPBEAT ON DOWNHILL COURSE WITH BROKEN DREAMS
• STEVENS READY TO SCRATCH SEVEN-YEAR ITCH ON SUNDAY
• BONUS PICK SIX PROGRAM A BOON TO ON-TRACK BETTORS
BROKEN DREAMS TACKLES MIZDIRECTION IN SUNDAY’S MONROVIA
Garrett Gomez knows his way around Santa Anita’s unique downhill turf course, be it on Mizdirection or Broken Dreams.
Gomez has ridden Mizdirection, 6-5 morning line favorite for Sunday’s Grade II Monrovia Stakes at about 6 ½ furlongs on turf, seven times, winning three, including last year’s Monrovia. He has ridden Broken Dreams, Monrovia co-third choice, in nine of her last 12 races, winning four, including the Grade III Sen. Ken Maddy on Santa Anita’s downhill turf course last Oct. 20.
On Sunday, fresh from celebrating his 41st birthday on New Year’s Day, Gomez rides Broken Dreams for trainer Tom Proctor, who has the 7-year-old Florida-bred mare ticketed for the breeding shed this spring.
“I just ride my horse,” Gomez said when asked about strategy. “She loves the downhill course, and it’s a really good distance for her. She’s been running real well and she enjoys the hillside.”
Mizdirection, winner of the Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint against males last Nov. 3 on the same course as the Monrovia, will be ridden by Hall of Fame jockey Mike Smith and spots Broken Dreams five pounds, 123-118.
“It looks like there’s one other speed horse (Kindle) in the race,” Gomez pointed out. “But I beat her here in the Maddy (at about 6 ½ on turf) and she came back and beat me in the Cool Air at Hollywood Park when it was a little bit shorter (six furlongs on grass on Nov. 23).
“Broken Dreams is a really nice filly. It’s a short field but I think it’s a good race.”
Mizdirection, meanwhile, has been no surprise to Mike Puype. “She’s very honest; she tries every time,” said Puype, who trains the gray daughter of Mizzen Mast for an ownership that includes sports talk superstar Jim Rome’s Jungle Racing. “She brings her ‘A’ game every time.”
Mizdirection has never been out of the money in 12 career starts, winning seven, with four seconds and one third. She has been favored in nine of her races, five times at odds-on. With $914,621 already earned, if Mizdirection wins the Monrovia she would surpass the $1 million mark for Rome and partners William Strauss, Daniel Grohs, Kevin Nish, Michael Kramek and Boris Beljak.
“Rome loves the game,” Puype said. “It’s all good. It’s a good partnership and a good group of people.”
The field for the Monrovia: Curvey Cat, Corey Nakatani, 15-1; Byrama, Rafael Bejarano, 7-2; Kindle, Edwin Maldonado, 5-2; Givine, Tyler Baze, 15-1; Broken Dreams, Garrett Gomez, 7-2; and Mizdirection, Mike Smith, 6-5.
STEVENS READY FOR HIS CLOSEUP AT SANTA ANITA ON SUNDAY
Gary Stevens was working horses on a brisk, sunny Saturday morning as the countdown drew closer to 24 hours before the 49-year-old Hall of Fame jockey, retired for the past seven years, makes his competitive return to the races in Sunday’s sixth race aboard Jebrica for trainer Jim Penny.
One of the horses Stevens worked was Distracting for fellow Hall of Famer Bob Baffert, who gave Stevens a leg up on countless winners, including Silver Charm in the 1997 Kentucky Derby. Distracting went five furlongs in 1:02.80.
“Stevens can tell you more about a horse,” Baffert enthused. “He rides a horse one time and can tell you what style will suit it best. He really knows this game up and down.”
SANTA ANITA OFFERS BONUS TO ON-TRACK PICK 6 WINNERS
Any bettor who would rather win $12,000 as opposed to $10,000; $120,000 as opposed to $100,000; or $600,000 as opposed to $500,000, would do well to consider participating in Santa Anita’s new bonus Pick Six program.
It works like this: Santa Anita is offering a 20 percent bonus to anyone with a winning Pick Six ticket that is purchased on-track on any non-carryover day, provided that person swipes his or her Thoroughbreds Card at any pari-mutuel window prior to placing their Pick Six wagers.
The 20 percent Pick Six bonus is to be paid on top of the winning Pick Six price and is also applicable to Pick Six wagers placed on-track through any smart phone. Fans are encouraged to visit information windows throughout the plant in order to register for an account.
“This is an important initiative for our on-track fans,” said Santa Anita President and General Manager, George Haines. “The Pick Six is the most popular, high-profile wager offered in California and this 20 percent on-track bonus will go a long way towards enhancing that tradition. We want to encourage everyone, if they haven’t already done so, to be sure to join our Thoroughbreds Club in order to be eligible for the bonus. It is absolutely free and it takes just a minute to join.”
Fans may visit the Thoroughbreds Center, on the main floor of the Grandstand to sign up on any race day.
During January, Santa Anita will offer a retroactive Pick Six bonus to those who have not yet signed up as Thoroughbreds Club members, in order to facilitate the implementation of the new program. For those who have not yet become Thoroughbreds members during the month of January only, players can bring their winning Pick Six ticket(s) to any information window where they must fill out required documentation to become eligible for the 20 percent bonus.
The Pick Six is two dollar minimum wager and consists of the last six races on each day’s race program at Santa Anita.
FINISH LINES: Jeranimo, nominated for next Sunday’s Grade II San Gabriel Stakes at 1 1/8 miles on turf, could run there or ship to Florida for the Sunshine Millions at Gulfstream Park on Jan. 19. “We could ship to Florida, his home state,” trainer Mike Pender said. “He’s a Florida-bred. There’s a dirt race there going a mile and an eighth and a turf race there going a mile and an eighth. We would opt for the turf race.” . . . El Cajon winner Fed Biz worked four furlongs in company with Battled on Santa Anita’s fast main track Saturday for Bob Baffert. Each was timed in 48.20. Laz Barrara winner Drill and Guilt Trip also worked in company for Baffert, going five furlongs in a bullet 59 seconds each, while Triple Crown hopeful Carving, winner of the Real Quiet for owners Bode Miller and Baffert’s wife, Jill, went five furlongs in 1:01.80 . . . Malibu winner Jimmy Creed worked four furlongs on turf in 49.40 for Richard Mandella, who has won with three of his first seven starters through seven racing days . . . Two-time stakes winner Ismene recorded her second six furlong drill on the comeback trail, going 1:12.40 under Agapito Delgadillo for trainer Bill Spawr . . . Slim Shadey went four furlongs in 49.60 for next Sunday’s Grade II San Gabriel Stakes at 1 1/8 miles on grass. Trainer Simon Callaghan termed the move “great.” . . . Richard’s Kid, prepping for the Grade II San Marcos Stakes at 1 ¼ miles on turf Feb. 9, went six furlongs in 1:13.40 for Doug O’Neill . . . Another Triple Crown hopeful, Weewinnin, $122 winner of the King Glorious at Betfair Hollywood Park, worked five furlongs in 1:00.60 for Brian Koriner . . . With rain forecast into Sunday, there were 272 recorded workouts at Santa Anita Saturday morning, including five on the dirt training track and 17 on the turf . . . The latest edition of ShowVivor began Friday with 4,388 contestants, many of whom stayed immediately alive by selecting victorious favorite Miner’s Daughter to finish at least third in the first race