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STABLE NOTES BY ED GOLDEN
• CALLED TO SERVE RETURNS WEST FOR SANTA ANITA HANDICAP
• DISTANCE, NOT TURF, KEY FOR RICHARD’S KID IN SAN MARCOS
• CANDREA MAKES GRASS DEBUT IN SUNDAY’S WISHING WELL
• JIMMY CREED TO MISS SAN CARLOS STAKES DUE TO COUGH
• SANTA ANITA RIDERS SET FOR CHARITY HOOPS VS. HOLY ANGELS
CALLED TO SERVE BACK IN ‘NICK’ OF TIME FOR SANTA ANITA HANDICAP
Called to Serve is back where he started from, richer and better than when he left. The son of 2005 Kentucky Derby winner Afleet Alex arrived at Santa Anita this week from the East Coast, where he has been campaigning since he left Southern California last July.
The 4-year-old gelding trained by Nick Canani for owner Marc Ferrell is on a two-race winning streak, having captured the Grade III Discovery Handicap at a mile and an eighth at Aqueduct last Nov. 17, followed by victory in the Broad Brush at Laurel, also at a mile and an eighth, on Dec. 31.
Even though Called to Serve came from off the pace to win those nine furlong races by nearly five and six lengths, respectively, his connections have been angling for a mile and a quarter stakes since Day One. Next stop: the mile and a quarter Santa Anita Handicap on March 2.
Eight of Called to Serve’s 11 career starts have been at 1 1/8 miles, the last seven in a row. He has never run shorter than one mile.
“He shipped great and he got in here really well Tuesday night,” said Canani, who has been training Called to Serve only for his last three races, two daylight wins and a second by a nose in the Temple Hill at Belmont.
Nick is the 39-year-old son of Santa Anita-based trainer Julio Canani, who won the Santa Anita Handicap in 1989 with 50-1 longshot Martial Law.
“We’ll train Called to Serve up to the Big ‘Cap,” Nick said. “He’s going to work twice before he runs. Marc and I made a mutual decision to run him a mile and a quarter. He purchased this horse as a yearling and I think he’s been wanting to run him a mile and a quarter for two years now.
“It’s the right distance, the timing is perfect and we kind of mapped out a schedule for our ultimate goal, which is to get to the Breeders’ Cup Classic (at Santa Anita on Nov. 2).”
Bred in Kentucky by Tracy Farmer, Called to Serve has earnings of $365,430.
DISTANCE ‘BIG THING’ FOR RICHARD’S KID IN SAN MARCOS
Richard’s Kid will make his second start on turf when the 8-year-old Lemon Drop Kid horse runs in Saturday’s Grade II San Marcos Stakes at 1 ¼ miles on the grass.
With Richard’s Kid, a millionaire twice over who has tortoise-like speed until he hits the homestretch, it’s about the distance and not the surface.
“The distance is huge,” said trainer Doug O’Neill. “That’s the big thing. He’s probably really a mile and a half horse, but there are not a lot of options. The horse is doing great. We’ve given him plenty of time and kind of freshened him up.
“He ran great down at Del Mar, which is turf-like with its Polytrack. We’re happy to have (Edwin) Maldonado on him. He can really ride. We’ve had some great riders on Richard’s Kid. We’re just trying something new and seeing what we can do.”
Richard Kid’s last victory came in the mile and a half Cougar II Handicap at Del Mar last July. A world traveler who has raced in Maryland, Pennsylvania, Louisiana and the United Arab Emirates, in addition to California, he has 11 wins from 39 starts with earnings of $2,301,385.
In other news from the O’Neill barn:
Sham Stakes winner Goldencents is set to meet unbeaten Flashback in the Grade II San Felipe Stakes on March 9. “He’s doing great,” O’Neill said. “As long as he stays injury-free, we’re in good shape with him.”
Renee’s Titan, who upset champion Beholder in the Santa Ynez Stakes, is on course for a rematch with the Richard Mandella trainee in the Grade I Las Virgenes Stakes for 3-year-old fillies at one mile on March 2.
Recent 3-year-old acquisition Mudflats runs in the Grade II San Vicente Stakes at seven furlongs on Feb. 17. Edwin Maldonado rides.
Best Pal winner Know More should be “returning from the farm any time now. We just freshened him. There was nothing specifically wrong with him, just off form.”
The field for the San Marcos, race nine of 10: Interaction, Joe Talamo, 7-2 ; Juniper Pass, Rafael Bejarano, 6-1; All Squared Away, Garrett Gomez, 10-1; Temple’s Door, Tyler Baze, 8-1; Richard’s Kid, Edwin Maldonado, 6-1; Dreamcatcher, David Flores, 12-1; Golden Itiz, Victor Espinoza, 12-1; Bridge of Gold, Julien Leparoux, 20-1; Fast Track, Orlando Mojica, 30-1; Smart Ellis, Flavien Prat, 12-1; Fire With Fire, Martin Garcia, 10-1; Shaun Washington, Brice Blanc, 20-1; Slim Shadey, Gary Stevens, 9-2; and Huntsville, Corey Nakatani, 15-1.
CANDREA BACK SPRINTING IN WISHING WELL STAKES ON TURF SUNDAY
Through process of elimination, Candrea is scheduled to make her first start on turf in Sunday’s $75,000 Wishing Well Stakes for older fillies and mares at about 6 ½ furlongs down the hillside course.
“I don’t know where else to run her,” Bob Baffert said Friday morning, between light sprinkles and a mix of clouds and sunshine at Clockers’ Corner. “It’s the only spot, so I’m taking a chance. She didn’t like two turns, so we’ll try this.”
A 4-year-old Florida-bred daughter of Trippi, Candrea was fifth by 7 ½ lengths in the mile and one-sixteenth Paseana Handicap on Jan. 13. She was fourth in the Grade I La Brea Stakes at seven furlongs on Dec. 26 after winning an allowance race at 6 ½ furlongs at Betfair Hollywood Park Nov. 29.
The field for the Wishing Well: Byrama, Rafael Bejarano; Rumor, Mike Smith; Curvy Cat, Corey Nakatani; Sizzling Gold, Agapito Delgadillo; Nachez Dawn, Garrett Gomez; Madera Castana, Victor Carrero; Givine, Tyler Baze; Candrea, Martin Garcia; Jet Blue Girl, Julien Leparoux; Purim’s Dancer, Gary Stevens; Schiaparelli, Joe Talamo; Dancingtothestars, Mario Gutierrez; and also-eligible Unkept Rendezvous, Brice Blanc.
COUGH FORCES JIMMY CREED OUT OF SAN CARLOS STAKES
Malibu Stakes winner Jimmy Creed, who was being pointed to the San Carlos Stakes after missing the Strub Stakes on Feb. 2 due to a cough, will miss the San Carlos on Feb. 23 due to the same malady.
“Jimmy Creed came up coughing again so he’s off for the San Carlos,” trainer Richard Mandella said Friday morning. “He’s still coughing a little bit so I’m going to take all considerations and get him over it.”
SANTA ANITA JOCKEYS IN ANNUAL BENEFIT GAME NEXT THURSDAY
The 46th annual Santa Anita Jockeys vs. Holy Angels School Charity Basketball game will take place Thursday, Feb. 21, at La Salle High School in Pasadena with proceeds to benefit the Holy Angels athletic program, the Kentucky-based Permanently Disabled Jockeys Fund (PDJF) and the Eye on Jacob Foundation. Game time is 7:15 p.m.; the doors open at 6:15 p.m.
WestsideRentals.com and Meticulous Talent Management will co-sponsor the event which will again enjoy the support of a wide spectrum of people from the horse racing industry, including Hall of Fame jockeys Eddie Delahoussaye, Laffit Pincay, Jr., Gary Stevens and Mike Smith. All these legendary jockeys will be available to autograph photos and other memorabilia beginning at 6:30 p.m. They will also serve as honorary team captains.
Top jockeys David Flores and Joe Talamo will each take on the role of active co-captains and HRTV’s Kurt Hoover will again coach the jockeys.
“This is so much fun, every year,” said Flores, who is among five finalists for the 2013 Santa Anita George Woolf Memorial Jockey Award. “It’s fun to get out there with the other jocks and we enjoy the competition with the kids (seventh and eighth graders) from Holy Angels. My kids enjoy it every year and I think everybody does—we all look forward to it.
“It’s great that we’re now able to help raise money for the PDJF and to bring awareness to the Eye on Jacob Foundation. Racing is a very dangerous sport and we have a lot of guys around the country with serious injuries who need help in their everyday lives. The PDJF is there for them and we want to do all we can to help out.”
The Eye on Jacob Foundation is named for Jacob Desormeaux, the 14-year-old son of Hall of Fame jockey Kent Desormeaux. Jacob 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 14,000 children in the United States.
“We are honored to be part of this event,” said 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 to be part of it and to hang out with all the jockeys during the game.”
In addition to WestsideRentals.com and Meticulous Talent Management, sponsors for this year’s event also include: Hollywood Sports Park, KHS Bicycle, Ojai Valley Inn & Spa, and Temple City Bike Shop.
Those attending will be eligible to win prizes which include: A paint ball package to Hollywood Sports Park, an Electra Townie 3-speed Adult Alumni bike (retails for $550), a kids BMX Free Agent Stiletto bike (retails for $350), and a Half Court Prize, to be determined, by Ojai Valley Inn & Spa, as well as basketballs which will be signed by all jockeys and student-players.
This year’s Santa Anita jockey team is likely to include: Captains David Flores and Joe Talamo, Rafael Bejarano, Alex Bisono, Brice Blanc, Victor Espinoza, Omar Figueroa, Eswan Flores, Martin Garcia, Garrett Gomez, Aaron Gryder, Mario Gutierrez, Kevin Krigger, Julien Leparoux, Modesto Linares, Edwin Maldonado, Orlando Mojica, Corey Nakatani, Alonso Quinonez, Kayla Stra, Mike Smith and perhaps others.
HRTV’s Kurt Hoover will again coach the jockeys’ squad, while Joe Mora, Kathy Rameriez and Austin Puertas will lead the Holy Angel’s crew.
La Salle High School is located at the southwest corner of Michillinda Ave. and Sierra Madre Blvd. in Pasadena, about four miles northwest of Santa Anita Park. Admission is $5.
FINISH LINES. Kayla Stra was a beaming mother holding her new son in the winner’s circle Thursday after capturing her first race since becoming a mom. The Aussie lassie piloted Wild in the Saddle to a head victory for trainer Francis Meza in the fourth race at a $19.60 payoff, triggering a Pick Six carryover of $47,834.09 into Friday . . . Joe Talamo will be Steve Andersen’s guest at Saturday’s Daily Racing Form seminar, 11:30 a.m. in the East Paddock Gardens . . . Veteran turf handicapper Prof. Gordon Jones will join his daughter, HRTV’s Joanne Jones, on HRTV’s Fans’ Forum, 11:30 a.m. Sunday morning in the East Paddock Gardens . . . ShowVivor is down to its final two contestants entering Friday’s races.