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STABLE NOTES BY ED GOLDEN
• RUMOR TRIES DOWNHILL TURF AGAIN IN SUNDAY’S WISHING WELL
• NAKATANI EYES TEAM EFFORT IN THURSDAY’S HOOPS CONTEST
• SAL GONZALEZ JR. TO RESUME RIDING AT SANTA ANITA
RUMOR BACK ON GRASS IN FIRST START SINCE BREEDERS’ CUP
Barring the unforeseen, including recent erratic weather patterns, Rumor is set for Sunday’s $75,000 Wishing Well Stakes at about 6 ½ furlongs on turf.
The 5-year-old daughter of I998 Santa Anita Derby winner Indian Charlie has had one prior start on Santa Anita’s unique downhill course, finishing second by a length and a quarter in an allowance test in April of 2011. It was her third career start.
“She ran a good second here when she was just starting out,” Hall of Fame trainer Richard Mandella said. “I don’t see why she wouldn’t like it again.”
Owned by Ramona Bass, the Claiborne Farm of A.B. Hancock Jr., and Adele Dilschneider, Rumor will be making her first start since finishing fifth in the seven furlong Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Sprint at Santa Anita last Nov. 3. Prior to that, she won the LA Woman Stakes at Santa Anita Oct. 7.
Mandella plans to run even if the Wishing Well comes off the turf. “She would go either way,” he said.
The field for the Wishing Well, race eight of nine: Byrama, Rafael Bejarano, 9-2; Rumor, Mike Smith,5-1; Curvy Cat, Corey Nakatani, 20-1; Nachez Dawn, Garrett Gomez, 7-2; Madera Castana, Victor Carrero, 50-1; Givine, Tyler Baze, 6-1; Candrea, Martin Garcia, 15-1; Jet Blue Girl, Julien Leparoux, 10-1; Purim’s Dancer, Gary Stevens, 6-1; Schiaparelli, Joe Talamo, 6-1; Dancingtothestars, Mario Gutierrez, 6-1; and Unkept Rendez Vous, Brice Blanc, 20-1.
Sizzling Gold was scratched.
SANTA ANITA RIDERS IN CHARITY HOOPS GAME THURSDAY FEB. 21
Corey Nakatani is confident Santa Anita’s jockeys will give a good account of themselves when they seek their third straight victory over Holy Angels School in their annual charity basketball game Thursday Feb. 21 at La Salle High School in Pasadena.
Proceeds will benefit the Holy Angels athletic program and the Kentucky-based Permanently Disabled Jockeys Fund (PDJF). Game time is 7:15 p.m.; doors open at 6:15 p.m.
Nakatani, a former high school wrestling champion and one of Santa Anita’s best basketball players, shrugged off praise in that regard.
“No, no, no,” the 42-year-old Nakatani insisted. “I’m not the team’s No. 1 player. We’ve got Alonso Quinonez, Garrett Gomez . . . We’ll be loaded. We’ve got all the guys back who know how to play basketball.”
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 will be available to autograph photos and other memorabilia beginning at 6:30 p.m.
“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,” said Flores. “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.
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 signed by all jockeys and student-players.
This year’s Santa Anita jockey team is likely to include: Captains Flores and 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.
SAL GONZALEZ JR. HOPES TO HAVE A ‘BALL’ ON HIS RETURN TO SANTA ANITA
Sal Gonzalez Jr. is back and Santa Anita has him. Born “across the street” at Arcadia Methodist Hospital, Gonzalez hopes to begin riding at The Great Race Place next weekend after a lengthy sojourn back East.
“I’ve been here for a week and I’ve hired Tommy Ball as my agent,” said Gonzalez, who was a teenage apprentice at Santa Anita when he began his career nearly 20 years ago. “I know Tom has good connections and has gotten riders going, and figure he can get me going.”
Now 37, Gonzalez tacks 116 pounds. He is the nephew of inactive trainer Paco Gonzalez. “I’ve been riding in Kentucky for a few years and I was riding everything for (Steve) Asmussen in Texas,” Gonzalez said. “We did really well, but finally the cold weather got to me and it was time to change.”
DENMAN INDUCTED INTO CALIFORNIA HALL OF FAME MONDAYSanta Anita track announcer Trevor Denman will be inducted into the California Hall of Fame at the Californ
ia Thoroughbred Breeders Association’s annual meeting and awards dinner this Monday night at the Westin Pasadena.
The business meeting begins at 4 p.m., followed by a cocktail reception at 6. The awards dinner begins at 7 p.m. For reservation and information, contact Christy Chapman at 626 445-7800 (ext. 247) or email Christy@ctba.com.