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STABLE NOTES BY ED GOLDEN
• STEPHANOATSEE SETTLED IN FOR SANTA ANITA HANDICAP
• THE LUMBER GUY IN FAST DRILL FOR SAN CARLOS STAKES
• BEHOLDER ‘COULDN’T LOOK BETTER’ FOR LAS VIRGENES
• POPULARITY GROWING FOR THURSDAY’S CHARITY GAME
STRUB RUNNER-UP ON COURSE FOR GRADE I BIG ’CAP ON MARCH 2
Strub Stakes runner-up Stephanoatsee has settled in nicely at Richard Mandella’s barn as he prepares for the Santa Anita Handicap on March 2.
A son of A.P. Indy owned and bred by Leonard Riggio of New York City who races as My Meadowview Farm and trained by Graham Motion, Stephanoatsee overcame an eventful trip to gain second in the 1 1/8-mile Strub on Feb. 2 after shipping in from the East Coast.
The ridgling bobbled at the start, went four wide into the stretch, but under Julien Leparoux’s urging, was gaining on victorious Guilt Trip, who won by a length and a half.
“The horse is doing great,” Motion assistant Alice Clapham said Monday morning. “He’s at Richard Mandella’s barn and seemed to come out of the race in good form. We’re very happy with him.”
Clapham added that Stehanoatsee would likely breeze later this week, depending on the weather, with Motion probably coming in for the drill.
Probable for the Grade I, $750,000 Santa Anita Handicap, presented by San Manuel Indian Bingo and Casino at 1 ¼ miles: Game On Dude, Ron the Greek, Called to Serve, Guilt Trip, Stephanoatsee, Handsome Mike, John Scott, Sky Kingdom, Clubhouse Ride and Tritap.
Not only will Santa Anita present three Grade I races on Big ’Cap Day, fans on track will receive free an attractive Santa Anita tote bag presented by San Manuel Indian Bingo & Casino with paid admission while supplies last.
Festivities also will include popular premium Food Trucks, a KROQ concert featuring Youngblood Hawk, a microbrew and craft beer presentation and a $400,000 guaranteed late Pick 4 presented by Daily Racing Form.
First post time on Big ’Cap is 12 noon. Gates open at 10 a.m.
THE LUMBER GUY FIRES A BULLET FOR GRADE II SAN CARLOS
Neil Drysdale is hopeful The Lumber Guy can rebound in Saturday’s Grade II San Carlos Stakes at seven furlongs after recovering from a quarter crack that resulted in a disappointing performance in the Grade I Malibu Stakes on Dec. 26.
The Lumber Guy worked five furlongs on Santa Anita’s fast main track Sunday in a bullet 58.40 under Garrett Gomez, who rides the runner-up in the Breeders’ Cup Sprint for the first time competitively in the San Carlos.
“That’s the plan,” Drysdale said when asked about the San Carlos after the drill. “We’ll see how he comes out of this work.”
Probable for the San Carlos: Drill, Julien Leparoux; Justin Phillip, Mike Smith; Midnight Transfer, Rafael Bejarano; Sahara Sky, Joe Talamo; and The Lumber Guy, Garrett Gomez.
CHAMPION BEHOLDER WORKS FOR GRADE I LAS VIRGENES
Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies champion Beholder worked seven furlongs under regular rider Garrett Gomez on Santa Anita’s fast main track Monday morning in 1:24.80 for the Grade I Las Virgenes Stakes for 3-year-old fillies at one mile on March 2.
The daughter of Henny Hughes worked in company with Half Strike, who was timed in 1:13 for six furlongs.
“She couldn’t look any better,” Hall of Fame trainer Richard Mandella said of Beholder, who was upset by Renee’s Titan in the Santa Ynez Stakes at 6 ½ furlongs on Jan. 21. After the race, a minor ulcer was found in Beholder’s throat.
“It looks real good so far,” Mandella said of the ailment. “If it reoccurs, it would be over (as far as making the Las Virgenes). But so far, so good.”
Asked what impact, if any, the ulcer had on Beholder’s three-quarters of a length defeat by Renee’s Titan, who closed along the rail, Mandella said, “I wouldn’t want to run with a sore throat. It couldn’t have helped her.”
SUPPORT GROWS FOR THURSDAY’S CHARITY BASKETBALL GAME
This Thursday’s charity basketball game between Santa Anita’s jockeys and the Holy Angels School is a win/win situation for all parties. Proceeds 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.
“It’s a great charity for both the kids and the riders,” said Santa Anita jockeys’ co-captain David Flores. “Everybody has fun and we have a lot of support from the fans and people from the area.
“The past few years especially, a lot of jockeys have been showing up, and we won the last two years. It’s all about fun and support and giving back to the community.”
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 Delahoussaye and fellow Hall of Fame jockeys Laffit Pincay, Jr., Gary Stevens and Mike Smith. All will be available to autograph photos and other memorabilia 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 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.
CHRB MEETINGS AT SANTA ANITA WEDNESDAY AND THURSDAY
The California Horse Racing Board will conduct its regular meeting this Thursday, Feb. 21, at Santa Anita beginning at 9:30 a.m. The CHRB Medication and Track Safety Committee will conduct a meeting at Santa Anita on Wednesday, Feb. 20 at 2 p.m. The public is encouraged to attend both meetings.
An audio-only Webcast of the meeting on Thursday can be heard through the “Webcasts” link on the CHRB Website (www.chrb.ca.gov). The agenda and supporting package of materials for the Board and Committee meetings can be accessed through the following links: agenda, package.
FINISH LINES. Flashback and Den’s Legacy, one-two finishers for Bob Baffert in the Grade II Robert B. Lewis Stakes on Feb. 2, worked in company on Santa Anita’s fast main track Monday morning, going four furlongs in 48.80 and 49.20, respectively. Regular rider Julien Leparoux was aboard the unbeaten Flashback, who is ticketed for the San Felipe Stakes on March 9, while Erick Lopez rode Den’s Legacy, who finished 6 ¼ lengths behind Flashback in the Lewis . . . David Flores doubled his pleasure when he won two races Sunday, including the San Vicente Stakes aboard Shakin It Up for Baffert, who was winning the race for the eighth time. Going into Sunday, Flores had two wins from 45 mounts. He went two for three yesterday . . . It was business as usual for the industrious Flores Monday morning. He worked San Carlos Stakes nominee Capital Account four furlongs for Baffert in a bullet 45.80, fastest of 60 drills at the distance, the average time of which was 49.16. Capital Account worked in company with Brennaman, who was clocked in 46.20 . . . . Last year’s Breeders’ Cup Ladies Classic runner-up My Miss Aurelia worked five furlongs for Steve Asmussen in 1:01.60. There were 20 winning tickets paying $5,390.80 each in Sunday’s Pick Six, and six of them were bought on track. With Santa Anita’s on-track incentive bonus of 20 percent in effect, bettors who purchased tickets at the track each received a total of $6,468.96.