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STABLE NOTES BY ED GOLDEN
• UNBEATEN STREAMING TRIES DIRT IN LAS VIRGENES
• SUGGESTIVE BOY RETURNS IN GRADE II ARCADIA
• BC SPRINT WINNER SECRET CIRCLE IN PALOS VERDES
• BAEDEKER TO JOIN CALIFORNIA HORSE RACING BOARD
STREAMING MAKES DIRT DEBUT IN GRADE I LAS VIRGENES
Dating back to 1999 with Excellent Meeting, Bob Baffert has won the Las Virgenes Stakes three times, adding Composure (2003) and Eden’s Moon (2012) along the way.
On Saturday, the 61-year-old Hall of Fame trainer goes for the “Grand Slam” with Streaming, an unbeaten daughter of Smart Strike who captured the Grade I Hollywood Starlet Dec. 7 in only her second start.
“She’s doing well,” Baffert said of the filly owned and bred in Kentucky by John Sikura’s Hill ‘n’ Dale Equine Holdings, Inc. and Edward McGhee. “She worked well Sunday (five furlongs in 59.80).”
The Las Virgenes would mark the bay filly’s first start on conventional dirt. Her only two races came on Hollywood Park’s Cushion Track, winning each by 1 ½ lengths while in close attendance to the pace.
“There’s not really a concern,” Baffert said. “I would assume she’d be better on the dirt. She’s moved forward from her last race.”
Baffert also was not bothered by Streaming’s outside draw going a mile. “She’s got a lot of speed,” he pointed out.
The field for the Las Virgenes, a major steppingstone to the Grade I Santa Anita Oaks on April 5: Saintly Joan, Martin Pedroza, 15-1; Fashion Plate, Gary Stevens, 4-1; Arethusa, Corey Nakatani, 8-1; Artemis, Mike Smith, 4-1; Earthflight, Tyler Baze, 15-1; Sushie Empire, Victor Espinoza, 8-1; Taste Like Candy, Rafael Bejarano, 5-2; and Streaming, Martin Garcia, 2-1.
SUGGESTIVE BOY COMES BACK IN ARCADIA STAKES
If there’s anything Ron McAnally has learned in a Hall of Fame career spanning more than half a century, it’s patience. Do not put the race before the horse. Get your horse ready, then find a race, is the legendary 81-year-old’s credo.
So it applies with Suggestive Boy, who won the Grade I Frank E. Kilroe Mile last March and who again has designs on the prestigious turf race offering $400,000 on March 8.
First things first, and that would be Saturday’s Grade II Arcadia Stakes at one mile on turf. “After that, If everything goes well, we’d look at the Kilroe again,” McAnally said.
A 6-year-old Argentine-bred son of the Storm Cat sire Easing Along, Suggestive Boy has seven wins and two seconds from 13 starts, with earnings of $677,370.
The field for the Arcadia: Procurement, Drayden VanDyke, 12-1; Vagabond Shoes, Victor Espinoza, 6-1; Unbridled’s Note, Kent Desormeaux, 8-1; Si Sage, Martin Garcia, 20-1; Regally Ready, Mike Smith, 6-1; Peace and Justice, Brice Blanc, 6-1; Tom’s Tribute, Gary Stevens, 6-1; Suggestive Boy, Joe Talamo, 4-1; Winning Prize, Rafael Bejarano, 7-2; and No Jet Lag, Corey Nakatani, 6-1.
Suggestive Boy blew out three furlongs on Santa Anita’s firm turf course Thursday in 37.80.
SECRET CIRCLE ‘COULDN’T BE BETTER’ FOR PALOS VERDES
Bob Baffert is looking forward to this weekend. The Hall of Fame trainer has two Grade I winners entered in stakes at Santa Anita, Hollywood Starlet heroine Streaming in Saturday’s Las Virgenes Stakes and Breeders’ Cup Sprint winner Secret Circle in Sunday’s Grade II Palos Verdes Stakes.
Streaming is unbeaten in two starts, while Secret Circle has never been worse than second in nine, winning seven, while earning $1,878,790.
“They couldn’t be doing better,” Baffert said. “We’re good. I’m running my best horses this weekend.”
Secret Circle worked five furlongs Monday in a bullet 58.80.
RICK BAEDEKER TO JOIN CHRB ON FEB. 3
Frederick M. (Rick) Baedeker will begin work Feb.3 as Executive Director of the California Horse Racing Board. The racing commissioners selected Baedeker for the executive position at January’s monthly Board meeting.
“Speaking for the entire Board, we’re very happy that Rick will soon be our Executive Director,” said Board Chairman Chuck Winner. “He brings a wealth of racing knowledge and creativity along with his management skills that will help lead our industry as we move forward. Rick will be working alongside Jackie Wagner, our Assistant Executive Director, who has been doing a wonderful job guiding the CHRB during the last several months.”
“I cannot imagine more meaningful work at a more important time,” said Baedeker. “My first priority will always be to ensure a clean and fair game for the player and a safe sport for the horse and rider. The second will be to facilitate change. With the Board's blessing, I will try to bring the segments of the industry together that still believe we can achieve growth. Let's put together a positive plan to turn things around. I'm eager to get going and I thank the Board for the opportunity."
Baedeker has a long history in horse racing, dating back to 1974 when he worked as a handicapper alongside his father and his older brother for Baedeker’s Guide and Daily Report, a racing service publication formed in 1938. He entered racetrack management in 1989 as director of marketing and then general manager of The Woodlands in Kansas City, Kansas.
Baedeker has held positions with Hollywood Park, the National Thoroughbred Racing Associations and Television Games Network. He also served as President of Hollywood Park from 1999 to 2005, while the Inglewood racetrack was owned by Churchill Downs Incorporated. In recent years, Baedeker served as manager for mini-satellite development with Southern California Off-Track Wagering Inc. and was a consultant for Sportech, the gaming technology company currently providing totalizator services to all California racetracks.
FINISH LINES: San Pasqual winner Blueskiesnrainbows, a candidate for the Santa Anita Handicap on March 8, worked five furlongs on Santa Anita’s main track on a cloudy Thursday morning in 1:01.80 . . . Strub Stakes runner-up Govenor Charlie also worked Thursday, going four furlongs in 50 flat for Bob Baffert, who also sent impressive San Pedro winner Indianapolis four furlongs in 47:40. Indianapolis is ticketed for the Grade II San Vicente Stakes on Feb. 16 . . . On Monday, Baffert worked Big Cap contender Game On Dude four furlongs in 47.80 and Sham Stakes winner Midnight Hawk five furlongs in 1:03.20 for the Grade II Robert B. Lewis Stakes on Feb. 8 . . . San Pedro Stakes runner-up Papa Turf worked four furlongs Monday in 48 flat for James Kasparoff who is getting the son of Yes It’s True ready for the San Vicente at seven furlongs . . . Ron Ellis bid a fond farewell to Teddy’s Promise after she finished third in her final career start, the Grade II Santa Monica Stakes last Saturday. It might have been a fonder farewell had she won, but the trainer was philosophical. “She had a great career,” he said. “She made a lot of money (just under $1 million) and she fired most every time for us. It was awesome having her and it was a good run for 2 ½ years.” . . . Through 22 racing days, Rafael Bejarano led Mike Smith in Santa Anita’s jockeys’ race, 31-23, but has ridden almost twice as many horses, 137 to 70. The trainers’ race remains close, with Baffert one up on Jerry Hollendorfer, 15-14, while starting 54 to Hollendorfer’s 50. Each is winning at 28 percent but Baffert has a slight lead in money won, $1,142,990 to $1,015,318 . . . Congratulations to Hall of Famer Mike Smith on being inducted into the New Mexico Sports Hall of Fame. The Roswell, N.M. native will be honored on Feb. 23 . . . Tom Quigley’s guest handicapper Saturday at 11:20 a.m. in the East Paddock Gardens will be 2014 DRF/NTRA National Handicapping Champion Jose Arias, winner of the $750,000 first prize. Due to Santa Anita’s early first post time of 11 a.m. on Sunday, there will be no seminar . . . Fans at Santa Anita on Sunday can enjoy “The Big Game” matching the Denver Broncos and the Seattle Seahawks, and partake of bargain eats as well. Not only is general admission to the track Sunday just a buck, but beers, sodas and hot dogs are also available at a dollar apiece. Early first post time is 11 a.m. Gates open at 9 a.m. With Promo Code YARD, fans can get the following for only $10: all you can eat buffet; half-priced drinks and $1 beers; seating area in Sirona’s; and your first drink included. Visit santaanita.com/events for further information.