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STABLE NOTES BY ED GOLDEN
• GRADE II SAN VICENTE ‘TOUGH RACE’ FOR PAPA TURF
• STEADY IOTAPA ON COURSE FOR GRADE II SANTA MARIA
• DANCINGTOTHESTARS IN TUNE FOR MONDAY’S BUENA VISTA
• ROUTE RIGHT DOWN THE ALLEY FOR VENERABLE MENSA HEAT
KASPAROFF LOOKS FOR IMPROVEMENT IN SAN VICENTEPapa Turf takes on the heavyweights again when he runs in Sunday’s Grade II San Vicente Stakes for 3-year-olds at seven furlongs.
A $220,000 son of Yes It’s True trained by Jim Kasparoff, Papa Turf was second by 4 ¼ lengths to 3-5 favorite Indianapolis in the four-horse San Pedro Stakes at six furlongs Jan. 20.
“We were happy with his race,” Kasparoff said of the San Pedro. “We felt he was a little compromised coming out of the gate. He kind of lost his hind end action and had to push himself out of there. He broke a teeny bit slow and that hurt him, just to get a position early.
“But aside from that, the horse still ran a good race, but we hope to improve in that respect . . . We’re real happy with him. I’d just like to see him get out of there a little cleaner . . . It’s going to be a tough race.”
When he broke his maiden last Sept. 28, Papa Turf beat Sham Stakes runner-up Kristo. Since then, he was fourth to male 2-year-old champion of 2013 Shared Belief and third to highly regarded Chitu before his last race.
Joe Talamo, who has ridden Papa Turf in his last two starts, is eager to be reunited with the bay colt after a compromising start in the San Pedro.
“It was a weird thing at the start,” Talamo said. “He was standing good and then when the gates opened, he just kind of lost his footing . . . That first half mile was pretty pedestrian . . . He’s an interesting horse. His first two races, he seemed like a one-dimensional speed horse.
“But the first time I rode him, it looked like there was a lot of speed, so I just took him back and he made a nice run. Even in the San Pedro, he ran second to a promising horse like Indianapolis, so if he runs his race, he’ll be tough.”
The field for the San Vicente, which goes as the fifth race: Grazen’s Hope, Martin Garcia, 6-1; Rprettyboyfloyd, Brice Blanc, 4-1; Papa Turf, Joe Talamo, 4-1; Roger Rocket, Corey Nakatani, 9-2; Cherubim, Mike Smith, 5-2; and Kobe’s Back, Joel Rosario, 2-1.
IOTAPA SET FOR ANOTHER GOOD SHOWING IN SANTA MARIA
Classy and consistent Iotapa is primed for another solid effort when she runs in the Grade II, $200,000 Santa Maria Stakes for older fillies and mares at 1 1/16 miles Saturday.
Never out of the money in seven career starts, the last five stakes, the daughter of 2005 Preakness and Belmont Stakes winner Afleet Alex was beaten a length in the seven furlong Santa Monica Stakes last out on Jan. 25, her first race in six months.
“She runs a good race all the time,” said John Sadler, who trains the 4-year-old filly for owners Peter and Kosta Hronis. “The rail (No. 1 post position) going long is fine. That’s a good post for her.”
Joe Talamo, meanwhile, is looking forward to getting back aboard Iotapa. He had ridden her in four straight stakes before Rafael Bejarano took over in the Santa Monica.
“I’m very excited to get back on her,” Talamo said. “It looked like she was going to win the Santa Monica but she never got a chance to switch leads the whole way down the lane, and she only got beat a length.
“She ran a heckuva race and was coming off a little bit of a layoff. Two turns is her thing, and she ran second to (two-time Eclipse Award winner) Beholder (in the Grade I Santa Anita Oaks last April), so you can’t fault that at all.”
The field for the Santa Maria: Iotapa, Joe Talamo, 7-2; Fiftyshadesofhay, Martin Garcia, 5-2; Ondine, Mike Smith, 3-1; Yahilwa, Tyler Baze, 30-1; Let Faith Arise, Corey Nakatani, 7-2; Golden Production, Kent Desormeaux, 6-1; and Stanwyck, Alex Solis, 4-1.
DANCINGTOTHESTARS SEEKS FIRST GRADED WIN IN BUENA VISTA
Turf specialist Dancingtothestars seeks her first graded win when she runs in Monday’s Presidents’ Day feature, the Grade II Buena Vista Stakes for older fillies and mares at one mile on the grass.
The California-bred daughter of Good Journey trained by Doug O’Neill for owners Rene and Marjorie Lambert of Burbank, who race as Ren-Mar Thoroughbreds, captured the ungraded Megahertz Stakes last out at one mile on turf Jan. 18.
“She’s doing great,” O’Neill said. “She likes this course and she’s run four times at a mile, winning twice. She’s in really good form. We’re running against some really tough fillies and mares, but we think on her best day, she can be competitive.”
The field for the Buena Vista: Miss Serendipity, Rafael Bejarano; Egg Drop, Martin Garcia; Appealing, Brice Blanc; Tapicat, John Velazquez; Moone’s My Name, Victor Espinoza; Dancingtothestars, Mario Gutierrez; Pontchatrain, Gary Stevens; Unusual Hottie, Tyler Baze; Stormy Lucy, Isaias Enriquez; and Customer Base, Mike Smith.
Monday is Dollar Day at Santa Anita, with hot dogs, beer and sodas available throughout the day at a buck each. First post time is 12:30 p.m.
OLD WAR HORSE MENSA HEAT RETURNS TO WINNER’S CIRCLE
Mensa Heat was on his toes as he neared the starting gate for Thursday’s first race, a bottom-rung route for $8,000 claiming horses.
Coming off a distant third-place finish in a sprint on Feb. 1, the 8-year-old Unusual Heat gelding appeared to languish for the first three-quarters of mile, then kicked it in late to draw clear by 1 ¾ lengths under Brice Blanc.
It was the 10th career win for Mesa Heat, who campaigned in stakes in 2008 but never won any, although he has placed in minor added-money events, and was coming off a string of sprint races.
“Even when he was a good horse for us a couple years ago, I always wanted to route him, because I think he had routed early as a 3-year-old when Barry Abrams trained him, and he did OK,” said trainer Ted H. West.
“He would always finish full of run when he was on his ‘A’ game, and nobody ever passed him. If he got beat, it was because he couldn’t catch somebody. The opportunity (to route) never came up.
“Now that he’s lost a few steps sprinting, we finally got a chance to route him and it worked out.”
Mensa Heat, bred by Madeline Auerbach and Barry’s brother, David Abrams, is owned by Phil Bongiovanni of Irvine, who races as Gulliver Racing LLC. In 57 career starts, Mensa Heat has a 10-9-11 record with earnings of $530,178.
PRIZE MONEY OFFERED FOR ‘THIS IS SANTA ANITA’ FILM THEMES
While filming has commenced for the third annual Santa Anita Park/HRTV Film Festival, aspiring filmmakers and film students still have ample opportunity to submit entries for the non-fiction competition entitled: "This is Santa Anita."
The popular festival which began at the outset of the current Santa Anita meeting encourages talented individuals to participate by submitting Santa Anita-based films with a maximum running time of five minutes.
With the extended Santa Anita meeting this year, competitors have additional time to hone their entries. Competition will continue through April 13, and all film submissions are due by April 23. Online voting will begin April 26 and close May 4. Winners will be announced at Santa Anita on May 10.
Application entries are available in-person or online at www.hrtv.com/filmfestival. (While entries are accepted online, credentials must be picked up and payment must be made at Santa Anita. Checks are payable to the Los Angeles Turf Club, Inc.).
"This is Santa Anita" entries will be judged by an esteemed panel of racing and entertainment professionals and the competition will include prize money for the top five entries.
First prize is $10,000, second $4,000, and third through fifth $2,000, $1,500, and $500, respectively. An additional $10,000 first prize--Fan Favorite--will be awarded through an online poll. Entries judged to be in sixth through 10th places will receive free entry to the 2015 competition.
This year's general entry fee has been reduced to $50 and students (with valid student identification) may enter for $20 by March 1. Those entering after that date may do so for $75 and $50, respectively.
Also, each entrant will be given two film festival credentials which will allow shooting access to select public areas at Santa Anita, and receive 10 Clubhouse passes good for admission throughout Santa Anita's winter/spring meeting.
FINISH LINES: Through 31 racing days, Bob Baffert and Jerry Hollendorfer remain in what amounts to a statistical dead-heat across the board in the race for leading trainer. Hollendorfer has 20 wins, 13 seconds and 12 thirds from 71 starters, for a win percentage of 28 and purse earnings of $1,389,024. Baffert has 20 wins, 11 seconds and 12 thirds from 73 starters for a win percentage of 27 and purse earnings of $1,514,400 . . . Private clocker Gary Young on Baffert-trained 3-year-old Bayern’s 15-length victory in Thursday’s seventh race at one mile on dirt: “He was very impressive. He was a nice horse at the sale back in Maryland, he was a nice horse training for his first race . . . Bayern wasn’t really running when (stablemate) Tap It Rich (who finished second) kind of got bumped at the start and had his mental issues, but the way he won, there’s no way you can fault him. He’s a nice horse.” Bayern earned a 92 Beyer Speed figure in his win . . . Zenyatta’s half-sister Eblouissante couldn’t hold off Macha late and ran second as the 3-5 favorite in yesterday’s second race, an allowance test at 1 1/16 miles. The 5-year-old daughter of Bernardini out of the Kris S. mare Vertigineux held a one-length lead into the stretch but finished 1 ¼ lengths behind Macha. “She just got a little tired at the end,” said John Shirreffs, who trains Eblouissante for owner St. George Farm Racing LLC. “She put herself in the race a little early. She was a little keen and she didn’t finish.” . . . With two victories yesterday, Brice Blanc doubled his pleasure. The veteran rider had but one win from 44 rides through the meet’s first 31 days, but won two races Thursday. “The hard work has paid off,” Blanc said. “Susie (agent Susie McBrayer) has done a great job and it helps a lot when you have somebody who provides that kind of support.” . . . There was a 19-way “shake” for Quiet Force in Thursday’s third race. Running for a $25,000 claiming tag, the 4-year-old Dynaformer colt trained by Richard Mandella was claimed by Jerry Fanning for owners the Fanning Family Trust and Lathrop Hoffman. To the best recollection of assistant Clerk of Scales Charlie McCaul, who has served in official capacities at Santa Anita since 1985, the 19 claims in for one horse was not a Santa Anita record . . . Gary Stevens and Aaron Gryder ride in the El Camino Real Derby at Golden Gate Fields tomorrow, Stevens on Eddie Logan winner Enterprising for Tom Proctor and Gryder aboard FrontRunner Stakes runner-up Dance With Fate for Peter Eurton . . . Breeders’ Cup Sprint winner Secret Circle worked four furlongs on the main track Friday in 48.60 for Baffert, while FrontRunner winner Bond Holder, prepping for the Risen Star at the Fair Grounds next Saturday, went six furlongs in company with Chilada for Doug O’Neill. Bond Holder went in 1:14 flat, while his stablemate got 1:14.40.