Mike Smith hopes the success he has enjoyed aboard Customer Base continues when he rides her in Monday’s Presidents’ Day feature at Santa Anita, the Grade II Buena Vista Stakes for older fillies and mares at one mile on turf.

“She’s a good mare; she’s honest,” said the Hall of Fame jockey, who rode the daughter of Lemon Drop Kid to a nose victory last out in the Grade III Robert J. Frankel Stakes on Dec. 29. “She runs hard every time.

“This is probably a tougher race than she’s been running in, but she deserves a shot to run with them. I think she has a chance. She’s going to have a lot of pace, and I like her.”

Owned by the Glen Hill Farm of Leonard Lavin and trained by Tom Proctor, Customer Base has a 5-3-2 record from 18 starts, with earnings of $322,182.

The field for the Buena Vista, race seven of nine: Miss Serendipity, Rafael Bejarano, 6-1; Egg Drop, Martin Garcia, 5-2; Appealing, Brice Blanc, 20-1; Tapicat, John Velazquez, 4-1; Moone’s My Name, Victor Espinoza, 12-1; Dancingtothestars, Mario Gutierrez, 8-1; Pontchatrain, Gary Stevens, 3-1; Unusual Hottie, Tyler Baze, 20-1; Stormy Lucy, Isaias Enriquez, 8-1; and Customer Base, Mike Smith, 8-1. Monday is Dollar Day at Santa Anita, with hot dogs, beers and sodas available throughout the day at a buck each. First post time is 12:30 p.m.


California Cup Derby winner California Chrome worked four furlongs at Los Alamitos Saturday in 47.80 in preparation for his foray into open company in the Grade II, $300,000 San Felipe Stakes on March 8, where it is expected he will face, among others, the Bob Baffert-trained Bayern, smashing 15-length allowance winner on Thursday.

“I got him galloping out (five furlongs) in 1:00 3/5,” said trainer Art Sherman, who had his regular exercise rider, Jay Conklin, aboard the California-bred son of Lucky Pulpit. Sherman was philosophical about facing tougher foes in the San Felipe.

“We can’t duck anybody,” he said. “We need points (to qualify for the Kentucky Derby on May 3). I’ll just keep my fingers crossed.” The San Felipe is worth 50 Kentucky Derby points to the winner.


The 47th annual Santa Anita Jockeys vs. Holy Angels School Charity Basketball Game will take place Thursday, Feb. 27, 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.

Sponsored by J. Paul Reddam’s CashCall and Meticulous Talent, game time is 7:15 p.m. and admission doors open at 6:15 p.m.

In addition to active riders such as Gary Stevens, Mike Smith, Joe Talamo, Corey Nakatani, Rafael Bejarano, Aaron Gryder, Edwin Maldonado, Brice Blanc, Tyler Baze, Mario Gutierrez, Orlando Mojica, Alonso Quinonez, Alberto Delgado, Julien Couton and others, retired Hall of Famers Eddie Delahoussaye and Laffit Pincay, Jr., will be available to sign autographs and other memorabilia beginning at 6:30 p.m.

Delahoussaye and Pincay will also serve as honorary team captains along with game captains Smith, Stevens and Talamo.

“We look forward to this and enjoy competing with the Holy Angels kids every year,” said Talamo. “The game is fun not just for us, but our families, too. It’s a great night where a lot of us in the industry come together for a good cause and have a great time. The fans love it, too.”

Tickets are $5 and with the purchase of two, fans will receive one General Admission ticket to Santa Anita, good for any race day through April 27. There will also be a Half Court Shot Contest at halftime, with the winner receiving a two-night stay in a luxury suite at the Hard Rock Casino in Las Vegas.

Holy Angels Middle School, located on Campus Drive, just to the south of Santa Anita Park, has long educated many members of the racetrack community, and its church, Holy Angels, has been a source of strength for many as well.

“In addition to Holy Angels, it’s great to be able to raise money and awareness for both the PDJF and the Eye on Jacob Foundation,” said Talamo. “Racing is a very dangerous game 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 events like this are very helpful.”

The Eye on Jacob Foundation is named for Jacob Desormeaux, the 15-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 again be part of this event,” said Jacob’s mother, Sonia Desormeaux. “It’s a great thrill for Jacob to be able to hang out with all the jockeys during the game and to be a part of this. Usher’s Syndrome is extremely rare and we’re happy to be able to heighten awareness of it and to eventually be able to contribute to creating a cure. We look forward to seeing everyone there.”

HRTV’s Kurt Hoover, former standout hoopster at Arcadia High School, will again coach the jockeys’ squad. Hoover’s approach this year is simple: “Just let ’em run-n-gun.”

La Salle High School is located at the southwest corner of Michillinda Ave. and Sierra Madre Blvd. in Pasadena, approximately four miles northwest of Santa Anita. Admission tickets and promotional tee shirts are on sale now at Champions! Gifts and Apparel in Santa Anita’s East Paddock Gardens, on-track, or through Holy Angels School.


Gary Mandella’s game plan for Silentio is set. He is training the Citation Handicap winner up to the Grade I Frank E. Kilroe Mile on March 8, no ifs, ands or buts.

The advantage or lack of same running fresh in a major race depends on the horse and the trainer.

“Every horse is different,” said Mandella, who also lends his expertise as an analyst on HRTV. “But Silentio has run really well fresh for me, so I want to hedge on the side of not having done enough with him going into the Kilroe, rather than having done too much, like I did when I took him to Keeneland to take on Wise Dan last year (in the Maker’s 46 Mile Stakes).

“I don’t doubt that the rain that day and the softness of the turf course played a big factor in Silentio’s performance (fifth), but I also think he probably ran three really strong races a month apart, and it may have been one race too many.

“He ran so good in the Breeders’ Cup (Mile) off a two-month layoff and came back to win the Citation, I’d like to think I’m going to be able to replicate that . . . the Kilroe’s the priority, because I want to get him a Grade I win.”

Silentio worked six furlongs in company Saturday in 1:14 flat under Rafael Bejarano. Stablemate Perfect Set was clocked in 1:15.20. “Silentio’s a little bit of a lazy horse,” Mandella said in explaining the workmate. “He’ll have his most serious work next week.”

FINISH LINES: Fiftyshadesofhay, scratched as the 5-2 morning favorite from Saturday’s Santa Maria Stakes, was on the track galloping today, trainer Bob Baffert said. Baffert also sent two of his plethora of Triple Crown hopefuls, Sham Stakes winner Midnight Hawk and Robert B. Lewis stakes runner-up Chitu, four furlongs in company, going 47.40 and 47.80, respectively. Govenor Charlie went five furlongs in 1:01.40 and Hopportunity the same distance in 1:00.60, both under Martin Garcia. Hopportunity worked in company with Modern Empire, who was clocked in 1:00.80, breezing. Game On Dude, ticketed for the March 8 Santa Anita Handicap and a meeting with Mucho Macho Man, went four furlongs under Dana Barnes in 47.80 . . . Lakerville, prepping for next Saturday’s Sensational Star Stakes, went four furlongs on the main track in 49.40 for Barry Abrams, while La Canada Stakes winner Spellbound, bound for the Grade I Santa Margarita Stakes on March 15, went six furlongs for Richard Mandella in 1:14.40 . . . Martin Pedroza, who suffered fractures in his right leg in a starting gate mishap on Feb. 7, is recovering at his home, agent Richie Silverstein said. “He has a cast on, he’ll be X-rayed again on Tuesday and we’ll take it from there,” Silverstein said. “Nothing’s going to change for the next four weeks.” On the good news front, Pedroza’s 22-year-old son, Brian, rode two winners at Tampa Bay Downs Saturday . . . Chris McCarron made the rounds at Clockers’ Corner Sunday morning. The retired Hall of Fame jockey, now Executive Director of the North American Riding Academy in Lexington, Ky., is in town to celebrate the 60th birthday tomorrow of his former wife, Judy, and “to get away from that cold weather back East.” McCarron said his riding school is doing well, proudly pointing out that graduates have registered “close to 2,900 victories.” . . . Congratulations to world-renowned alpine skier and Thoroughbred horse owner, Bode Miller. Earlier today, Miller tied for a bronze medal in the Super-G at the Sochi Olympics. At age 36 he has become the oldest alpine skier to ever win an Olympic medal. “If it’s not the most important race of my life, it’s right up there with it . . . To be on the podium, this is a really big day for me,” Miller said.