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STABLE NOTES BY ED GOLDEN
• TRAINER NOT STANDING ‘PAT’ IN SAN LUIS REY STAKES
• ENTERPRISING BACK ON TURF IN PASADENA STAKES
• BALTAS TRIPLE TRIGGERS $551,928 PICK 6 CARRYOVER
• CHAMPION BEHOLDER WORKS TOWARDS 2014 DEBUT
NIAGARA FALLS INTO TOUGH SPOT IN SAN LUIS REY
At 10-1 on the morning line, Niagara Falls is the longest-priced runner in tomorrow’s Grade II San Luis Rey Stakes at 1 ½ miles on turf, but that doesn’t deter Patrick Biancone from thinking the 5-year-old Giant’s Causeway horse is without a chance.
“The pace was too fast, plus, he needed the race,” the trainer said, speaking of a nine-furlong overnight race on March 6, the Kentucky-bred’s first start in eight months. “He was injured after the Whittingham,” Biancone added, explaining the reason for the lengthy absence. Owned by Mrs. Paul Shanahan of Tipperary, Ireland, Niagara Falls finished fourth in the Grade II Whittingham last June 8.
“My horse should run well,” Biancone said. “It will be difficult to beat the two favorites (Vagabond Shoes and Lucayan), but I’d be glad to run third.”
The field for the San Luis Rey, race four of nine: Vagabond Shoes, Victor Espinoza, 4-5; Niagara Falls, Rafael Bejarano, 10-1; Lucayan, Mike Smith, 5-2; Fire With Fire, Tyler Baze, 9-2; and Temeraine, Gary Stevens, 4-1.
ENTERPRISING BACK ON TURF IN SATURDAY’S PASADENA
Enterprising returns to a one-mile turf race Saturday when he runs in the $75,000 Pasadena Stakes for 3-year-olds. The son of Elusive Quality owned and bred by the Glen Hill Farm and trained by Tom Proctor is coming off two starts over Golden Gate’s synthetic Tapeta course, a second in the California Derby and a third in the Grade III El Camino Real Derby on Feb. 15.
He won the Eddie Logan at one mile on Santa Anita’s turf course last Dec. 28, after breaking his maiden at one mile on grass at Hollywood Park Nov. 16.
“He looks good in the Pasadena,” said Proctor, who is enjoying a solid meet through 52 days with 17 wins from 59 starts, 29 percent, good for fourth in the standings. “We couldn’t ask for anything better,” Proctor said in addressing his success here to date.
The field for the Pasadena: Enterprising, Gary Stevens, 5-2; No Ma’am, Brice Blanc, 20-1; Horse Laugh, Drayden Van Dyke, 12-1; Diamond Bachelor, Mike Smith, 3-1; Quotient, Victor Espinoza, 7-2; Home Run Kitten, Joe Talamo, 5-1; Craftsman, Tyler Baze, 6-1; Royal Banker, Corey Nakatani, 8-1; and Puppy Manners, Edwin Maldonado, 12-1.
BALTAS SPRINGS INTO ACTION WITH FIRST HAT TRICK
Yesterday was the first day of Spring, tra-la, and it provided more than a breath of fresh air for Richard Baltas.
The 52-year-old trainer saddled three winners at Santa Anita, including Our Glitter Ball at a $20.40 return in the fourth race, helping to set up a whopping two-day Pick 6 carryover into Friday of $551,928.
It was the first time in his career that Baltas saddled three winners in one day. The three-bagger nearly doubled his previous number of victories through 51 days and gave him eight from 41 starts, a 20 percent win average.
“I’ve been training off and on or assisting since 1991,” Baltas said. “I’ve had a couple days where I’ve won two in one day, but never three. I felt really confident about Silk In Silver ($3.80) in the first and Rangi ($6.80) in the seventh. Our Glitter Ball had been getting better but I still thought she’d maybe need another race.”
Baltas, in the fourth grade when his family moved to Huntington Beach from Gary, Indiana, has 27 head at Santa Anita. He spent tours with trainer Tom Skiffington on the New York circuit; Niall O’Callaghan, Barry Abrams and Richard Mandella.
Baltas goes for his fourth straight win when he sends out 5-1 morning line chance Full’s Dress Code in today’s fourth race.
BEHOLDER ‘LOOKS GREAT’ AS SHE NEARS HER RETURN
Spendthrift Farm’s Beholder, an Eclipse Award winner at two and again at three, worked six furlongs in company on Santa Anita’s main track Friday morning in 1:14.40 under Gary Stevens as she moves ever closer to her 4-year-old debut.
“It was an easy three quarters,” Hall of Fame trainer Richard Mandella said. “We’re just getting her ready. She looks great.”
Asked if he had a race in mind for her return, Mandella said, “We’re still shopping.”
BREEDERS’ CUP WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS UP FOR AWARD
The Breeders’ Cup World Championships, which will be held for an unprecedented third straight year at Santa Anita on Oct. 31 and Nov. 1, has been nominated in the Sports Event of the Year category for the 2014 Sports Business Awards presented by Street & Smith’s Sports Business Journal and Sports Business Daily.
The 2013 Breeders’ Cup, held before 89,742 fans last November 1 and 2 at Santa Anita, featured world-class Thoroughbred racing along with musical entertainment, great parties, fashion events and celebrity appearances. The NBC Sports Group provided nine and a half hours of live domestic coverage which was distributed to more than 130 countries.
The 2013 Breeders’ Cup consisted of 14 races and purses and awards totaling $27 million, making last year’s Championships one of the richest prize money events in sports.
"We have set the ambitious goal for our Championships to be one of the elite sporting events in the world and it is very gratifying to everyone at the Breeders' Cup that Sports Business Journal has recognized our 2013 event as among the very best in sports," said Craig Fravel, Breeders' Cup President and CEO.
"The spectacular finish in the Breeders’ Cup Classic at Santa Anita Park, before a nationally televised live audience on NBC, capped off two outstanding days of international competition conducted at its highest level. Along with our terrific partners, Santa Anita Park and the Stronach Group, we thank all the owners and nominators who competed, as well as our sponsors, and the State of California for its part in staging the 2013 Championships for our fans around the world."
Other nominees in the Sports Event of the Year category are: Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic; The ONE: Mayweather vs. Canelo, presented by Showtime Networks in partnership with Golden Boy Promotions and Mayweather Promotions; 2014 Waste Management Phoenix Open; and Super Bowl XLVIII.
Winners will be announced at an awards gala on Thursday, May 21, at the Marriott Marquis in New York City.
XPRESSBET FETES ITS TWO GRAND PRIZE WINNERS
Xpressbet congratulates the two Grand Prize Winners of its $10K Big Bet Sweepstakes, Tom Guadagno of Northridge, California, and Scott Shore of Coral Springs, Florida. Guadagno and Shore were randomly chosen from the pool of participants, each of whom received Sweepstakes entries for each wager they placed through Xpressbet between Jan. 18 and March 16, 2014.
Guadagno was chosen as the winner of the Florida Derby prize, and traveled to Gulfstream Park where he will receive VIP accommodations for the races today and Saturday. On Saturday, he will place a $10,000 win bet on his choice in the Florida Derby.
Shore is winner of the Santa Anita Derby prize and will fly to Los Angeles where he will be treated to two great days of racing at The Great Race Place and will place his $10,000 win bet on his choice in the Santa Anita Derby.
Xpressbet Vice President of Marketing, Kerry Carlson, remarked, “We’re really excited to provide two of our customers the opportunity to not only experience two of North America’s premier racing events, but also the opportunity to change their lives with a $10,000 in wager. We wish them the best of luck.”
To help its winners and customers wager on the races with confidence, Xpressbet will be producing Wagering Guides for both the Florida Derby and Santa Anita Derby. Each Guide features horse-by-horse analysis, wagering strategies and handicapper selections. The Guides will be available on the Thursday prior to each race.
FINISH LINES: Hall of Fame jockey Gary Stevens on one reason for his record nine Santa Anita Derby wins: “Good horses.” Stevens rides Robert B. Lewis Stakes winner Candy Boy for trainer John Sadler in this year’s edition on April 5. Other possible starters in the Grade I, $1 million race at 1 1/8 miles include California Chrome, Bayern, Hoppertunity, Dublin Up, Big Tire and Friendswith K Mill . . . Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies winner Ria Antonia, working for the Grade I Santa Anita Oaks on April 5, went six furlongs for Bob Baffert in 1:13.20, also with Stevens up. Her fractional times were 24 2/5, 48 3/5 and 1:01, with a gallop-out time of 1:26 3/5 for seven furlongs. Fashion Plate, winner of the Grade I Las Virgenes Stakes, also drilled for the Oaks, going five furlongs in 1:01.20 for Simon Callaghan with Mike Smith aboard . . . She’s a Tiger, 2-year-old filly champion of 2013, worked five furlongs in 59.60 for trainer Jeff Bonde . . . Rafael Bejarano has the inside track today. Santa Anita’s runaway riding leader with 70 victories is named on five horses. One breaks from the No. 3 post position; three from No. 2 and one from the rail . . . Corey Black will handle business at Santa Anita the next few weeks for Turf Paradise invader Geovanni Franco . . . Agent Vic Lipton has taken the book of 22-year-old Maicol J. Severino. The Dominican Republic native tacks 110 pounds . . . Tomorrow, Santa Anita presents a Winner’s Circle BBQ Championship in the infield. Sanctioned by the Kansas City BBQ Society, it features delicious samplings from grilling greats. Fans can receive a 50 percent discount off the Family BBQ 4-Pack of the 2-Pack with the promo code SMOKEY.