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STABLE NOTES BY ED GOLDEN
WHO’S UP DOING ‘SWIMMINGLY’ FOR SANTA ANITA DERBY
Who’s Up is scheduled to make his first start since winning the Grade III Generous Stakes at one mile on turf at Hollywood Park last Nov. 28 when he runs in the Grade I, $750,000 Santa Anita Derby on April 3.
Trainer Mike Puhich hopes a good showing in the Santa Anita Derby will lead to the Kentucky Derby on May 1 for the son of Graeme Hall, who has been training for Puhich at the Pegasus facility in Redmond, Washington, for his return to the races.
“The horse arrived this week, he’s settled in great, and we’re going to breeze him on Sunday,” said Puhich, who conditions Who’s Up for the M Racing stable of owner Michael Gonzalez. “The horse had some issues that required rehabilitation at Pegasus. He needed to swim and use the treadmill, and that pretty much got him up to this point.
“Mr. Gonzalez wanted to get a prep for the (Kentucky) Derby, and the most logical way was to take advantage of everything Pegasus had to offer. Most horses would be hand-walking, while he was swimming in the pool, so we kept the cardiovascular up and used the underwater treadmill to build up his muscle tone. When he was ready to resume full training, I didn’t have to do much with him. I galloped him four days and breezed him.”
Who’s Up has kept good company in his abbreviated career. In his first start, he was second to Sidney’s Candy, who has gone on to win the San Vicente Stakes and the San Felipe Stakes, both Grade II events. Who’s Up was seventh despite a wide trip behind champion Lookin At Lucky in the Grade I Del Mar Futurity, then broke his maiden before capturing the Generous Stakes.
Probable for the Santa Anita Derby: Sidney’s Candy, Joe Talamo; Caracortado, Paul Atkinson; Lookin At Lucky, Garrett Gomez; Setsuko, Rafael Bejarano; Thomas Baines, Joel Rosario; Alphie’s Bet, Alex Solis; Posse Power, no rider; Skipshot, no rider; Cardiff Giant, Christian Santiago Reyes; and Who’s Up, Victor Espinoza.
UNUSUAL SUSPECT IN QUICK TURNAROUND FOR TOKYO CITY CUP
Unusual Suspect will make his second start in a week when he runs in Saturday’s Grade III, $100,000 Tokyo City Cup at 1 1/2 miles on Pro-Ride.
He was fifth after a wide trip in the San Luis Rey Handicap at 1 1/2 miles on turf, beaten 4 1/2 lengths. Prior to that, the 6-year-old horse by Unusual Heat was eighth by 4 1/2 lengths in the Sunshine Millions Classic on Jan. 30.
“He should have been closer his last two races,” trainer Barry Abrams said. “He was five-wide in the San Luis Rey, or he would have been second. The rider took the overland route and he lost three lengths of ground. If he’d have stayed on the inside, he’d have finished second.”
The Tokyo City Cup will be the 44th start for Unusual Suspect, who has eight wins, five seconds and four thirds, with earnings of $772,850.
The field for the Tokyo City: Tap It Light, Tyler Baze, 114, 10-1; Eagle Poise, Mike Smith, 115, 9-2; Unusual Suspect, Alonso Quinonez, 117, 12-1; High Court Drama, Chantal Sutherland, 117, 5-1; Philatelist, Rafael Bejarano, 117, 9-5; Quindici Man, Martin Garcia, 116, 12-1; Rendezvous, Joel Rosario, 116, 3-1; and Snowmaster, Jose Valdivia Jr., 114, 10-1.
Saturday is Tokyo City Cup Day at Santa Anita. Fans can enjoy cultural exhibits and performances at Japan Family Day with traditional Japanese culture and entertainment, including Kado, Karate, Koto, Origami, Shinkendo, Shodo, Taiko and tea ceremony performances.
BLIND LUCK STABLEMATE SET FOR SUNDAY’S SANTA PAULA STAKES
Team Hollendorfer is hoping to follow in the footsteps of Blind Luck with Five Silver Stars when she runs in Saturday’s Grade III, $100,000 Santa Paula Stakes for 3-year-old fillies at 6 1/2 furlongs.
Purchased privately after winning a $40,000 claiming race by 13 1/4 lengths at Calder Race Course, Blind Luck has gone on to win three Grade I races and was a finalist for an Eclipse Award as outstanding 2-year-old filly of 2009.
Five Silver Stars was also purchased privately, after winning her maiden race by 10 lengths at Prairie Meadows in August of 2009. Despite her margin of victory, she was a well-kept secret that day. She went off at 13-1. Five Silver Stars didn’t make her first start for trainer Jerry Hollendorfer until Jan. 16, winning a six-furlong race at Golden Gate by a length and a half.
“She came in at the end of Del Mar last year,” said Hollendorfer assistant Dan Ward of the daughter of Five Star Day. “She was a 2-year-old and had some shin issues. We had her ready to run at Hollywood Park and later here but couldn’t get a race to fill, but she’s a nice-looking filly and she’s training well for the Santa Paula.”
The field for the Santa Paula: Seriously, Victor Espinoza, 114; Tanda, Alex Solis, 116; Crisis of Spirit, David Flores, 116; Five Silver Stars, Joel Rosario, 114; Sister Dawn, Rafael Bejarano, 114; Church Camp, Joe Talamo, 116; and La Nez, Smith, 118.
TRUMAN FAMILY CELEBRATES LIFE WITH MOTHER, WHO TURNS 94 NEXT WEEK
With Harry Truman, the buck stopped here. For Eddie and Jerry Truman, the buck stops with their mother.
In the homestretch of their lives, trainer Eddie and former jockey Jerry have made up for lost time with their mother, Maxine. The Grand Dame still has the spark of life as she approaches her 94th birthday this Thursday, April 1, especially when her sons bring her to Santa Anita to watch their horses run.
Confined to a wheelchair, Maxine would have stood and cheered last Sunday if she was able, when Eddie saddled back-to-back winners, Forever My Love, nose winner of the sixth race, and Poker Dave, last-to-first winner of the seventh. Both horses are owned by Howard and Janet Siegel and were ridden by Rafael Bejarano.
“Every time I run a horse, Jerry tries to bring my mom out,” Eddie said Friday morning, decked out in his standard fare, cargo shorts and tennis shirt. “She just loves it, and this has given us a chance to finally get to know one another, because we left home when we were around 15 to start on the race track. Really, I haven’t been around my mom for like 40 years.
“When she finally had to leave our farm where we were raised in Kansas and come to California, we got to see her and know her again . . . Even to this day, although her memory is failing, she has a sense of humor, she’s always in the moment, always speaks positive about things—she’s amazing.
“I tell my daughter (Kasey), here’s a lady who would help you do anything. If you come knocking on the door, she would take you in. But she would say ‘no’ to someone else until she completed her first commitment, and I’ve always admired that trait about her.”
Sunday’s two victories gave Truman three for the meet from 24 starters, but it wasn’t the first time the 63-year-old trainer won two races in a row.
“I may have won back to back races when we were in the golden years, no pun intended,” he said. “But I don’t know if we ever did it with the same jockey and owner. I think that’s a first.”
DAL JONES MEMORIAL POKER TOURNAMENT SUNDAY
The Dal Jones Memorial Texas Hold’ Em No-Limit Poker Tournament will be held Sunday at the top of the stretch at Santa Anita. The event will benefit trainer Dal Jones Jr., who died of an apparent heart attack on Feb. 16 at the age of 38 and left behind a wife and two young children.
There will be food, drinks, music and a silent and live auction at 5:15 p.m. sharp, or 15 minutes after the last race. The tournament starts at 6:15 p.m. There will be prizes for the top three finishers, as well as constant raffles for all in attendance. There is a $200 buy-in, which is not tax deductible.
Interested parties can sign up via credit card or mail in a donation or buy-in to see the prize list. First prize is a Rolex Submariner. For more information, visit www.Daljonesmemorial.com or contact Victor Smith at DalJonesMPT@yahoo.com
CTT NAMES BALCH, FISCO TO KEY POSITIONS
The Board of Directors of the California Thoroughbred Trainers have announced the appointment of Alan F. Balch to serve as Executive Director. Also announced was the appointment of Carlo Fisco, Esq. to serve as General Counsel.
In announcing the selections, CTT President John Sadler said, “The CTT is fortunate to have engaged the services of these extraordinarily qualified individuals to provide management and counsel to ensure the efficient and effective operation of our association. We feel that Alan and Carlo form an impressive team of professionals who can articulate and promote the interests not only of the CTT but the entire California racing industry.”
A longtime leader in equestrian sports, Balch has served as President of the USA Equestrian Trust, Executive Secretary of the American Saddlebred Horse Association, and President and Chief Executive Officer of the National Horse Show Association of America. His background includes vast experience with California Thoroughbred racing, having served as Senior Vice President-Marketing for the Los Angeles Turf Club (Santa Anita), where he led the development of the first professional marketing organization in American Thoroughbred history.
For more than 15 years, Fisco was intimately involved in California harness racing, where as an owner, trainer and driver, he managed a prominent California public stable. He graduated from law school while simultaneously operating a public racing stable. His legal practice, specializing in criminal law and civil litigation, has included the defenses of many licensees in administrative actions before the California Horse Racing Board. The new appointees assume their duties in April.
HRTV TO AIR DUBAI WORLD CUP SATURDAY MORNING
HRTV will air the $10 million Dubai World Cup Saturday. It will go as the eighth race over the Meydan track, with a scheduled post time of 10:45 a.m.
The World Cup field: Allybar, Gitano Hernando, Red Desire, Gio Ponti, Gloria De Campeao, Vision D’Etat, Lizard’s Desire, Furthest Land, Crowded House, Richard’s Kid, Twice Over, Mastery, Mr. Brock and Amor De Pobre.
SANTA ANITA HOSTS “UNCORKED” WINE EVENT ON SUNDAY
Santa Anita’s popular “Santa Anita Uncorked” wine event will take place Sunday in the Paddock Gardens area, adjacent to the Seabiscuit Walking Ring. The event, which debuted in 2008, will include wine tasting, cuisine sampling, an art show and a day at the races.
Fans 21 and over are encouraged to spend a day at spectacular Santa Anita tasting fine wines, world-class cuisine from popular area restaurants, and perusing a colorful Paddock Art Exhibit while experiencing a day at the races. “Santa Anita Uncorked” will again be sponsored by the Wine of the Month Club based in nearby Monrovia.
Among those upscale area restaurants participating are: San Marino Seafood, Ruth’s Chris Steak House, Cafe 322, Charcuterrie and Santa Anita’s FrontRunner. Wineries represented will include Zaca Mesa, Mike Smith and Alex Solis’ Jinetes, and many more.
“Santa Anita Uncorked” packages will include parking, Club House admission with a grandstand seat, program, wine tasting, cuisine sampling, art exhibit and a souvenir wine glass.
Tickets for admission, parking, program and restricted area wrist band are available for $60 each and can be purchased at the Santa Anita ticket office, or by phone at (626) 574-RACE. Tickets can also be purchased on-line at www.santaanita.com. Proceeds from “Santa Anita Uncorked” will go to benefit Rotary Club Youth Services.
FINISH LINES: Three-time Grade I winner and Eclipse Award finalist Blind Luck is scheduled to work six furlongs on Santa Anita’s training track Saturday for the Grade II, $250,000 Fantasy Stakes at Oaklawn Park on April 2. Rafael Bejarano, who rides in the Fantasy, will be aboard for the drill, according to Dan Ward, assistant to Jerry Hollendorfer . . . The third and final pool of the 2010 Kentucky Derby Future Book Wager starts today and closes Sunday at 3 p.m. . . . Puerto Rican apprentice jockeys Luis Negron and Jesus Velasquez are set to make their Santa Anita debuts. Negron, who rides today, has eight wins and carries a seven-pound weight allowance, while Velasquez, who debuts Saturday, is seeking his first win and receives 10 pounds. Tim Malgarini represents Negron, while Anthony Clark is the agent for Velasquez. Each rider tacks 108 pounds . . . Nominations closed yesterday for three stakes that will support the Santa Anita Derby card on April 3: the Grade II Arcadia Handicap for older horses at one mile on turf; the Grade II Potrero Grande Handicap for older horses at 6 1/2 furlongs on Pro-Ride; and the Grade II Providencia Stakes for 3-year-old fillies at 1 1/8 miles on turf . . . Top handicapper Toby Turrell of Winners Card and co-host Larry Zap launch their inaugural radio show tomorrow, “Case the Race,” live from Santa Anita’s FrontRunner Restaurant, on San Diego-based XX1090, 9 to 10 a.m.