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STABLE NOTES BY ED GOLDEN
• SANTA ANITA HONORS FRANKEL WITH INAUGURAL STAKES SATURDAY
• HRTV WINS 2010 MEDIA ECLIPSE AWARD
• THE FACTOR MAKES THE ‘THE FACTOR’
• SPECTACULAR BID’S RECORD REMEMBERED
LONG-TIME AIDE WARD REMEMBERS BOBBY FRANKEL
Dan Ward was an associate of Bobby Frankel for 22 years. From 1976 through 1998, it was a work in progress with the at-times irascible trainer, who died at the age of 68 on Nov. 16, 2009. Santa Anita has renamed the San Gorgonio Handicap the Robert J. Frankel Stakes in his memory. The race, which was won by Frankel a record eight times, is for older fillies and mares at 1 1/8 miles on turf and will be run on Saturday, New Year’s Day.
Ward is currently an assistant to future Hall of Fame trainer Jerry Hollendorfer, who had Lilly Fa Pootz ticketed for the Frankel, but instead will run her in the Grade III Monrovia Handicap on Sunday.
“Bobby had a full barn at Santa Anita, and I was at Hollywood Park,” Ward said in recollecting one of countless tales in his memory bank about the Hall of Fame trainer. “This was 1993 after the Breeders’ Cup. Some horses that came in from Europe would stay with us in the U.S. after the races. Bobby didn’t know anything about them.
“So we’re training them a while, taking our time, and Bobby says, ‘You know, that horse is all right. We’re gonna run him in the Baldwin, so have him ready.’ I said, ‘OK.’
“So we’re working him slow and he’s working OK. He gets a few three-quarter works and Bobby says, ‘Is he gonna be ready?’ I said, ‘Yeah, he’s gonna be ready.’ The race is on a Wednesday in late March and the horse is at Hollywood. We send him to Santa Anita Tuesday for the race on Wednesday.
“Bobby’s looking at the (Racing) Form and says, ‘Do you like this horse? He’s got no (bleeping) chance.’ I said, ‘Bet your money.’ His name was Future Storm. Back then, there was no TVG, no HRTV, so I’m in the kitchen at Hollywood Park watching the race on a monitor. A guy comes over and asks Bobby if he likes the horse.
“Bobby says, ‘It’s the first time I’ve ever seen him, but my man over there told me he was ready. Bet your money. The horse gallops.’
“That was Bobby. He would give you credit if you did something very well.”
The field for the Frankel: Go Forth North, David Flores, 118; Powerofvoodoo, Edwin Maldonado-Alicea, 118; Éclair de Lune, Rafael Bejarano, 123; Spring Style, Garrett Gomez, 118; and Harmonious, Joel Rosario, 123.
HRTV, ZIMMERMAN, HONORED WITH ANOTHER ECLIPSE AWARD
The National Thoroughbred Racing Association (NTRA), Daily Racing Form and the National Turf Writers and Broadcasters announced Tuesday that HRTV has won the 2010 Media Eclipse Award in the Television Feature programming category for its documentary "Inside Information: Swale," about the 1984 Kentucky Derby and Belmont Stakes winner, which aired last Feb. 28.
Coupled with this year’s ESPN show for live broadcast, it marked an unprecedented 15th time that Santa Anita Vice President, Business Coordination, Director of Broadcasting Amy J. Zimmerman has been honored either as executive producer, producer/writer, associate producer or network executive in charge.
This is the third Media Eclipse Award won by HRTV, but its first for a program that it wrote and produced. HRTV received the Media Eclipse Feature award in 2006 for the Pony Highway production of "On the Muscle" and in 2008 for the Hennegan Brothers' documentary "The First Saturday in May."
"Swale," written and produced by Zimmerman, recounts the glorious and tragic story of the Claiborne Farm's talented 3-year-old, who achieved the farm's elusive dream of winning its first Kentucky Derby. The documentary concludes with his shocking and unexplained death just eight days after winning the Belmont. The story is told through the eyes of owners Seth and his sister Dell Hancock of Claiborne Farm, and includes interviews with Phil Gleaves and Sandy Bruno, assistants to Swale's trainer, the late Woody Stephens; Swale's jockey, Laffit Pincay, Jr. and retired Claiborne Farm manager John Sosby.
"I'm absolutely thrilled for everyone at HRTV involved with this project," said Zimmerman, who is also Executive Producer of HRTV, based in Arcadia, Calif. "I have wanted to tell this story for a long time. The year 1984 is remembered for the first Breeders' Cup and the victories by John Henry, but for five weeks that year there was nothing greater than Swale. We are thankful to Seth and Dell Hancock for letting us tell his story."
In addition to Zimmerman, Phil Kubel was supervising producer of "Swale." The program was edited by Steve Scheidler. Joan Ciampi was the field producer. Laffit Pincay III was the narrator.
Honorable mention in the Television Feature programming category went to CBS News' "60 Minutes" for its feature "Zenyatta," which aired on Oct. 31. Judges in the National Television - Features category were Stu Kirschenbaum of Oak Street Productions; Dave Johnson, television producer, host and longtime racing voice of the Triple Crown, and award-winning television producer Toni Slotkin. –
The Eclipse Awards are named after the great 18th-century racehorse and foundation sire Eclipse, who began racing at age five and was undefeated in 18 starts.
The Eclipse Awards are presented by the NTRA, National Turf Writers and Broadcasters (NTWAB) and Daily Racing Form. Eclipse Awards are bestowed upon horses and individuals whose outstanding achievements in North America have earned them the title of Champion in their respective categories. Awards also are given to recognize members of the media for outstanding coverage of Thoroughbred racing.
The 40th annual Eclipse Awards will be held on Monday, Jan. 17 at the Fontainebleau Miami Beach in Miami Beach, Fla.
THE FACTOR A HIT ON TRACK AND ON O’REILLY’S TV SHOW
After The Factor won his debut race by 8 ¼ lengths at Santa Anita on opening day in track record time of 1:06.98 for six furlongs, he become one of the early favorites for next year’s Kentucky Derby and due to his name, was also featured Tuesday night on Bill O’Reilly’s top-rated cable TV show, “The O’Reilly Factor,” on the Fox News Network.
“As soon as the colt hit the wire on Sunday, we initiated contact with O’Reilly’s production staff and they were very receptive,” said Santa Anita Director of Publicity Mike Willman. “I knew there were some horseracing-friendly people involved with the show and the fact that this horse is a bona fide Derby prospect made it an easy sell.
“When they saw The Factor’s race from the 3/8 pole home and they heard Trevor’s (Denman) call, it was a done deal. We were hoping they’d use it on their Pinheads and Patriots segment and they did. It’s up to (trainer Bob) Baffert now to keep this horse right of center and out of trouble on the Derby trail. Bob’s super-high on him and if he continues to improve, it could be a heckuva ride for all of us.”
WHITE REVISITS THE BID’S MALIBU TRACK RECORD
Twirling Candy won the seven-furlong Malibu Stakes on the dirt in 1:19.70 last Sunday to break the track record at Santa Anita set by Spectacular Bid on Jan. 5, 1980. Bill Shoemaker rode The Bid in his Malibu triumph for trainer Bud Delp.
“I certainly will never forget watching Spectacular Bid set that track record in the Malibu,” recalled Jon White, who currently makes Santa Anita’s morning line and provides paddock commentary for the simulcast network. “He hadn’t raced since October. Delp said that he did not have “The Bid” fully cranked for the Malibu because it was his first start of the year. Delp said that if Flying Paster didn’t beat Spectacular Bid in the Malibu, with The Bid coming off a layoff, Flying Paster would never beat him.
“Spectacular Bid was last early in the field of five. Rosie’s Seville, who was trained by Craig Roberts, set the pace. By the way, you can see this race at YouTube by typing in 1980 Malibu Stakes. Nearing the half-mile pole, Spectacular Bid moved up right alongside Flying Paster. They were about two lengths off the lead at that point.
“Approaching the quarter pole, Spectacular Bid and Flying Paster were rolling toward the lead, in unison. They continued moving together to around the eighth pole. But then, leaving the eighth pole, Shoemaker just tapped the Bid with the whip one time right-handed. Spectacular Bid blasted away from Flying Paster to open a three-length lead well before the sixteenth pole. After the issue was no longer in doubt, Shoemaker let Spectacular Bid just coast home.”
As soon as Spectacular Bid crossed the finish, White immediately looked at the final time on the board. “Spectacular Bid, despite the layoff and coasting home, won the race in 1:20 flat,” White said. “I thought, ‘Holy cow! Imagine how fast he might have run if he had been fully cranked!’ He broke the track record by three-fifths of a second.”
Spectacular Bid broke the track record of 1:20 3/5 established in 1954 by Imbros (who would later sire Native Diver). That 1:20 3/5 clocking would be equaled by Jacinto (in 1965), Lightning Mandate (in 1975) and Beat Inflation (in 1977).
“Witnessing Spectacular Bid’s exhibition of sheer brilliance in the Malibu was one of those special performances a person never forgets,” White said.
The Malibu was the first start of Spectacular Bid’s nine-for-nine campaign in 1980 en route to the Horse of the Year title. Also at Santa Anita that year, the gray son of Bold Bidder won the San Fernando Stakes, Charles H. Strub Stakes and (under 130 pounds over a sloppy track) Santa Anita Handicap. In the Strub, under 126 pounds, Spectacular Bid completed 1 1/4 miles in 1:57 4/5, which is still the fastest clocking for the distance on the dirt in American racing history.
FINISH LINES: A memorial gathering to celebrate the life of the late trainer Vincent Timphony will take place tonight in the Chandelier Room at the Santa Anita Turf Club following the last race . . . Track Superintendent Richard Tedesco said three-quarters of an inch of rain hit Santa Anita since early Wednesday morning. “It’s supposed to clear soon,” said Tedesco, who sealed the new dirt main track Tuesday and kept it closed for training Wednesday morning . . .
Santa Anita earned the distinction of ranking third in Google trends on Monday, as the third most-searched brand worldwide behind Hugh Hefner and Crystal Harris, the girl the Playboy mogul recently proposed to . . . Santa Anita Handicap winner Misremembered worked three furlongs on the main track Tuesday in :37 flat for Bob Baffert . . . Thanks to Kevin Bolling and his staff, the CTHF Clinic on the backside is offering free flu shots while they last to LATC and HRTV employees. Shots will be available starting Jan. 3. The clinic will be open Mondays, Wednesdays and Thursdays between 1:30 and 3:30 p.m. It is located in the southwest corner of the lot through Gate 7. Show your season credential or current pay stub for identification . . . Alex Gonzalez, who drove Big Revolution along the rail to win Monday’s third race by a half-length for trainer Peter Miller, and piloted 17-1 shot Miss Marsha Lee to an upset in the ninth race for trainer Lewis Cenicola, lost his five-pound apprentice allowance following Monday’s races. “It’s a tough colony, but I plan to stay here and ride,” said the 19-year-old native of the South Jersey seashore resort of Somers Point, who was raised in West Virginia. “You have to stay positive and be confident that you can ride with the rest of these guys. I’ll just hope for the best and work hard. My father, Freddie, was a rider at old Rockingham Park.” Gonzalez, who tacks 107 pounds, is represented by agent Sal Marquez.