Garrett Gomez hopes to keep his record perfect with Furthest Land, his mount in Saturday’s Grade II $150,000 San Pasqual Handicap for 4-year-olds and up at 1 1/16 miles.

Gomez was aboard the 5-year-old gelding when he won the Kentucky Cup Classic at Turfway Park by a neck last Sept. 26 for trainer Mike Maker. Furthest Land, owned by Kenneth and Sarah Ramsey, won the Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile on Nov. 7 at Santa Anita at odds of 21-1 under Julien Leparoux following the Kentucky Cup Classic.

“He traveled well,” Gomez said of the Turfway Park victory. “I was just real patient with him. I moved him out around the quarter pole, and didn’t even have to get into him until I got to the last horse he had to overtake. He fought hard down to the wire, but the rest of the race he was real professional. Hopefully, we can continue with the success we had.”

Ready’s Echo, who was second to Furthest Land in the Dirt Mile and was scheduled to run in the San Pasqual, came out of last Wednesday’s workout with a wrenched ankle, and was thus forced to pass the race, according to Mike McCarthy, assistant to trainer Todd Pletcher.

Furthest Land, a 5-year-old gelded son of Smart Strike, has an 8-2-1 record from 16 starts, with earnings of $869,689.

The field for the San Pasqual: Cherokee Artist, Rafael Bejarano; Bold Chieftain, Russell Baze; Nownownow, Joe Talamo; Goldsville, Alex Solis; Neko Bay, Mike Smith; Spurrier, Joel Rosario; and Furthest Land, Garrett Gomez.


Santa Anita-based horsemen had fond memories of former trainer J.E. “Cotton” Tinsley, who was found dead Monday at the age of 81. A Celebration of Life will be held for Tinsley Monday, 5 p.m., at Arcadia Golf Course.

“I first came to Southern California in 1975 and he was one of the first trainers to put me on horses,” Hall of Fame jockey Eddie Delahoussaye recalled. “We were both Southern boys, so we hit it off right away. He was a great horseman and I was sad to read of his passing. He was quiet and kind and a great person and he’ll be missed.”

“Cotton was a true class act,” said Jon White, who makes Santa Anita’s morning line in addition to providing paddock commentary for the track's simulcast network. “When I was a columnist and reporter for the Racing Form in the 1980s, Cotton was always friendly and forthright whenever I stopped by his barn to ask him about one of his horses.

“Cotton was with Fred Hooper for 26 years. When Ivan Parke retired as Hooper's trainer (in 1957), Cotton took over. In ’63, Cotton won the Santa Anita Handicap for Hooper with Crozier. With Braulio Baeza riding, Crozier won the Big ’Cap easily (by 5 ½ lengths).

“In the early 1970s, Cotton didn’t want to travel so much. So John Russell became Hooper’s trainer, while Cotton worked his magic as a horseman at Hooper's farm in Florida. One of the yearlings Cotton broke for Hooper in Florida was Susan’s Girl, who won 24 stakes races, more than $1 million and three Eclipse Awards on her way to the Hall of Fame.

"In 1974, Gordon Potter trained a 2-year-old filly by the name of Hot n Nasty for Dan Lasater. At the time, Lasater was the leading owner in the country. Well, it was Cotton who broke Hot n Nasty as a yearling for Lasater at his farm in Florida. After Hot n Nasty won the Hollywood Lassie in 1974 to remain undefeated, she ran second to Ruffian in the Sorority Stakes at Monmouth Park. Ruffian won the Sorority by 2 ¼ lengths. That's the closest any filly ever finished to Ruffian.

“Cotton Tinsley certainly was respected and liked by trainers, jockeys, jockey agents and the press. Anyone fortunate enough to have known him certainly is going to miss him.”

Said veteran agent Scott McClellan: “He was a great guy, real soft-spoken, but when he told you a horse could run, it could run. When he said you’d better ride this horse, you’d better ride it. He was a very good trainer and a super guy. I’m sorry he disappeared after he retired from training. Nobody really saw him much.”

“We were very good friends,” said former jockey Larry Gilligan, who finished fifth aboard 93-1 shot Mr. Consistency in the 1963 Santa Anita Handicap won by Crozier. “We used to have parties and barbecued together, in our younger days.”

“He was a sweet man,” said agent Richie Silverstein. “He and his wife, Pat, were great people to work for. They were low-profile and stayed out of everybody’s way. They won an unbelievable amount of races considering the relatively low number of horses they had. They were professional; they never misled you. There was never any beating around the bush, and they did unbelievably well with what they had.”


Christian Santiago Reyes is proud and excited to be a finalist in the Eclipse Award voting for the nation’s outstanding apprentice rider of 2009.

The 20-year-old from Puerto Rico has been the leading apprentice rider at every major Southern California meet since he arrived in the U.S. last April, and was second-leading rider overall behind perennial champ Martin Pedroza at the recent Fairplex Park meet.

“He has ridden with success on major circuits and his mounts also have earned more money than the other finalists,” said his agent, Tony Matos, who also represents journeyman Victor Espinoza. “We are honored to be among the final three, and are hopeful he can win. He’s worked very hard and he’s very deserving.”

The other nominees are Luis Batista and Luis Saez.

FINISH LINES: Long-time owner Ron Waranch, whose best horse was Northern Afleet, passed away on Wednesday at the age of 78. “I trained for him more than 20 years,” Vladimir Cerin said. “He fired me four times, and he’d usually take me out to breakfast when he did it. One time I asked him if he could fire me first, so we could order. We became close friends through the years.” Waranch was born in 1931 in Gettysburg, Pa. Services will be private, Cerin said . . . HRTV received honorable mention for an Eclipse Award in the National Television Feature programming category for its “Inside Information—Nowhere to Run” story about recovery efforts at the Fair Grounds in New Orleans following Hurricane Katrina. The program aired on Sept. 6, 2009. “Like nearly all our work, the story was the result of combined efforts of many at HRTV. We are very proud of the recognition,” said Director of Broadcasting Amy J. Zimmerman, the executive producer of the piece . . . Canadian invader Ellafitz was supplemented to Sunday’s Grade III $100,000 Santa Ysabel Stakes for $2,000. Now trained by Bob Baffert, the 3-year-old filly worked five furlongs on Pro-Ride Wednesday in :59.40. Jim Cassidy entered Evening Jewel in the 1 1/16-mile Santa Ysabel on a quick turnaround. The daughter of Northern Afleet won the California Breeders’ Champion Stakes for fillies on Dec. 27 at the same distance. “It’s a little quick back,” the trainer said, “but she’s shown she can get the distance.” . . . Arkansas Derby winner Papa Clem worked seven furlongs on Pro-Ride Thursday in a bullet 1:26.20 under Tyler Baze for the Jan. 16 San Fernando Stakes. “It seemed like he got a little tired at the end,” trainer Gary Stute said, “but he’s never been a great work horse.” . . . Eulices Gomez posted his second career victory at Santa Anita Wednesday when he guided 12-1 shot Gambling Pokerface from last to win by a half-length in the first race. The 3-year-old filly is trained by Helen Shelley, who operates out of Los Alamitos. “It felt good; it’s exciting,” said Gomez, a 25-year-old Duarte resident who was born in Los Angeles . . . David Flores will book his own mounts after splitting with agent Ron Anderson. “I’ve never done it before, but there’s a first time for everything,” Flores said . . .Tomorrow is the first Free Friday at Santa Anita this meet. General Admission is free, as are box seats, while supplies last. Hot dogs, beers, sodas, popcorn and coffee are only $1 . . . The $40 Santa Anita Handicapping Contest is held every Friday, Saturday and Sunday this meet. There is a $10 entry fee and a $30 live money-wagering card. At the conclusion of the contest, any dollar amount remaining on the wagering card remains the property of the player. For more information, visit the Main Thoroughbreds Center in the east end of the Grandstand on the main floor, or visit . . . Father and son handicappers Terry and Toby Turrell will be Jack Disney’s guests at Sunday’s Fans’ Forum, 11:15 a.m., in the East Paddock Gardens. Toby’s ‘Winners Card’ not only had $28.60 winner Gambling Pokerface on top Wednesday, it also picked a cold $202.90 trifecta . . . Entering Wednesday’s races, there were 426 contestants alive in ShowVivor and only 24 in WinVivor.