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STABLE NOTES BY ED GOLDEN, FRIDAY, APRIL 10TH, 2009
SQUARE EDDIE TO USE LEXINGTON STAKES AS KENTUCKY DERBY PREP
Breeders’ Cup Juvenile runner-up Square Eddie, who had been expected to train up to the Kentucky Derby on May 2, instead will first run in next Saturday’s Coolmore Lexington Stakes at Keeneland, if all goes well following a scheduled six furlong workout at Hollywood Park tomorrow.
“That’s the tentative game plan,” trainer Doug O’Neill said Friday morning from his Hollywood headquarters, where Square Eddie has been training forwardly after recovering from shin problems that sidelined him since early February.
In his lone start as a 3-year-old, the son of Smart Strike owned by J. Paul Reddam ran second to The Pamplemousse in the Grade III San Rafael Stakes at one mile on Jan. 17.
“Square Eddie is really doing well,” O’Neill continued. “The thinking is it would be smarter to get a race into him before the Derby, rather than to train up to it.” Edgar Prado rides in the Lexington.
Square Eddie won the Grade I Breeders’ Futurity on Keeneland’s Polytrack in his first start in the United States last Oct. 4 before running second to champion Midshipman in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile at Oak Tree on Oct. 25. He made his 3-year-old debut in the San Rafael. The Canadian-bred colt has a 2-3-1 record from seven starts, with earnings of $787,366, of which $774,981 are graded.
DAWN OF ANOTHER DAY FOR SADLER MARE IN LAS CIENEGAS
They don’t come more versatile than Dawn After Dawn. The 5-year-old mare has won on synthetic, turf, short and long in a 22-race career in which she has won six races and earned $516,283 for owners Ike and Dawn Thrash of Hattiesburg, Mississippi.
On Sunday, Dawn After Dawn shortens up from one mile to about 6 ½ furlongs on turf as she goes for her third straight stakes victory, in the Grade III, $100,000 Las Cienegas Handicap for older fillies and mares.
“They key with her going two turns is settling,” said Larry Benavidez, trainer John Sadler’s right hand man for more than 15 years. “But down the hill, she’s equally effective as she is going a mile, because it plays more like a route.”
Dawn After Dawn, a Florida-bred daughter of Successful Appeal, won the restricted Wishing Well Handicap at about 6 ½ furlongs on turf on Jan. 31, then came back to win the restricted Moscow Burning Handicap at one mile on grass March 13.
Through Thursday and with eight racing days left, Team Sadler was only two wins behind leader Mike Mitchell in the race for training honors, an achievement with which the barn is not obsessed.
“Mitchell had a great week last week,” said the 30-something Benavidez, who resides in Covina. “But like John always says, we’re focused on winning for each individual client, not necessarily an overall title. That’s what’s important.”
The field for the 35th Las Cienegas, which goes as race No. 7 on a nine-race program: Trouble Maker, Victor Espinoza, 114; Bel Air Sizzle, Corey Nakatani, 116; Tuscan Evening, Garrett Gomez, 113; Reba Is Tops, Joe Talamo, 117; Dawn After Dawn, Joel Rosario, 118; Gorgeous Goose, Rafael Bejarano, 115; Gotta Have Her, Tyler Baze, 117; Star of Whitney, Aaron Gryder, 116; and Macadamia, Jose Valdivia Jr., 113.
DOVER STREET ART MAKES U.S. DEBUT IN LA PUENTE STAKES
Irish-bred Dover Street Art makes her United States debut in Saturday’s $100,000 La Puente Stakes for 3-year-olds at one mile on turf, and his connections are optimistic the bay colt will give a good account of himself.
“(Former trainer) Frank Lyons saw videos and loved the pedigree, and we ended up putting something together,” said Dennis O’Neill, brother and associate of trainer Doug O’Neill. “The horse has been training really well. He’s been breezing with Liquidity and hanging in there. We’re expecting a big effort.”
The field for the 29th La Puente, which goes as the seventh race on a nine-race program: Dapper Gene, Jose Valdivia Jr., 20-1; Leedstheway, Joe Talamo, 8-1; Arden Park, Mike Smith, 6-1; Smokey Lonesome, Victor Espinoza, 5-1; Wall Street Wonder, Joel Rosario, 9-2; Dover Street Art, Michael Baze, 15-1; Charlie’s Moment, Alex Solis, 8-1; Robs Hero, David Flores, 20-1; Mr. Monkey Jones, Corey Nakatani, 20-1; Lesson in Deceit, Jake Barton, 12-1; and Battle of Hastings, Tyler Baze, 5-2.
Cape Truth and Renegade Storm were scratched.
SANTA ANITA SHOWS APPRECIATION TO FANS NEXT TWO SATURDAYS
Tomorrow is Super Saturday at Santa Anita. Fans will receive free gifts, including sports bags, beanies, umbrellas, wallets, beach towels, waste baskets and more. It’s your choice, while supplies last, with paid admission.
“We’re also going to have Fan Appreciation Day next Saturday (April 18),” said Santa Anita Vice President of Marketing Allen Gutterman. “It’s an opportunity we welcome to show our gratitude for our patrons’ solid support throughout the meet.”
Next Saturday, all fans in attendance will receive a free Santa Anita Park baseball cap with paid admission while supplies last, courtesy of San Manuel Indian Bingo & Casino.
SANTA ANITA FANS COULD WIN MORTGAGE-FREE MONTH OF MAY
Fans coming to Santa Anita on the meet’s final two Sundays—April12 and 19—could have their mortgage or rent paid for the month of May (up to $3,500).
Interested fans should enter the Santa Anita Stimulus Drawing at any admission gate. One name will be selected each Sunday immediately following the sixth race. Sponsored by Westside Rentals, the winner’s mortgage or rent for the month of May, up to $3,500.
‘EDDIE LOGAN DAY’ IN ARCADIA ON SUNDAY, APRIL 19
The City of Arcadia has proclaimed Sunday, April 19, as “Eddie Logan Day” in honor of Santa Anita’s iconic shoeshine attendant who passed away on Jan. 31 at the age of 98. Logan, a self-proclaimed “Footman,” ran his Santa Anita shoeshine stand from opening day, Dec. 25, 1934, until the morning of Jan. 3, when he suffered a seizure and stroke from which he never recovered. Born in 1910, he would have been 99 on May 20.
Santa Anita will also unveil a beautiful oversized bronze relief plaque in Logan’s image on April 19, with an inscription that captures the essence of what he meant to The Great Race Place over a span of eight decades. The plaque will be unveiled in a winner’s circle ceremony and will be installed for permanent display in the area overlooking his long-time work area adjacent to the racing office.
“There really has been a tangible void here since Eddie’s passing,” said Santa Anita President Ron Charles. “He meant so much to all of us who were in contact with him and we still have fans asking about him. When he had the stroke, we made a decision to leave his shoeshine stand vacant until he returned and then we decided to leave it unattended for the remainder of the meet, out of respect.
“We are very proud of the plaque and we think it’s only fitting that it overlooks the area where he brought so much joy and professionalism for so many years. It will become a permanent part of Santa Anita, just as the Kingsbury Fountain and the Seabiscuit monument in the paddock gardens area are. We’re confident Eddie’s family, friends and all of those who knew or heard of him are going to treasure this for all-time.”
A former boxer and professional baseball player, Logan was blessed with remarkably good health and an infectious smile. As recently as two years ago, he shadow-boxed for camera crews and regaled them with stories about his time spent in baseball’s Negro Leagues in the 1920s and early ‘30s.
Logan would often lecture horsemen about the care of their boots and shoes and perils the stable area presented for leather. “Salt, brace, alkali and urine,” were invariably cited as primary enemies of the leather he so skillfully treated.
“He had that great sense of humor and he’d make you laugh,” said Hall of Fame trainer Richard Mandella. “He’d talk about his days with the Kansas City Monarchs and he was just full of life. He said his dad always told him, ‘Keep your mouth shut and your eyes open, and you’ll learn something.’ I hope Santa Anita maintains his shoeshine stand forever, he was one of a kind.”
April 19 is also closing day at Santa Anita. First post time is scheduled for 12:30 p.m.
FINISH LINES:. Bob Baffert, just back from the Keeneland sales, said Santa Anita Derby winner Pioneerof the Nile, unbeaten in three stakes this meet, could work at Santa Anita on Monday. The son of Empire Maker is scheduled to leave for Kentucky the following day, April 14, to prepare for the Derby. Baffert added that two-time champion Indian Blessing could make her next start in the Grade I, $300,000 Humana Distaff Handicap at seven furlongs at Churchill Downs on May 2 . . . With two wins Thursday, Rafael Bejarano tied Garrett Gomez for the riding lead. Each has 86 victories, but Bejarano has 100 more mounts, 424 to 324 . . . The sire Unusual Heat, with a Santa Anita meet record 27 winners through Thursday, has five scheduled starters today . . . Track superintendent Richard Tedesco said any rain in the Arcadia area “should be out of here by 6 o’clock this evening,” adding that near meet’s end, “close to seven inches” has fallen to date, far less than the norm . . . Trainer Jorge Periban has only two 2-year-olds in his barn, and each won on consecutive days at dramatically different payoffs. Simply Ms. Sassie won Wednesday’s first race at a $51.80 return, while favored Nana Boo took Thursday’s second at $5.20 . . . Arcadia Handicap winner Dixie Chatter is a prime candidate for the Grade I Breeders’ Cup Shoemaker Mile at Hollywood Park on May 25. “That’s the logical next step,” said trainer Richard Mandella, who added that the Grade II San Francisco Mile at Golden Gate on April 25 is an option . . . Kelly Leak is scheduled to have his first breeze Saturday since winning the $800,000 Sunland Park Derby on March 29. Trainer Mike Machowsky is preparing the son of Runaway Groom for the $400,000 Lone Star Derby on May 9.