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STABLE NOTES BY ED GOLDEN, SATURDAY, MARCH 28TH, 2009
GALLANT SON SET FOR SANTA ANITA DERBY; ESPINOZA ON FEISTY SUANCES
Frank Lucarelli said Saturday morning that Gallant Son was “99 percent sure” to run in the Santa Anita Derby a week from Saturday. The trainer had been considering the Illinois Derby at Hawthorne Race Course the same day for the son of Malabar Gold, who won the restricted Pasadena Stakes at one mile on turf at Santa Anita on March 15.
“He’s doing good in California, so we’re 99 percent sure to run in the Santa Anita Derby,” Lucarelli said. “He’s never really shipped that far, so going to the Midwest isn’t something I’d want to consider right now.”
Gallant Son has five wins from nine starts, with earnings of $161,988 for Chris and Diane Randall of Bellevue, Washington. Gallant Son was seventh in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile behind champion Midshipman at Oak Tree last Oct. 25, beaten only 3 ½ lengths despite an eventful trip.
Probable for the 72nd Santa Anita Derby, one of five stakes to be decided on April 4: Chocolate Candy, Joel Rosario; Gallant Son, no rider; Feisty Suances, Victor Espinoza; Mr. Hot Stuff, Corey Nakatani; The Pamplemousse, Alex Solis; and Pioneerof the Nile, Garrett Gomez.
In other Santa Anita Derby news:
Agent Tony Matos reported that Victor Espinoza would ride Feisty Suances for trainer Darrell Vienna. David Flores, who was aboard in five of the colt’s six career races, including a second last out behind Pioneerof the Nile in the Grade II San Felipe Stakes, rides Magnum for Vienna next Saturday in the Oaklawn Handicap.
Bob Baffert said Pioneerof the Nile galloped Saturday.
Santa Anita will host a media post position draw breakfast, 10 a.m. at Clockers’ Corner this Wednesday, April 1. Among the contingent of horsemen participating will be Baffert, trainer of Pioneerof the Nile, Julio Canani, who conditions The Pamplemousse, Eoin Harty, trainer of Mr. Hot Stuff, Jerry Hollendorfer, trainer of Chocolate Candy, jockeys Garrett Gomez, Joel Rosario, Alex Solis and Corey Nakatani, and David Bienstock, part owner of The Pamplemousse.
HRTV’s Gary Stevens will assist Santa Anita racing office officials with the draw. The retired Hall of Fame jockey won a record nine Santa Anita derbies from 1988 through 2003. Along with participating horsemen, Stevens will also be available for media interviews.
First post time on Santa Anita Derby day will be 12 noon. Gates open at 10 a.m.
The breakfast will feature a raffle benefiting CARMA (California Retirement Management Account, a charitable organization that raises money for retired California race horses). Tickets are $5 each or five for $20 and available now at Clockers’ Corner and the racing office. Grand prize is 50 percent of the cash from the raffle tickets. Additional prizes include two nights at the Las Vegas Hilton. Participants must be present to win.
VEHICULAR TRAFFIC ALTERED ON SANTA ANITA DERBY DAY
In deference to its annual Santa Anita Derby 5K Walk and Run, Santa Anita Park and the city of Arcadia have announced that Baldwin Ave., from the 210 Freeway to Huntington Drive, will be closed to vehicular traffic from 7:30 a.m. to 9 a.m. next Saturday, April 4.
Accordingly, Santa Anita’s Gate Eight, which adjoins the Westfield Shopping Mall on Baldwin Ave., will also be closed to vehicles during the same time period.
Those wishing to visit Santa Anita’s popular Clockers’ Corner venue at the top of the stretch will be able to enter on Santa Anita’s east end, through parking lot Gate Five. Gate Five will be open for easy access to Clockers’ Corner beginning at 5 a.m. and will remain open throughout the day.
Gate five is located on the east end of the racetrack, at the confluence of Colorado Place and Huntington Drive. For additional information on the Santa Anita Derby and on the Santa Anita Derby 5K Walk and Run, fans are encouraged to visit www.santaanita.com, or call (626) 574-7223.
‘HRTV REWIND’ PREMIERES TOMORROW
This Sunday at 6:30 p.m., HRTV will premiere a new weekly program, "HRTV Rewind.”
The half-hour show will recap all racing action seen on the network the previous week. It will include key races and informative interviews, as well as observations from HRTV's team of analysts.
"HRTV Rewind" will also highlight key moments from the network's original live shows --RaceDay America, Against the Odds, Across the Board, and Pursuit of the Crown.
SANTA ANITA HOSTS POPULAR WINE EVENT TOMORROW
Santa Anita Park will host its second annual “Santa Anita Uncorked” wine event on Sunday. The event, which includes wine tasting, cuisine sampling and an art show, will be held in Santa Anita’s beautiful Paddock Gardens area, adjacent to the Seabiscuit walking ring.
Fans 21 and over are encouraged to spend a day at Santa Anita tasting fine wines, sampling cuisine from popular area restaurants, and perusing a colorful Paddock Art Exhibit while experiencing an exciting day at the races.
“Santa Anita Uncorked” will again be sponsored by the Wine of the Month Club, based in nearby Monrovia.
Headlining an impressive list of visiting wineries is the label “Jinetes” (which translates to “rider” in Spanish). Jinetes was a popular first-ever release last year which was produced by a Mendicino, California, based vineyard.
Jinetes is owned by top jockeys Mike Smith and Alex Solis, along with Thoroughbred owner Tom Lenner. Categorized as a Syrah, Jinetes will be personally presented by the two jockeys--mounts permitting--and be available along with other brands for tasting in the Paddock Gardens area.
Jinetes will also be available by the bottle and glass in Santa Anita’s FrontRunner Restaurant.
“I’ve been collecting wine for 21 years,” said Solis, a winner of more than 4,600 races, who is once again a finalist for Thoroughbred racing’s Hall of Fame. “My number one passion is racing and wine is my number two passion.”
Smith, a winner of 14 Breeders’ Cup races in an illustrious career that included Hall of Fame induction in 2003, said, “We’re very excited about this wine. If you appreciate and enjoy wine, it’s pretty incredible to have your own. We’re very proud of it and I think a lot of people are going to be surprised by just how good it is.”
Cuisine will be provided by local upscale restaurants, including Matt Denny’s, Nikki C’s, and Langham Hotels.
The “Uncorked” art exhibit will feature artist Erica Nordean and others.
“Santa Anita Uncorked” packages will include: parking, clubhouse admission, including a grandstand seat, racing 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 benefit Rotary Club Youth Services and Arcadia High School Athletic Boosters.
FINISH LINES: The local racing contingent was enthusiastically supportive of jockey Aaron Gryder, trainer Eoin Harty and owner WinStar Farm after Santa Anita-based Well Armed rolled to a record 14-length victory in Saturday’s $6 million Dubai World Cup. “He deserves it,” said Craig O’Bryan, agent for Gryder. “He’s such a good guy. I’m happy for him and everyone associated with Well Armed. It’s a great victory.” . . . Unbeaten Rail Trip, nominated for next Saturday’s Santana Mile, worked seven furlongs on Pro-Ride Saturday in 1:26.40 for Ron Ellis . . . Bobby Frankel, Santa Anita’s career leader in victories with 915, heads for Keeneland Monday to prepare for the Kentucky meet that begins next Friday, but will leave some of his blueblood stock at Santa Anita . . . Probable for next Saturday’s Grade II Providencia Stakes for 3-year-old fillies at one mile on turf: Pasar Silbano, Joel Rosario, and Pride Dancer, Garrett Gomez . . . Probable for next Sunday’s Grade III Las Flores Handicap for older fillies and mares at 6 ½ furlongs: Coco Belle, Mike Smith; Foxy Danseur, Rosario; and Starry Pursuit, Joe Talamo . . . With four wins Friday, Rosario closed to within three of runner-up Rafael Bejarano at 72-69. Gomez, who begins to ride at Keeneland Friday, remains in first with 80 victories . . . Three horses went off at 2-1 in Friday’s first race, separated only by $364. Little Wing was favored with $24,510; winner Lunch Time was second with $24,244; and third-place finisher Distinctive Fleet was third choice with $24,146 . . . Trainer Steve Knapp said Irish O’Brien Stakes winner Christiana’s Heat will be bred to Yes It’s True at Three Chimney’s in Kentucky, but would return to California, where the foal would be dropped. The daughter of Unusual Heat had swelling in her left front leg four days after winning the Irish O’Brien by a nose on March 15 under Michael Baze . . . Only two participants remained alive in Santa Anita’s popular on line handicapping contest, ShowVivor II, going into Saturday’s races, Donald Abrams of Fulton, Missouri, and Bruce Meyer of Prior Lake, Minnesota.