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STABLE NOTES BY ED GOLDEN, WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 11TH, 2009
COMMON BOND FOR WINNING COLORS, STARDOM BOUND IS CONFIDENCE: STEVENS
If Stardom Bound were to run and win the Santa Anita Derby on April 4, she would become the fourth filly to take the West’s major steppingstone to the Kentucky Derby in 72 runnings, and the first since Winning Colors in 1988.
Winning Colors went on to capture the Run for the Roses, the last filly to do so, and only the third in 135 runnings of the historic classic. Should Stardom Bound duplicate Winning Colors’ rare double, it would be with a completely different style. Winning Colors was a front runner; Stardom Bound is a stone closer.
“There’s no comparison between the two,” said Hall of Fame jockey Gary Stevens, who rode Winning Colors to victory in both the Santa Anita and Kentucky derbies, and who is now an analyst for HRTV and NBC.
“They’re built totally different, but one thing they do have in common is their confidence. Winning Colors was very, very confident in herself, and Stardom Bound is, too, although she’s a lighter-built filly than Winning Colors. Stardom Bound has the height and the length Winning Colors had, but Winning Colors was a heartier filly.”
Stardom Bound rallied from last to win four straight Grade I races, but her trainer, Bobby Frankel, and Stevens, agreed she was “fresh” for the Las Virgenes.
“Stardom Bound was different in the Las Virgenes,” Stevens said. “Mike (Smith) said she was up underneath him, and more aggressive than she had been last year, and she broke better than she ever has. She’s filled out behind. She’s stronger there than what she was last year. You could see her developing over the winter.
“It would be exciting to see Stardom Bound and Pioneerof the Nile in the Santa Anita Derby, but we’ll have to see how everything pans out.”
As of now, Frankel said Stardom Bound would be pointed to the Santa Anita Oaks on March 7. COUNTRY STAR SEEKS TO MAKE THE GRADE (ONE) AGAIN IN SANTA MARIA
Country Star, second as the 6-5 favorite to Life Is Sweet in the Grade II El Encino Stakes on Jan. 18, seeks her third Grade I victory when she runs in Saturday’s Grade I Santa Maria Handicap for older fillies and mares at 1 1/16 miles. A rematch between the two fillies will not take place Saturday. Life Is Sweet will be entered in Sunday’s Grade II La Caňada Stakes.
Country Star won the Grade I Alcibiades Stakes and the Grade I Hollywood Starlet as a 2-year-old. The daughter of 2003 Belmont Stakes winner Empire Maker is trained by Bobby Frankel, Santa Anita’s career leader in victories with 908.
The field for the 67th Santa Maria: Briecat, Jose Valdivia Jr.; Tizfiz, Agapito Delgadillo; Country Star, Joel Rosario; Mistical Plan, Victor Espinoza; Marzelline, Tyler Baze; Roshani, no rider; Bsharpsonata, no rider; Santa Teresita, Joe Talamo; Island Hop, Chantal Sutherland; Visit, Garrett Gomez; Leah’s Secret, Eibar Coa; and Model, Rafael Bejarano. LIFE IS SWEET WORKS FOR SUNDAY’S GRADE II LA CAŇADA STAKES
Life Is Sweet, winner of the Grade II El Encino Stakes on Jan. 18 in her first start in nearly eight months, worked four furlongs on Hollywood Park’s Cushion Track Tuesday in a bullet :47.20 for Sunday’s Grade II La Caňada Stakes.
Life Is Sweet, a 4-year-old daughter of Storm Cat owned and bred by Martin and Pam Wygod and trained by John Shirreffs, also worked a bullet six furlongs on Feb. 12 at Hollywood in 1:12, breezing. WALL STREET WONDER SHARP FOR MONDAY’S SAN VICENTE
Wall Street Wonder, coming off an impressive 5 ¼ length maiden win, tackles Grade II company in next Monday’s San Vicente Stakes for 3-year-olds at seven furlongs.
“He looked good breaking his maiden,” trainer Bob Baffert said Wednesday. “He worked well this morning (four furlongs in a bullet :46.80).”
Probable for the 68th San Vicente: Cut the Check, Jose Valdivia Jr.; Evita Argentina, Garrett Gomez; New Bay, no rider; Point Attended, Corey Nakatani; Ventana, no rider; and Wall Street Wonder, Joel Rosario. SNOW DAY SUNDAY POSTPONED DUE TO WEATHER ISSUES
Snow Day scheduled for this Sunday has been postponed due to predicted inclement weather. A 40 percent chance of showers is forecast for Arcadia and a 60 percent chance for the metropolitan Los Angeles area. A date for its rescheduling will be announced shortly.
When the event is rescheduled, Santa Anita will become a winter wonderland hosting its first-ever Snow Day during live racing. Fun-filled activities for the entire family will be available throughout the Santa Anita infield, including 200 tons of snow, winter games of chance, snow slides, a 50’ x 100’ synthetic ice skating rink, pony rides, face painting and much more. WHITE’S TOP 10: PIONEEROF THE NILE STILL NO. 1, FILLY IS UP TO NO. 3
Pioneerof the Nile, who has been ranked No. 1 throughout the year so far on Jon White’s weekly Kentucky Derby Top 10 list, charged down the stretch to win the Grade II Robert B. Lewis Stakes in his 3-year-old debut Saturday.
Meanwhile, Eclipse Award winner Stardom Bound, who was No. 7 on White’s list last week, has made a big move to No. 3. She won Saturday’s Las Virgenes Stakes in her first start of 2009.
“This was Pioneerof the Nile’s best race yet, in my opinion,” said White, a commentator for HRTV and Santa Anita’s simulcast network. “He raced extremely wide into the stretch and generated a strong kick in the final furlong to mow them down. He galloped out quite well, too. “Pioneerof the Nile’s stretch kick and strong gallop out are further indications to me that he’s going in the right direction while continuing to grow up. Keep in mind that he still has plenty of room for further improvement because he’s such a late foal. He was born on May 5, 2006, the day before Barbaro won the Kentucky Derby. And because he’s by Empire Maker (the 2003 Belmont Stakes winner) and has such a long stride, I expect to see Pioneerof the Nile become increasingly formidable as the distances get longer.
“I was very impressed by Papa Clem’s performance in the Lewis, too. I’d say that he proved that he’s one of the better 3-year-olds we have in California. I really like his pedigree in that he’s by Smart Strike, the sire of Curlin, out of Grade I winner Miss Houdini, who won the Del Mar Debutante when she was two. Miss Houdini is out of the multiple Grade I winner Magical Maiden.” Here is White’s latest Kentucky Derby Top 10 list: (1) Pioneerof the Nile, (2) Old Fashioned, (3) Stardom Bound, (4) Friesan Fire, (5) Patena, (6) Capt. Candyman Can, (7) Papa Clem, (8) I Want Revenge, (9) Chocolate Candy, (10) The Pamplemousse.
“As for Stardom Bound, she is, without a doubt, a very special filly,” White said. “Winning Colors, of course, was the last filly to win the Kentucky Derby (in 1988). Stardom Bound now has put together a longer winning streak than Winning Colors ever did. The Las Virgenes was Stardom Bound’s fourth straight victory. Not only that, she has won four consecutive Grade I races. As great as she was, Winning Colors never won more than three straight races.” FREE UMBRELLAS AT SANTA ANITA NEXT MONDAY ON PRESIDENTS’ DAY
Free umbrellas will be given to all THOROUGHBREDS members at Santa Anita with general admission while supplies last next Monday, Presidents’ Day. Two stakes highlight the racing program, the Grade II San Vicente Stakes for 3-year-olds at seven furlongs, and the Grade II Buena Vista Handicap for older fillies and mares at one mile on turf. First post time is 12:30 p.m. FINISH LINES: Santa Anita Derby and Travers Stakes winner Colonel John is scheduled to work seven furlongs between Thursday’s third and fourth races for the $1 million Santa Anita Handicap on March 7. “It will be a little more like a race and he’ll probably get more out of it than working him in the morning,” trainer Eoin Harty said in explaining his decision . . . Papa Clem, who ran a game second to favored Pioneerof the Nile at 17-1 in the Robert B. Lewis Stakes, is ticketed for the Louisiana Derby on March 14. “(Rafael) Bejarano said he’d ride him back,” trainer Gary Stute said. The Louisiana Derby at the Fair Grounds is a Grade II race at 1 1/16 miles . . . Baffert said “all’s well” with Pioneerof the Nile Wednesday morning. The son of Empire Maker likely will make his next start in the Grade II San Felipe Stakes on March 14 before the Grade II, $750,000 Santa Anita Derby on April 4. “There’s no rush,” Baffert said. “He’s doing great. All I have to do is keep him happy and healthy. We just need luck now.” . . . San Rafael Stakes winner The Pamplemousse, prepping for the Grade III Sham Stakes on Feb. 28, went five furlongs on Pro-Ride in :58.80 “He went very smooth,” said regular rider Alex Solis, who was aboard for the drill. “I had him four wide. He was very impressive, really relaxed, and galloped out strong.” . . . Bobby Frankel said Brother Keith came out of the Robert B. Lewis Stakes in good shape, but will “probably shorten up” for his next start. Brother Keith set the pace in the 1 1/16-mile Lewis before fading to seventh . . . Bejarano was one win behind leader Garrett Gomez, 39-38, in Santa Anita’s ultra-tight jockeys’ race through 34 days. Joel Rosario was tied for second with Bejarano. The trainers’ race is almost as close, with Mike Mitchell leading Doug O’Neill, 16-15. John Sadler (14), Bob Baffert (12) and Jeff Mullins (10) were in close pursuit . . . Martin Garcia rides at Turf Paradise Saturday, piloting Sensational Love for Neil Drysdale in the $50,000 Sun City Handicap at one mile on turf, and Six Pack Abs for John Sadler in the $100,000 Phoenix Gold Cup at six furlongs, agent Roger Olguin said . . . Friends and family paid their final respects to Eddie Logan Monday and Tuesday at his viewing and funeral, respectively. Santa Anita’s icon, who was on hand every opening day since the track opened on Christmas Day, 1934, was buried Tuesday. He died on Jan. 31 at the age of 98. “He was just a good man,” said Hall of Fame trainer Richard Mandella, one of Logan’s long-time friends . . . Track superintendent Richard Tedesco said Santa Anita has coped admirably with almost four inches of rain so far this meet. “More rain is forecast for Friday and Saturday, but the track has held up well,” he said . . . Today’s fourth race is named in recognition of actor Burt Reynolds’ birthday . . . When Victor Espinoza won Sunday’s sixth race on favored Street Royale, it marked his third victory with one second this meet from 15 mounts for trainer Bob Hess Jr. . . . Trainer Gary Sherlock will be Jerry Antonucci’s guest at Saturday’s Today’s Racing Digest seminar, 11 a.m. in the East Paddock Gardens, weather permitting. Monday’s guest is Jon Shonk, handicapper for Today’s Racing Digest . . . There were 20 participants alive in ShowVivor going into Wednesday’s races. -30-