Santa Anita Stable Notes Friday, February 3, 2023
STABLE NOTES BY VICTOR RYAN
FRIDAY, FEB. 3, 2023
• CLOSING REMARKS EYES FIRST GRADED WIN IN MEGAHERTZ __• AWAKE AT MIDNYTE ‘TRAINING SENSATIONAL’ FOR GII SANTA MONICA __ • INAUGURAL ‘1/ST RACING TOUR’ AIRS SATURDAY ON CNBC, PEACOCK • MANDATORY RAINBOW 6 PAYOUT ON SUNDAY • COAST TO COAST PICK 5 RETURNS SATURDAY • SANTA ANITA ADDS RACE CARD FOR FRIDAY, FEB. 24
CLOSING REMARKS SEEKS BREAKTHROUGH WIN IN GIII MEGAHERTZ
Closing Remarks is a Grade I-placed stakes winner who in 15 starts has only twice finished out of the superfecta for trainer Carla Gaines. While it’s no doubt been a productive three seasons on the track for the Harris Farms’ homebred, one notable omission remains on the resume of the 5-year-old Vronsky mare: a win at the graded stakes level.
On Saturday, Closing Remarks will get another crack at that elusive milestone when she makes her second start off the layoff in the Grade III Megahertz going a mile on turf. She is the 7-2 second choice on the morning line in a field of eight.
The Megahertz will be Closing Remark’s 10th start in a graded stakes. As a 3-year-old, she finished runner-up in the Grade I Del Mar Oaks, Grade III Providencia and Grade III Senorita. Then last year it was more of the same in four starts. After winning a first condition allowance at Santa Anita, she proceeded to help fill the superfecta in the Grade II Buena Vista (third), Grade III Santa Ana (fourth) and Grade III Robert J. Frankel (second) on Dec. 31. In the Frankel going 1 1/8 miles here on New Year’s Eve, she was second-best to the top turf filly Queen Goddess.
“It’s been very frustrating,” Gaines said of Closing Remark’s near misses in graded stakes.
In the Frankel following nine months on the sidelines, Closing Remarks stalked a loose-on-the-lead Queen Goddess throughout before crossing the wire, 2 ¼ lengths adrift of that rival. Last Saturday, Queen Goddess would return to win the Grade III Pegasus Filly & Mare Turf at Gulfstream Park.
“That’s a good sign,” Gaines noted.
Closing Remarks has worked three times since the Frankel including a bullet four-furlong move in 46.60 seconds last Saturday. Now having a recent race under her belt, Gaines is expecting a move forward on Saturday from Closing Remarks.
“It wasn’t like I was necessarily planning to run her a mile-and-an-eighth off the layoff but she was ready to go and we tried it,” Gaines said. “She has come back with a really sharp work for this race. We’re trying to get her on the muscle a little bit.”
Gaines added that fast work should also help with the turnback in distance to a mile.
“Hopefully that will put a little more pizazz in her step. I don’t think the cutback will be problem,” Gaines said. “There’s a lot of speed in there and hopefully it sets up well for her.”
Closing Remarks, whose lone stakes win came in the 2021 California Cup Oaks, has a record of 15-3-5-2 and earnings of $398,820. The Megahertz goes as the fourth race Saturday with an approximate post time of 1:30 p.m. The field in post position order: Bay Storm, John Velazquez (5-1); Hamwood Flier, Juan Hernandez (4-1); Nadette, Umberto Rispoli (5-1); Closing Remarks, Joe Bravo (7-2); One Silk Stocking, Frankie Dettori (12-1); School Dance, Ramon Vazquez (3-1); Quattroelle, Hector Berrios (8-1); Oakhurst, Flavien Prat (8-1).
AWAKE AT MIDNYTE ‘TRAINING SENSATIONAL’ AHEAD OF GII SANTA MONICA
After splitting their previous two head-to-head engagements, Awake at Midnyte and Fun to Dream are set for a rubber match in Saturday’s Grade II Santa Monica going seven furlongs on the main track.
Awake at Midnyte holds the distinction as the only horse to have beaten Fun to Dream, who is 5-for-6 and the 8-5 morning-line favorite for Bob Baffert. Last September at Del Mar, Awake at Midnyte bested her rival by 3 ¼ lengths when scoring in a first condition allowance going 6 ½ furlongs. But in the Grade I La Brea going seven furlongs on Dec. 26 at Santa Anita, Fun to Dream held off a fast-closing Awake at Midnyte to prevail by three-quarters of a length.
Trainer Doug O’Neill on Friday expressed optimism Awake at Midnyte can do one better in the Santa Monica.
“She’s training sensational and we get a good shift in the weights,” O’Neill noted.
After both fillies carried 120 pounds in the La Brea, Awake at Midnyte (120) will receive four pounds from Fun to Dream (124) in the Santa Monica. Since their last matchup, Awake at Midnyte has worked four times which includes a bullet four-furlong move in 47.80 seconds on Jan. 13 and a quick five-furlong drill in 59.60 seconds last Saturday.
The Santa Monica goes as the ninth race on Saturday with an approximate post time of 4 p.m. The field in post position order: Anacapa, John Velazquez (15-1); Fun to Dream, Juan Hernandez (8-5); Samurai Charm, Flavien Prat (4-1); Angel Nadeshiko, Mike Smith (8-1); Awake At Midnyte, Mario Gutierrez (5-2); Lady T, Victor Espinoza (3-1).
INAUGURAL 1/ST RACING TOUR AIRS SATURDAY ON CNBC, PEACOCK
The launch of the 1/ST Racing Tour on Saturday will be broadcast live on CNBC and Peacock beginning at 1 p.m. The two-hour program will feature five stakes races from Santa Anita and Gulfstream Park led by the Grade III Robert B. Lewis and Grade III Holy Bull.
Ahmed Fareed will host the broadcast alongside analyst and Hall of Fame jockey Jerry Bailey, analyst Randy Moss, reporter Britney Eurton and handicapper Matt Bernier. Eurton will report live on-site from Santa Anita.
MANDATORY RAINBOW 6 PAYOUT ON SUNDAY
There will be a mandatory payout of the Rainbow Pick 6 Jackpot on Sunday at Santa Anita. The Rainbow Pick 6 is a 20-cent minimum wager.
Entering Friday’s card, the Rainbow Pick 6 has a carryover of $287,716. Providing there is no single ticket winner on Friday or Saturday, track officials project Sunday’s total Rainbow 6 pool will exceed $3 million.
Entries for Sunday’s card will be available Thursday afternoon.
SATURDAY’S COAST TO COAST PICK 5 IS AN ALL-STAKES AFFAIR
The 1/ST Coast to Coast Pick 5 returns Saturday with a sequence featuring all stakes races from Gulfstream Park and Santa Anita Park. It is a $1 minimum wager with a player-friendly takeout of 15 percent.
The Coast to Coast Pick 5 kicks off at 1:17 with the 10th race from Gulfstream Park, the Grade III Forward Gal for 3-year-old fillies going seven furlongs on dirt. Things then shift to Santa Anita for its fourth race, the Grade III Megahertz for fillies and mares at one mile on turf.
The third leg of the sequence is the Grade III Sweetest Chant at Gulfstream for 3-year-old fillies going long on turf. The final two races in the sequence are the Grade III Holy Bull at Gulfstream, which is an official prep for the Kentucky Derby, and the Grade III Thunder Road for older horses going one mile on turf.
Last Sunday’s Coast to Coast Pick 5 returned $4,019.10 to 39 winning tickets.
Finish Lines: Santa Anita will conduct live racing on Friday, Feb. 24, which was originally scheduled to be a dark day. First post time will be at 12:30 p.m. The card has been added as a makeup for weather-related cancellations earlier in the Classic Meet…Every Friday during the Classic Meet on-track patrons will receive free admission, free parking and drink specials that include $3 beers and $5 margaritas…Workout analyst Andy Harrington will be Tom Quigley’s featured handicapping guest Friday on the Santa Anita simulcast feed starting at 10:20… Entering Friday’s action, favorites have won at 29.20 percent clip at the Classic meet.