Santa Anita Stable Notes Friday, October 21, 2022
• SANTA ANITA NEIGHBORS AWAIT CLASSIC MEETING • VETERAN TRAINER HOWARD ZUCKER PASSES AT 74 • LAVA MAN TO BE RETIRED AS O’NEILL STABLE PONY • LA WOMAN CASHES IN ON $10,000 MYSTERY TICKET • SATURDAY’S 4TH RACE NAMED IN PRIVMAN’S HONOR
HOT ROD CHARLIE, ‘FREAK’ FLIGHTLINE EYE BC CLASSIC
Millionaire Santa Anita neighbors Flightline and Hot Rod Charlie are poised to meet in the $6 million Breeders’ Cup Classic Nov. 5 at Keeneland.
Flightline, undefeated in five races won by a combined margin of 62 ¾ lengths and already deified by many racing raconteurs, has earned $1,394,800, while world traveler Hot Rod Charlie boasts a 5-5-4 record from 18 starts for a booming bankroll of $5,556,720.
Flightline, a $1 million son of Tapit conditioned by John Sadler, has been training at his Santa Anita headquarters since an eye-opening 19 1/4-length triumph in Del Mar’s Pacific Classic on Sept. 3.
Hot Rod Charlie, trained by two-time Kentucky Derby winner Doug O’Neill, has been familiarizing himself at Keeneland since defeating Kentucky Derby winner Rich Strike in the Lukas Classic at Churchill Downs on Oct. 2 under Tyler Gaffalione, who has regained the mount on the son of Oxbow since Flavien Prat, rider of Flightline in all of his previous races, will be aboard in the Classic for the sixth consecutive time.
“So far, so good,” said O’Neill. “Charlie had a nice, easy half (mile breeze in 49.40 at Keeneland Oct. 15). He came out of it in good shape and he’ll have a couple more works between now and the Classic, so we’re happy where we are.
“Obviously, Flightline is one of the better horses to come around in a long time. He’s not a horse you’re eager to compete against, but Charlie tries hard every time and the Classic should have an honest, fast pace, so it should be a great race.
“Flightine’s a freak, for sure.”
While Flightline has yet to race at Keeneland, Hot Rod Charlie is more than comfortable on the Lexington, Ky. oval.
“He’s run well at Keeneland,” O’Neill pointed out. “He was second at big odds (94-1 by less than a length to Essential Quality with Gaffalione up in the 2020 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile), and he’s been training there for the Classic.
“I like that and the fact that he’s been stabled there and is familiar with the track, which are all positive, but it’s one day at a time. We’re moving forward.”
VETERAN TRAINER ZUCKER PASSES AT 74
Veteran trainer Howard Zucker, a well-respected horseman with a small barn, passed away Thursday at USC Keck Hospital in Los Angeles at age 74. Zucker, who had not been feeling well over the summer, had undergone a heart procedure last week and had apparently struggled to recover post-surgery.
Based in New York prior to coming to Southern California circa 1980, Zucker trained for a brief time for Lakers owner Jerry Buss. Born May 20, 1948, Zucker saddled his last winner on July 24, as his talented 3-year-old filly Gracelund Gray won the 11th race at Del Mar.
Affable and a dedicated Yankees fan, Zucker was also a staunch advocate for the horse, evidenced by his multiple leadership roles with the California Retirement Management Account (CARMA). Zucker joined the board of directors of CARMA in May, 2009 and served in many leadership positions including as CARMA President from 2016-2019.
“I am devastated by the news of Howard’s passing yesterday,” Lucinda Lovitt, CARMA Executive Director. “He was a tireless champion for the horses and believed so strongly in CARMA’s mission, I just can’t imagine our board without him. I know I speak for the entire CARMA Board of Directors when I say he will be greatly, greatly missed.”
Zucker’s top horse is believed to have been Crafty C.T., who won the Grade II San Rafael Stakes with Eddie Delahoussaye up on March 2, 2001 and was subsequently second to Point Given in the Grade I Santa Anita Derby.
By Crafty Prospector, Crafty C.T. was owned by Carl Grether and retired with earnings of $832,652 from an overall mark of 18-4-5-5.
Zucker had 2,223 career starts as a trainer and 246 wins.
Howard Zucker is survived by his wife Lorraine. Memorial services are undetermined at this time. --Mike Willman
LAVA MAN RETIRING AS O’NEILL’S STABLE PONY
Hall of Fame Thoroughbred Lava Man, Doug O’Neill’s stable pony since 2010, will retire to Old Friends Thoroughbred Retirement Farm in Lexington, Ky. after escorting Hot Rod Charlie to his meeting with Flightline in the Breeders’ Cup Classic Nov. 5 at Keeneland.
O’Neill announced the news on his Facebook page about Lava Man, affectionately called “The Coach” at the trainer’s barn. Claimed for $50,000 at Del Mar on Aug. 13, 2004, Lava Man, now 21, won 17 of 47 races including the Grade I Hollywood Gold Cup three straight years. The gelded son of the Seattle Slew stallion Slew City Slew retired with earnings of $5,268,706.
FLIGHTLINE’S FINAL WORK AT SANTA ANITA TOMORROW
In keeping with a consistent seven-day Santa Anita work pattern dating back to Sept. 24, undefeated superstar Flightline will breeze six furlongs tomorrow and will then ship to Kentucky on Sunday for final preparations for the Grade I, $6 million Breeders’ Cup Classic Nov. 5 at Keeneland. Although trainer John Sadler had considered going later in the morning for his final Santa Anita work, Flightline will again enter the Santa Anita main track via the quarter mile chute at approximately 6:30 a.m. Saturday with Sadler assistant Juan Leyva in the irons while accompanied by a stable pony.
A record breaking 19 ¼ lengths winner in his fifth career start of the Grade I Pacific Classic at Del Mar Sept. 3, Flightline, who has won his five starts by a combined 62 ¾ lengths, has been nothing short of dazzling in his four Breeders’ Cup prep moves beginning with a half mile in 48 flat on Sept. 24. With Leyva aboard for all of his drills, Flightline graduated to five furlongs on Oct. 1, stopping the clock in 1:00.40.
On Oct. 8, Flightline breezed six furlongs in 1:12.40 and last Saturday, Oct. 15, he went the same distance in 1:11.80 and galloped out impressively seven furlongs in 1:24.80 and a mile in 1:38.60.
Providing all goes well, Flightline will have one timed workout over the Keeneland main track as he readies for his likely role as the Breeders’ Cup Classic favorite.
A six-length winner of the Grade I Metropolitan Mile Handicap at Belmont Park two starts back on June 11, Flightline demolished fellow sophomores in taking Santa Anita’s Grade I, seven furlong Malibu Stakes on Dec. 26 by 11 ½ lengths.
Odds-on in all of his races, Flightline, who is out of the Indian Charlie mare Feathered and was purchased for $1 million out of the 2019 Fasig-Tipton New York Select Yearling Sale, earned an astronomical 126 Beyer Speed Figure in the Pacific Classic. Easily the top speed figure in North America this year, the Pacific Classic was Flightline’s first two-turn assignment.
Owned by California-based Hronis Racing, LLC, Siena Farm, LLC, Summer Wind Equine, LLC, West Point Thoroughbreds and Woodford Racing, LLC, Flightline has won his five races, the last three Grade I stakes, by a combined 62 ¾ lengths while amassing earnings of $1,394,800.
Although his connections have announced that Flightline will stand stud at Lane’s End Farm in Kentucky following his racing career, it remains undecided as to whether or not he will continue racing as a 5-year-old in 2023.
The public is invited to watch Flightline breeze on Saturday as Clockers’ Corner is open, free of charge, via Gate 8 off of Baldwin Ave. on the track’s western perimeter. Clockers’ Corner offers a full breakfast menu and there is ample seating available in the main Grandstand.
__L.A. WOMAN CASHES $10,000 MYSTERY TICKET __
A regular at Hollywood Park until its closing in December, 2013, Los Angeles resident Rosa Canton is now a familiar face at Santa Anita and glad of it as she turned a Mystery Mutuel mailer into a $10,000 payday Sunday at The Great Race Place.
“I’ve turned in my Mystery Mutuel ticket every time I get one in the mail, but it’s only paid two dollars every time I bring it to the track,” said Rosa, 85, and a Santa Anita XB Rewards member. “I’ve been coming to the races every week for over 45 years. I used to go Hollywood Park every week when it was open, but now I come to Santa Anita every week to play the horses.
“And today, I’m so excited. I won $10,000!”
All Santa Anita XB Rewards members receive direct mailers throughout live race meets at Santa Anita and Mystery Mutuel Vouchers reward players tickets ranging from $2, $3, $5, $10, $20, $100 and in some lucky cases, with a $10,000 winner.
Mystery Mutuel vouchers are mailed to XB Rewards members on a monthly basis.
For more information on Santa Anita’s XB Rewards program, please visit santaanita.com.
FINISH LINES: Recently retired Daily Racing Form National Correspondent and Racing Hall of Fame inductee Jay Privman will be honored Saturday at Santa Anita, as the track has named the fourth race in his honor and will present him with a plaque acknowledging his 40-plus years of covering the Sport of Kings. Inducted into the Joe Hirsch Media Roll of Honor at the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame in August, 2021, Privman began his journalistic journey in racing while an undergrad at Cal State Northridge. “I’ve been to many racetracks all over the world and there’s no more beautiful place to watch a race than Santa Anita,” said Privman, who currently resides in Carlsbad with his wife Anne. A Los Angeles native, Privman began covering high school football on a part-time basis for the LA Daily News while enrolled as a journalism student at CSUN in the winter of 1979-80. With no one regularly assigned to cover horse racing, Privman requested to cover some big races that winter at Santa Anita, and the rest, as they say, is history . . . Horseplayer Tim Downs will be host Tom Quigley’s seminar guest Saturday, while bloodstock agent and private clocker Gary Young will do honors Sunday, each day at 11:50 a.m. . . . There were 119 recorded workouts this morning including a five-furlong drill in 1:00.80 by last year’s Pacific Classic winner Tripoli for John Sadler . . .Through nine racing days, Ramon Vazquez holds a five-length advantage over Umberto Rispoli (16-11) in the jockeys’ race, while Peter Miller is atop the trainer’s division with nine wins, one-up on Doug O’Neill.