Santa Anita Stable Notes Monday, October 10, 2022
STABLE NOTES BY ED GOLDEN MONDAY, OCT. 10, 2022
• HAIL FREEDOM PURSUES FIFTH STRAIGHT VICTORY • KORINER REMEMBERS CALIFORNIA FLAG, NOW 19 • KLEEN KARMA TRIES FIRST STAKES IN CAL DISTAFF • BRICKYARD RIDE PREPARING FOR HIS COMEBACK • LONGTIME AGENT JIM PEGRAM AT CLOCKERS’ CORNER
STREAKING HAIL FREEDOM MAKES STAKES DEBUT
Hail Freedom seeks his fifth straight victory when he makes his stakes debut in next Sunday’s $100,000 California Flag Handicap for three-year-olds and up at about 6 ½ furlongs down the hillside turf course.
The four-year-old Box Score colt went a half-mile on Santa Anita’s training track Sunday in a bullet 47 flat under the watchful eyes of trainer Doug O’Neill and owner/breeder Ed Delaney.
It was the fastest of 27 works at the distance by more than two seconds, as the average time was 49.37.
“If he comes out of it in good shape, it’s on to next weekend,” said O’Neill of the bay California-bred, who won a downhill turf allowance sprint at Santa Anita on April 2 before reeling off three straight front-running overnight victories at a mile on dirt, one at Santa Anita and two at Del Mar.
“He’s consistent and shows up every time,” said O’Neill. “We’re very proud of him.”
Delaney, 57, hails from Albany, N.Y. near Saratoga Race Course. “I got started in the harness business in the 1970’s but I’ve been in California since 1985,” he said.
“I don’t know how Hail Freedom won four in a row, but we’re kind of excited about it.”
KORINER: ‘CALIFORNIA FLAG WAS A LOT OF FUN’
Trainer Brian Koriner understandably still has fond memories of California Flag, who will be honored this Sunday with the ninth edition of the race named in his honor.
Koriner, a native of Montebello, California, conditioned the gelding for six seasons, winning 11 of 27 races and earning $1,288,825.
California Flag ran in the Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint a remarkable five consecutive times, from 2008 through 2012, winning it in 2009, when he was co-California Horse of the Year.
He set a track record in 2008 winning the Morvich Handicap (presently known as the Eddie D. stakes) and is the only horse to win the race three times, in 2008, 2009 and 2011.
A gray son of the Seattle Slew stallion Avenue of Flags bred by Hi Card Ranch, California Flag is now 19 and still enjoying retirement at Peacefield Farm in Temecula.
“We hauled him to Hong Kong and he ran really good (fifth in the 2009 Hong Kong Sprint), he went to Dubai and he ran really well (third in the Al Quoz Sprint),” reflected Koriner, who celebrates his 56th birthday on Oct. 21.
“You’d love to have another one like him. He was a machine; always felt good. He ran off before the start when he won the Turf Sprint in 2009 but he won anyway with Joe Talamo. “He was a lot of fun, that horse.”
KLEEN KARMA DOES HER THING IN CAL DISTAFF
Having shown a penchant for Santa Anita’s downhill turf course, Kleen Karma will make her stakes debut in Saturday’s $100,000 California Distaff Handicap at about 6 ½ furlongs on the unique venue.
“That’s her thing; she’s a downhill specialist. That’s what she likes,” said Craig Lewis, who trains the five-year-old Clubhouse Ride mare for owner Zephyr Racing LLC and Alfred Pais, who also bred her with James Shenouda.
Kleen Karma shocked many but not her trainer when she won a downhill allowance race Oct. 2 at 40-1 under Edwin Maldonado, who will be back aboard Saturday. She also was second over the course on June 19.
“We might be overmatched a little bit, but we’re going to try it because she seems to like going down the hill and there’s nothing else for her,” Lewis said.
“She’s coming back a little quick but she bounced out of the (Oct. 2) race pretty good.”
FINISH LINES: Brickyard Ride, winner of four straight stakes before being sidelined after finishing fifth in the Grade II Triple Bend Stakes on May 29, is recovering at KingFisher Farms in Solvang. “He’ll be back at Santa Anita in a month and will resume training for the 2023 season,” trainer Craig Lewis said. “He had a little chip removed from a knee and is getting a well-deserved breather. He had a very hard campaign. He ran hard all year.” Owned and bred by Alfred Pais, Brickyard Ride has won 12 of 23 races and earned $744,977. . . Satin Doll worked five furlongs yesterday in 1:00.20 for Sunday’s $85,000 Anoakia Stakes. The Kentucky-bred daughter of Congrats trained by Doug O’Neill is one of seven two-year-old fillies nominated to the Anoakia at six furlongs. Three of the nominees are trained by Bob Baffert: Doinitthehardway, Fast and Shiny and Huntingcoco, a Pennsylvania-bred daughter of Practical Joke who won her debut race by 6 ¾-lengths at Del Mar on Sept. 4 . . . Doug O’Neill reports barn breadwinner Hot Rod Charlie, earner of more than $5 million, “doing well at Keeneland” pointing to the Breeders’ Cup Classic on Nov. 5 and a meeting with undefeated wonder horse Flightline . . . Messier, winner of the Grade III Robert B. Lewis Stakes last Feb. 6 but who has not run since finishing 15th in the Kentucky Derby on May 7, worked five furlongs for Baffert at Santa Anita this morning in a bullet 58.80, fastest of 38 drills at the distance, the average time of which was 1:01.44. In all there were 122 recorded workouts, 36 on the training track . . . Longtime jockey agent Jim Pegram was a Clockers’ Corner visitor over the weekend. Affectionately known as “Uncle Buck,” Pegram, whose son Brad is currently working as a bicoastal agent for Flavien Prat and Mike Smith, was in the Winner’s Circle for Cave Rock’s big win on Saturday in the Grade I American Pharoah Stakes. Owned in-part by Jim’s brother Mike Pegram, Cave Rock is the probable favorite in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Nov. 4 at Keeneland. Team Pegram resides in Gardnerville, NV, where Mike now owns five casinos…There is no live racing at Santa Anita this Friday, Oct. 14. Live racing resumes Saturday, Oct. 14.