Santa Anita Stable Notes Saturday, February 3, 2024
STABLE NOTES BY VICTOR RYAN SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 3, 2024
- SWEET AZTECA EYES GI BEHOLDER MILE AFTER BLOWOUT WIN - COACH PRIME SCRATCHED FROM GIII LEWIS, AMONG 319 WORKERS - LIVE RACING CANCELED SUNDAY DUE TO INCOMING STORM - SATURDAY’S $1 COAST-TO-COAST PICK 5 FEATURES ALL STAKES - GIII PALOS VERDES, SWEET LIFE STAKES ON TAP NEXT WEEK
SWEET AZTECA EYES GI BEHOLDER MILE AFTER BLOWOUT WIN Trainer Michael McCarthy reported all was well with Sweet Azteca the morning after her eye-catching 12-length victory sprinting against allowance foes Friday.
A 4-year-old Sharp Azteca filly, Sweet Azteca motored 6 ½ furlongs in 1:17.35 under little urging from jockey Flavien Prat to win for the second time in three starts. The effort earned a 91 Beyer Speed Figure, according to Daily Racing Form’s Brad Free.
“You always hope they run to their training and she certainly did yesterday,” McCarthy said Saturday morning.
Sweet Azteca won her debut for McCarthy last May at Churchill Downs going six furlongs then went to the sidelines for the remainder of her 3-year-old season. She resurfaced Jan. 1 at Santa Anita in the GIII Las Flores going six furlongs. Sent off the 6-5 favorite in her stakes bow, Sweet Azteca led comfortably through the opening half mile and looked poised for the victory. But she drifted out considerably when turning into the stretch under Frankie Dettori. That error allowed two rivals to slip through on the inside. Sweet Azteca would wind up third beaten 2 ½ lengths by winner Chismosa.
McCarthy was hoping to give Sweet Azteca a confidence boost by running in Friday’s allowance rather than Saturday’s seven-furlong GII Santa Monica. Next up is likely a return to the stakes ranks in the GI Beholder Mile here March 9, which will be Sweet Aztecas’s first time racing around two turns.
“If she continues to do well that seems like the logical spot,” McCarthy said.
Out of multiple stakes winner So Sweetitiz, by Grand Slam, Sweet Azteca races as a homebred for Pamela C. Ziebarth.
COACH PRIME SCRATCHED FROM GIII LEWIS, AMONG 319 WORKERS With rain incoming and Sunday’s card canceled, it was a massive work tab at Santa Anita Saturday. Among the 319 horses to have timed workouts was Coach Prime, who was scratched from Saturday’s GIII Robert B. Lewis.
Trained by Bob Baffert, Coach Prime worked four furlongs in 48.0 seconds. He was the 5-1 second choice on the morning line for the one-mile Lewis for 3-year-olds. By Quality Road, Coach Prime most recently was third in the GII Los Alamitos Futurity on Dec. 16.
Returning to the tab after recent stakes wins were both Desert Dawn and Linda’s Gift. Desert Dawn, winner of the GIII La Canada here Jan. 20, worked three furlongs in 39.40 seconds for trainer Phil D’Amato. Linda’s Gift, who won the Astra Stakes here Jan. 21, worked four furlongs in 49.20 seconds for trainer Richard Mandella.
Also continuing to work steadily is last year’s Breeders’ Cup Classic winner, White Abarrio. Trained by Richard Dutrow Jr., White Abarrio went five furlongs in 59.60 seconds. It was the third-fastest of 108 moves at the distance.
LIVE RACING CANCELED SUNDAY DUE TO INCOMING RAINSTORM Sunday’s card at Santa Anita has been canceled due to rain that’s scheduled to arrive in the area Saturday night and continue over the next several days. The incoming storm could dump more than two inches of rain in the Arcadia area on Sunday, according to the National Weather Service.
Both stakes scheduled for Sunday, the GIII Las Virgenes and GIII San Marcos, have been moved to next Saturday. Entries for those stakes will be taken Wednesday along with the remainder of Saturday’s card.
According to the racing office, the other six races on Sunday that were canceled will be offered as extras for Friday’s program. Entries for those races will be taken on Sunday.
Tomorrow’s card is the first to be canceled at the 2023-24 Classic Meet. Last year, Santa Anita lost four days of racing due to rain. There were eight programs in all canceled, but four of those days were later made up.
SATURDAY’S $1 COAST-TO-COAST PICK 5 FEATURES ALL STAKES Saturday’s $1 Coast-To-Coast Pick 5 is an all-stakes sequence beginning at 1:38 p.m. PT with the GIII Forward Gal from Gulfstream Park.
After the seven-furlong Forward Gal, which goes as the 10th race at Gulfstream, the action moves to Santa Anita for the GIII Megahertz for fillies and mares at one-mile on turf. Rounding out the sequence are the GIII Kitten’s Joy from Gulfstream, GIII Robert B. Lewis from Santa Anita and GIII Holy Bull from Gulfstream Park.
Last Sunday, there was a single winning ticket in the Coast-To-Coast Pick 5 which paid $102,972.60. The bet features a player-friendly 15 percent takeout rate.
FINISH LINES: Today’s stakes action from Santa Anita and Gulfstream Park will be aired live on CNBC and streamed on Peacock beginning at 1 p.m. PT…Jockey Flavien Prat swept the late double Friday with favorites Sweet Azteca ($2.80) in the seventh race for trainer Michael McCarthy and Ultimate Authority ($5.20) in the nightcap for trainer Tim Yakteen…In addition to the two rescheduled stakes from Sunday’s canceled card (GIII Las Virgenes, GIII San Marcos), next week’s action also includes the GIII Palos Verdes on Saturday and Sweet Life Stakes Sunday. The Palos Verdes is six furlongs on dirt and the Sweet Life is a mile on turf for 3-year-old fillies at a mile on turf…Live racing resumes at Santa Anita on Friday and Santa Anita’s popular Hornblower, the multi-talented Jay Cohen, is hoping to return to action following a lengthy rehab from back surgery.