Santa Anita Stable Notes Sunday, February 12, 2023
STABLE NOTES BY VICTOR RYAN
SUNDAY, FEB. 12, 2023
PEREIRA MAKES THE MOST OF OPPORTUNITIES AT CLASSIC MEET
SUPER BOWL PREDICTIONS: EAGLES A POPULAR PICK
SUNDAY’S COAST-TO-COAST PICK 5 A SUPER BOWL APPETIZER
JOCKEYS VS. HOLY ANGELS CHARITY HOOPS GAME RETURNS
SPECIAL PRESIDENT’S DAY CARD SCHEDULED FOR FEB. 20
PEREIRA MAKING THE MOST OF OPPORTUNITES AT CLASSIC MEET
Jockey Tiago Pereira expected to be riding at Oaklawn Park this winter, same as a year ago. That was the plan anyway until his 6-year-old daughter, Valentina, offered her own thoughts on the matter.
“She was so mad,” said Pereira, a 46-year-old native of Brazil. “She was crying and told me, ‘Dad, don’t go to Oaklawn.’ My daughter is the most important thing in my life. So I said OK, I won’t go for you. I’m glad she spoke up.”
Equally glad Pereira didn’t leave for Hot Spring, Ark. are Santa Anita horsemen and bettors. Despite having only limited opportunities at the Classic Meet so far, Pereira entered Sunday’s action ranked fourth in the jockey’s standings thanks to a robust 31 percent win rate (11-for-35). Last year at Oaklawn Park, which race exclusively on dirt, Pereira finished 19th in the jockey’s race while winning at a 13 percent clip.
“It is much better, this meet has been good to me,” Pereira said. “Not too many opportunities, but good horses. Hopefully I can keep it going.”
Prior to his foray to Oaklawn Park last year, Pereira had spent the winters at Santa Anita following his arrival from Brazil in 2014. In his native country, Pereira was a standout rider who parlayed his success there into a victory in the $10 million Dubai World Cup in 2010 aboard Gloria De Campeao for trainer Pascal Bary. In 2021, Pereira won his first and only U.S. Grade I aboard Tripoli for John Sadler in the Pacific Classic.
Agent Derek Lawson has represented Pereira since last summer. He noted Pereira’s recent run of success has him “confident that he can compete here.
“We always knew he could. I mean, this is a guy that won a $10 million race and a $1 million Pacific Classic,” Lawson added. “Obviously you have to have some talent to be able to do that.”
Trainer Steve Knapp has been on a tear of his own at the Classic Meet. He has been among Pereira’s biggest supporters. Of the jockey’s 11 wins at the meet, six have been for Knapp.
“Every time I put him on a horse he gives me 100 percent effort and that’s what I’m looking for,” Knapp said. “Somebody that will try for fourth, third or second if you’re not going to win. That does mean something to owners when they get a piece of it.”
As for Pereira, he’s hoping the fast start will lead to more business as the Classic Meet progresses.
“I don’t ride too many, but the stable’s I do ride for have given me good horses with good chances. I just try my best and the horses have been responding,” Pereira said. “Hopefully, if I keep going good, it will open more doors for me.”
Lawson sees him as being well on his way.
“He’s never really been in this position where he’s winning races in bunches. It’s great to see,” Lawson said. “But the most important thing is he’s just an uncomplicated guy that works hard. He trusts what you’re doing.”
SUPER BOWL PREDICTIONS: EAGLES A POPULAR PICK
Despite Super Bowl LVII being a virtual coin flip on the betting board, it was hard to find much support for the Kansas City Chiefs among Santa Anita racetrackers this week.
As of Sunday morning, the Philadelphia Eagles were -110 on the money line with the Chiefs trading at even money (+100) at FanDuel Sportsbook. The point spread was Eagles -1.5 with the over/under set at 50.5.
Below are some of the predictions made this week. Steve Knapp, trainer: Eagles 28, Chiefs 21; Mark Glatt, trainer: Eagles 38, Chiefs 35; Victor Espinoza, Hall of Fame jockey: Eagles 24, Chiefs 21; Gary Young, bloodstock agent: Chiefs 24, Eagles 17; Derek Lawson, agent for Tiago Pereira Eagles 27, Chiefs 24; Billy Koch, Little Red Feather managing partner: Eagles 34, Chiefs 31.
COAST-TO-COAST PICK 5 SERVES AS SUPER BOWL APPETIZER
The action will come fast and furious in Sunday’s Coast-to-Coast Pick 5. The sequence, which combines races from Santa Anita and Gulfstream Park, kicks off at 12:37 PT with the eighth race from Gulfstream Park and concludes 59 minutes later with the 10th race from Gulfstream.
The Coast-To-Coast Pick 5 is a $1 minimum wager with a player-friendly 15 percent takeout. The other three legs on Sunday are the fifth race from Santa Anita, ninth race from Gulfstream and sixth race from Santa Anita.
The Coast-to-Coast Pick 5 is offered every Saturday and Sunday during the Santa Anita and Gulfstream meets. Last Sunday’s wager returned $2,634.90 for 73 winning tickets.
JOCKEYS VS. HOLY ANGELS CHARITY HOOPS GAME RETURNS NEXT WEEK
After a two-year hiatus due to COVID concerns, the 53rd annual Charity Basketball Game featuring Santa Anita jockeys versus Holy Angels Middle School returns to La Salle High School in Pasadena on Thursday. Game time is set for 7 p.m.
Prior to tip-off, a distinguished group of Hall of Fame jockeys will be on-hand to sign posters and other memorabilia. Retired legends Laffit Pincay Jr. and Gary Stevens will be present along with active Hall of Famers Kent Desormeaux, Victor Espinoza, Mike Smith and John Velazquez.
Set to coach the jockeys on the court is agent Matt Nakatani, who represents Santa Anita-based jockeys Joe Bravo and Mario Gutierrez. Nakatani also indicated that his father, potential Hall of Fame jock Corey Nakatani, may return to suit up and provide bench strength in the event the current roster of active riders is in need of a second half boost.
Admission is $5 with proceeds going to benefit the Permanently Disabled Jockey Fund and Holy Angels Athletics. Tickets can be purchase at the door or in advance via jockey.givesmart.com.
Finish Lines: Santa Anita will offer a special President’s Day card on Feb. 20 featuring $1 beer and sodas and $3 hot dogs for on-track patrons…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…The Corgi Winter Nationals, which were postponed last month due to rain, will be held at Santa Anita next Sunday. Entering Sunday’s card, favorites had won at 27.87 percent clip at the Classic Meet.