Santa Anita Stable Notes Thursday, January 18, 2024
STABLE NOTES BY VICTOR RYAN __THURSDAY, JANUARY 18, 2024 __
• GIII LA CANADA: DESERT DAWN, MIDNIGHT MEMORIES MEET AGAIN • $100K PICK 6 CARRYOVER AWAITS BETTORS FRIDAY • TRAINERS FRANCE, KRULJAC, BRINKERHOFF GET OFF THE MARK • HALL OF FAMER ESPINOZA GETS 1ST WIN OF CLASSIC MEET • EARLY TRIPLE CROWN NOMINATIONS CLOSE JAN. 29
GRADE III LA CANADA: DESERT DAWN, MIDNIGHT MEMORIES MEET AGAIN Desert Dawn had the look of a winner in last month’s GIII Bayakoa at Los Alamitos before a somewhat adventurous stretch run allowed favorite Midnight Memories to sneak through and snatch victory. On Saturday at Santa Anita, the two mares will meet again in the GIII La Canada Stakes going the same the same 1 1/16-mile distance.
Trained by Phil D’Amato, Desert Dawn and Hector Berrios got the jump on Midnight Memories in the Bayakoa when going four wide leaving the second turn and taking the lead entering the stretch. They remained a length in front with just a furlong remaining. But as Desert Dawn began drifting in the long Los Alamitos stretch, Midnight Memories and Juan Hernandez dutifully kept to their
“I think the jockey moved way too soon and she got lost out there,” D’Amato said of the Bayakoa. “He was moving her around to try and let her sense company was coming. But by then it was too late.”
In Saturday’s La Canada, Desert Dawn (2-1) will have a new rider as Flavien Prat, a 2023 Eclipse Award finalist for the nation’s outstanding jockey, jumps aboard. Joining Desert Dawn in a six-horse field is stablemate Cliquish, who is seeking a first stakes win for D’Amato.
A 5-year-old mare by Cupid, Arizona-bred Desert Dawn has banked $895,525 with a record of 2-5-5 in 18 starts. Her biggest win came here in 2022 in the GII Santa Anita Oaks. D’Amato hopes the switch to Prat and return to her favorite track can lead to a better result on Saturday.
“Santa Anita is where she won her graded stakes. She’s always run her good races here,” D’Amato said on Thursday.
Cliquish, a 4-year-old Bernadini filly, cleared her first-level allowance condition two starts back at Del Mar going a mile on dirt Nov. 23. Most recently, she failed to fire when trying turf in the one-mile Lady of Shamrock here Dec. 3.
“She had a nice breakthrough performance at Del Mar. Then she absolutely hated the grass last time,” D’Amato said. “I would draw a line through that performance. But she’s come back with a nice drill and is a filly that’s always been consistent going long on dirt. With a short field and her tactical speed, it’s worth taking a shot in here.”
On Saturday, Cliquish will be ridden by Kazushi Kimura for the first time.
Campaigned by H & E Ranch, Cliquish was purchased for $80,000 at auction as a 2-year-old. She has a record of 2-1-1 in nine starts with $93,840 in earnings.
The La Canada goes as the eighth race on Saturday’s nine-race card. Post time is approximately 4 p.m. PT. The field in post position order: Musical Mischief, Umberto Rispoli (4-1); Coffee in Bed, Mike Smith (6-1); Signorina Merisi, Tiago Periera (12-1); Desert Dawn, Flavien Prat (2-1); Cliquish, Kazushi Kimura (10-1); Midnight Memories, Juan Hernandez (6-5).
$100K PICK 6 CARRYOVER AWAITS BETTORS FRIDAY With no winning tickets in Monday’s $1 Pick Six at Santa Anita, a hefty carryover of $100,634.40 awaits bettors on Friday. First post is 12:30 p.m.
There was just a single winning favorite in Monday’s Pick 6, Cornelia Fort, who paid $5.60 for taking the eighth race. The carryover into Friday was sealed in the nightcap when Thirsty Thursday under Geovanni Franco won and paid $59.80 for trainer Reid France.
There was 19 tickets with five of six winners Monday and each returned a consolation payout of $2,269.90. Friday will be the first Pick 6 carryover of the Classic Meet. Entries and morning lines for Friday’s card are now available at santaanita.com.
TRAINERS FRANCE, KRULJAC, BRINKERHOFF SCORE AT CLASSIC MEET Northern California-based trainer Reid France and fellow Santa Anita conditioners Ian Kruljac and Val Brinkerhoff each won their first races of the Classic Meet Monday.
France spurred a Pick Six carryover into Friday when scoring in Monday’s nightcap with longshot Thirsty Thursday ($59.80) in an allowance/optional claimer for statebreds going a mile on turf. Thirsty Thursday, a 3-year-old Stay Thirsty gelding, was entered for the $50,000 optional claiming tag after breaking her maiden for $25,000 on synthetic at Golden Gate Dec. 10. She was not claimed Thirsty Thursday was purchased by owner Kendal King for $22,000 at last year’s Fasig-Tipton California Fall Yearlings and Horses of Racing Age Sale.
According to Equibase, France won his first race in 2018.He has since emerged as a top trainer in Northern California with Thirsty Thursday providing his 207th career victory.
Kruljac won Monday’s eighth race with favorite Cornelia Fort ($5.60) in a first-level allowance/optional claimer for statebreds at a mile on dirt.
Kruljac, son of trainer Eric Kruljac of The Chosen Vron Fame, operates a small stable at Santa Anita. According to Equibase, Ian Kruljac has won 57 races since 2015 with earnings of $3,810,050.
Brinkerhoff won the fourth race Monday with Ifuaintfirsturlast ($16.80) in a $32,000 maiden-claimer going a mile on dirt. The Mineshaft filly, a $26,000 auction buy as a yearling by owner Michael McMillan, was not claimed.
Brinkerhoff, best known for finishing third with Restrainedvengence in the 2021 Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile, has 174 wins since 2008 and earnings $4,530,829, according to Equibase.
FINISH LINES: Triple Crown-winning jockey and Hall of Famer Victor Espinoza won his first race of the Classic Meet Monday with Disko Tribute ($14.40) in the seventh race for trainer Steve Knapp…Knapp also won Monday’s opener with favorite Give Me The Lute ($3.20. He and Mark Glatt are now tied atop the Classic Meet trainer’s standings with eight wins apiece… Jockey Ricky Gonzalez is now represented by agent Brandon O’Bryan…Early Triple Crown nominations close Jan. 29…Each Friday during the Classic Meet on-track fans receive free parking and admission plus $3 beers and $5 margaritas.