Santa Anita Stable Notes Thursday, March 2, 2023
STABLE NOTES BY VICTOR RYAN
THURSDAY, MARCH 2, 2023
• WARRANT SHIPS IN FOR ANOTHER CRACK AT BIG CAP • HALL OF FAMER CASTELLANO WINS WOOLF AWARD • BRAVO HIRES BRIAN BEACH AS NEW AGENT • 1/ST RACING TOUR RETURNS SATURDAY ON CNBC • MANDATORY PAYOUT OF RAINBOW 6 ON SATURDAY • LIVE RACING THIS THURSDAY WITH FIRST POST AT 12:30 P.M. __• FRIDAY’S TURF RACES MOVED TO DIRT __
WARRANT SHIPS IN FOR ANOTHER CRACK AT GI SANTA ANITA HANDICAP
After finishing second by a head in last year’s Grade I Santa Anita Handicap, eastern invader Warrant will try and do one better Saturday in the 86th running of the Big Cap presented by Yaamava Resort & Casino.
Trained by two-time Eclipse Award winner Brad Cox, Warrant arrived at Santa Anita on Tuesday from Fair Grounds in New Orleans where he is based. The 5-year-old horse by Constitution got his first feel for the Santa Anita main track on Thursday with an open gallop.
“He’s settled in, he trained this morning and is doing well,” Cox said by phone from New Orleans Thursday morning.
In last year’s 1 ¼-mile Big Cap, Warrant pressed the pace under Flavien Prat before poking a head in front at the quarter pole. In the stretch drive, Warrant was confronted on his outside by Express Train and the pair dueled to the wire with Express Train coming out the narrow winner under Victor Espinoza.
“He ran well and that was a very encouraging effort,” Cox said. “All winter we’ve had the mindset to bring him back to California.”
Warrant prepped for his second Big Cap with an allowance win at Fair Grounds on Jan. 26. That effort followed almost seven months on the sidelines, which Cox said was the result of him “just being a little tired” the second half of the season. Prior to last year’s Big Cap, Warrant was third in the Grade III Louisiana Stakes at Fair Grounds on Jan. 22.
“He’s pretty much on the same pattern as last year,” Cox said. “Obviously last year he prepped in a stakes, but we wanted to get one run in him and I thought that allowance went well.”
Warrant, the 4-1 co-second choice on the morning line, will again have Prat in the irons for this year’s Big Cap. They will break from post six in a 12-horse field.
“Hopefully we can do even better this year,” Cox said.
The Santa Anita Handicap goes as the 12th and final race on Saturday’s card with an approximate post time of 5:30. The field in post position order: There Goes Harvard, Kazushi Kimura (12-1); Parnelli, Victor Espinoza (20-1); Newgrange, Frankie Dettori (6-1); Stilleto Boy, Kent Desormeaux (5-1); Defunded, Juan Hernandez (7-2); Warrant, Flavien Prat (4-1); Heywoods Beach, Ramon Vazquez (20-1); Hopper, Mike Smith (8-1); Scarlet Fusion, Edwin Maldonado (12-1); Tisquantum, Hector Berrios (30-1); Proxy, John Velazquez (4-1).
HALL OF FAMER CASTELLANO VOTED GEORGE WOOLF AWARD WINNER Hall of Fame jockey Javier Castellano has won the 2023 George Woolf Memorial Award via a nationwide vote of his fellow riders, Santa Anita announced on Thursday.
A four-time Eclipse Award winner, Castellano has been a member of the Racing Hall of Fame since 2017. He will be honored with the Woolf Award in a ceremony at Santa Anita’s Runhappy Winner’s Circle this spring.
“I am proud to have been honored and selected to win this incredible award,” Castellano said. “It is one that is obviously prestigious, but to be voted by my fellow riders truly makes this so special.”
The George Woolf Memorial Award has been presented annually by Santa Anita since 1950. Considered one of the most coveted awards in racing, it recognizes those riders whose careers and personal character garner esteem for the individual and sport of Thoroughbred racing. It can only be won once. Joe Bravo won last year’s George Woolf Award.
A 45-year-old native of Venezuela, Castellano has won 5,619 races and more than $377 million in purse earnings. He won four straight Eclipse Awards from 2013 through 2016.
JOE BRAVO HIRES BRIAN BEACH AS NEW AGENT
Agent Brian Beach will represent jockey Joe Bravo starting with the sixth condition a week from Friday, March 10. Bravo’s book was previously held by agent Matt Nakatani.
Beach recently resumed his role as a jockey agent following a 21-month hiatus stemming from COVID and the health of his wife. In late February, Beach reunited with Hall of Famer Victor Espinoza who he had represented from 2013 to May 2021. Beach and Espinoza teamed to win the 2014 Kentucky Derby with California Chrome and a sweep of the Triple Crown with American Pharoah the following season.
Bravo enters this week’s action ranked 10th in the Santa Anita jockey’s standings with eight wins from 53 mounts. Last month, Bravo missed one day of racing after being unseated in the Sweet Life Stakes on Feb. 11.
Known as “Jersey Joe,” Bravo had predominantly ridden at eastern tracks before arriving to ride full-time in Southern California in the summer of 2021. Beach said the jockey has no plans of leaving and in fact is looking to buy a house.
“Joe is a great rider and I’m really happy to be representing him,” Beach said Thursday.
1/ST RACING TOUR RETURNS SATURDAY ON CNBC
The 1/ST Racing Tour continues Saturday with blockbuster cards from Santa Anita and Gulfstream Park and national television coverage on CNBC.
Led by the Grade I Santa Anita Handicap and a pair of Triple Crown prep races (Grade II San Felipe at Santa Anita, Grade II Fountain of Youth at Gulfstream), a combined 13 graded stakes will be contested at the two tracks. CNBC will provide two hours of coverage starting at 1 p.m. PT.
As part of a 12-race program at Santa Anita, the featured Big Cap and San Felipe are supported by the Grade I Frank E. Kilroe Mile and Grade II Buena Vista, both on turf. In addition, Santa Anita will have a mandatory payout of the Rainbow 6 that beginning with the seventh race.
First post Saturday at Santa Anita is 12 p.m. PT while the action at Gulfstream kicks off at 8 a.m. PT. At Santa Anita, on-track fans will be offered a variety of promotions. They include a Big Cap hat giveaway, craft beer & cider festival and Family Fun Zone & Fiesta de Santa Anita in the infield.
MANDATORY PAYOUT, LIKELY $3 MILLION POOL IN SATURDAY’S RAINBOW 6 With a mandatory payout in place, Santa Anita officials project Saturday’s 20 cent Rainbow Pick Six Jackpot pool should approach $3 million by seventh race post time Saturday at Santa Anita, providing there is no single ticket winner Friday.
The Rainbow Six is a 20-cent minimum wager where bettors are tasked with selecting the winner of six straight races. The bet begins at approximately 3:05 p.m. with the seventh race on a stakes laden 12-race card.
Before scratches, the average field size for the sequence is 9.8 starters per race. It consists of two allowance races on turf, a $40,000 maiden claimer for dirt sprinters, a starter allowance on dirt, and both the Grade I Frank E. Kilroe Mile (turf) and Grade I Santa Anita Handicap presented by Yaamava Resort & Casino.
Entering Friday’s card, the Rainbow 6 has a carryover of $214,356.
FINISH LINES: Fans are advised that Santa Anita will be open for live racing next Thursday, March 9, with first post time at 12:30 p.m. As is the case each Friday, on-track patrons on Thursday will receive free admission and parking, as well as $3 beers and $5 margaritas…Both the main track and training track were open Thursday for joggers and gallopers. Workouts will resume on Friday … Due to the recent winter storms, all three turf races scheduled for Friday have been moved to the dirt…Santa Anita announced that Admission Passes and Mystery Mutuel Vouchers, originally redeemable on Feb. 25 & 26, will be good Friday, Saturday and Sunday, March 3, 4 & 5.