Santa Anita Stable Notes By Ed Golden Wednesday, Sept. 28, 2022
STABLE NOTES BY ED GOLDEN WEDNESDAY, SEPT. 28, 2022
• BAFFERT SEEKS SEVENTH AWESOME AGAIN WIN • VAZQUEZ PLANS TO STAY HOT AT SANTA ANITA • PLETHORA OF PROMOTIONS OPENING WEEKEND • DELAHOUSSAYE AT HOME TO CARE FOR HIS WIFE • PREPONDERANCE OF STAKES AT AUTUMN MEET
BAFFERT ENTERS FOUR IN GRADE I AWESOME AGAIN
Bob Baffert, fresh from winning last Saturday’s Pennsylvania Derby with Santa Anita Derby winner Taiba, seeks his seventh victory in the Grade I Awesome Again Stakes this Saturday.
The Hall of Fame trainer has entered four horses--Country Grammer, Azul Coast, Defunded and High Connection--in the Awesome Again for three-year-olds and up at 1 1/8 miles. Baffert’s Awesome Again roll began in 1998, with his 1997 Kentucky Derby winner, Silver Charm. Then came three in a row, with Richard’s Kid in 2010 and Game On Dude in 2011 and 2012.
Mubtaahig gave Baffert win number five in 2017 followed by his sixth with Medina Spirit in 2021.
The $300,000 Awesome Again is a Breeders’ Cup “Win and You’re In” Challenge Race giving the nominated winner a fees-paid entry into the $6 million Breeders’ Cup Classic at Keeneland Nov. 5.
Country Grammer, who finished 19 ¼ lengths behind undefeated Flightline in the Pacific Classic on Sept. 3, worked six furlongs in company Sunday with Native Diver winner Azul Coast, who has not raced in more than nine months. Both were clocked in 1:13.20.
“They both went nice,” said Baffert, adding that “if all’s well” Taiba will take on Flightline in the Breeders’ Cup Classic. High Connection breezed five furlongs Sunday in 59.80.
Baffert might have been somewhat circumspect when Taiba was surrounded down the backstretch in the race at Parx.
“I was concerned he might get boxed in but once he got outside in the stretch he really got rolling,” Baffert said.
“It was very impressive.”
VAZQUEZ MAKES HIMSELF AT HOME IN GOLDEN STATE
Ramon Vazquez, leading jockey at the recently concluded Los Alamitos Thoroughbred Meet, plans to remain a prominent presence at Santa Anita when the 18-day Autumn Meet begins Friday. The 38-year-old native of Puerto Rico is here to stay according to his agent Bill Castle, who has Vazquez booked to ride seven of nine races on opening day.
“Riding full time at Santa Anita is a first for us,” said the 58-year-old Castle, a native of New York City who earned his keep on Wall Street for 20 years before retiring to become an agent going on two decades now, learning the ropes under agent Steve Rushing (Irad Ortiz, Ramon Dominguez, Edgar Prado).
“He was so kind to me. I’ve known Steve since 1987 and he let me sit with him for 2 ½ years to watch how he did his work.
“Ramon and I left Oaklawn which had been his base many years and have been in Southern California about five months.
“Del Mar was phenomenal. We were really blessed with the support from the owners and trainers. It continued at Los Alamitos, but it’s not about winning the titles. It’s about the day-to-day work, the repetition, and that was successful the last two meets, and coming into Santa Anita, we’ll have a very robotic schedule, the same thing, day in, day out.
“Those meets are behind us, so every morning you get up, it’s a new chapter. For Ramon to win five races at Los Alamitos closing day finishing with a win in the Capote Stakes, you just say, ‘Wow!’ No one’s ever done that before.
“We’re looking forward to Santa Anita very much, but the question I get hit with day in and day out is: “Are you staying?’
“We took a six-month lease on an apartment in Monrovia, so were really here to stay and we’re not looking to leave, not with so many Grade I and Breeders’ Cup opportunities.
“We’re very happy here; we’re not leaving.”
WEEKEND PROMOTIONS APLENTY AS RACING RETURNS
World class racing returns to Santa Anita Friday, opening day of the track’s 18-day Autumn Meet, and in addition to 10 stakes featuring horses preparing for the Breeders’ Cup World Championships Nov. 4 & 5 at Keeneland, fans will be treated to a full complement of promotions opening weekend through Oct. 2. First post time for Friday’s nine-race program is 1 p.m.
Along with a pair of Breeders’ Cup “Win & You’re In” Challenge Race qualifiers opening weekend, highlighted by Saturday’s Grade I, $300,000 Awesome Again Stakes, the Grade II, $200,000 Eddie D Stakes at about 6 ½ furlongs down the Camino Real Turf Course will also be included that day showcasing an outstanding card.
With closing day Sunday, Nov. 6, parking and admission will be free opening day and on all Fridays through Nov. 4. Also, $3 beers and $5 margaritas will again be offered all Fridays throughout the meet.
Following are promotional events opening weekend:
FRIDAY, SEPT. 30—OPENING DAY --$3 Beers & $5 Margaritas at Sirona’s Bar and the Horseshoe Bar on the Grandstand Mezzanine --Free General Admission and Parking --Santa Anita’s $5,000 ShowVivor online handicapping contest begins
SATURDAY, OCT. 1—BREEDERS’ CUP CHALLENGE DAY --Smorgasbord LA Noodlefest (Trackside) --Compton Cowboys/Stagecoach Pop-Up in the Infield --Rose’ at the Races in the Chandelier Room --FrontRunner Buffet --Trackside Dining Buffet --Infield Family Fun Zone --$4,000 Santa Anita Opening Weekend Challenge --Santa Anita Pick ’Em Contest
SUNDAY, OCT. 2—BREEDERS’ CUP CHALLENGE DAY --Japan Family Day, adjacent to the Kingsbury Fountain in the West Paddock --Infield Family Fun Zone --$4,000 Santa Anita Opening Weekend Challenge --Santa Anita Pick ’Em Contest
Fans are also advised that beginning opening day and on any race day through Nov. 6, those wagering $100 on Santa Anita races via XB Rewards, 1/ST Bet or Xpressbet, will receive a Santa Anita Polo Shirt.
Entries for Santa Anita’s Autumn Meet opener Sept. 30 were drawn yesterday. For additional information regarding racing and tickets for promotions through closing day, Nov. 6, please visit santaanita.com or call (626) 574-RACE.
DELAHOUSSAYE TO MISS STAKES NAMED FOR HIM
Speaking by phone from his Louisiana home, Eddie Delahoussaye won’t be at Santa Anita Friday to present a trophy for the race named in his honor, the Eddie D Stakes.
Currently his primary focus is on his wife, Juanita, who is undergoing an extensive recovery from complicated foot surgery.
The Hall of Fame jockey soldiers on after turning 71 just last Wednesday, Sept. 21.
He remains active in the racing industry as a commissioner of the Louisiana Racing Commission and a member of the board of directors of the Edwin J. Gregson Foundation.
Delahoussaye won the Kentucky Derby back-to-back in 1982 and 1983 on Gato Del Sol trained by Gregson and Sunny’s Halo for trainer David Cross Jr. after finishing second in the 1981 Derby on 34-1 outsider Woodchopper, who rallied from 20th in a field of 21 to lose by less than a length in a signature Eddie D. come-from-behind effort.
Winner of Santa Anita’s George Woolf Memorial Jockey Award in 1981 and inducted into racing’s Hall of Fame in 1993, Delahoussaye retired in January 2003 as a result of injuries to his head and neck suffered in a fall at Del Mar. Over a 34-year career, he won 6,384 races earning $195,881,170.
Absent or present, Delahoussaye forever remains one of the most popular jockeys ever to ride in The Golden State.
His countless fans and friends wish him well.
AUTUMN MEET OFFERS 26 STAKES IN 18 DAYS
Santa Anita’s 18-day Autumn meet which begins Friday will be highlighted by 26 stakes, 15 of them graded. Overnight purses remain the same as last year.
Most all stakes purses are the same as in 2021, with the following exceptions: both the Golden State Juvenile and the Golden State Juvenile Fillies have had purses increased from $150,000 to $175,000, while the Unzip Me and the Anoakia have purses of $85,000, up from $75,000 last year. Additionally, two restricted stakes, the Swingtime and the Lure, now offer purse money of $80,000, an increase of $10,000 each.
The 2022 Autumn Meet stakes schedule will include five Breeders’ Cup “Win & You’re In” stakes over the first two weekends, Oct. 1 & 2 and Oct. 8 & 9, all significant preps to the Breeders’ Cup World Championships at Keeneland Racecourse Nov. 4 & 5. These include three Grade I events, the $300,000 Awesome Again on Oct. 1 and the $300,000 American Pharoah and the $300,000 Rodeo Drive, both on Oct. 8.
Thanks to the Breeders’ Cup, the Autumn Meet will get off to a fast start, with 11 stakes, seven of them graded, offered opening weekend. The second weekend, Oct. 8 & 9, features six stakes, five of them graded.
The Grade I Awesome Again Stakes is a prep to the $6 million Breeders’ Cup Classic; the Grade I American Pharoah is a prep to the $2 million Breeders’ Cup Juvenile; and the Grade I Rodeo Drive Stakes is a prep to the $2 million Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf.
The Grade I Awesome Again headlines a tremendous day of stakes Saturday, supported by five additional added money events: the Grade II, $200,000 Eddie D Stakes for 3-year-olds and up at about 6 ½ furlongs down the hillside turf course; the Grade II, $200,000 John Henry Stakes for 3-year-olds and older at 1 ¼ miles on turf; the Grade II, $200,000 Santa Anita Sprint Championship at six furlongs; the Grade II, $200,000 City of Hope Mile on turf for 3-year-olds and up and the $85,000 Unzip Me for 3-year-old fillies at about 6 ½ furlongs down the hillside turf.
On Sunday, Oct. 2, four stakes will be offered, the Grade II, $200,000 Zenyatta Stakes for fillies and mares at 1 1/16 miles; the Grade III, $100,000 Chillingworth Stakes for fillies & mares three and up at 6 ½ furlongs; the $100,000 Speakeasy Stakes for 2-year-olds at five furlongs on turf, the 100,000 Tokyo City Cup for 3-year-olds and up at 1 ½ miles. (which has been permanently moved to the Autumn Meet as a prep to Breeders’ Cup Marathon races.
Four California-bred Stakes, the California Distaff ($125,000) on Oct. 15; the California Flag ($125,000) on Oct. 16; the Golden State Juvenile ($175,000) on Oct. 29 and the Golden State Juvenile Fillies ($175,000) on Oct. 29, will again provide local owners and breeders’ ample added money opportunities through closing day, Nov. 6.
Santa Anita’s complete 2022 Autumn Stakes schedule is available at santaanita.com/horsemen. For additional information, call the Santa Anita Racing Office at (626) 574-6352.
FINISH LINES: Undefeated Flightline went four furlongs this past Saturday at Santa Anita in 48 seconds flat in preparation for the Breeders’ Cup Classic at Keeneland on Nov. 5. Unquestionably in a league of his own after a jaw-dropping 19 ¼-length victory in the TVG Pacific Classic, the $1 million son of Tapit will continue training at The Great Race Place under the sagacious direction of John Sadler in quest of winning the Breeders’ Cup event and clinching Horse of the Year honors . . . Champion female sprinter of 2021__ Ce Ce__, nominated to this Sunday’s Grade III Chillingworth Stakes, worked five furlongs last Sunday in 1:01 for Michael McCarthy, who trains the six-year-old Elusive Quality mare for owner/breeder Bo Hirsch. Ce Ce won the Chillingworth last year en route to an upset victory over Edgeway and Gamine in the Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Sprint . . . Hall of Fame trainer Ron McAnally will present a trophy to the winning connections of Saturday’s Grade II John Henry Turf Championship, named in honor of the legendary gelding. Now 90, McAnally conditioned John Henry in the late 1970’s and early 1980s, when he won two Horse of the Year titles in 1981 and 1984 . . . Soothsay, winner of last year’s Grade II Santa Anita Oaks and a nominee to Sunday’s Grade II Zenyatta Stakes, worked four furlongs Wednesday in 48.80 for Richard Mandella.