- THE QUALITY SEEMS RED HOT IN BLUE NORTHER
- ONE FAST BROAD BACK ON TURF FOR TEAM RUIS
- DESORMEAUX OFF AND WINNING AT SANTA ANITA
BLUE NORTHER STAKES COULD MAKE THE GRADE
Monday’s Joe Hernandez Stakes is a restricted race offering $75,000 in purse money, but among the 10 horses entered are some that perhaps would elevate it to graded status.
Tops on the list is three-time Grade II stakes winner Om, who missed winning the 2016 Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint by a nose going about 6 ½ furlongs on Santa Anita’s turf course, the same venue over which the Joe Hernandez will be run.
Despite coming off two route races, including the Breeders’ Cup Mile Nov. 4, Om’s penchant for the course also was embellished by his third-place finish by less than a length in the Grade III Eddie D. Stakes last Sept. 29.
“He always runs good,” said Dan Hendricks, who trains the consistent six-year-old Munnings horse for the Sareen Family Trust. “He seems to at least hit the board, and hopefully we’ll get the win on Monday. I like the draw (post position seven in a field of 13, including three on the also-eligible list).
“There is speed in the race, which should help him. We hope it winds up right.”
The field for the Joe Hernandez, named for the original Voice of Santa Anita, who served as the track’s legendary announcer from Dec. 25, 1934 until Jan. 27, 1972: Gold Rush Dancer, Evin Roman, 20-1; Pee Wee Reese, Joe Talamo, 3-1; Cimpl Man, Rajiv Maragh, 15-1; Mr. Roary, Mike Smith, 10-1; Tribalist, Victor Espinoza, 9-2; Law Abidin Citizen, Tyler Baze, 8-1; Om, Drayden Van Dyke, 7-2; Richard’s Boy, Flavien Prat, 7-2; Krsto Skye, Stewart Elliott, 20-1; Next Shares, Rafael Bejarano, 12-1; and also eligibles Smokey Image, Gary Stevens, 15-1 Sycamore Lane, Kent Desormeaux, 15-1 and Conquest Daddyo, Tyler Conner, 20-1.
TRAINER SAYS ONE FAST BROAD ‘BETTER ON TURF’
The politically incorrectly named One Fast Broad returns to turf in Sunday’s $75,000 Blue Norther Stakes for two-year-old fillies at one mile, after two successive stakes victories on dirt, one at Del Mar going seven furlongs Nov. 3 and the most recent at Los Alamitos going a mile on Dec. 2.
“I think she’s better on turf,” said owner/trainer Mick Ruis, who is readying Triple Crown hopeful Bolt d’Oro for his three-year-old campaign. “In the Surfer Girl here (Oct. 9), turning for home she made an early move and it looked like she was going to win by three.
“But she got in front, hung and finished fourth, but only lost by two lengths.”
A California-bred daughter of Decarchy out of the Mr. Broad Blade dam Awesome Broad, One Fast Broad has three wins from five career starts with one second and the aforementioned fourth in the Surfer Girl.
The field for the Blue Norther, race nine of nine: Treasuring, Rajiv Maragh, 7-2; X’s Gold, Kent Desormeaux, 20-1; Retro, Mike Smith, 3-1; Holy Diver, Modesto Linares, 50-1; Deep Breath, Tyler Conner, 20-1; Empress of Lov, Tiago Pereira, 30-1; Silken Sky, Martin Pedroza, 6-1; Streak of Luck, Iggy Puglisi, 20-1; One Fast Broad, Gary Stevens, 7-2; Ippodamia’s Girl, Rafael Bejarano, 4-1; Multiplayer, Tyler Baze, 10-1; and also eligibles Finess Bere, Drayden Van Dyke, 5-1 and Mraseel, Alonso Quinonez, 6-1.
FINISH LINES: With four wins including two stakes the first two days, Kent Desormeaux is off to a flying start at Santa Anita’s Winter Meet, leading all riders at this early point. The rejuvenated Hall of Fame jockey, who incredulously turns 48 on Feb. 27, is represented once again by Mike Ciani. “We’re happy to be riding for a bunch of barns right now,” his agent said. “We’d like to continue and bring some more in. We want to have a good meet and he’s riding great. I have fun working for him.” . . . Bargain claim Skye Diamonds, fourth in the Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Sprint last out, worked four furlongs on the main track Saturday in 52.80 for Bill Spawr, while Grade I winner It Tiz Well went six furlongs in 1:15.40 for Jerry Hollendorfer . . . Yesterday, Breeders’ Cup Sprint winner and favorite to win an Eclipse Award as best male sprinter of 2017 Roy H worked three furlongs at Santa Anita for Peter Miller in 36.60, breezing . . .Tom Quigley‘s guest handicappers Sunday and Monday respectively at 11:20 a.m. in the East Paddock Gardens will be WatchXBTV.com host Aaron Vercruysse and Santa Anita simulcast host and analyst Megan Devine . . . Santa Anita offers two more Dollar Days coming up, this Monday, Jan. 1, and Monday, Jan. 15, when there will be holiday racing on Martin Luther King Jr. Day. Sodas and beers will be a buck apiece . . . Start the New Year by signing on with the Los Angeles Times horse racing newsletter. Authored by John Cherwa, the newsletter offers entries, charts and much, much more at the following link: http://www.latimes.com/newsletters/la-newsletter-racing-signup-page-htmlstory.html . . . Santa Anita runs today through New Year’s Day, Jan. 1, will be dark Jan. 2, 3 and 4, and begins live racing again on Friday, Jan. 5 at 1 p.m. Admission gates open that day at 11 a.m.