With better racing luck, Edwin Maldonado could be unbeaten aboard Majestic Stride.

His only loss in four rides on the 5-year-old Trippi gelding was at the hands of Secret Circle in the Breeders’ Cup Sprint at Santa Anita last Nov. 2. The margin was just a length and a half.

“When he ran in the Breeders’ Cup, I was inside the whole race and never got a shot to get out of there,” said Maldonado, who rides the Florida-bred Sunday against Secret Circle and three other classy rivals in the Grade II Palos Verdes Stakes at six furlongs.

Secret Circle, the 4-5 morning line favorite, is not void of speed, but in addition to Majestic Stride, the speed of the speed could be Moonshine Bay, who, like Palos Verdes entrant Sahara Sky, is also trained by Jerry Hollendorfer.

Whether Moonshine Bay will be a “rabbit” for stretch-running Sahara Sky remains to be seen. A 6-year-old Pleasant Tap horse, Sahara Sky has not run since coming from ninth and last, a dozen lengths back, to win the prestigious Met Mile by a nose last May. Prior to that, he was second in the Grade I Carter Handicap and captured two Grade II sprints at Santa Anita, the San Carlos and last year’s Palos Verdes.

“Speed in a six furlong race with a short field is an advantage,” Maldonado said, “but I don’t have to be on the lead. My horse can sit second or third, which I prefer to do, then come around horses. My horse has gained weight and has done well when I’ve worked him.”

The field for the Palos Verdes: Wild Dude, Rafael Bejarano, 9-2; Sahara Sky, Corey Nakatani, 5-2; Majestic Stride, Edwin Maldonado, 4-1; Secret Circle, Martin Garcia, 4-5; and Moonshine Bay, Gary Stevens, 12-1.


Te Rapa is taking a precipitous drop on Sunday.

The 6-year-old Wild Zone gelding faded to seventh and last for a $200,000 pot in the
Grade II San Gabriel Stakes in his most recent start, on Jan. 4. Sunday he runs for $40,000 in the Super Bowl Party Starter Handicap.

“It’s definitely a softer spot,” said trainer Howard Zucker, who conditions the Kentucky-bred. “It’s what we were looking for. Hopefully, he handles the ground. The horse has always been good in the spring, the summer and the fall when we haven’t had any rain and the turf gets really hard.

“We just had a real penetrating rain here (Thursday), so we’re hoping there’s not a whole lot of cut to the ground for him, but we’ll have to try it.”

Te Rapa will have a new rider Sunday. Hall of Fame jockey Mike Smith takes over for Kayla Stra, who had ridden the turf specialist in his last eight races, winning three.

The field for the Super Bowl Party Handicap, race six on an eight-race program that starts at 11 a.m.: Yomybato, Corey Nakatani, 12-1; Depreciable, Joe Talamo, 9-2; Bluegrass Reward, Fernando Perez, 15-1; Buenos Dias, Brice Blanc, 12-1; Tiz Dynamic, Martin Pedroza, 5-1; Husband’s Folly, Irving Orozco, 8-1; Olympic Blue, Rafael Bejarano, 5-2; Mr. Candy Bar, Tyler Baze, 12-1; and Te Rapa, Mike Smith, 9-5.


The board of directors of the Thoroughbred Owners of California (TOC) unanimously voted to appoint Terry Lovingier to fill a vacancy on the board created by the recent resignation of Madeline Auerbach.

Lovingier, a native of Oklahoma who was raised in Lakewood, CA, has had a lifelong love of horses. With his wife Barbara, he owns and operates Lovacres Ranch in Warner Springs just east of Temecula.

The ranch encompasses over 500 acres and is home to several Thoroughbred stallions, including Awesome Gambler, Empire Way, Time To Get Even, Bushwacked, Grace Upon Grace, and Swiss Yodeler. Lovingier, who races mainly in partnerships, has campaigned many good runners including Willa B Awesome and currently has Willie B Awesome, Time For Angie, Time for a Hug and Takem By Surprise.

“Terry brings a wealth of experience as both a breeder and an owner to the TOC board,” said Chairman Mike Pegram. “As a member of the CTBA board of directors as well, he will be a great asset in helping us nurture a strong working relationship between our two organizations.”

“I look forward to working on behalf of California owners and know there is much work to be done,” said Lovingier. “We need to take care of the people who take care of our industry, such as the breeders, the gamblers, and the owners who race the horses.
“We need to make sure our fans don’t go elsewhere, such as Las Vegas, because we haven’t catered to them. We need to look at all the options and put together packages that entice new people, especially youngsters, to participate. We also need to keep our focus on the welfare of the horses.”

TOC is the official organization serving new, veteran and future Thoroughbred owners in the state. It represents, advances, and protects owners’ interests and rights in legislative, administrative and business matters.

FINISH LINES: Jeranimo, who made history Jan. 4 by winning the San Gabriel Stakes for the third time, worked five furlongs on Santa Anita’s firm turf course Saturday in 1:03.40 under Rafael Bejarano. Trainer Mike Pender is preparing Jeranimo for next Saturday’s Grade II San Marcos Stakes at a mile and a quarter on grass. Also working today for the San Marcos was Hollywood Turf Cup winner Lucayan, who went seven furlongs on turf in 1:29 for Neil Drysdale . . . Vagabond Shoes, scratched from today’s Arcadia Stakes, is scheduled to run in the San Marcos . . . CashCall Futurity runner-up Candy Boy, prepping for next Saturday’s Grade II Robert B. Lewis Stakes, went six furlongs for John Sadler in 1:13 flat, while San Vicente Stakes contender Kobe’s Back went the same distance for Sadler in a bullet 1:11.60 . . . Willyconker, a candidate for the Grade II San Antonio Stakes next Saturday, went five furlongs for trainer Eric Guillot in 1:01.40 under jockey Fernando Perez, who has the mount in the San Antonio . . . Citation Handicap winner Silentio moved closer to his start in the Grade I Kilroe Mile on March 8 with a sharp five furlong move in 59.20 for Gary Mandella . . . Private Zone, who had been ticketed for the Grade I, $500,000 Donn Handicap at Gulfstream Park on Feb. 9, has been turned out at Sunshine Farms in Bradbury. “He’ll have a couple weeks off,” said Steve Rothblum, assistant to trainer Doug O’Neill. “He had a hard campaign flying around the country so we decided to give him a little breather.” A 5-year-old gelded son of Macho Uno, Private Zone was second in the Grade I Cigar Mile last out on Nov. 30 after finishing 10th in the Breeders’ Cup Sprint at Santa Anita on Nov. 2. Prior to that he captured the Grade I Vosburgh Invitational at Belmont on Sept. 28 . . . Fans at Santa Anita Sunday can enjoy “The Big Game” matching the Denver Broncos and the Seattle Seahawks, and partake of bargain eats as well. Not only is general admission to the track Sunday just a buck, but beers, sodas and hot dogs are also available at a dollar apiece. Early first post time is 11 a.m. Gates open at 9 a.m. With Promo Code YARD, fans can get the following for only $10: all you can eat buffet; half-priced drinks and $1 beers; seating area in Sirona’s; and your first drink included. Visit for further information. There will be no Early Bird wagering at Santa Anita Sunday morning.