STABLE NOTES BY ED GOLDEN -FRIDAY, DECEMBER 20, 2019

  • BELLAFINA IN SMART BREEZE FOR GRADE I LA BREA
  • BAFFERT HAS TWO IN BID TO UPSET OMAHA BEACH
  • ROSARIO EYES SAN ANTONIO REPEAT ON GIFT BOX
  • JUVENILE KING STORM THE COURT WORKS SUNDAY
  • SANTA ANITA’S ‘SEABISCUIT’ HELPS AUTISTIC KIDS
  • POPULAR WALL CALENDAR FREE ON OPENING DAY
  • THE $5,000 ONLINE SHOWVIVOR CONTEST RETURNS

FAVORED BELLAFINA DRILLS FOR GRADE I LA BREA

 Bellafina, who put her vaunted speed on the back burner while finishing a game second to probable Eclipse Award winner Covfefe in the Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Sprint on Nov. 2, worked four furlongs this morning in 47.20 for Thursday’s Grade I La Brea Stakes, one of five added money races on the program as Santa Anita begins its 83rd season of world-class racing.

“I got her in 46 and four, cruising,” said Simon Callaghan, who trains the bay daughter of Quality Road for Kaleem Shah. Jockey Brice Blanc was aboard for the drill, but regular rider Flavien Prat will be up again in the La Brea.

Bellafina was “in tight” in the Breeders’ Cup race, but was gaining at the end of seven furlongs, beaten only three-quarters of a length by Covfefe, winner of six of her eight career starts and likely to be crowned three-year-old filly champion of 2019 off her glowing record.

“I think that’s Bellafina’s best race to date,” Callaghan said of the Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Sprint which was held at Santa Anita for a record 10th time. “She ran over a 100 Beyer (104) for the first time and I think we’ve really found what she wants to do, and that’s (run) seven-eighths.

“Hopefully, we’ll have a good year with her. After the La Brea we’ll give her a little time and wait for Keeneland in April. I think we’ll have a fun rivalry with Covfefe going forward.”

Entries for Thursday’s opening day card will be taken tomorrow.

First post time opening day will be 11:30 a.m. Admission gates open at 9:30 a.m.

First post time Friday, Saturday and Sunday, Dec. 27, 28 and 29, will be 12:30 p.m. with admission gates opening at 10:30 a.m. Santa Anita will be dark for live racing Dec. 30 and 31 and resume live racing on New Year’s Day, Wednesday, Jan. 1, at 12:30 p.m.

BAFFERT SENDS OUT TWO IN BID TO UPSET OMAHA BEACH

Bob Baffert seeks his fourth victory in the prestigious Runhappy Malibu Stakes on opening day when he sends out Much Better and Santa Anita Derby winner Roadster.

The two-time Triple Crown-winning trainer is first to admit he’ll have to beat Omaha Beach to get the money even though both of his runners have shown an affinity for the seven furlong distance of the Grade I Malibu, which Baffert won last year with McKinzie and in 2011 with The Factor and 2013 with Shakin It Up.

“I’d be OK with them going seven-eighths if Omaha Beach wasn’t in there,” Baffert said. “A horse that looks good too is Complexity (winner of three of five for Chad Brown and scheduled to work at Santa Anita tomorrow).”

ROSARIO EYES BACK-TO-BACK SAN ANTONIO WINS ON GIFT BOX

Joel Rosario seeks a repeat win on Gift Box in the San Antonio Stakes when he rides the six-year-old for John Sadler opening day. Gift Box worked five furlongs Friday in 1:00.20.

Rosario won the Grade II event last Dec. 26, then followed with a nose triumph over McKinzie in a thrilling renewal of the Grade I Santa Anita Handicap.

Agent Ron Anderson also has Rosario booked on Mother Mother in the La Brea Stakes and Mucho Unusual in the Lady of Shamrock Stakes Thursday, and Encoder in the Eddie Logan Stakes Friday. Mother Mother worked six furlongs today in a bullet 1:12.80 while Encoder worked five furlongs in 1:01.80.

STORM THE COURT IN FIRST BREEZE BACK SUNDAY

Storm the Court, upset winner of the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile on Nov. 1 at odds of nearly 46-1, is scheduled to have his first workout Sunday since that race, in which he thrust himself firmly in the mix for an Eclipse Award as outstanding two-year-old male.

“He’ll probably work four furlongs,” said Peter Eurton, who trains the bay son of Court Vision, and depending on weather, could embark on the Triple Crown trail in February or March.

With the division seemingly wide open, Eurton and his connections are optimistic about the colt’s chances of being named champion when honors are announced at the 49th annual Eclipse Awards dinner Jan. 23 at Gulfstream Park.

“We’re hoping for the best, plus all the horses that came out of the Juvenile have done well,” Eurton said. “We’re going to show up for the awards, enjoy the day and hope things go our way. Right now it looks like he’s going to start back (to the races) in February, but if he doesn’t make it because of the weather, we’ll wait until March. We have lots of options.”

‘SEABISCUIT’ & GARY STEVENS ON SET AT SANTA ANITA & AT HIS NEW HOME IN HALF MOON BAY, CA
SANTA ANITA’S ‘SEABISCUIT’ SERVES AS HANDS-ON FOR AUTISTIC CHILDREN

Fighting Furrari, better known as the primary horse used in the 2003 movie “Seabiscuit,” has been retired from his duties as Santa Anita’s mascot and has been relocated to the Square Peg Foundation in Half Moon Bay, California, which specializes in providing horses for emotional support for children with Autism.

While a winner of just one of his 16 career starts on the track, Fighting Furrari was one of the most recognized horses at Santa Anita. Also known by his barn name “Fred,” the 21-year-old gelding has been tacked up in the authentic Seabiscuit attire and led to the infield round pen on weekends to the delight of fans. His handler would educate, answer questions and allow people young and old to pet him, watch him do tricks and be lunged or ridden around the ring.

Over the years, when Santa Anita was closed for live racing, “Fred” would be turned out at a local stable under the care of Candace Coder Chew, Santa Anita’s Director of Print & Graphics and the President of CARMA, the California Retirement Management Account which overseas grants for Thoroughbred aftercare programs in the state, where he would be ridden on the trails and in the show ring.

“It is fitting that Fred will live out his days doing what he does best, taking care of young children,” said Chew. “A few years ago, Ability First came to Santa Anita with a number of autistic and Down syndrome children. In addition to all of the kids petting Fred and giving him carrots, one young boy got to lead Fred around the walking ring. With cameras flashing, the boy marched around that ring, talking to the horse the entire time.

“Later, we were told the boy was non-verbal, and that the horse seemed to connect with him on some level, encouraging speech. It was an incredible thing to witness–the almost ethereal connection between an autistic child and a horse. As Fred was getting older, Square Peg presents him with the best retirement possible as it will allow him to be lovingly cared for and to continue to do what he does best.”

Since 2004, Square Peg, a certified CARMA program and an accredited TAA charity, has used retired racehorses as therapeutic horses for children with variety of diagnosis, including Autism. Some of the horses are ridden, while others provide an emotional connection for the kids who may have never been exposed to horses. Fighting Furrari now lives on the beautiful hillside facility in Northern California with eight other horses, several cats and a Bloodhound. He is adapting well and will soon have his duties defined.

Fighting Furrari landed his “Seabiscuit” role because of his remarkable physical likeness to the 1940 Horse of the Year. Like the original Seabiscuit, he also has always connected with the people around him. “Fred” earned less than $5,000 on the racetrack, but he was a champion in the show ring. In his younger years, he teamed with a young Randi Pomrehn, who campaigned him with much success in local shows, winning many jumping championships. A succession of female handlers attended to him at Santa Anita, and his duties included running with the winners of the Santa Anita Derby Day 5k, appearing at the Arboretum for orchestral performances, being featured in numerous movie and television shows and greeting many different groups at Santa Anita.

For more info on the Square Peg Foundation, see www.squarepegfoundation.org.

SANTA ANITA HOSTS CRAFT BEER & CIDER FESTIVAL OPENING DAY

In addition to world class racing and Santa Anita’s coveted traditional wall calendar on opening day, Dec. 26, fans will be treated to some of the best brews and ciders in Southern California as the track stages it’s popular Craft Beer and Cider Trackside Festival as well.

Available to those 21 and over, the Opening Day Beer and Cider Festival will provide attendees with trackside seating and mouth-watering barbeque, provided by Meathead BBQ. The following packages are available at santaanita.com:

VIP PACKAGE ($55):

–Eight (3 oz.) Beer or Cider tastings

–One Signature BBQ Plate from Meathead BBQ

–3 oz. Tasting Cup

–$5 Wagering Voucher

–Access to Special VIP Trackside Seating

–Club House Admission

–Racing Program

–Wagering Tip Sheet

–Access to Trackside and Grandstand Seating

GENERAL PACKAGE ($32):

–Eight (3 oz.) Beer or Cider Tastings

–3 oz. Tasting Cup

–$5 Wagering Voucher

–Club House Admission

–Racing Program

–Wagering Tip Sheet

–Access to Trackside and Grandstand Seating Areas

Please note, children are welcome in trackside seating areas, but you must be 21 or over to purchase the package.  Seating is not guaranteed.

For additional information regarding opening day and Santa Anita’s upcoming Winter Meet, please visit santaanita.com or call (626) 574-RACE.

SANTA ANITA’S POPULAR WALL CALENDAR FREE ON OPENING DAY

A “must-have” among racegoers for decades, Santa Anita’s traditional wall calendar will be available free to all fans with paid admission on opening day, Thursday, Dec. 26. This year’s calendar will include racing highlights from the past 12 months and information about the California Retirement Management Account (CARMA), which is based at Santa Anita and assists retired racehorses in finding their next career and home.

CARMA, which operates largely on purse money designated by Thoroughbred owners, facilitates funding and networking for over 20 aftercare charities in addition to running a placement program serving horses that have competed at Santa Anita, Del Mar and Golden Gate Fields.

CARMA hosts a variety of fund-raising events on a monthly basis, including Thoroughbred Classic Horse Shows, in which retired racehorses can compete against each other in multiple disciplines. CARMA also assists with aftercare awareness events and placement success stories.

SANTA ANITA’S $5,000 ONLINE ‘SHOWVIVOR’ RETURNS

Santa Anita’s popular free online “ShowVivor” returns to The Great Race Place on opening day. With special early first post time on Thursday at 11:30 a.m., the contest offers fans a total of $5,000 in prize money, highlighted by a $2,500 top prize–to be awarded to the longest “show streak” over the course of Santa Anita’s Winter/Spring Meeting, which will conclude June 21.

Registration at santaanita.com is free and easy and ShowVivor participants are required to select one horse from one race each racing day. That horse must run no worse than third in order for the player to “ShowVive.” If the player’s selection fails to run 1-2-3, that individual is not totally eliminated, as he or she may start up a new streak the next racing day. The player with the longest “show streak” on June 21 will be declared the top prize winner of $2,500.

The longest “show streak” is one of five separate ways to win beginning Dec. 26:

SHOW STREAK The player that has the longest “show” or no-worse than third place finish streak at the end of the Spring Meet will win the Grand Prize of $2,500.

Players are advised that if they fail to make an online selection on a given day, their streak is still alive, but they will not receive credit for any days missed.

WIN STREAK This carries a $1,000 prize and is intended to reward players who have selected the most consecutive first place finishers. If a player fails to make a selection on a given day, his or her streak may continue, but the player will not receive credit for any days missed.

TOTAL WINS On closing day, June 21, the player who has selected the most total wins will receive a $500 prize.

TOTAL PLACES This also carries a prize of $500 and rewards the player that selects the most total places or second place finishes.

LARGEST SINGLE WIN PAYOUT With a payoff of $500, this rewards the player with the highest single day win payout through June 21.

Players are encouraged to sign up as early as possible at santaanita.com/showvivor, although registration will be available after Dec. 26. Daily online selections must be paid no later than 10 minutes until first race post time.

LATEST CONTENT FROM XBTV:

WORKOUTS:
Bellafina (Callaghan) 12-20-19

Gift Box (Sadler) 12-20-19

Mother Mother (Outside) and Eddy Forever (Baffert) 12-20-19

Neptune’s Storm (Outside) and Madman (Baltas) 12-20-19

Instagrand (Outside) and Brill (Chatlos) 12-19-19

Angel Alessandra (Outside) and Amatara (Baltas) 12-19-19

Two Thirty Five (Purple Jacket) (Baltas) and Draft Pick (Blue Jacket) (Eurton) 12-17-19

Omaha Beach (Outside) (Mandella) 12-17-19