TRAINER EYES BETTER TRIP FOR EASY SHOT IN LEWIS
DECENT START IS CRUCIAL FOR GIANT EXPECTATIONS
WELL-TRAVELED PAVEL BACK HOME FOR SAN PASQUAL
FOX SPORTS SATURDAY TO TELEVISE GRADE III LEWIS
GUARANTEED $2 MILLION POOL IN THE RAINBOW PICK 6
FREE GENERAL ADMISSION SUNDAY WITH 11 A.M. START
STRONACH FIVE OFFERS GUARANTEED POOL OF $50,000
VAN DYKE SPARKS SANTA ANITA JOCKEYS TO VICTORY
EXTRA HOPE VAULTS INTO KENTUCKY DERBY PICTURE
KEITH DESORMEAUX LOOKS FOR ‘EASY SHOT’ IN LEWIS
Easy Shot is an 8-1 outsider on Jon White’s morning line for Saturday’s Grade III Robert B. Lewis Stakes, but Keith Desormeaux is hoping with better racing luck the son of Trappe Shot can outrun his odds and post an upset in the 1 1/16-mile race for three-year-olds.
“He steadied a couple times (in the Grade III Sham Stakes at one mile in which he finished fifth by 3 ¼ lengths on Jan. 5),” the trainer noted. “We’re hoping better luck makes a difference tomorrow.
“It’s about the same field (as the Sham) except for the addition of Mucho Gusto. If we can get a clean trip and finish strong, we’ll see if we have a (Kentucky) Derby horse.”
The field for the Lewis, race six of 10 with 12 noon first post time: Kid Cantina, Geovanni Franco, 20-1; Magnificent McCool, Flavien Prat, 8-1; Easy Shot, Rafael Bejarano, 8-1; Gunmetal Gray, Mike Smith, 9-5; Mucho Gusto, Joe Talamo, 8-5; and Nolo Contesto, Joel Rosario, 5-2.
SAN PASQUAL START KEY, FOR PETE’S SAKE
Peter Eurton would like to have a decent start for Giant Expectations in Saturday’s Grade II San Pasqual Stakes, a nine furlong test for older horses that is a precursor to the Grade I Santa Anita Handicap on March 9.
A six-year-old New York-bred son of Free Giant, Giant Expectations is a notoriously balky gate horse, as the trouble lines in his 14 career starts indicate: “Off slow, fractious gate, off slow, hopped, bobbled start, slow start, slow start.”
“He has to break well,” Eurton said. “He’s had issues, but lately, he’s been standing good in the gate, so we’ll see what happens.”
Great Expectations closed a gap in the Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile last Nov. 3 at Churchill Downs despite yet another tardy beginning.
“It wasn’t a bad start,” Eurton said. “It’s just that the track was not like it was when we ran a month before that (third in the Ack Ack at Churchill on Sept. 29) . . . He’s trained well for this race although this is a tough spot with McKinzie and Battle of Midway, but we’ll be there.”
The field for the San Pasqual, race nine: Pavel, Mario Gutierrez, 8-1; Dalmore, Kent Desormeaux, 20-1; Dabster, Joe Talamo, 5-1; Shivermetimbers, Geovanni Franco, 30-1; Giant Expectations, Joel Rosario, 12-1; Sonneteer, Rafael Bejarano, 20-1; McKinzie, Mike Smith, 4-5; and Battle of Midway, Flavien Prat, 5-2.
PAVEL BACK HOME FOR SAN PASQUAL
World traveler Pavel is back home for Saturday’s San Pasqual Stakes and Team O’Neill hopes the gray son of Creative Cause owned by principal client Reddam Racing returns to form for the steppingstone to the Santa Anita Handicap on March 9.
Pavel was “never a factor” finishing 10th in the Grade I Champions Cup in Japan last out on Dec. 2, but has been working well at Santa Anita for the San Pasqual.
“It didn’t seem like the race in Japan took that much out him; that’s why he’s back Saturday,” said O’Neill assistant Leandro Mora. “It was just another trip for the horse, who is OK traveling, but the track was different and he couldn’t get a hold of it. It was very sandy.”
With three wins from 13 starts on tracks including Saratoga, Parx, Belmont, Del Mar, Meydan, Churchill Downs and Chukyo in Japan, in addition to Santa Anita, Pavel has more than paid his way, earning $1,375,000.
FOX SPORTS SATURDAY AT THE RACES RETURNS TOMORROW
The New York Racing Association, Inc. (NYRA), FOX Sports and The Stronach Group have announced the return of FOX Sports Saturday At The Races, the live racing television program launched in 2018 to provide nationwide coverage of the best Thoroughbred racing from marquee venues around the country.
Airing on FS2 and produced by NYRA, the telecasts begin tomorrow with a two-and-a-half hour show offering live coverage of the Grade III Withers from Aqueduct, the Grade II Holy Bull from Gulfstream Park and the Grade III Robert B. Lewis from Santa Anita.
“FOX Sports Saturday at the Races kicks off year one of our expanded coverage of the very best in horse racing,” said Michael Mulvihill, FOX Sports Executive Vice President, Research, League Operations & Strategy. “The races we are showcasing this Spring have produced five of the last six Kentucky Derby champions, including the immortal American Pharoah. As a horseplayer, you simply can’t be prepared for the Triple Crown without seeing these races. We are very excited to present these key stops on the road to the Triple Crown.”
The year 2019 will see 12 editions of FOX Sports Saturday at the Races airing on FS2 with more than 24 hours of in-depth coverage and analysis of major stakes races and key Triple Crown preps such as the Grade II Fountain of Youth, Grade II San Felipe, Grade III Gotham, and the Grade III Withers.
The 2019 package of live shows builds on the 2018 schedule, when FOX Sports Saturday at the Races aired on six Saturdays providing a national audience on FS2 with 17 hours of live horse racing.
Santa Anita’s Michelle Yu will be reporting on the Robert Lewis, which has a projected “off time” of 2:56 p.m. PT.
GUARANTEED $2 MILLION POOL IN TODAY’S 20 CENT RAINBOW PICK 6 JACKPOT
With a massive mandatory payout looming on Saturday, Santa Anita Park will again guarantee $2 million in today’s 20 cent Single Ticket Rainbow Pick Six Jackpot.
Even though Thursday’s Rainbow Six sequence endured a total of 14 program scratches, mainly as a result of heavy rains, $199,909 in “new” money was bet, creating a total live money Rainbow Six pool of $1,699,756.
There were 117 consolation tickets Thursday with six winners, each worth $910.30. (Through 21 racing days, the average daily payout on Santa Anita’s 20 cent Single Ticket Rainbow Pick Six Jackpot has been $7,560.60).
With no rain forecast today, Rainbow Six field size stands at better than eight horses per race. Friday’s Rainbow Six will begin with race four, with an approximate post time 2 p.m. PT.
Although rain is predicted for Saturday’s 10-race card, all 10 races will be run on the main track, including the Robert B. Lewis Stakes, which has been carded as race six, and the San Pasqual Stakes, which goes as the ninth race.
Should there be no Single Ticket winner today, track officials project Saturday’s mandatory payout Jackpot pool could reach $15 million.
For additional information, including entries for both Friday and Saturday, please visit santaanita.com or call (626) 574-RACE.
FREE GENERAL ADMISSION AT SANTA ANITA FOR BIG GAME SUNDAY
Santa Anita will offer fans free General Admission on Big Game Sunday, this Sunday, as the track will present a nine-race program with special early first post time at 11 a.m.
Following the races, fans are encouraged to enjoy the Rams vs. Patriots in Sirona’s Sports Bar, located on the Grandstand main floor overlooking the Paddock Gardens.
Fans will be treated to an impressive list of Game Day Drink Specials, including $3 Bud Light Drafts (12 oz.), $5 Golden Road Drafts (12 oz.), $8 Micheladas, $6 Margaritas and $6 Baldwin Buck Cocktails.
In addition to drink specials, New England Clam Chowder and Bacon-Wrapped “LA” Hot Dogs will be served to all Patriot and Ram fans, regardless of which team they’re pulling for.
For additional information on Big Game Sunday at Santa Anita, please visit santaanita.com or call (626) 574-RACE.
STRONACH 5 OFFERS $50,000 GUARANTEED POOL
Bettors will take a trip cross-country today when the Stronach 5 visits Laurel Park, Gulfstream Park, Santa Anita, and Golden Gate Fields offering a $50,000 guaranteed pool.
The sequence kicks off at Laurel Park at 1:35 p.m. PT with 10 claimers going a mile. After two races at Gulfstream and another at Santa Anita, the national pick 5 with the industry-low 12-percent takeout will finish at Golden Gate with a starter allowance and a field of eight.
Past performances for the Stronach 5:
Friday’s Stronach 5 sequence
- Leg One – Laurel Race 9 – (10 entries, one mile) 4:35 ET, 1:35 PT
- Leg Two -Gulfstream Race 10 – (eight entries, six furlongs) 4:41 ET, 1:41 PT
- Leg Three -Santa Anita Race 4 – (nine entries, six furlongs) 5 ET, 2 PT
- Leg Four – Gulfstream Race 11 – (13 entries, one mile turf) 5:12 ET, 2:12 PT
- Leg Five – Golden Gate Race 5 – (8 entries, 5 ½ furlongs) 5:46 ET, 2:45 PT
The minimum wager on the multi-race, multi-track Stronach 5 is $1. If there are no tickets with five winners, the entire pool will be carried over to the next Friday.
For the Stronach 5, if a change in racing surface is made after the wagering closes, each selection on any ticket will be considered a winning selection. If a betting interest is scratched, that selection will be substituted with the win pool favorite when wagering closes.
The Maryland Jockey Club serves as host of the Stronach 5.
VAN DYKE LEADS SANTA ANITA JOCKEYS TO 31-27 VICTORY
Led by Drayden Van Dyke, Santa Anita’s jockeys posted a 31-27 victory Thursday night in the 52nd annual Santa Anita Jockeys vs. Holy Angels Elementary School Charity Basketball Game at La Salle High School in Pasadena.
“Van Dyke was their superstar,” said trainer Jeff Bonde, who attended the game. “There was a terrific crowd; all the seats were filled.”
Proceeds from the game benefit Holy Angels Athletics and the Bill Hartack
Charitable Foundation, which contributes to several Thoroughbred racing industry charities and presents the winning rider in each year’s Kentucky Derby with the Hartack Memorial Award.
It is named in honor of the late Hall of Fame jockey, William Hartack, who along with Eddie Arcaro, won the Kentucky Derby a record five times.
THREE-YEAR-OLD GIVES OWNER/BREEDER ‘EXTRA HOPE’ FOR DERBY
Extra Hope joined the flavor of the month club for the 2019 Kentucky Derby on May 4 with an authoritative 3 ¼-length victory in Thursday’s feature race, a one mile allowance test on a sloppy track run in 1:34.74, with the last furlong achieved in 13.05 seconds.
“He’s a nice three-year-old and we all have the same dreams,” said owner/breeder Samantha Siegel of the son of Shanghai Bobby ridden by Flavien Prat for trainer Richard Mandella. “I’m really excited.
“His dam (Lotsandlotsofhope, by Tiznow) could really run, but got hurt and only ran once. This is her first baby.”
LATEST CONTENT FROM XBTV
FINISH LINES: Mike Machowsky, best known as the conditioner of 2004 Santa Anita Handicap and Sunshine Millions Classic winner Southern Image in back-to-backmillion dollar races, sends out his last two horses as a trainer this weekend after a career of three decades. Starting Feb. 15, the 54-year-old Machowsky will be the full-time California representative for national auction giant Fasig-Tipton. “It’s been a helluva run and I’ve had a great time training horses,” said Machowsky, whose last two runners are Ministersdon’tlie in Saturday’s seventh race and Proud Emma in Sunday’s fourth race . . . With more rain in the forecast, Bob Baffert and Jerry Hollendorfer breezed their Triple Crown prospects Friday morning, Improbable going five furlongs for Baffert in a bullet 58.40 and Instagrand the same distance for Hollendorfer in 59 flat. “Improbable looked very good,” said Santa Anita clocker Dane Nelson, who had a six furlong gallop out time of 1:11.80 . . . Jonathan Kinchen, 2015 NHC Tour Champion, is Tom Quigley‘s handicapping guest 10:50 a.m. Saturday. There is no seminar Super Bowl Sunday.
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