STABLE NOTES BY ED GOLDEN -FRIDAY, JANUARY 10, 2020

  • BRAVO, BALTAS REUNITE IN LA CANADA STAKES
  • STORM THE HILL BACK SPRINTING ON SATURDAY
  • TURF DEBUT IN LAS CIENEGAS FOR FREE COVER
  • ‘VOX POPULI’ AWARD PRESENTED ON SATURDAY
  • SANTA ANITA HONORS SHEAR ON 99TH BIRTHDAY

HOROLOGIST MAKES SANTA DEBUT IN ‘VERY TOUGH’ LA CANADA

Richard Baltas expects improvement the second time around from Horologist Saturday in the Grade III, $200,000 La Canada Stakes for fillies and mares, four and up, at 1 1/16 miles.

The four-year-old New Jersey-bred daughter of Gemologist was a distant ninth first out for Baltas in Keeneland’s Grade II Raven Run at seven furlongs Oct. 19 under Joe Bravo, who returns to Santa Anita for the La Canada. “Jersey Joe” won three times previously on the bay filly last year, once at Gulfstream and twice at Monmouth Park in Oceanport, N.J.

Bravo also won the Grade I American Oaks in a dramatic rail-skimming ride for Baltas at Santa Anita aboard Lady Prancealot Dec. 28, so they have a successful if brief history together.

“I didn’t have her very long and now she’s kind of in our routine,” Baltas said in explaining Horologist’s disappointing debut for him. “Hopefully, she’ll run better, and Joe asked to ride her back, plus the owners wanted him on the horse, so that’s what we did.

“Joe knows the filly, so that’s kind of good. There’s speed in there and maybe Joe can get a good trip but it’s a very tough race. I didn’t think it was going to come up that tough.”

The La Canada, race eight of nine with a 12:30 p.m. first post time: Der Lu, Drayden Van Dyke, 4-1; Zusha, Tiago Pereira, 15-1; Queen Bee to You, Ruben Fuentes, 3-1; Message, Mike Smith, 4-1; Kaydetre, Brice Blanc, 30-1; Horologist, Joe Bravo, 4-1; Spiced Perfection, Joel Rosario, 5-2; and Star of Quality, Geovanni Franco, 15-1.

LAS CIENEGAS ‘GOOD SPOT’ FOR STORM THE HILL

Storm the Hill shortens up in Saturday’s Grade III Las Cienegas Stakes for fillies and mares, four and up, at 5 ½ furlongs on turf.

The six-year-old mare is coming off five straight races of a mile or longer, including a fifth in the Grade I Matriarch Dec. 1.

“She’s training very well and she’s won stakes sprinting on the grass,” said trainer Phil D’Amato, alluding to the Grade III Senator Ken Maddy in 2018 and the Unzip Me in 2017.

“She’s coming out of a tough Grade I (fifth in the one-mile Matriarch Dec. 1) and I think this is a good spot to start off the New Year.”

Storm the Hill worked five furlongs on the training track Sunday in 1:00.40 under Flavien Prat, who rides her competitively for the first time in the Las Cienegas.

The Las Cienegas, race three: Storm the Hill, Flavien Prat, 9-5; Kentan Road, Jorge Velez, 4-1; Jolie Olimpica, Mike Smith, 6-5; $2,000 supplemental nominee An Eddie Surprise, Mario Gutierrez, 8-1; and Free Cover, Ruben Fuentes, 6-1.

FREE COVER TRIES TURF FOR FIRST TIME IN LAS CIENEGAS

Free Cover makes her grass debut in Saturday’s Las Cienegas Stakes and Andrew Lerner is optimistic the gray daughter of Congrats can have a successful conversion after 11 races on dirt or synthetic for owner Eric Johnson, defenseman of the Colorado Avalanche, who campaigns as ERJ Racing, LLC.

“I think the Grade I was just a little too deep for her,” the trainer said, referring to Free Cover’s well-beaten ninth in the Grade I La Brea Stakes Dec. 28. “We chased a sizzling pace and kind of bull-rushed her up there, so we thought the Las Cienegas was a good opportunity to try the grass.

“Her dam (Candybedandy) won something like four races on the turf, so we’re hoping we’ll be competitive, and she’s got a good post, too (five of five).”

BRICKS AND MORTAR WINS VOX POPULI; POSTER SIGNING ON SATURDAY

Winner of the Grade I Breeders’ Cup Turf at Santa Anita Nov. 2 and unbeaten in six starts last year, Bricks and Mortar has been named winner of the 10th annual Vox Populi Award, to be presented in a Runhappy Winner’s Circle ceremony Saturday at Santa Anita.

Created by the late owner of 1973 Triple Crown champion Secretariat, Penny Chenery, the inaugural Vox Populi (Voice of the People) Award was won by legendary Zenyatta in 2010.

Bricks and Mortar, a six-year-old horse by Giants Causeway, who campaigned for owners Klaravich Stables, LLC and William H. Lawrence, was conditioned by Chad Brown and retired to stud following his magnificent 2019 season with earnings of $7,085,650.

There will be a special poster giveaway celebrating all 10 winners of the Vox Populi Award and past winning connections will be on hand beginning at 11 a.m. to sign these posters in Santa Anita’s Paddock Gardens area.

Among those scheduled to attend the poster signing are Bob Baffert (trainer of American Pharoah, Justify and Paynter), Art Sherman (trainer of two-time winner California Chrome) and Gary Stevens (jockey, Mucho Macho Man) Victor Espinoza, (American Pharoah).

Chris Tweedy, son of Penny Chenery, will be on hand to represent his family.

PADDOCK CAPTAIN JOHN SHEAR TO CELEBRATE  99TH BIRTHDAY JAN. 17

Orphaned as a young boy in London, wounded by German artillery in World War

II and employed by Santa Anita Park since 1961, John Shear, the track’s beloved Paddock Captain, will celebrate his 99th birthday between races with family, friends and co-workers on Friday, Jan. 17.

A former exercise rider, groom and assistant trainer who had originally aspired to be a jockey, Shear, at four feet, 11 inches and 104 pounds, gained national attention on March 12, 2011, when he threw himself into the path of a loose horse, potentially saving the life of a five-year-old girl who was attending the races with her father.

“Horses are like homing pigeons,” Shear said in an interview following the incident.       “When they’re upset, they want to go home. So when I heard someone shouting, ‘Loose horse!,’ I knew it would be heading our way as it tried to go back to the barn.”

Despite suffering multiple fractures to his pelvis, hip, back and cheekbone, along with internal bleeding that resulted in a significant loss of blood, Shear was back on the beat in Santa Anita’s Paddock Gardens in less than a year, and at nearly 99 year of age, he continues to defy Father Time.

“I love what I do,” said Shear. “I love the people, the horses and working outside. I still do 30 pushups every morning and I walk all the time. I’ve loved this place since I first came here in 1954 and I’m blessed to be able to do what I’m doing. If people got outdoors more and stopped worrying about things none of us can control, they’d be much happier. I know I am.”

John Shear will be honored with a race named in his honor on Jan. 17 and be presented a birthday cake in the Runhappy Winner’s Circle between races.

SIMULCAST WAGERING NOW OFFERED IN SANTA ANITA SPORTS BOOK

In addition to the Grandstand Paddock Room, Santa Anita is now offering free parking and admission on Wednesdays and Thursdays for fans attending its Sports Book, which adjoins the Turf Terrace on the Mezzanine level. State of the art in every respect, the Santa Anita Sports Book features wall to wall flat screen television monitors and plenty of betting windows. For additional information, please visit santaanita.com.

FINISH LINES: Due in large part to the efforts of pari-mutuel clerk David Ibershoff, Saturday’s first race has been named in honor of a Santa Anita “Original” Angel Contreras. As a nine-year-old boy, Mr. Contreras sold newspapers to eager racegoers on the day of the track’s opening, Dec. 25, 1934 and along with his son, Patrick, remains a regular attendee.

LATEST CONTENT FROM XBTV:

FEATURES:

Stronach 5 All-Star Ticket for January 10th, 2020

XBTV Friday: What to Watch for at Santa Anita Park on January 10th, 2020

Beloved Santa Anita Paddock Captain John Shear Turns 99 Years Old on January 17th

Quick Questions With Cameraman Guy Stuttley at Santa Anita Park

WORKOUTS:
Gift Box (Sadler) 1-10-20

Cassie Belle (McCarthy) 1-10-20

Madman (Baltas) 1-10-20

Pelican Way (Shirreffs) 1-09-20

Bristol Bayou (Shirreffs) 1-09-20

Holy Ghost (Outside) and Dia De Pago (Cerin) 1-09-20

Storm the Court (Eurton) 1-05-20

Ax Man (Baffert) 1-05-20

Grinningeartoear (Koriner) 1-05-20

SANTA ANITA STATISTICS

(Current Through Sunday, Jan. 5)

Jockey

Mts

1st

2nd

3rd

Win%

ITM%

Money Won

Joel Rosario

44

9

12

7

20%

64%

$787,512

Drayden Van Dyke

29

8

3

1

28%

41%

$435,509

Abel Cedillo

45

6

7

6

13%

42%

$375,822

Mario Gutierrez

20

6

1

2

30%

45%

$258,257

Trainer

Sts

1st

2nd

3rd

Win%

ITM%

Money Won

Bob Baffert

20

7

4

5

35%

80%

$601,600

Richard Baltas

32

6

3

4

19%

41%

$527,080

Peter Miller

16

6

1

1

38%

50%

$392,082

Doug O’Neill

24

4

4

2

17%

42%

$237,659

Philip D’Amato

24

3

4

2

13%

38%

$271,568

Steve Knapp

8

3

0

1

38%

50%

$100,140