- McCARTHY HEADS ‘STRAIT’ TO THE TOP
- BALTAS FILLY FITS IN GRADE III MADDY
- FIRST POST AT 12:30 P.M. , MANDATORY PAYOUTS SUNDAY
- A FOND FAREWELL FOR BARRY ABRAMS
McCARTHY’S STAR CONTINUES TO RISE
Michael McCarthy’s humility came to the fore after he sent out City of Light to a dominating 5 ¾-length victory in the $9 million Pegasus World Cup at Gulfstream Park on Nov. 28, 2019.
“This horse is a gift,” the then 48-year-old trainer said. “Amazing.”
Modesty aside, McCarthy is a gift to racing. He added to his growing list of laurels last Sunday when he saddled Smooth Like Strait to an impressive 1 1/2-length triumph in Santa Anita’s Grade II Twilight Derby, a race the trainer had been pointing to from the git-go.
Next up, if all goes well, is the Grade I Hollywood Derby at Del Mar on Nov. 28.
But first things first.
McCarthy is preparing Ce Ce, Speech, Rushie and Rombauer for starts in Breeders’ Cup races at Keeneland on Nov. 6 and 7. Already surprising Grade I winners, Ce Ce and Speech will be cross-entered in both the Distaff at 1 1/8 miles and the Filly & Mare Sprint at seven furlongs, with Rushie bound for the Dirt Mile and Rombauer for the Juvenile.
Three worked five furlongs Friday morning, Ce Ce and Rushie going in company receiving an identical 59.20 clocking, while Speech breezed with Tembo in the respective times of 1:00.80 and 1:01.
“I’m very pleased with all of their works,” said McCarthy, including Rombauer, who went five furlongs Thursday in 1:03.60. “They’ll have one more breeze here and most likely ship for Kentucky on Nov. 1.”
McCarthy spent some 12 years under his guru Todd Pletcher before going on his own with a one-horse stable six years ago.
That one horse was provided by Aron Wellman of Eclipse Thoroughbred Partners and McCarthy has steadily and readily moved forward since. In 2014 he won just over $200,000 in purses, doubled that in 2015, doubled it again in 2016 and yet again in 2017.
In 2018, with primary backing from the Eclipse group and Tulsa, Oklahoma businessman Warren K. Williams Jr. and his wife, Suzanne, McCarthy achieved a personal apex, thanks to City of Light.
The son of Quality Road earned $4 million for his Pegasus romp and put McCarthy on racing’s global map. Not too shabby for kid who was born in Youngstown, Ohio, moved with his family to Arcadia, site of Santa Anita, when he was five, graduated from Arcadia High School, then hit the track’s backstretch, working his way up with the late Doug Peterson and trainer Ben Cecil.
But McCarthy reaped most of his knowledge as a neophyte with Pletcher. “He taught me dedication; total dedication,” McCarthy said. “He leads by example. He’s there from sunrise to sundown. He’s special.”
Said Pletcher: “Michael was a top-class assistant and I’m not surprised that he’s succeeding now that he has his own stable.”
Or in a word, “amazing.”
‘AQUA’ BACK IN TURF SPRINT WATERS FOR MADDY
Aqua Seaform Shane returns to her favorite venue Saturday–a turf sprint–when the Florida-bred daughter of Kantharos runs in the Grade III Senator Ken Maddy States for fillies and mares, three and older, at 5 ½ furlongs on the grass.
Her lone disappointing effort in six career starts came in the Grade I Del Mar Oaks when she faded to last of 10 in the 1 1/8-mile turf event.
“I thought she ran well last time,” said Richard Baltas, who trains the three-year-old bay for owner Calvin Nguyen. Baltas was alluding to a rallying second behind turf sprint monster Bulletproof One in the restricted Unzip Me Stakes on Sept. 26.
“She was a little far back but she was running at the end,” Baltas added. Aqua Seaform Shame broke her maiden in a turf sprint at Del Mar in November of 2019, then returned after an eight-month absence to win an overnight turf sprint at the seaside oval this past July.
She has a 2-1-1 record from six starts.
The Maddy, race eight of 10 with a 1 p.m. first post time: Jo Jo Air, Flavien Prat, 5-2; Biddy Duke, Juan Hernandez, 6-1; An Eddie Surprise, Mario Gutierrez, 6-1; $2,000 supplemental nominee Lakerball, Mike Smith, 15-1; Magic At Midnight, Abel Cedillo, 9-5; Aqua Seaform Shame, Umberto Rispoli, 4-1; and Zee Drop, Ricardo Gonzalez, 8-1.
MANDATORY PAYOFFS ON ALL EXOTICS SUNDAY WITH 12:30 P.M. FIRST POST
Santa Anita will offer mandatory payouts in all exotic wagers closing day Sunday, including the popular 20-cent Rainbow Pick Six Jackpot.
First post time on Sunday is at 12:30 p.m. and Sunday’s Jackpot will be comprised of races six through 11, with approximate post time for the sixth race 3 p.m. Pacific.
With a Rainbow Pick Six Jackpot carryover of $86,130 already accumulated for today’s program, track officials project Sunday’s total Jackpot pool could approach $1 million.
Santa Anita’s races and its entire simulcast production is offered live and free of charge at santaanita.com. Fans are encouraged to tune in at 11:20 a.m. Sunday for its pre-race handicapping seminar, featuring track announcer Frank Miramahdi and host Tom Quigley as they discuss the entire 11-race card.
TOUCHING EULOGY FOR BARRY ABRAMS
Family, friends and race trackers spanning three generations paid their final respects last Monday to Barry Abrams in a graveside service at Forest Lawn in Hollywood Hills.
The popular former trainer passed away on Oct. 9 at 66 after a courageous 15-year battle with cancer, never showing a hint of self-pity.
Amid the emotion, Santa Anita horn blower Jay Cohen, in traditional fox hunt regalia, gave Abrams his final call to the post.
Huey Barnes, an 87-year-old African American who came to California to work as an exercise rider for Charlie Whittingham in the 1950s when racial discrimination was still a sty in America’s eye, with public restrooms and drinking fountains for “Colored Only,” delivered an impromptu and moving eulogy.
Barnes is still going strong today working at Santa Anita as an assistant starter.
Abrams was born of Jewish ancestry in Russia where his father, Lev, earned his living as a butcher, but a darker skin pigment and a disparate faith didn’t prevent Huey and Barry from becoming fast friends, each an ardent fan of the Los Angeles Lakers.
Their relationship was based on what matters most: character, values, loyalty, honesty, trust and respect, not skin color and religion.
In his final years when it was no longer safe for Barry to drive, Barnes picked him up at home and drove them to Laker games.
“When they were over Barry would always find some hole-in-the-wall spot to eat, one I never heard of, and I been out here for a long time,” Barnes said.
“Then next game he’d take me to another spot and I’d ask him, ‘Where do you keep finding these places?’ He loved horses, the Lakers and food, and it made him feel good when he could share them with me.
“I loved that man.”
Common interests and an absence of prejudice nurtured their uncharacteristic and unyielding bonding of more than four decades, this black man from Brooklyn and this white man from Russia.
Race was never an issue.
The word only came up when Barry had a horse running in one.
POPULAR $1 GOLDEN HOUR PICK 4 CONTINUES
Santa Anita offers a comprehensive betting menu including the new $1 Golden Hour Pick 4. The wager, which features a low 15% takeout popular with players, links the last two races from Santa Anita and the last two races from Golden Gate Fields each racing day.
It complements the popular $5 Golden Hour Double, which premiered earlier this year during Santa Anita’s winter-spring season.
While Santa Anita remains closed to the public due to Los Angeles County’s COVID-19 restrictions, fans can watch the live races streaming in HD free of charge on santaanita.com. There are several on-line wagering options available, including 1stBet.com, Santa Anita’s official wagering platform, which can be downloaded for free at the App Store. All of Santa Anita’s races also will be shown live on TVG.
The heart of Santa Anita’s player friendly program belongs to the early Pick 5, linking the first five races offered each day. At 14%, the popular wager features one of the lowest takeout rates in the country on a multi-race wager. Bookending the card is a late Pick 5, featuring the last five races each day.
Santa Anita’s 20 cent Rainbow Pick Six Jackpot consists of the final six races each day. The 20 cent Rainbow Pick Six has developed a following as it has the propensity to grow into a massive jackpot pool of millions of dollars, paid only to a single ticket with all six winners.
All bets, including the Rainbow Pick Six Jackpot, have mandatory payouts on closing day this Sunday, Oct. 25.
Santa Anita’s betting menu is rounded out by numerous wagering opportunities that players have come to expect from The Great Race Place, including $2 Win, Place and Show wagering featuring the lowest takeout of any major racetrack in North America, plus $1 Exactas, $2 rolling Daily Doubles, 50 cent rolling Pick 3s, early and late 50 cent Pick 4s, early and late 50 cent Pick 5s, the $1 Super High 5 and 10 cent Superfectas on all races with a minimum of six runners.
FINISH LINES: FIRST POST TIME ON CLOSING DAY SUNDAY WILL BE 12:30 P.M. . . . With three days remaining, the race for leading jockey and trainer remains up for grabs. Flavien Prat has a 22-19 advantage over Juan Hernandez, although the latter has had the most mounts, 88-75. Peter Miller leads Bob Baffert among trainers, 10-9, while Baffert is in front of Miller in purse earnings, $830,010 to $794,420. Agent Derek Lawson has Prat set to ride in eight of nine races today, six of them on morning line favorites, the first two likely odds-on at post time for Miller and Baffert, while Hernandez has five mounts including a pickup on Hatshepsut in the second. On Saturday, Prat is scheduled to ride in nine of the 10 races, four of them morning line favorites, while Hernandez is named on eight horses.
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|SANTA ANITA STATISTICS|
|(Current Through Sunday, October 18, 2020 Inclusive)|