STABLE NOTES BY ED GOLDEN -MONDAY, DECEMBER 23, 2019

  • OMAHA BEACH ‘GOOD AS HE CAN BE’ FOR MALIBU
  • FIRST STAR MAKES WEST COAST DEBUT IN LA BREA
  • AFTER BANNER YEAR, TEAM PRAT HAS 2020 VISION
  • POPULAR WALL CALENDAR GIVEAWAY SATURDAY
  • BEER AND CIDER FESTIVAL SET FOR OPENING DAY
  • THE $5,000 ONLINE SHOWVIVOR CONTEST RETURNS

OMAHA BEACH SET FOR GRADE I MALIBU ON SATURDAY

“Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night stays these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds.”–United States Postal Service creed.

Ditto for Omaha Beach.

The marquee horse on Santa Anita’s stakes-studded opening day card on Saturday is scheduled to make his penultimate start in the Grade I Runhappy Malibu Stakes for three-year-olds at seven furlongs, after which looms his finale, the Grade I, $3 million Pegasus World Cup Invitational at Gulfstream Park on Jan. 25.

Then it’s off to stud at Spendthrift Farm in Kentucky.

“He’s as good as he can be,” Richard Mandella said of the son of War Front after he blew out three furlongs on Santa Anita’s fast main track Sunday in a bullet 34 seconds, fastest of 31 drills at the distance, the average time of which was nearly four seconds slower at 37.67.

“I had to sharpen him up (going three furlongs in advance of predicted rain) because of the extended delay (in opening day from Thursday), but I’m very happy they decided to wait an additional two days in the interest of safety. They certainly did the right thing.

“It should make for a big opening weekend, which we need. Running two days later than expected won’t make much difference to Omaha Beach. He’s as good as he can be.”

In addition to the Malibu and the Grade I La Brea for three-year-old fillies at seven furlongs, other stakes to be presented Saturday are the Grade I American Oaks for three-year-old fillies at 1 ¼ miles on turf; the Grade II San Antonio; the Grade II Mathis Brothers Mile on turf; the Grade III Robert J. Frankel; and the $75,000 added Lady of Shamrock–making for a total of seven stakes on an 11-race program.

Santa Anita’s revised opening week schedule offers live racing on Sunday, Dec. 29; New Year’s Day, Wednesday, Jan. 1; and Friday, Jan. 3 through Sunday, Jan. 5.

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

FIRST STAR STEPS UP IN GRADE I LA BREA

First Star, a lightly raced daughter of First Dude, is back in Southern California for Saturday’s Grade I La Brea Stakes after a promising second in Keeneland’s Grade II Raven Run on Oct. 19.

The Florida-bred chestnut owned by Albert and Kathleen Mattivi, LLC won two overnight races at Del Mar prior to the Raven Run and has been working forwardly for the La Brea, like the Raven Run to be decided at seven furlongs.

“She’s doing really well,” said trainer Ron Ellis. “I purposely kept her schedule light because she’s a light-framed filly. She’s shown she has a lot of talent and she’s pretty smart.”

TEAM PRAT LOOKS FOR ANOTHER GREAT YEAR

The year 2019 was one to remember for Flavien Prat and his agent, Derek Lawson.

Prat won more than 20 graded stakes races, compiled purse earnings of nearly $20 million, and won the Kentucky Derby for the first time. The 26-year-old Frenchman established beyond all doubt that he is a world-class rider who can compete and win with the best of them.

But with the New Year approaching, the tendency is to ponder, ‘What have you done for me lately?’

“We’ll see if we can duplicate this year next year which I think is going to be kind of difficult,” Lawson said. “It’s been a year you dream about, and all of a sudden it ends and you say to yourself, ‘We did a really good job.’

“We’ve got some good two-year-olds turning three, so we have a chance to win another Derby next year, and we’ve got some good older horses. United (second by a head at 51-1 behind Horse of the Year favorite Bricks and Mortar in the Breeders’ Cup Turf) is coming back and being considered for some big races.

“Trainers are trying to develop their two-year-olds into good three-year-olds. Hopefully things are going to come along this meet.

“Good competition is always healthy. We won five million dollar-plus races this year (six Grade I’s, 13 Grade II’s and three Grade III’s), so you can’t ask for anything more.”

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 Saturday. 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 which is 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.

Special first post time opening day is 11 a.m. and admission gates open at 9 a.m. For additional information, please visit santaanita.com or call (626) 574-RACE.

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, 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

–3 oz. Tasting Cup

–One Signature BBQ Plate from Meathead BBQ

–$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.

FINISH LINES: THOROUGHBREDS and XB Rewards members have an opportunity to win $20,000 in prize value opening day. Members receiving a mailer can deposit their entry into contest boxes throughout Santa Anita Park. Three drawings will be held during opening day. Fans can pick up a bonus entry (or a new entry) at the Main THOROUGHBREDS Center if they sign up for XB Rewards. For more details, please visit santaanita.com/events . . . There also will be a live-money opening day handicapping contest with a $1,500 buy-in. Participants can check in at the New Player’s Lounge on the third floor at the far west end just west of the Baldwin Conference Room. Visit santaannita.com/contest for more information.

LATEST CONTENT FROM XBTV:

FEATURES: 

Richard Mandella Discusses Omaha Beach’s Final Work Ahead of the Grade I Malibu Stakes.

Bob Baffert Discusses a Trio of Three-Year-Olds
 Heading Into Grade 1 Starts on Opening Day.

Peter Eurton Discusses Draft Pick’s Last Race Heading into the San Antonio.

Private Clocker Gary Young to Discusses Opening Day.

WORKOUTS:
Storm the Court (Eurton) 12-22-19

McKinzie (Baffert) 12-22-19

Ashleyluvssugar (Outside) and Ekklesia (Eurton) 12-22-19

Omaha Beach (Mandella) 12-22-19

Bellafina (Callaghan) 12-20-19

Gift Box (Sadler) 12-20-19

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