- EURTON ‘TOTALLY STOKED’ FOR SANTA ANITA HANDICAP
- BOLT D’ORO TO BREEZE FOUR FURLONGS 9 A.M. MONDAY
- NEW SUNDAY FIRST POST TIME OF 11:30 A.M. ON MARCH 11
NATIVE CALIFORNIAN EURTON EYES BIG ‘CAP
Giant Expectations is nominated to both the Triple Bend Stakes and the Santa Anita Handicap presented by San Manuel Casino next Saturday, both Grade I events, but trainer Peter Eurton is leaning towards the mile and a quarter, $600,000 Big ‘Cap over the seven furlong, $400,000 Triple Bend at seven furlongs.
“We’re still pondering, but I think it’s going to be the Big ‘Cap,” Eurton said Saturday morning. “It might come up wet, but we’ll let him run out of there and get comfortable.
“Winning the Big ‘Cap would mean a lot to me,” said the 60-year-old Eurton, a native of nearby Alhambra. “I’m totally stoked to win a race like that.”
Should Giant Expectations capture the historic race that had its first running in 1935 when Azucar won under legendary George (The Iceman) Woolf, he would join the likes of Seabiscuit, Round Table, Ack Ack, Vigors, Affirmed, Spectacular Bid, John Henry, Best Pal and other titans of the turf who have been successful in the 80 previous editions.
A New York-bred chestnut horse by Frost Giant, Giant Expectations won the Grade II San Antonio Stakes on Dec. 16 in front-running fashion under Gary Stevens before the pair finished ninth by 18 lengths behind eventual Horse of the Year Gun Runner in the Pegasus World Cup Invitational at Gulfstream Park on Jan. 27.
Still, he achieved millionaire status in that race and has won four of 14 career starts, including a 9 ¾ length maiden score at 6 ½ furlongs on a sloppy Belmont Park track last May.
Probable for the Big ‘Cap: Accelerate, Curlin Road, Fear the Cowboy, Giant Expectations, Hoppertunity, Mubtaahij, Prime Attraction and Top of the Game.
BOLT D’ORO TO WORK MONDAY FOR SAN FELIPE STAKES
Bolt d’Oro’s unexpectedly delayed but much anticipated three-year-old debut draws another step closer Monday when the Triple Crown contender has his final major workout for Saturday’s Grade II, $400,000 San Felipe Stakes for three-year-olds at 1 1/16 miles.
“He’ll work a half-mile Monday at 9 o’clock,” owner/trainer Mick Ruis said Saturday morning. “It will be five days from the race with Victor (Espinoza) up.”
Bolt d’Oro had been expected to make his three-year-old debut on Feb. 10 in the seven furlong San Vicente Stakes, but a pulled muscle derailed those plans.
Twice a Grade I winner in his two-year-old campaign and runner-up in the Eclipse Award voting in that category after suffering his first defeat when impacted by a wide trip throughout the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile last Nov. 4 in his most recent start, Bolt d’Oro will be ridden by four-time Eclipse Award winner Javier Castellano in the San Felipe.
A major steppingstone to the Grade I, $1 million Santa Anita Derby on April 7, the San Felipe offers 50 Kentucky Derby qualifying points to the winner, 20 to the runner-up, 10 to the third-place finisher and five to the fourth.
First post time next Saturday is 12 noon. Admission gates open at 10 a.m.
NEW ‘SUNDAY BRUNCH’ FIRST POST TIME OF 11:30 A.M. ON MARCH 11
Santa Anita adopts a new “Sunday Brunch” first post time of 11:30 a.m. on all Sundays, beginning with Daylight Saving Time on March 11 and through closing day of its current Winter/Spring Meet on June 24.
Effective Thursday, March 15, first post time on all other racing days except Sundays and Triple Crown Saturdays will be 12 noon.
Current post times will remain the same prior to Daylight Savings on March 11, with weekday starts at 1 p.m. and weekend first post time at 12:30 p.m.
Santa Anita’s present 104-day Winter/Spring Meeting, which began Dec. 26, operates on a Thursday through Sunday basis, with few exceptions.
FINISH LINES: Rain forced cancellation of training on Santa Anita’s main track today, but Louisiana “Mud Bug” Keith Desormeaux dominated proceedings on the training track with nine horses breezing over the sloppy strip, led by Robert Lewis runner-up Ayacara, who went three furlongs in 37.40 for the San Felipe . . . There is a two-day Pick Six carryover today of $145,375 . . . Santa Anita now has Win, Place and Show Parlay Wagering available on a minimum of two races and a maximum of six . . . Condolences to family and friends of longtime fan, horseplayer and owner, Dr. Robert McNamara, who died suddenly at age 74 on Feb. 23. A highly respected dentist for 49 years in nearby San Marino, “Dr. Bob” was an iconic figure at The Great Race Place, which ranked alongside the game of golf and his family as his greatest loves. Survived by his wife, Kris, and four children, including Erin, who is married to trainer Michael McCarthy, Dr. McNamara will be forever missed here at Santa Anita and at San Gabriel Country Club, where he was a longtime member with a low handicap . . . Sign on with the Los Angeles Times Horse Racing Newsletter. Authored by John Cherwa, it offers entries, charts and more at: http://www.latimes.com/newsletters/la-newsletter-racing-signup-page-htmlstory.html.
|SANTA ANITA STATISTICS|
|(Current Through Friday, March 2)|
|Drayden Van Dyke||112||20||11||11||18%||38%||$1,223,203|
|William E. Morey||27||9||2||7||33%||67%||$384,723|
|J. Keith Desormeaux||34||7||3||6||21%||47%||$260,829|