Trainer Jeff Bonde has two for the money in Monday’s lucrative Presidents’ Day co-features, George From Tahoe in the $200,000 California Cup Derby at a mile and a sixteenth, and Ismelucky in the $200,000 California Cup Oaks at a mile on turf.

George From Tahoe, a chestnut son of Sierra Sunset also owned by Bonde, has had two races, both on grass and both against state-breds, winning last out by nearly four lengths at a mile under Ruben Fuentes, who retains the mount on Monday.

Ismelucky, a bay daughter of Lucky Pulpit owned in part by Bonde and Jerome Russell, has won two of her five career races on dirt, including the Barretts Debutante at Los Alamitos last Sept. 17. She was 11th of 12 in her first try on the grass, however, going about 6 ½ furlongs in the Sweet Life against open company just a week ago.

“Russell is a big supporter of (California Thoroughbred Breeders’ Association President) Doug Burge and the California breeding program, so we wanted to run her back against Cal-breds,” Bonde explained. “She fits better here if she runs her race.

“George From Tahoe ran well breaking his maiden on grass and we’ll try and do even a little better on dirt Monday.”

The Cal Cup Derby, the eighth of nine races: Violent Ridge, Geovanni Franco, 6-1; Hardboot, Tyler Baze, 20-1; Lucky Romano, Rafael Bejarano, 12-1; Heck Yeah, Mike Smith, 9-5; Faversham, Stewart Elliott, 5-1; Intimidate, Corey Nakatani, 6-1; Continental Divide, Victor Espinoza, 12-1; Fire When Ready, Rajiv Maragh, 20-1; Black Site, Evin Roman, 15-1; Campaigner, Tiago Pereira, 10-1; George From Tahoe, Ruben Fuentes,

10-1; and Kaleidoscope Kid, Santiago Gonzalez, 30-1.

The Cal Cup Oaks, race seven: Pulpit Rider, Corey Nakatani, 4-1; Nice Ice, Rajiv Maragh, 30-1; Mo See Cal, Mario Gutierrez, 10-1; Carpathia, Santiago Gonzalez, 12-1; One Fast Broad, Flavien Prat, 3-5;  Felony One, Tyler Conner, 30-1; X S Gold, Rafael Bejarano, 4-1; and Ismelucky, Ruben Fuentes, 20-1.

Tomorrow is Dollar Day at Santa Anita, with beers and sodas on sale for a buck apiece, and hot dogs for $2. First post time is 12:30 p.m.



With three straight victories Saturday, including a rail-skimming, one-length triumph on 12-1 shot Fault for trainer Phil D’Amato in the Grade II Buena Vista Stakes, jockey Geovanni Franco has climbed to eighth with 14 wins in Santa Anita’s Winter Meet standings after 31 days.

“I’ve won three in a row before,” the 27-year-old native of Mexico City said among well-wishers at a busy Clockers’ Corner Sunday morning, “but not at Santa Anita.”

His wins came on 5-1 shot Rocket Heat by 3 ¼ lengths for trainer Mark Glatt in the fifth race; 9-2 Curly’s Mark by a neck for trainer Phil Oviedo in the sixth; and the aforementioned Fault in the Buena Vista, which went as race seven.

The $1 Franco Pick Three paid $505.90.

“Phil (D’Amato) told me she had improved since he got her, and that she was ready to rock and roll,” Franco said, “but I pretty much left it up to the filly and she got it done.”

Said D’Amato after Fault’s victory: “Geovanni breezed her in her last work. I’ve been watching him ride for the last couple of weeks and been very impressed with his grass rides. He just gets it. He saves ground and gets a lot out of these horses.

“With the lineup that was coming into this race, all the jockeys were already taken and I thought it was a perfect time to give him a chance and he rewarded us with a great ride.”

As to becoming an “overnight sensation” since arriving from the East Coast, Franco is keeping matters in perspective.

“I knew it would be tough here, but I always had confidence,” said Franco, whose agent is James Giannone. “I’m very thankful and blessed that things have been going so well for us.”


FINISH LINES: Joel Rosario, who rode Stormy Liberal to a head victory at 30-1 in last year’s Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint, will be at Santa Anita next Saturday to ride the six-year-old Stormy Atlantic gelding in the Grade III, $150,000 Daytona Stakes at about 6 ½ furlongs on turf for leading trainer Peter Miller. A first, second or third-place finish (worth $90,000, $30,000 and $18,000 respectively) would elevate Stormy Liberal to millionaire status. He has $983,570 in earnings to date . . . San Antonio Stakes winner Giant Expectations worked six furlongs for Peter Eurton in 1:13.20 for a possible start in the Grade I Santa Anita Handicap presented by San Manuel Casino at a mile and a quarter on March 10.”Or, we could be talked into going in the Triple Bend,” the trainer said. The latter also is a Grade I, but at seven furlongs. “We’ll see how his next few works go.” . . . Kent Desormeaux and Drayden Van Dyke have stakes engagements at Oaklawn Park Monday . . . Paved became the first filly ever to win the El Camino Real Derby when Van Dyke rode her to victory at Golden Gate Fields Saturday for trainer Michael McCarthy . . . Desert Steel is likely to pass next Saturday’s $70,000 Wishing Well Stakes on the hillside turf course and wait for the $100,000 Irish O’Brien Stakes on March 17, trainer Simon Callaghan said. Desert Steel was second to Enola Gray in last year’s Irish O’Brien . . . Reminder, Santa Anita has Win, Place and Show Parlay Wagering available every racing day on a minimum of two races and a maximum of six . . . Sign on with the Los Angeles Times Horse Racing Newsletter. Authored by John Cherwa, it offers entries, charts and more at the following link:


(Current Through Saturday, Feb. 17)
Jockey Mts 1st 2nd 3rd Win% ITM% Money Won
Flavien Prat 142 28 28 16 20% 51% $1,570,903
Evin Roman 170 27 30 21 16% 46% $961,059
Kent Desormeaux 113 23 14 16 20% 47% $1,249,586
Rafael Bejarano 129 21 14 28 16% 49% $941,413
Tyler Baze 156 17 24 19 11% 38% $1,101,949
Joseph Talamo 124 16 16 15 13% 38% $765,573
Drayden Van Dyke 96 15 10 8 16% 34% $1,035,738
Geovanni Franco 89 14 10 14 16% 43% $519,845
Tiago Pereira 105 11 14 11 10% 34% $499,200
Mario Gutierrez 68 10 7 9 15% 38% $639,707
Corey Nakatani 51 9 10 3 18% 43% $555,259
Mike Smith 52 9 9 7 17% 48% $1,001,518
Trainer Mts 1st 2nd 3rd Win% ITM% Money Won
Peter Miller 74 17 17 9 23% 58% $858,994
Bob Baffert 62 15 11 7 24% 53% $974,009
Richard Baltas 103 14 17 13 14% 43% $818,294
Jerry Hollendorfer 81 14 7 13 17% 42% $845,106
Doug O’Neill 73 10 11 10 14% 42% $693,637
Vladimir Cerin 44 10 10 4 23% 55% $277,645
William E. Morey 23 9 0 7 39% 70% $355,378
Philip D’Amato 72 8 9 13 11% 42% $647,419
Mark Glatt 51 8 9 5 16% 43% $361,345
John Sadler 73 7 6 10 10% 32% $644,085
J. Keith Desormeaux 31 7 2 5 23% 45% $249,965