OMAHA BEACH EYES GRADE I MALIBU ON DEC. 26
BALTAS HOPES TO KEEP ROLLING AT SANTA ANITA
ROSARIO, RISPOLI RIDING FOR AGENT ANDERSON
McCLELLAN, TALAMO NOW SEEK NEW HORIZONS
BEER AND CIDER FESTIVAL SET FOR OPENING DAY
POPULAR ONLINE SHOWVIVOR CONTEST RETURNS
OMAHA BEACH THE MARQUEE HORSE ON OPENING DAY
Omaha Beach, a horse of unfulfilled potential, is expected to add to his gaudy but abbreviated resume in the prestigious Malibu Stakes on opening day Thursday, Dec. 26.
The Runhappy Malibu is one of two Grade I races to be featured that day as historic Santa Anita Park begins its 83rd season of world class racing, the other being the La Brea Stakes for three-year-old fillies, like the Malibu to be decided at seven furlongs.
“He worked three quarters in (a bullet one) 12 yesterday,” trainer Richard Mandella said of the three-year-old War Front colt, who was favored to win the Kentucky Derby before an 11th hour injury forced him to miss the first jewel of the Triple Crown last May 4.
“He galloped out seven-eighths in (one minute) 25 and change. He couldn’t look better.”
As it stands, the Malibu will be the penultimate race for Omaha Beach, who has never been out of the money in nine starts, boasting four wins, four seconds and a third, earning $1,471,800 for owner Rick Porter’s Fox Hill Farms, Inc.
After the Malibu, if the fates allow, it’s on to the $3 million, Grade I Pegasus World Cup Jan. 25 at Gulfstream Park before going off to stud at Spendthrift Farm in Kentucky.
Bob Baffert, who won the 2018 Malibu with McKinzie, plans to enter both Santa Anita Derby winner Roadster and Much Better when opening day entries are drawn on Saturday, with Mother Mother making her first start since May 3 in the La Brea.
First post time on opening day is 11:30 a.m. Admission gates open at 9:30 a.m.
BALTAS HOPES FOR SUCCESS ON BUSY OPENING DAY
Fresh from winning the recent Del Mar training championship, Richard Baltas hopes to keep things rolling at Santa Anita.
“We had a great meet and we have Neptune’s Storm and Bob and Jackie set for the Grade II Mathis Brothers Mile (on turf) opening day,” Baltas said. “In the Lady of Shamrock (for three-year-old fillies scheduled for a mile on turf, also opening day), we’ll have Angel Alessandra and perhaps one other horse.”
Neptune’s Storm, a consistent three-year-old gelded son of Stormy Atlantic bred in Kentucky by Tracy Farmer, was second in the Grade I Hollywood Derby at Del Mar Nov. 3 but has four wins from eight starts over Santa Anita’s grass course, including two stakes, the Singletary and the Cinema.
Bob and Jackie, a son of Twirling Candy owned and bred by Zayat Stables LLC, has won his last three starts, including the restricted Eddie Logan Stakes at Santa Anita on Dec.28, 2018, and the Let It Ride at Del Mar on Nov. 9.
AGENT HAS TWO FOR THE MONEY AT SANTA ANITA
In addition to future Hall of Fame member Joel Rosario, agent of the stars Ron Anderson will represent newcomer to Santa Anita Umberto Rispoli this meet.
“He’s in from Hong Kong and will ride here right away,” Anderson said of Rispoli, 31, the leading rider in his native Italy in 2009 and 2010, “and was recommended by my friend, Frankie Dettori, who said he rides ‘American style and absolutely will do well in the states.’
“He’s a nice kid and he’s light. He just got here yesterday but worked horses this morning for (Richard) Baltas and (John) Sadler.
“Joel is on his way back from the Dominican Republic where he spent a few days with his family. He’s coming off a really spectacular year (with nine Grade I wins and earnings of more than $24 million), so we’re looking forward to opening day.”
TALAMO, McCLELLAN EACH EYE NEW HORIZONS
Jockey Joe Talamo, recent winner of career race number 2,000, and agent Scotty McClellan will seek new horizons in 2020 after an amicable and mutual agreement to part following a successful run of 13 years.
Talamo, who turns 30 come Jan. 12, leaves California Jan. 5 to ride full time starting Jan. 24 at Oaklawn Park, where his agent will be Jake Romans, son of trainer Dale Romans.
McClellan, one of the game’s most ardent and knowledgeable agents in a career that began in 1972 and reaches its 48th year in 2020, enjoyed remarkable success representing 1978 Eclipse Award winner Darrel McHargue and two Hall of Fame jockeys for decades, Chris McCarron and Alex Solis.
He has no new prospects currently in mind, and thus has a rare opportunity to smell the roses (not at Churchill Downs).
“I’ll take a little break and enjoy myself,” said McClellan, who was weaned on racing thanks in the main from the tutelage of his late father, Chick, a former jockey and trainer and a top agent of his generation.
Scotty has much to look forward to besides Talamo celebrating his birthday on Jan. 12. That would be becoming a grandfather for the first time, as his daughter Meagan and her husband, Jake, are expecting their first child.
The due date? Jan. 12, same day as Talamo’s birthday.
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, Dec. 26, 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
–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
–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.
SANTA ANITA’S $5,000 ONLINE ‘SHOWVIVOR’ RETURNS
Santa Anita’s popular free online “ShowVivor” returns to The Great Race Place on opening day. With special early first post time on Thursday at 11:30 a.m., the contest offers fans a total of $5,000 in prize money, highlighted by a $2,500 top prize–to be awarded to the longest “show streak” over the course of Santa Anita’s Winter/Spring Meeting, which will conclude June 21.
Registration at santaanita.com is free and easy and ShowVivor participants are required to select one horse from one race each racing day. That horse must run no worse than third in order for the player to “ShowVive.” If the player’s selection fails to run 1-2-3, that individual is not totally eliminated, as he or she may start up a new streak the next racing day. The player with the longest “show streak” on June 21 will be declared the top prize winner of $2,500.
The longest “show streak” is one of five separate ways to win beginning Dec. 26:
SHOW STREAK The player that has the longest “show” or no-worse than third place finish streak at the end of the Spring Meet will win the Grand Prize of $2,500.
Players are advised that if they fail to make an online selection on a given day, their streak is still alive, but they will not receive credit for any days missed.
WIN STREAK This carries a $1,000 prize and is intended to reward players who have selected the most consecutive first place finishers. If a player fails to make a selection on a given day, his or her streak may continue, but the player will not receive credit for any days missed.
TOTAL WINS On closing day, June 21, the player who has selected the most total wins will receive a $500 prize.
TOTAL PLACES This also carries a prize of $500 and rewards the player that selects the most total places or second place finishes.
LARGEST SINGLE WIN PAYOUT With a payoff of $500, this rewards the player with the highest single day win payout through June 21.
Players are encouraged to sign up as early as possible at santaanita.com/showvivor, although registration will be available following Dec. 26. Daily online selections must be paid no later than 10 minutes until first race post time.
FINISH LINES: PLEASE NOTE, THERE WILL BE SPECIAL EARLY FIRST POST TIME ON OPENING DAY AT 11:30 A.M. ADMISSION GATES WILL OPEN AT 9:30 A.M. . . . United, beaten a head at 51-1 by Horse of the Year favorite Bricks and Mortar in the Breeders’ Cup Turf, is ticketed for the Grade II San Marcos Stakes at 1 ¼ miles on turf Feb. 1, according to trainer Richard Mandella . . .Jockey Juan Ochoa, invading from Zia Park, rides at Santa Anita this meet under the direction of agent Susan McBrayer . . . Agent Tommy Ball will represent 10-pound apprentice David Mussad, who grew up in San Diego and attended the North American Racing Academy in Lexington, Ky. which was founded by retired Hall of Fame jockey Chris McCarron . . . Vic Lipton and Edwin Maldonado, who have hooked up and split more times than Liz Taylor and Richard Burton, are pfffft! again, the jockey having fired the veteran agent for the third time.
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