- WEST COAST, ABEL TASMAN RUN OPENING WEEKEND
- EDDIE D STAKES HIGHLIGHTS OPENING CARD FRIDAY
- TWO DOLLAR HAPPY HOURS START ON OPENING DAY
- FREE HALL OF FAME POSTERS AVAILABLE SATURDAY
BAFFERT CHAMPIONS AWAIT SATURDAY, SUNDAY STAKES
Two-time Triple Crown-winning trainer Bob Baffert has two of his primary champions
awaiting action opening weekend of Santa Anita’s blockbuster 22-day Autumn Meet, West Coast in Saturday’s Awesome Again Stakes for three-year-olds and up at 1 1/8 miles and Abel Tasman in Sunday’s Zenyatta Stakes for fillies and mares, three and up, at 1 1/16 miles.
West Coast, Eclipse Award champion three-year-old male of 2017, who has not raced since last March 31 in the Dubai World Cup, was a $6,000 supplemental nominee to the Awesome Again. Abel Tasman was Eclipse winner as outstanding three-year-old filly of 2017.
The aforementioned two stakes are but two of five Grade I, Breeders’ Cup “Win and You’re In” events opening weekend, providing the winner with a fees-paid berth to their respective Breeders’ Cup races Nov. 2 and 3 at Churchill Downs.
The others are the American Pharoah Stakes at 1 1/16 miles for two-year-olds; the Chandelier Stakes at 1 1/16 miles for two-year-old fillies; and the Rodeo Drive Stakes at 1 ¼ miles on turf for fillies and mares, three and up, all on Saturday.
“It’s sort of a tough spot (for West Coast),” Baffert said Wednesday morning. “He’s probably about 80 percent (ready), but we’re going to enter him and see what it looks like. If he’s going to run in the Breeders’ Cup (Classic Nov. 3), there’s no other spot. I didn’t want to ship anywhere, because that would have been double-tough on him.
“Abel Tasman runs in the Zenyatta.”
D’AMATO HAS THREE FOR THE MONEY IN EDDIE D
Phil D’Amato, second in Santa Anita’s Summer Meet standings with 29 wins complemented by a 24 percent winning rate, has three horses entered in Friday’s opening day feature, the Grade III, $100,000 Eddie D Stakes for three-year-olds and up at about 6 ½ furlongs on turf.
They are Threefiveindia, Kenjisstorm and Touching Rainbows. Threefiveindia, a five-year-old Street Hero horse previously trained by Chad Brown, is a newcomer, having run only once for D’Amato, finishing a distant fourth and last in the Grade II Pat O’Brien on Aug. 25.
Kenjisstorm is a six-year-old Stormy Atlantic horse trying the downhill course for the first time, while Touching Rainbows is a five-year-old gelded son of the Giant’s Causeway stallion Aragon who was third in the Green Flash at five furlongs on grass Aug. 17.
“Touching Rainbows has a lot of tactical speed,” D’Amato said. “He can be up close or kind of stalk. He’s got a great post (nine in a field of nine) and a Hall of Fame rider (Gary Stevens), so I’m happy there.
“We’re trying something new with Kenjisstorm since he’s never run down the hill before, but he’s training very well. I’ve always wanted to try it to see how he does. Usually, turf milers do well down the hill.
“Threefiveindia is a new shooter. He came to me with the intention of trying him on the grass, where he’s never run before (in 16 career starts). We’re taking the blinkers off him and hopefully he’ll come running late.”
The Eddie D is named for arguably one of greatest and most popular riders ever to campaign in California, 67-year-old Eddie Delhoussaye, who retired in January of 2003.
“I’ve known Eddie ever since I came to California,” said long-time agent Tony Matos, currently representing Hall of Fame member Gary Stevens and Eclipse Award winner as outstanding apprentice of 2017, Evin Roman. “He’s an asset to racing and a pleasure to be around. He’s a good friend of mine and they don’t come any better than him. He was a great rider and he’s a classy person.”
Added veteran trainer David Bernstein: “All these years, Eddie is still as nice a guy as you’d ever want to meet.”
The field for the Eddie D, race six on a nine-race program that starts at 1 p.m.: Law Abidin Citizen, Tiago Periera, 12-1; Caribou Club, Joe Talamo, 6-1; Stormy Liberal, Drayden Van Dyke, 2-1; Threefiveindia, Geovanni Franco, 15-1; He Will, Kent Desormeaux, 15-1; Cistron, Tyler Baze, 8-1; Kenjisstorm, Rafael Bejarano, 10-1; Conquest Tsunami, Flavien Prat, 5-2; and Touching Rainbows, Gary Stevens, 6-1.
LUCRATIVE ‘STRONACH 5’ WAGER TO DEBUT ON FRIDAY
The “Stronach 5,” a $1 minimum wager which features an industry-low takeout of 12 percent, will debut this Friday beginning with Laurel Park’s ninth race, which has an assigned post time of 5:26 ET. The Stronach 5, which will also coincide with Santa Anita’s Autumn Meet opening, will be offered each Friday, through Nov. 2. The inaugural Stronach 5 will also offer fans a guaranteed pool of $50,000.
With Leg Two shifting to Santa Anita, Leg Three to Gulfstream Park and Leg Four to Golden Gate Fields, the fifth and final leg this Friday will emanate from Gulfstream, with their ninth race set to go at 6:08 ET. The Stronach 5 is thus intended to be run within a 45-minute pari-mutuel window.
THE TIMELINE FOR FRIDAY’S ONE DOLLAR STRONACH 5:
–LEG ONE, Laurel Park Race 9, (nine horses entered), 5:26 ET
–LEG TWO, Santa Anita Race 4, (11 horses entered), 5:32 ET
–LEG THREE, Gulfstream Race 8, (11 horses entered), 5:38 ET
–LEG FOUR, Golden Gate Race 4, (10 horses entered), 5:50 ET
–LEG FIVE, Gulfstream Race 9, (11 horses entered), 6:08 ET
The Maryland Jockey Club will serve as host of the Stronach 5 and will offer the multi-race bet as a separate wagering program. Additionally, each participating track will be issuing 100 “Quick Pick” tickets and Stronach 5 past performances will be available on each track’s website no later than Thursday morning.
Fans are advised that if a change in racing surface is made in any Stronach 5 race after wagering closes, each selection in that race, on any ticket, will be considered a winning selection. If a betting interest is scratched, that selection will be substituted with the favorite in the win pool when wagering closes.
In the event there are no tickets with five winners, the entire Stronach 5 pool will be carried over to the next Friday.
XBTV TO AIR SPECIAL STRONACH 5 PREVIEW SHOW FRIDAY AT 11:30 A.M.
With 52 horses entered and an industry-low 12 percent takeout in play, it’s no surprise that there’s a great deal of interest building in the inaugural one dollar Stronach 5 on Friday.
Accordingly, XBTV will present a 20-minute preview show Friday at 11:30 a.m. PT and on-demand thereafter. Hosted by Gulfstream’s Jason Blewitt, the show will feature racing analysts from all of the participating Stronach Group tracks, including Gulfstream’s Acacia Courtney, Santa Anita’s Michelle Yu and Megan Devine, Laurel Park’s Tim Tullock and Golden Gate Fields’ Matt Dinerman.
XBTV will also provide fans with an “All Star Ticket,” with best bets from racing experts. This analysis will also be available on XBTV.com, and on all participating tracks’ social media platforms.
Additionally, a unique feature of the Stronach 5 wager will be that the five races will be shown live on all racetrack simulcast feeds. (For example, live racing from Gulfstream, Laurel and Golden Gate Fields, will be shown on Santa Anita’s feed within the one-hour time frame of the wager).
SANTA ANITA’S ALL-DAY ‘FRIDAY HAPPY HOUR’ STARTS OPENING DAY
With the beginning of Santa Anita’s 22-day Autumn Meet this Friday, on-track fans 21 years of age and up will be treated to an all-day “Friday Happy Hour” each Friday featuring $2 draft beers and half price on signature cocktails such as the “Baldwin Buck,” made with Woodford Reserve, the official bourbon of Santa Anita Park.
Ice cold draft Budweiser and Montejo Pale Lager will be available until the last race is official at Sirona’s Sports Bar, the Club House Bar across from the sandwich carving station on the main floor, and the Horseshoe Bar located on the track’s Mezzanine level.
While draft beers will be available for $2, signature cocktails will be sold for just $6.
“We feel this provides great value for everyone and along with free parking and admission on weekdays, it’s a compelling way to bring in new fans and take care of our core customers as well,” said Nate Newby, Santa Anita Vice President, Marketing.
“We’re offering a great many promotions now on the weekends that are attracting a much younger demographic and there’s also no question there’s room to grow our business on weekdays.”
For more information on Santa Anita’s Autumn Meet “Happy Hour” and other promotions, including the Santa Anita Oktoberfest Sept. 29 & 30 and Oct. 6 & 7, please visit www.santaanita.com or call (626) 574-RACE.
FREE HALL OF FAME POSTER AVAILABLE THIS SATURDAY
In addition to four Grade I Breeders’ Cup “Win and You’re In” Challenge races, the first 5,000 on-track fans at Santa Anita will be treated to a beautiful full color poster depicting some of the greatest Hall of Fame jockeys and trainers of all time this Saturday, Sept. 29, at 10:30 a.m. in the track’s Paddock Gardens area.
Retired Hall of Famers Eddie Delahoussaye, Julie Krone, Laffit Pincay, Jr., Donald Pierce and Alex Solis will be joined by an array of active HOFers, including Kent Desormeaux, Mike Smith, Gary Stevens, Neil Drysdale, Jerry Hollendorfer, Richard Mandella and Ron McAnally.
Vintage photos of the aforementioned jockeys and trainers will be included on the poster, as will printed recognition of other Hall of Fame legends such as Charlie Whittingham, Lazaro Barrera, Bill Shoemaker, John Longden, Eddie Arcaro, Chris McCarron, Chris Antley, William Molter, Milo Valenzuela, Bill Hartack, Russell Baze, Gary Jones, Garrett Gomez, Manuel Ycaza, George Woolf, Bill Boland, Ted Atkinson, Mesh Tenney, Bob Wheeler, Buster Millerick and others.
Pincay was a visitor at Clockers’ Corner Wednesday morning, doing a stint on Channel 7’s Eyewitness News early on. Now 71 although looking younger, Pincay retired in April of 2003, but stays fit and active.
“I’m busy at my house, visiting my mother in a rest home in Arcadia, going out socially and traveling,” Pincay said. “My new passion is playing golf. Every time I get a chance, I’m on the course with friends.”
Also back on the beat at his usual table Wednesday was the 86-year-old McAnally, virtually recovered from a fractured left ankle suffered on April 11.
“I have nine screws and a plate inserted to stabilize it,” McAnally said, “but it’s great to be back at Santa Anita.”
FINISH LINES: Martin Garcia was detained at Huntington Memorial Hospital for observation after a training mishap Wednesday morning. “He hit his head pretty hard, so they’re keeping him overnight,” said his agent, Thom Mitchell. “But he was talking and in good spirits. He’s going to be OK.” A native of Veracruz, Mexico, Garcia turns 34 on Oct. 23 . . . Some 150 students (many of whom arrived prior to 4 a.m.) from Oak Avenue Middle School in nearby Temple City enjoyed a beautiful Wednesday morning at Clockers’ Corner, participating in a remote telecast on Channel 7’s Eyewitness News hosted by anchor Christina Salvo. “We are all just so pleased with how the entire morning went,” said Salvo, herself a Temple City native, who among others, interviewed the great Laffit Pincay, Jr. “The parents of these kids are obviously doing a wonderful job. The entire morning was just perfect. It’s gorgeous out here and to have the horses and the mountains as a backdrop is fantastic.” . . . Significant Wednesday workouts at Santa Anita included Chasing Yesterday, American Pharoah‘s half-sister, five furlongs in a minute flat, and Grade I winner Dream Tree, pointing to the Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Sprint, four furlongs in 48 flat, both for Bob Baffert; and come-backing Maestro Dearte, six furlongs in 1:14.40 for Peter Eurton . . . Tim Ritvo, Chief Operating Officer of The Stronach Group, will be handicapping seminar host Tom Quigley‘s guest Friday at 11:50 a.m. in the East Paddock Gardens. . . . The California Horse Racing Board will conduct its regular monthly meeting 9:30 a.m. Thursday at Santa Anita. The public is encouraged to attend. An audio-only webcast can be heard through a link on the CHRB website (webcast) . . . LATE ADD: First post time for a 12-race card on Saturday will now be at 12 noon.