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January 16, 2011

ARCADIA, Calif. (Jan. 16, 2011) – Blind Luck, a virtual cinch to be named 2010’s champion 3-year-old filly at Monday’s Eclipse Award banquet, came up short in her 2011 debut Sunday when unable to catch streaking Always a Princess in Santa Anita’s Grade II, $150,000 El Encino Stakes for 4-year-old fillies at 1 1/16 miles.

Unraced since rallying for second behind victorious Unrivaled Belle in the Breeders’ Cup Ladies’ Classic on Nov. 5 at Churchill Downs, Blind Luck unleashed her usual closing kick in the 47th El Encino, but Always a Princess, who despite the fact she had pressed a fast pace, had plenty left in the tank under Rafael Bejarano. She defeated runner-up Blind Luck by 3 ½ lengths. The final time was 1:41.47

January 15, 2011

ARCADIA, Calif. (Jan. 15, 2011) – Tapizar, making his first start at Santa Anita for two-time Eclipse Award winning trainer Steve Asmussen, took a firm first step on the Triple Crown trail Saturday while dominating the Grade III, $100,000 Sham Stakes at 1 1/16 miles.

Bet down to 11-10 favoritism on the strength of a 10 ½-length maiden victory at Churchill Downs in his fourth career start, Tapizar took command soon after the start of Santa Anita’s first important prep for Derby hopefuls. He crossed the wire 4 ¼ lengths ahead of the field’s only previous stakes winner, Clubhouse Ride.

January 14, 2011

ARCADIA, Calif. (Jan. 14, 2011) – He hadn’t raced in 12 ½ months, had not won in over 26 months, and, in the meantime, he had been bred to 35 mares. Little wonder Square Eddie looked like a horse on a mission Friday when he returned from retirement to run lights-out in Santa Anita’s allowance feature, the $59,000 Phone Trick Purse.

Ridden by Joel Rosario, the comebacking 5-year-old chestnut overwhelmed his opposition, showing much early speed, en route to a 3 ¼ lengths victory, while timed in 1:13.11, which blistered Santa Anita’s previous dirt track mark of 1:13.71 set by Son Of A Pistol on April 4, 1998.

January 13, 2011

ARCADIA, Calif. (Jan. 13, 2011) – Celestic Night, the longest price in the field of six at 13-1 with Martin Pedroza aboard, ran down a pair of well-fancied imports from England Thursday to run away with Santa Anita’s $56,736 Buddy Gil Purse for 3-year-olds at 6 ½ furlongs over the track’s hillside turf course.

With Pedroza, who notched his eighth win of the young meeting employing what he described as “a little bit of a trick with him,” Celestic Night defeated pacesetter and 13-10 favorite Metropolitan Man by 2 ¼ lengths.

January 10, 2011

ARCADIA, Calif. (Jan. 10, 2011)—The city of Arcadia has announced that Huntington Drive will be restricted to just one lane of traffic at the intersection of Second Ave, effective immediately, through the month of April.

The initial one lane restriction is to east-bound traffic, and will be followed in approximately seven weeks by a one lane restriction to west-bound traffic.

These lane closures have been necessitated due to a Los Angeles County seismic retrofit project on the railroad bridge that traverses the intersection of Second Ave. and Huntington Dr.

January 9, 2011

ARCADIA, Calif. (Jan. 9, 2011) – Trainer Bob Baffert beseeched jockey Rafael Bejarano to put his “one-dimensional” filly May Day Rose on the lead in Sunday’s Grade III, $100,000 Santa Ysabel Stakes, and once he did, the 1 1/16-mile event for 3-year-old fillies at Santa Anita was pretty much over.

The field for the 44th running of Santa Ysabel had been pared to three starters with the late scratches of Zazu and Plum Pretty, which sent the even-money morning line on May Day Rose tumbling to 1/9 at post time.

May Day Rose was hustled to the front and never looked back while crossing the line in 1:42.81. But it wasn’t quite as easy as the scenario might have implied.

January 8, 2011

ARCADIA, Calif. (Jan. 8, 2011) – Aggie Engineer proved Saturday that he did not need to be on or near the lead to be a stakes winner as the 6-year-old rallied from off the pace to dominate Santa Anita’s 74th running of the Grade II, $150,000 San Pasqual Stakes at 1 1/16 miles.

With Joe Talamo in the irons, Aggie Engineer was victorious by 3 ¼ lengths over Spurrier in a sprightly 1:40.94. It was the third straight victory for Ward and Roberta Williford’s 6-year-old homebred gelding and his first over a natural dirt surface.

January 7, 2011

ARCADIA, Calif. (Jan. 7, 2011) – Bob Baffert, with eight training victories through the first eight days of Santa Anita’s winter/spring meet, added No. 9 on Friday when he had the 8th running of the $81,150 Kalookan Queen Handicap virtually surrounded. His Mother Ruth held off stablemate Gilded Gem to prevail by one-half length in the competition for fillies and mares at 6 ½ furlongs.

Bet down to 6-5 favoritism in the field of five and ridden for the first time by Hall of Famer Mike Smith, Mother Ruth took command at the outset, discouraged longshot U R All That I Am through fractions of 21.66, 44.12 and 1:07.98, and finally withstood the closing surge of Gilded Gem under Joel Rosario in 1:14.61.

January 6, 2011

ARCADIA, Calif. (Jan. 6, 2011) – The progeny of standout California sire Unusual Heat completed a most unusual Superfecta in Thursday’s fifth race at Santa Anita when the stallion’s offspring finished first, second, third and fourth among nine entrants in the $55,600 maiden event for fillies and mares at one mile on turf.

Phi Beta Heat, with Corey Nakatani aboard, won by 1 ¼ lengths while timed in 1:36.84 and paid $43.60. She was followed across the finish line by even-money favorite Bitt a Heat, 9-2 shot Unknown Heat and 5-1 Favoloso, the only one of the quartet whose name did not reveal her sire. The $1 Superfecta, which requires selection of the first four finishers in order, paid $614.90.

January 2, 2011

ARCADIA, Calif. (Jan. 2, 2011) – California-bred Unzip Me, whose zip is maximized on grass, registered her fourth win in five starts over Santa Anita’s downhill turf course Sunday with a handy wire-to-wire triumph in the 44th running of the Grade III, $100,000 Monrovia Stakes for fillies and mares.

With Rafael Bejarano at the controls, the 7-10 favorite led from start to finish while running 6 ½ furlongs in 1:12.72. Unzip Me crossed the wire 1 ¼ lengths ahead of Broken Dreams, ridden by Garrett Gomez. Reba Is Tops, with Patrick Valenzuela aboard, wound up third, another half length back.