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February 19, 2011

ARCADIA, Calif. (Feb. 19, 2011) – Saturday’s Grade II, $150,000 San Luis Obispo Stakes at Santa Anita had been billed strictly as a duel between the West Coast’s foremost grass marathoners, Bourbon Bay and Champ Pegasus, and was it ever.

The 1 ½-mile competition simply could not have been any closer or more dramatic. After the two battled in tandem through the final eighth-of-a-mile, Champ Pegasus emerged victorious by the bob of a head.

“They are both very good horses,” said winning jockey Joel Rosario. “You saw how the race came out. I only beat him by this much,” as Rosario held his thumb and forefinger less than an inch apart. “I thought I got in front of him a couple of times,” added Rosario, “but he came back again.” The final time was 2:31.55.

February 18, 2011

ARCADIA, Calif. (Feb. 18, 2011) – Second in her two previous starts after Corey Nakatani had taken the reins, Church Camp raced into the winner’s circle under the veteran jockey on Friday when scoring a mild upset in Santa Anita’s $64,140 Moondance Purse for fillies and mares at seven furlongs.

The 4-year-old daughter of Forest Camp outfinished Excellent News by one-half length while 13-10 favorite Crisis of Spirit, who had been competing in graded stakes company last year, settled for third, another three-quarters of a length back in the field of nine.

ARCADIA, Calif. (Feb. 18, 2011)—Santa Anita Park and the City of Hope have announced a partnership that will unite the track’s racing fans and the entire California racing industry in the fight against cancer by presenting the first-ever “On-Track to Beat Cancer” event at Santa Anita on closing day, April 17.

ARCADIA, Calif. (Feb. 18, 2011)—Amid considerable fanfare, Santa Anita officials unveiled the exclusive Arcadia Suite on Friday, with a ribbon-cutting ceremony attended by several area politicians, including Arcadia Mayor Pro-Tem Gary Kovacic, Councilman Roger Chandler and City Manager Don Penman.

February 17, 2011

ARCADIA, Calif. (Feb. 17, 2011) – Joel Rosario, the Dominican Republic native who began riding in the United States in 2007, registered his 1,000th career victory Thursday aboard 7-5 favorite Coo Cachoo in the seventh race at Santa Anita Park.

The 4-year-old colt had won by 4 ½ lengths under Rosario when claimed for $20,000 by trainer Julio Canani on behalf of Charles I. Gold on Jan. 16. Rosario again took Coo Cachoo wire-to-wire for the repeat in the $58,000 optional claimer at one mile while racing for a $40,000 claiming tag.

ARCADIA, Calif. (Feb. 17, 2011)—By a vote of 6-0 on Thursday, the California Horse Racing Board (CHRB) awarded fall dates to Santa Anita Park, to be run from Sept. 28 through Nov. 6.

Santa Anita, in conjunction with the Oak Tree Racing Association, had conducted a live fall meeting since 1969, with the exception of 2010, when Santa Anita’s main track was closed for repair, resulting in the dates being transferred to Hollywood Park.

“This is great news for Santa Anita and for the California horse racing industry,” said Santa Anita President George Haines. “This means so much to so many people. From all of our employees and the people who work within the industry, to our fans and to the entire business community here in the San Gabriel Valley, this means jobs, revenue and the opportunity to remain viable and to grow our business into the future.”

ARCADIA, Calif. (Feb. 17, 2011) – Following last weekend’s muddling of the West Coast’s Derby picture, trainer Bob Baffert’s record-setting The Factor will be among nine 3-year-olds aiming to elevate their status on Sunday in Santa Anita’s 70th running of the Grade II, $150,000 San Vicente Stakes at seven furlongs.

ARCADIA, Calif. (Feb. 17, 2011) – Trainer Bob Baffert’s Bulldogger, idle since fading to fifth when favored in the Jimmy V. Stakes at Churchill Downs last Nov. 5, made a triumphant return in Santa Anita’s $60,062 allowance feature at six furlongs on Thursday.

Baffert removed the blinkers that the son of Dixie Union had worn in his first five starts, and the colt owned by Patti and Hal Earnhardt responded with a 1 ¼- length victory while coming from off the pace for the first time in his career.

February 16, 2011

ARCADIA, Calif. (Feb. 16, 2011) – Bourbon Bay and Champ Pegasus, the West Coast’s foremost turf marathoners, renew their long-range relationship in Santa Anita’s Grade II, $150,000 San Luis Obispo Stakes at 1 ½ miles on Saturday when they meet for the third time in what promises to be the “rubber game” of their racing rivalry.

Bourbon Bay got the better of favored Champ Pegasus most recently in the Jan. 17 San Marcos Stakes, a Grade II at 1 ¼ miles. Before that, Champ Pegasus made good on his 8-5 favoritism when besting third-place Bourbon Bay by one length in Oak Tree’s Grade I Clement L. Hirsch over 1 ¼ miles at Hollywood Park on Oct. 3.

February 13, 2011

ARCADIA, Calif. (Feb. 13, 2011) – Four weeks after Always a Princess appeared to steal the Grade II El Encino Stakes from Blind Luck, last year’s 3-year-old filly champion, she ran off with Santa Anita’s Grade II, $150,000 La Canada Stakes for 4-year-old fillies in strikingly similar fashion on Sunday.

Again, Always a Princess set all the pace. Again, she triumphed by three-plus lengths. But if this was a theft, Always a Princess slammed the door on the way out of the vault.

There were some extraneous differences. The La Canada, at 1 1/8 miles, was one-sixteenth longer than the earlier match. The difference in odds compacted from 7/2 on Always a Princess to Blind Luck’s 7-10 in the Grade II El Encino to 6-5 and 11-10, respectively.