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March 4, 2010

ARCADIA, Calif. (March 4, 2010)—A massive two day Pick Six carryover of $332,613 will await players at Santa Anita on Friday and it is expected the total pool could exceed $1 million.

Thursday’s Pick Six began with race three, which was won by Worth a Punt, who paid $13.40 with Alex Solis up. A 3-year-old Kentucky-bred gelding by Mutakddim, he is owned by Rachel Pagones and is trained by Howard Zucker.

Joe Talamo booted home Warrensmysterydice in race four, returning $17.60 to win.

ARCADIA, Calif. (March 4, 2010)—Under partly cloudy skies and with the San Gabriel Mountains serving as a picturesque backdrop, 16-year-old apprentice jockey Tyler Kaplan lived the dream at 1 1/16 miles on Thursday, as he won with the very first mount of his career, a 5-year-old mare named Soldier Betty, in the fifth race at Santa Anita.

“One of my goals was to win a race at Santa Anita and I’ve accomplished that,” said Kaplan. “When we hit the wire, it was amazing.

ARCADIA, Calif. (March 4, 2010) – Winless in eight starts dating to July of 2008, Value Stream burst back into the victory column Thursday when posting an 8-1 upset in Santa Anita’s $55,920 allowance feature for fillies and mares at 1 1/16 miles.

The 5-year-old A.P. Indy mare, with Joel Rosario in the saddle, stormed from last in the field of seven to defeat 5-2 second-choice Saucey Evening by 2 ¼ lengths while covering the distance in 1:43.52.

March 3, 2010

ARCADIA, Calif. (March 3, 2010) – With the leading contenders including 5-year-old mare St Trinians, who will be attempting to further racing’s surge in “girl power” and 6-year-old grass racing specialist Loup Breton transitioning from the only surface he has ever known, Saturday’s 73rd running of the Santa Anita Handicap presented by San Manuel Indian Bingo & Casino may be one of the most unconventional in its storied history.

A full field of 14 starters was entered in the Grade I, $750,000 classic at 1 ¼ miles. Contenders such as Neko Bay, Mast Track, Jeranimo and Misremembered have approached the Big Cap via its traditional stepping stones. St Trinians and Loup Breton, on the other hand, defy tradition. And they have been established as the race favorites on Santa Anita handicapper Jon White’s morning line with St Trinians the mild choice at 7-2 followed by Loup Breton at 4-1.

Perhaps inspired in some measure by the enormous success of Zenyatta and Rachael Alexandra while racing against males, British-bred St Trinians will aim to distinguish herself by becoming the first filly or mare ever to capture the Big ‘Cap. And some luminous females have tried—including Dahlia, Life’s Magic and Serena’s Song. The best Big ‘Cap finish by a female, however, dates to 1951 when runner-up Next Move lost by a neck to Moonrush.

ARCADIA, Calif. (March 3, 2010)—No one connected all six dots in Santa Anita’s Pick Six on Wednesday, resulting in a carryover of $82,042 into Thursday and the prospect of a total pool of more than $300,000.

In addition to the Pick Six, there is a carryover into Thursday of $41,782 in the Super High 5, which requires players to pick the first five finishers in each day’s final race.

Wednesday’s Pick Six commenced with race three, which was won by Asanti, who was ridden by Mike Smith and is trained by Paco Gonzalez. Asanti paid $4.80 to win.

March 2, 2010

Turf specialist Loup Breton will try a synthetic surface for the first time in Saturday’s Gr. I, $750,000 Santa Anita Handicap. A winner of the Gr. II San Marcos Stakes on Jan. 24, the 6-year-old Irish-bred has an all-turf record of 5-4-2 from 21 starts, and $677,614 in career earnings. The Julio Canani trainee made his U.S. debut on Nov. 19 at Hollywood Park, after immigrating from France. Loup Breton has won two of his three starts for Canani and has been ridden on all three occasions by Garrett Gomez, who is scheduled to ride him in the Big ’Cap. Although he’s a newcomer to a synthetic surface, Loup Breton is well acquainted with the Big ’Cap distance of 1 ¼ miles, as he has posted three wins from 11 lifetime tries. Gomez, America’s leading rider by money won the past four years, will be seeking his first-ever win in the Big ’Cap, while the Peruvian-born Canani will pursue a Big ’Cap double, as he won the race with longshot Martial Law in 1989.

February 28, 2010

ARCADIA, Calif. (Feb. 28, 2010) – After finishing third in his racing debut, 4-year-old gelding Compari powerhoused to his fifth straight victory Sunday with a stunning 3 ¼-length triumph in Santa Anita’s 13th running of the $100,000 Crystal Water Handicap for California-breds at one mile over a “yielding” turf course.

With Garrett Gomez gaining his fourth riding victory of the afternoon, the 13-10 favorite took command at once, took a breather rounding the far turn before spurting away from 19-10 second choice Liberian Freighter to complete the journey in 1:35, with a strong final eighth of 11.74.

ARCADIA, Calif. (Feb. 28, 2010)—World famous boxing trainer Freddie Roach will be at Santa Anita on Sunday, March 7, and he will present the trophy for the afternoon’s feature race in a winner’s circle ceremony.

Roach, 49, is a former boxer who is a member of the World Boxing Hall of Fame and he has been voted Trainer of the Year by the Boxing Writers Association of America on four different occasions. Regarded as one of the greatest trainers of all time, Roach currently works for superstar fighter Manny (Pac Man) Pacquiao.

February 27, 2010

ARCADIA, Calif. (Feb. 27, 2010)—Santa Anita officials announced that live racing for Saturday has been cancelled due to heavy overnight and early morning rain, which was expected to continue throughout the afternoon. The announcement was made at 9:45 a.m.

Saturday’s nine race program was to be highlighted by the Gr. III, $150,000 Sham Stakes for 3-year-olds at 1 1/16 miles. The field for the Sham will be redrawn and run this coming Saturday, March 6. The Sham is an important steppingstone to the Gr. I Santa Anita Derby on April 3.

Saturday’s cancellation marked the fifth such weather related closure of the current winter/spring meet which began on Dec. 26.

“This is terribly disappointing to everyone involved,” said Santa Anita President Ron Charles. “Our main problem continues to be with the way the main track is draining. We’ve had a very problematic area near the finish line and we were successful in keeping the surface area there dry with the use of tarps, but we have standing water in other areas and it therefore would not be suitable to run on, especially with the prospect of more heavy rain through the afternoon.

“As we’ve said many times, in this very difficult situation, safety has to be our number one priority. As disappointing as it is to our horsemen, fans and employees, we simply cannot jeopardize the well being of our athletes, be they human or equine.”

Charles also noted that Santa Anita will remain open Saturday for simulcast wagering from across the country, with free admission offered throughout the day and that officials are optimistic about conducting live racing on Sunday.

“The weather forecast for Sunday is good,” said Charles. “We are very optimistic that we’ll have the main track in good shape for tomorrow and that we’ll be able to run all nine races. We have four races scheduled to be run on the grass tomorrow and we’ll make a decision on the status of the turf course in the morning.”

First post time for Sunday’s nine race card is at 12:30 p.m.