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April 14, 2010

ARCADIA, Calif. (April 14, 2010) – Concord Point, whose blazing career debut last December for trainer Bob Baffert had suggested Triple Crown potential, recouped some of his earlier promise Wednesday with a gritty 1 ¼-length victory in Santa Anita’s $46,676 allowance feature for 3-year-olds at 6 ½ furlongs.

With jockey Martin Garcia gaining his third win of the afternoon, Concord Point gamely withstood late challenges by Royce and favored Lions Story to run the distance in 1:15.38 while racing without blinkers for the first time in three starts. Royce nosed out Lions Story for the place.

“I’ve got to get him to relax a little bit,” Baffert said in explaining his colt’s equipment change. Following a maiden win in 1:15 for 6 ½ furlongs, Concord Point went to the sidelines for seven weeks before returning to run fourth as the 1-2 favorite in a sprint on Feb. 12.

“That was a throw out,” said Baffert. “He broke a little slow and took off.”

The gray son of Tapit was much more focused and resolute on Wednesday. He dueled with longshot Malone Slam for the early lead, but the fractions were manageable: 22.25, 45.26 and 1:09.22.

ARCADIA, Calif. (April 14, 2010)—Santa Anita’s highly acclaimed FrontRunner Restaurant will remain open to the public following Santa Anita’s winter/spring meeting, which concludes Sunday, April 18 and will remain open the year ’round.

FrontRunner, which is completely glass-enclosed, sits high atop the iconic Santa Anita grandstand and affords patrons a panoramic view of the majestic San Gabriel Mountains and offers fine dining at affordable prices.

Each season brings a new variety of California cuisine to Arcadia’s most spectacular culinary setting.

April 13, 2010

The rapidly ascending Bourbon Bay, shown winning the Gr. II, $150,000 San Luis Rey Handicap at 1 ½ miles on turf at Santa Anita on March 20, is listed as definite for Sunday’s Gr. II, $150,000 San Juan Capistrano Handicap 1 ¾ miles on grass and he will seek to become only the third horse in Santa Anita history to sweep the San Luis Rey, the Gr. II, 1 ½ miles San Luis Obisbo and the storied San Juan.

Trained by Neil Drysdale, the 4-year-old gelding has been assigned high-weight of 122 pounds and looms the horse to beat on Sunday. When asked following the San Luis Rey about the added quarter mile presented by the San Juan Capistrano, Drysdale said “I think it’s well within his scope, the way he ran today.”

Should he prevail in the San Juan Capistrano, Bourbon Bay would join turf luminaries Astray and Kotashaan in sweeping Santa Anita’s prestigious long-distance turf trilogy. Astray three-peated in 1974, while turf champion Kotashaan did it in ’93.

Purchased by Drysdale on behalf of owners David and Jill Heerensperger as a 3-year-old, Bourbon Bay took a while to fit into the role Drysdale had projected for him. “We purchased him with the idea that he’d be a mile-and-a-half horse,” said Drysdale. “So he’s lived up to that.”

In addition to the San Luis Rey and San Luis Obisbo Handicaps, Bourbon Bay won a 1 ½ miles turf allowance race here on Jan. 6. by 3 ½ lengths. His margins of victory in the San Luis Rey and San Luis Obisbo were 2 ½ and 4 ¼ lengths.

A son of Sligo Bay, from the Conquistador Cielo mare Coral Necklace, Bourbon Bay was bred in Kentucky by Adena Springs.

His record stands at 4-2-2 from 12 starts, with earnings of $299,424.

Santa Anita’s 75th anniversary season comes to a close on Sunday, with the San Juan Capistrano being run for the 71st time.

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April 11, 2010

ARCADIA, Calif. (April 11, 2010) – High-flying 4-year-old filly Unzip Me sped to her fourth straight victory Sunday while unseating Santa Anita’s reigning “Queen of the Hill,” defending champion Gotta Have Her, in the 36th running of the Grade III, $100,000 Las Cienegas Handicap for fillies and mares at 6 ½ furlongs over the track’s hillside turf course.

The second choice at 7-2 in a field of seven with Joe Talamo at the controls, Unzip Me took command soon after the start. She led throughout before crossing the wire 1 ¼ lengths ahead of Czechers with even-money favorite Gotta Have Her another three-quarters of a length back in third. The winning time was 1:12.80.

It was the third straight win over the course for the chestnut filly trained by Marty Jones and her fourth in a row in a turf sprint after beginning her career with a modest 2-for-7 showing.

April 10, 2010

ARCADIA, Calif. (April 10, 2010) – Racing a distance on turf for the first time, Dream Nettie registered a 9-1 upset Saturday when rallying from just off the pace to defeat Lucky Rave by three-quarters of a length in Santa Anita’s 30th running of the $100,000 La Puente Stakes for 3-year-olds at 1 1/8 miles.

The Kentucky-bred son of Dixie Union, ridden by Joe Talamo, covered the route in 1:48.80 after tracking early leader Ace of Aces and assuming command inside the eighth pole. Lucky Rave, ridden by David Flores, closed strongly for the place, one-half length ahead of Bogie with Alex Solis aboard.

The extended distance and surface change appeared to flatter the bay gelding trained by Jerry Hollendorfer, whom he co-owns in partnership with William de Burgh and George Todaro. Dream Nettie’s only prior turf experience had come earlier this year in a sprint at Santa Anita when he ran sixth. He had won one of four previous starts at 1 1/16 miles over synthetic surfaces.

April 9, 2010

ARCADIA, Calif. (April 9, 2010) – After 10 winless races that included three seconds and four third-place finishes, Euroglide returned to the winner’s circle in dominant style Friday with a 1 ¾-length victory over Dark Islander in Santa Anita’s $54,880 allowance feature at one mile on turf.

With Michael Baze aboard, the 6-year-old gelding overtook pace-setter Worldly while racing wide around the final turn and completed his authoritative mission in 1:33.86 under a hand ride.

Red Alert Day, the 2-5 favorite who had pressed the rapid early pace, fell back to fourth and last in the field that had been reduced from five by the scratch of Aggie Engineer earlier in the day.

April 8, 2010

ARCADIA, Calif. (April 8, 2010) – Hard-hitting 5-year-old Blame the Wine notched her 10th victory in her 22nd career start Thursday when connecting as the 1-2 favorite in Santa Anita’s $46,400 feature for California-bred fillies and mares at seven furlongs.

While boosting her record over Santa Anita’s main track to 6-3-1 in 12 races, the tenacious daughter of Decarchy defeated Wood Art by three-quarters of a length while clocked in 1:23.81.

With constant companion Omar Berrio in the irons, Blame the Wine tracked the relatively tepid early pace while settled in fourth place. Rounding the turn, she slipped through along the rail to head early leader Initial Impression in midstretch before safely holding off the closing bid of Wood Art.

April 7, 2010

ARCADIA, Calif. (April 7, 2010) – Unusually Sound, a 4-year-old gelded son of Unusual Heat who did not make his racing debut until January of this year, continued making up for lost time Wednesday with a wire-to-wire victory as the 11-10 favorite in Santa Anita’s $48,400 allowance feature at one mile on turf.

His authoritative 1 ¼-length score over 5-2 second choice Thorondor was his second successive victory following a fast-closing second in his maiden debut and suggested a bright future for the chestnut gelding trained by Patrick Gallagher for owners and breeders Harris Farms and Corey and Michael Wellman.

With Alex Solis in the saddle, Unusually Sound gained control soon after the start, resisted a challenge by Thorondor rounding the far turn and steadily drew clear while crossing the wire in 1:34.42.

April 4, 2010

ARCADIA, Calif. (April 4, 2010)—Fresh off victory in Saturday’s Gr. I Santa Anita Derby with Sidney’s Candy, leading trainer John Sadler took aim at Sunday’s Gr. III, $100,000 Las Flores Handicap with two fillies, highly regarded Alpha Kitten and longshot Mona de Momma.

ARCADIA, Calif. (April 4, 2010)—A 6.9 earthquake centered approximately 175 miles south near the border town of Mexicali, had no effect upon a field of seven horses running one mile on turf at Santa Anita.

The quake, which occurred at 3:40 p.m. PDT, went unnoticed by all jockeys competing in race seven: Rafael Bejarano, Joe Talamo, Jose Valdivia, Jr., Martin Garcia, Joel Rosario (who rode the winner, Well Monied), Victor Espinoza and David Flores.

“I’d say we started shaking at about the half-mile pole,” said Santa Anita’s legendary announcer Trevor Denman.