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January 9, 2010

ARCADIA, Calif. (Jan. 9, 2010) – Seven-year-old Neko Bay, unable to keep up with 21-1 upsetter Furthest Land in the $1 million Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile two months ago, dramatically turned the tables on Saturday when gaining his first stakes victory in Santa Anita’s 73rd running of the Grade II, $150,000 San Pasqual Handicap.

Neko Bay, better fancied than Furthest Land in the Breeders’ Cup event when 13-1, made short work of the champion at 3-5 odds on Saturday when finishing strongly under Mike Smith to defeat Spurrier by 1 ¼ lengths. He traversed the 1 1/16 miles over Santa Anita’s Pro-Ride surface in 1:42.95.

January 8, 2010

ARCADIA, Calif. (Jan. 8, 2010) – Just three-quarters of a length separated trainer Paddy Gallagher’s two longshots, victorious General Consensus and runner-up Exquisite, at the conclusion of Santa Anita’s $56,608 optional claiming feature for fillies and mares at one mile on turf Friday after jockey Alex Solis had to separate the pair when entries were taken.

“I guess I picked the right one by just over a half length,” Solis said after having engendered a huge late burst of speed from General Consensus, a mare he had ridden in her previous 10 starts while winning three times.

ARCADIA, Calif. (Jan. 8, 2010)—A Pick Six carryover of $76,179 awaits fans Saturday at Santa Anita, as no one correctly tabbed six winners in the popular exotic wager on Friday. It’s expected Saturday’s total Pick Six pool could exceed $300,000.

In addition to the Pick Six carryover, there is also a carryover into Saturday’s Super High Five of $40,777.

January 7, 2010

ARCADIA, Calif. (Jan. 7, 2010) – Dotsy Jean, claimed by trainer Marty Jones one year ago on behalf of AJM Racing for $16,000, boosted her earnings since the claim to $151,108 with a 5-1 upset victory Thursday in Santa Anita’s $59,102 optional claiming feature for fillies and mares at six furlongs.

The 5-year-old California-bred daughter of Breeders’ Cup Sprint champion Lit de Justice defeated Sleep Tight by 1 ½ lengths with Joel Rosario at the controls and covered the distance in 1:09.20.

January 6, 2010

ARCADIA, Calif. (Jan. 6, 2010) – An affinity for Santa Anita’s Pro-Ride racing surface has helped to inspire the resurfacing of Furthest Land, winner of Oak Tree’s $1 million, Grade I Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile last Nov. 7, in Santa Anita’s 73rd running of the Grade II, $150,000 San Pasqual Handicap at 1 1/16 miles on Saturday.

Based in the East prior to his stellar showing in the Breeders’ Cup, Furthest Land will carry high weight of 121 pounds among seven entrants in the event that dates to Santa Anita’s opening season in 1935 and that has come to serve as the first major stepping stone to the Grade I Santa Anita Handicap, scheduled this year on March 6.

January 3, 2010

ARCADIA, Calif. (Jan.3, 2010) – Sitting just off the early pace, Rafael Bejarano drove 3-2 favorite Tuscan Evening between competitors Sunday in midstretch of Santa Anita’s Grade III, $100,000 Monrovia Handicap and likely right into the Grade I Santa Monica Handicap on Jan. 31.

Shortening up in distance after two stellar efforts at one mile on turf, Irish-bred Tuscan Evening savored the 6 ½-furlong distance of Santa Anita’s downhill turf course with a comfortable one-length win over 47-1 longshot Czechers in the field of 11.

January 2, 2010

ARCADIA, Calif. (Jan. 2, 2010) – With Breeders’ Cup Ladies’ Classic champion Life Is Sweet a late scratch after she “tied up” with muscle cramps in the morning, third-choice Cat by the Tale stepped up to register her first stakes win with a decisive, 2 ½-length triumph in Santa Anita’s 41st running of the Grade II, $150,000 San Gorgonio Handicap for fillies and mares at 1 1/8 miles on turf.

Ridden by Joel Rosario, the 5-year-old mare tracked the tepid early pace of Century Park, took the lead turning into the stretch and came home strongly for a final clocking of 1:48.17 before an on-track of 11,068.

January 1, 2010

ARCADIA, Calif. (Jan. 1, 2010)—Due in large part to a 58-1 stunner in race seven, the New Year got off to a raucous start at Santa Anita, as the popular Pick Six eluded 11,695 on-track attendees and as a result, $115,261 will be carried over into Saturday’s Pick Six, which will be offered on races four through nine.

With veteran jockey Paul Atkinson at the controls, longshot Bonita Sonador prevailed by a head in race seven, returning $119.80 to win and thus assured the carryover into Saturday. Conditioned by Robert J. Lucas and owned by Willard D.

ARCADIA, Calif. (Jan 1, 2010) – Ten-year-old gelding Shadow of Illinois fell well short of accomplishing an unparalleled feat in Santa Anita’s rich 75-year history when a sixth and last-place finish in Friday’s $100,000 Sensational Star Handicap deprived him the distinction of becoming the track’s oldest winner of a stakes race.

The gritty old-timer, who had missed 2 ½ years of action with a tendon injury during his sixth, seventh and eighth years, simply could not keep up with victorious 4-year-old Compari in the 6 ½ furlong contest over Santa Anita’s downhill turf course.