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January 31, 2010

ARCADIA, Calif. (Jan. 31, 2010) – After faring poorly as the 5-2 favorite in the Grade I La Brea Stakes five weeks before, Gabby’s Golden Gal dramatically rebounded with an 11-1 stunner in Sunday’s 53rd running of the $250,000 Santa Monica Handicap for fillies and mares to provide 25-year-old jockey Martin Garcia with his first Grade I victory.

After tracking the early pace set by Free Flying Soul and Czechers, Arnold Zetcher’s homebred 4-year-old filly closed strongly in the middle of the track to defeat hard-charging 2-1 favorite Proviso by 1 ¼ lengths.

JOCKEY QUOTES

MARTIN GARCIA, GABBY’S GOLDEN GAL, WINNER: “It’s an amazing thing what she did today. Last time (Dec. 26, Gr. I La Brea) she needed the race and she was rank. Bob (Baffert) said the main thing today was to make her relax and then to make my move. Today, I had an opportunity to keep her outside of those two speed horses (Free Flying Soul and Czechers) and she relaxed very well. When I asked her, she just took off. This is my first grade one and I want to dedicate it to Bob. He’s giving me a lot of chances.”

TRAINER QUOTES

ARCADIA, Calif. (Jan. 31, 2010)—Veteran turf writer Larry Bortstein passed away early Sunday morning at Arcadia Methodist Hospital after sustaining a pulmonary embolism Jan. 23. Bortstein, 67, never regained consciousness and had been on life support since being transported to Methodist following the embolism.

A native of New York, Bortstein was a versatile writer who covered horse racing for the Orange County Register for the past 17 years and had covered all major sports at various times over the past 40-plus years.

January 30, 2010

ARCADIA, Calif. (Jan. 30, 2010) – Trainer Bill Morey Jr. said his millionaire California-bred Bold Chieftain does things that “take your breath away,” and on Saturday the 7-year-old warhorse knocked the wind from the sails of 11-10 favorite The Usual Q.T. and seven others with a rousing neck victory over Palladio in Santa Anita’s $500,000 Sunshine Millions Classic presented by Pepsi-Cola.

With Hall of Famer Russell Baze, North America’s all-time leader in races won, astride the son of Chief Seattle for the 24th time, Bold Chieftain proved best in a stirring stretch run as the eighth running of the mile-and-one-eighth event was negotiated in 1:48.33 before an on-track crowd of 21,487.

January 29, 2010

ARCADIA, Calif. (Jan. 29, 2010)—Saturday’s Sunshine Millions program got a little sweeter on Friday, as no one correctly tabbed six winners in Santa Anita’s Pick Six, resulting in a carryover of $62,768 into Saturday.

Jockey Chantal Sutherland got the carryover bandwagon in gear, as she booted home longshot Egypt in the third race at odds of 11-1.

January 28, 2010

January 27, 2010

January 25, 2010

ARCADIA, Calif. (Jan. 25, 2010) – A winner of six straight races on turf including the Grade I Hollywood Derby and Grade II Oak Tree Derby, The Usual Q. T. will attempt to transfer his run of perfection to Santa Anita’s Pro-Ride surface on Saturday when confronted with no easy task in the $500,000 Sunshine Millions Classic presented by Pepsi Cola, centerpiece of the unique bi-coastal competition between California and Florida-breds.

California-bred The Usual Q. T. is the most compelling competitor among eleven entrants in the eighth running of the mile-and-one-eighth Classic, one of three Sunshine Millions events to be contested at Santa Anita with three others, including the $300,000 Turf, to be contested at Gulfstream Park.

January 24, 2010

ARCADIA, Calif. (Jan. 24, 2010) – Blocked behind horses in midstretch, Garrett Gomez managed to propel Loup Breton to the outside and the 3-5 favorite overpowered High Court Drama Sunday to win Santa Anita’s Grade II, $150,000 San Marcos Stakes by one-half length while running the 1 ¼ miles over a turf course termed “good” in 2:00.94.

It was the second victory in three starts in the United States for the 6-year-old Irish-bred who had come up a neck short in the Grade II San Gabriel Handicap over 1 1/8 miles at Santa Anita one month previous.

For an instant or two, Gomez wondered if he might find a measure of smooth sailing, but once he broke through, Loup Breton methodically wore down High Court Drama, who had spurted to a nearly two-length advantage under Michael Baze.