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January 4, 2012

ARCADIA, Calif. (Jan. 4, 2012)—Santa Anita Park, which opened its winter/spring meeting with an on-track crowd of 44,579 on Dec. 26, posted significant across the board gains through the first six days of its 79-day meet according to racetrack officials. Through six days, on-track attendance is up 21 percent, while on-track handle is up 11 percent.

“Our opening day crowd was the biggest it’s been since 1994 and our pari-mutuel figures have been up on-track and across the country,” said Santa Anita President George Haines.

January 2, 2012

ARCADIA, Calif. (Jan. 2, 2012) – Two-time Eclipse Award winning jockey Garrett Gomez clearly has not slowed down at the age of 40, winning his third stakes race at Santa Anita on Monday after having captured a pair on his birthday Sunday.

As he had done on Sunday while winning twice from off the pace aboard the second choice in each case, Gomez drove second-choice Mizdirection to a come-from-behind upset in Monday’s Grade III, $100,000 Monrovia Handicap at 6 ½ furlongs over Santa Anita’s hillside turf course.

January 1, 2012

ARCADIA, Calif. (Jan. 1, 2012) – On his 40th birthday Sunday, jockey Garrett Gomez was the beneficiary of both of Santa Anita’s stakes victories climaxed by Bauble Queen’s stirring win in the Grade II, $150,000 Robert J. Frankel Stakes at 1 1/8 miles on turf.

Gomez directed a furious stretch run on the extreme outside as Bauble Queen got the money by one-half length over Turning Top after the latter seemed to have gained a perfect opportunity to triumph. Earlier, the two-time Eclipse Award-winning jockey had directed Rumor to a 2 ¼-length win in the $79,500 Kalookan Queen Handicap.

December 31, 2011

ARCADIA, Calif. (Dec. 31, 2011) – Teddy’s Promise, a California-bred daughter of Salt Lake who previously had been walloped by a combined 65 ¼ lengths in three relatively minor stakes tries, turned Santa Anita’s Grade I La Brea Stakes for 3-year-old fillies on its ear Saturday.

Not only did she record a stunning 16-1 upset in the prestigious $300,000 event after coming off a pair of optional claiming event victories, Teddy’s Promise did it with authority under jockey Victor Espinoza. The winning margin over Sugarinthemorning was 2 ¼ lengths. The final time was a sprightly 1:20.47.

December 30, 2011

ARCADIA, Calif. (Dec. 30, 2011) – Lady of Shamrock, purchased privately after breaking her maiden at Churchill Downs last month, stamped herself as a filly with a bright future Friday when drilling her opposition in Santa Anita’s $81,000 Blue Norther Stakes for 2-year-old fillies at one mile on turf.

Under a vigorous hand ride by Garrett Gomez, Lady Shamrock burst between rivals in midstretch to overtake Batalha and score by 2 ¾ widening lengths in 1:34.24.

December 29, 2011

ARCADIA, Calif. (Dec. 29, 2011) – Cranky Jack, a 4-year-old son of Unusual Heat, notched his second career victory Thursday when closing boldly between horses to take Santa Anita’s $59,750 Temecula Purse for California-breds at 6 ½ furlongs over the track’s hillside turf course.

The Temecula Purse, run as the seventh race on an eight-race card, was the next-to-last leg in the afternoon’s Pick Six. A carryover of $148,184 awaited fans, who bet an additional $775,980 for a total Pick Six pool of $924,164.

ARCADIA, Calif. (Dec. 29, 2011)--The National Thoroughbred Racing Association (NTRA), Daily Racing Form and the National Turf Writers And Broadcasters (NTWAB) announced today that HRTV has won the 2011 Media Eclipse Award in the Television-Features programming category for its documentary “Inside Information: Randy Romero,” about the triumphs and lifelong struggles for survival of the Hall of Fame jockey. The program aired on December 26, 2010.

This is the second consecutive Media Eclipse Award won by HRTV for programs which were written and produced by the network.

ARCADIA, Calif. (Dec. 29, 2011) – Jerry Hollendorfer, who this year became the fourth trainer in history to saddle 6,000 winners, will send out the most accomplished runner, City to City, Sunday in Santa Anita’s Grade II stakes race that memorializes fellow Hall of Fame trainer Bobby Frankel, the $150,000 Robert J. Frankel Stakes for fillies and mares at 1 1/8 miles on turf.

City to City, a 5-year-old mare to be ridden by Rafael Bejarano, heads a field of six in the race Frankel won seven times within 12 years prior to his death on Nov. 16, 2009.

December 28, 2011

ARCADIA, Calif. (Dec. 28, 2011) – Solidly favored in each of her nine races and a winner of three Grade I stakes, Turbulent Descent might have some explaining to do after her fifth-place failure in the Grade I Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Sprint on Nov. 4.

Trainer Mike Puype stepped into the breach as the 3-year-old bay filly prepared for Saturday’s Grade I, $300,000 La Brea Stakes at Santa Anita. “She’ll redeem herself on the 31st,” Puype told the Daily Racing Form.

December 26, 2011

ARCADIA, Calif. (Dec. 26, 2011) – While Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert filled a significant blank in his extensive resume by winning the Grade I Malibu Stakes with 5-2 choice The Factor, Santa Anita turned back the clock 17 years Monday with an opening day crowd of 44,579, its largest opening day throng since 46,904 attended in 1994.

Baffert entered four 3-year-olds in the field of 10 after citing the $300,000 Malibu at seven furlongs as the most glaring omission on his glistening record, but it was the enigmatic The Factor who rose to the occasion.

With Martin Garcia aboard, the gray colt with the name taken from Bill O’Reilly’s widely-watched cable news show put on quite a show while timed in 1:19.89.