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March 4, 2012

ARCADIA, Calif. (March 4, 2012) – Like clockwork, perennially punctual 8-year-old gelding Mr Gruff registered his sixth victory in eight starts over Santa Anita’s hillside turf course Sunday when scoring a one-half length victory over Ain’t No Other in the 5th running of the $79,880 Joe Hernandez Handicap at 6 ½ furlongs.

As the 4-5 favorite, Mr Gruff was instrumental in spreading the wealth generated by Santa Anita’s largest total Pick Six pool in over three years, $3,110,484, after a two-day carryover materialized from Saturday’s Santa Anita Handicap Day.

There were 35 winning tickets in Sunday’s Pick Six, each worth $53,204.80. The total pool was the largest since fans poured a total $4,315,720 into the track’s Pick Six pool on Jan. 10, 2009.

March 3, 2012

By BETH HARRIS AP Racing Writer

ARCADIA, Calif. (AP) _ Ron the Greek won the $750,000 Santa Anita Handicap by 3½ lengths on Saturday, sending Setsuko to a runner-up finish for the second consecutive year.

Ridden by Jose Lezcano, Ron the Greek ran 1¼ miles in 2:00.41 and paid $9.20, $4.40 and $3.40 at 7-2 odds for Hall of Fame trainer Bill Mott.

Ron the Greek topped a field that was sorely lacking in name recognition after defending champion Game On Dude bypassed the race in favor of running in the $10 million Dubai World Cup later this month.

"At the half-mile pole, I had a lot of horse," Lezcano said, "but I had to keep asking my horse. My horse is like a bicycle, you keep asking and he will keep running."

Setsuko returned $3.60 and $2.80. The 5-year-old gelding was second last year by a nose to Game On Dude, who won in a disputed finish for trainer Bob Baffert. Jockey Chantal Sutherland became the first woman to win the race, although she had to wait out a 12-minute video review by the stewards for a bumping incident involving third-place Twirling Candy that drew the crowd's ire.

ARCADIA, Calif. (March 3, 2012) – Failure by each favorite in the three Grade I races that concluded Saturday’s Santa Anita Handicap Day program witnessed by an on-track crowd of 26,147 sealed a season-high, two-day Pick Six carryover of $430,581 into Sunday’s nine-race card at Santa Anita.

The huge carryover, which is expected to generate a pool in excess of $1.5 million on Sunday, became a certainty when Hall of Fame trainer Bill Mott’s Eastern import Ron the Greek decisively took the 75th Big ’Cap at odds of 7-2 as 2-1 favorite Ultimate Eagle faded to 10th in the field of 13.

ARCADIA, Calif. (March 3, 2012)—Santa Anita stewards declared Saturday’s third race, run at 6 ½ furlongs down the track’s hillside turf course, a no-contest, with all single-race monies wagered on the seven runners refunded.

The trouble started when No. 3, Muny, broke through the gate prematurely. Just as he broke through, the rest of the gate doors opened, resulting in assistant starters holding on to their respective horses, No. 1, Lord’s Minister, No. 2, Circle Drive and No.

March 2, 2012

ARCADIA, Calif. (March 2, 2012) – After managing a single victory in his previous 14 starts against mostly stakes competition, Leroy’s Dynameaux reversed his fortunes with a 1 ¼-length victory Friday in Santa Anita’s $65,618 In Excess Purse at one mile on turf.

With Rafael Bejarano in the saddle, the 5-year-old gelding rallied on the extreme outside to defeat Supreme Summit as the 5-2 second choice in a field of six after favored Pathfork ran out of gas. The 3-2 choice faded to last after opening up an eight-length lead down the backstretch before yielding at the far turn.

Arcadia, CA, March 2 -- The Old English Rancho has been synonymous with California racing for nearly 80 years, and HRTV's (R) award-winning documentary show, "Inside Information: Old English Rancho," will provide an intriguing historical retrospective on the facility this Sunday, March 4 at 8:30 p.m. ET.

The 30-minute show will take a comprehensive look at the rich history surrounding Old English Rancho (OER).

March 1, 2012

ARCADIA, Calif. (March 1, 2012)—While even-money favorite Camelia Rose seemingly cried out for racing room at the rail, California-bred Chokecherymary enjoyed smooth sailing while rallying wide to take Thursday’s $71,500 Westside Story Purse by a scant nose over the French-bred favorite.

“I was in a perfect position going to the 3 ½ (furlong pole), but I knew the favorite was going to make a good run, so I wanted to get the first jump on her,” said winning jockey Rafael Bejarano.

ARCADIA, Calif. (March 1, 2012) – Mr Gruff, who has enjoyed a prosperous relationship with Santa Anita’s hillside turf course, seeks his sixth win in eight starts over the 6 ½-furlong layout as the probable favorite in Sunday’s $70,000 Joe Hernandez Handicap.

A lightly-raced 8-year-old son of Mr.

February 29, 2012

ARCADIA, Calif. (Feb. 29, 2012) – With defending champion Game On Dude a last-minute non-player, Ultimate Eagle swoops into the spotlight as the 5-2 morning line favorite among 13 entrants in Saturday’s 75th running of the Grade I, $750,000 Santa Anita Handicap presented by San Manuel Indian Bingo and Casino. The Big ’Cap will be run for the first time ever as the day’s last race and will follow the Las Virgenes Stakes and the Frank E. Kilroe Mile as the card concludes with three successive Grade I stakes.

The way Martin Pedroza, Ultimate Eagle’s 46-year-old jockey, sees it, Game On Dude’s absence simply removes a speed bump on his extraordinary mount’s rise to stardom. Trainer Bob Baffert announced just prior to Wednesday’s post position draw that Game On Dude would make his next start in the $10 million Dubai World Cup on March 31.