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February 8, 2012

ARCADIA, Calif. (Feb. 8, 2012)—HBO’s LUCK, which was recently picked up for a second season by the cable network, is seeking all types of every day race track characters and employees and is encouraging them to participate in an open casting call at Santa Anita on Sunday, Feb. 12.

LUCK, which is written and produced by David Milch and is directed by Michael Mann, stars Dustin Hoffman, Nick Nolte, Dennis Farina, John Ortiz and many others and is currently airing on HBO on Sunday nights at 9 p.m.

Casting for racetrack employees will be conducted from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m.

ARCADIA, Calif. (Feb. 8, 2012) – A return to Santa Anita could prove the tonic for multiple graded stakes winner Bourbon Bay when defending his championship against German-bred upstart Sanagas in Saturday’s 60th running of the Grade II, $150,000 San Marcos Handicap at 1 ¼ miles on turf.

In his last start of 2011, Hall of Fame trainer Neil Drysdale’s 6-year-old gelding fell 3 ¼ lengths short when Sanagas was shipped from the East by trainer H. Graham Motion to dominate the Grade I Hollywood Turf Cup at 1 ½ miles on Nov. 19.

But that was Hollywood Park, and the runner-up finish ran Bourbon Bay’s report card to zero-for-six over the grass in Inglewood. Santa Anita’s turf course has been quite another matter for David and Jill Heerensperger’s son of Sligo Bay. Bourbon Bay has won five-of-six starts over the course in Arcadia, four of them Grade II events including the 2011 San Marcos by 1 ¾ lengths over Champ Pegasus. His only Santa Anita setback, in fact, was by a scant nose to Champ Pegasus in the Grade II San Luis Obispo last year.

February 5, 2012

ARCADIA, Calif. (Feb. 5, 2012) – In his first start since a gritty second in the $5 million Breeders’ Cup Classic last Nov. 5, defending Santa Anita Handicap champion Game On Dude gave every indication Sunday that he again would be a major player among the nation’s older horses at the age of 5.

With regular rider Chantal Sutherland at the controls for trainer Bob Baffert, Game On Dude ran off with Santa Anita’s 74th running of the Grade II, $200,000 Santa Antonio Handicap while defeating Uh Oh Bango by 5 ¼ lengths and covering 1 1/8 miles in a brisk 1:46.88.

In scoring his fourth win in as many races over Santa Anita’s dirt surface, the 3-10 favorite was in control throughout. Although not breaking as alertly as usual in the field of five, Game On Dude soon gained a stalking position just behind early leader Skipshot.

February 4, 2012

By BETH HARRIS AP Racing Writer

ARCADIA, Calif. (AP) _ With trouble unfolding behind him, 43-1 shot I'll Have Another went on to stunning upset in the Grade II, $200,000 Robert B. Lewis Stakes, surprising his trainer and owner as much as the bettors.

The longest shot in the field of eight 3-year-olds won by 2 3/4 lengths Saturday at Santa Anita, with Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert's two colts finishing out of the money.

"Oh my God that was nice," trainer Doug O'Neill said in the winner's circle, squeezing owner Paul Reddam.

"He's always trained fantastic, but we never saw this coming," O'Neill said.

I'll Have Another ran 1 1/16 miles in 1:40.84 under Mario Gutierrez and paid $88.60, $35.80 and $12. Empire Way, a son of 2003 Kentucky Derby runner-up Empire Maker, returned $11.80 and $6.20.

Gutierrez was aboard I'll Have Another for the first time after exercising him in the morning just once.

February 3, 2012

ARCADIA, Calif. (Feb. 3, 2012) – Scratched from last Sunday’s one mile, $100,000 Valentine Dancer Stakes to run in Friday’s $70,150 Aristotle Purse, La Sombre enhanced her reputation for consistency with a clear-cut victory as the odds-on favorite in the competition for fillies and mares at 6 ½ furlongs over Santa Anita’s hillside turf course.

Under a vigorous hand ride by Martin Garcia, the 5-year-old California-bred daughter of Unusual Heat defeated 7-2 second-choice Lofty Ambition by 1 ½ lengths while running the distance in 1:12.66.

ARCADIA, Calif. (Feb. 3, 2012)—LUCK, the racetrack-themed dramatic series which premiered on HBO this past Sunday, has been picked up for a second season according to HBO officials. The series, which is centered primarily at Santa Anita and stars such “A” List actors as Dustin Hoffman, Nick Nolte and Dennis Farina, has garnered a gross audience of 3.1 million viewers to date, according to ratings compiled by Nielson.

“This is good news for horse racing and great news for Santa Anita,” said Greg Avioli, C.E.O. for Santa Anita Park.

February 2, 2012

ARCADIA, Calif. (Feb. 4, 2012) – After two days of no winning tickets in the Pick Six, Santa Anita will offer a super two-day carryover of $353,248 into Sunday’s Pick Six when there will be an early post of 11 a.m. in deference to the late afternoon Super Bowl.

It is estimated that the pool will approach $1.5 million by the time wagering closes on the popular exotic.

ARCADIA, Calif. (Feb. 3, 2012)—No one tabbed all six winners in Santa Anita’s popular Pick Six on Friday, creating a carryover to Saturday of $65,372 and the prospect of a total Pick Six pool of $500,000.

Saturday’s Pick Six will cover races five through 10, with two of those, the Robert B.

ARCADIA, Calif. (Feb. 2, 2012) – Don Perico, a 5-year-old gelded son of In Excess, terminated a six-race losing streak when scoring a wire-to-wire victory under leading rider Joel Rosario in Thursday’s $59,750 Black Rock Purse for California-breds at 6 ½ furlongs over Santa Anita’s hillside turf course.

Rosario, who had ridden Donald J.

ARCADIA, Calif. (Feb. 2, 2012) – Defending Santa Anita Handicap champion Game On Dude reaches a crossroads Sunday in Santa Anita’s Grade II, $200,000 San Antonio Stakes, his first race since nearly making off with the $5 million Breeders’ Cup Classic at Churchill Downs on Nov. 5.

This much is clear: Game On Dude, who earned over $1.9 million in eight races last year, will be a prohibitive favorite against six opponents in the 75th running of the mile-and-one-eighth event that often serves as an important steppingstone to the Grade I Big ’Cap.