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ECLIPSE AWARD WINNING AMAZOMBIE TO DEFEND TITLE IN GRADE I SANTA ANITA SPRINT CHAMPIONSHIP, IRISH-BRED OBVIOUSLY HEADS GRADE II ARROYO SECO MILE ON SATURDAY AS HORSES PREP FOR BREEDERS’ CUP
INNAUGURAL TIM CONWAY STAKES FOR 2-YEAR-OLDS AND SWINGTIME FOR FILLIES AND MARES ADD DEPTH TO SOLID 10-RACE PROGRAM
ARCADIA, Calif. (Oct. 3, 2012)—California-bred Amazombie, winner of last year’s Breeders’ Cup Sprint and the 2011 Eclipse Award as the nation’s top sprinter, will defend his title against six other top sprinters in Saturday’s Grade I Santa Anita Sprint Championship (formerly run as the Ancient Title). The race will serve as a final prep for the 2012 Breeders’ Cup Sprint to be run at The Great Race Place Nov. 3.
The Santa Anita Sprint Championship, to be contested at six furlongs, is a Breeders’ Cup “Win and You’re In” Challenge Race.
Owned by Thomas Sanford and Bill Spawr, the 6-year-old gelding by Northern Afleet is also trained by Spawr. A winner of the Grade I Bing Crosby Stakes July 29 at Del Mar, Amazombie has been training forwardly since returning to Santa Anita, evidenced by his 1:13.60 six furlong drill here on Saturday.
“He went the first quarter in 25 and one (fifth) and the last in 24 flat,” said Spawr. “He galloped out in (seven furlongs) in 1:26 and two. I’m very happy.”
Amazombie broke from the rail post in the Bing Crosby and has shown the kind of early speed that enables him to secure a forwardly-placed early position if wanted. Last year’s Breeders’ Cup at Churchill Downs was an exception, as Amazombie was fifth, 6 ½ lengths off the lead after the first quarter mile.
He’ll once again be ridden by Hall of Famer Mike Smith, who has been aboard the Spawr trainee in his last nine races, with five first-place finishes. Amazombie’s complete record is 27-12-5-6, with earnings of $1,905,378.
A winner of the Grade I Triple Bend Handicap on June 30, Camp Victory was most recently third, beaten 1 ½ lengths in the Grade II Pat O’Brien Handicap on Aug. 26. The Mike Mitchell trainee is without doubt one of the toughest sprinters on the West Coast and should give a good account of himself on Saturday. Owned by Featherston, Jacobsen or Miller, Camp Victory has been assigned co-high weight along with Amazombie of 124 pounds. The 5-year-old Virginia-bred gelding has a 24-8-3-3 record with $547,986 in money-won.
Capital Account, who is trained by Hall of Famer Bob Baffert, comes off a solid win in Del Mar’s Pat O’Brien Stakes on Aug. 26 going seven furlongs and was third, beaten 1 ½ lengths by Amazombie in the Crosby.
A winner of two of his last three starts with David Flores up, the 5-year-old Kentucky-bred son of Closing Argument has never been off the board in nine career starts and has record of 4-1-2-1 at Santa Anita. Owned by Thoroughbred Legends Racing Stable, his overall mark is 9-5-2-2, with a bankroll of $347,080.
Baffert will also send out the highly regarded Coil, who was second, beaten a half length by Capital Account as the 7-5 favorite in the Pat O’Brien.
Coil, 4-year-old Kentucky-bred colt by Point Given, has an impressive resume that includes a Grade I win in last year’s Haskell Invitational Stakes at Monmouth Park.
Although he amassed a bankroll of $755,200 in six starts last year, all but one of them routing, Coil has been relegated to sprints in his two previous starts this year. He is owned by Karl Watson, Mike Pegram and Paul Weitman.
The lone 3-year-old in the Santa Anita Sprint lineup is Spendthrift Farm’s Jimmy Creed, who will cut back in distance following a big second-place finish to the highly regarded Fed Biz in the one mile El Cajon Stakes on Aug. 31 at Del Mar.
On speed figures, Jimmy Creed ran the best race of his career in the El Cajon, earning a 103 Beyer while pressing the pace throughout. Trained by Hall of Famer Richard Mandella, Jimmy creed is 2-2 at six furlongs and the Kentucky-bred son of Distorted Humor has an overall mark of 4-2-2-0, with earnings of $103,000.
The complete field for the Santa Anita Sprint Championship, which will be run as the eighth race on a 10-race card, with jockeys and weights in post position order: Castletown, Edwin Maldonado, 119; Amazombie, 124, Mike Smith; Coil, Martin Garcia, 119; Camp Victory, Joe Talamo, 124; Capital Account, David Flores, 119; Jimmy Creed, Garrett Gomez, 118, and Reneesgotzip, Corey Nakatani, 115.
Irish-bred Obviously, a game, nose winner of the Grade II Del Mar Mile Handicap Aug. 26, could likely go favored in Saturday’s Grade II Arroyo Seco (turf) Mile (formerly run as the Oak Tree Mile) as he seeks his third consecutive victory.
He heads a five-horse field on Saturday that will serve as a prep for the Breeders’ Cup Mile Turf at Santa Anita on Nov. 3.
Trained by Mike Mitchell and owned by Fanticola and Scardino, Obviously opened up early and prevailed in gate to wire fashion on Aug. 26, and employed a similar style in winning a classified allowance at one mile on turf Aug. 2. A perfect 2-2 at one mile on grass, Obviously, who made his U.S. debut for Mitchell on March 22, has an overall record of 10-5-3-1, with earnings of $270,361.
Mr. Commons, a 4-year-old turf specialist by Artie Schiller, may’ve run his best race of the year in the Del Mar Mile, missing by a nose at the hands of Obviously.
Although he had a look of invincibility following his win at Santa Anita in the Grade II Sir Beaufort on Dec. 26, Mr. Commons seemed to lack his quick and effective turn of foot in four subsequent starts—until his nose defeat at odds of 7-2 on Aug. 26.
If he gets a fast pace to run at on Saturday, the John Shirreffs trainee could be flying late under Brice Blanc, who took over in his most recent start. Bred in Kentucky and owned by St. George’s Farm Racing, Mr. Commons has been favored in seven of his 15 lifetime starts. He has earnings of $711,660 from an overall record of 15-5-5-1.
Midnight Interlude, a winner of last year’s Grade I Santa Anita Derby, adds depth to the Arroyo Seco field and will hope to get a stalking trip on Saturday. Owned and bred by Arnold Zetcher and trained by Bob Baffert, the 4-year-old War Chant colt is winless from two starts this year and was most recently sixth and last in the Sept. 1 Harry F. Brubaker Stakes at Del Mar going one mile on synthetic Polytrack.
Midnight Interlude is 5-1-1-0 on turf, with an overall mark of 12-3-2-1. His career bankroll is $766,232.
CRK Stable’s Kettle Korn, second, beaten a neck in the Brubaker, will try turf for the second time in the Arroyo Seco. A winner of the Grade III Native Diver Stakes last December, the John Sadler trainee is looking for his first win of the year Saturday. The 5-year-old son of Candy Ride has a 17-6-3-4 record and $321,511 in career earnings.
Japanese-bred Trailblazer, with $2,912,376 in career earnings, will make his U.S. debut in Arroyo Seco in what will be his 21st start. Idle since May 27 in Tokyo, he is better suited to marathon turf distances and would appear to be prepping for the Breeders Cup Turf at 1 ½ miles. Owned by Koji Maeda and trained by Yasutoshi Ikee, Trailblazer will get the services of legendary Japanese jockey Yutaka Take.
The complete field for the Arroyo Seco Mile, which will be run as the third race, with jockeys and weights in post position order: Mr. Commons, Brice Blanc, 121; Trailblazer, Yutaka Take, 121; Obviously, Joe Talamo, 124; Kettle Korn, Garrett Gomez, 119, and Midnight Interlude, Martin Garcia, 119.
The inaugural running of the $100,000 Tim Conway Stakes, named for the iconic comedian/actor, will be offered on Saturday for 2-year-olds at six furlongs and it should provide plenty of laughs, as both Conway and his son, talk radio sensation Tim Conway Jr., will be on hand following the race to present the trophy.
Formerly run as the Jack Goodman Stakes, the Conway attracted a field of seven juveniles and it would appear the John Sadler-trained Scherer Magic could be the post time favorite. Third in the Grade I Del Mar Futurity on Sept. 5, the Iowa-bred was haltered for $50,000 in his debut, a smashing 7 ¼ lengths maiden score at Bet Fair Hollywood Park on June 14.
Owned by Gary or Cecil Barber, Scherer Magic scored first off the claim, winning the Grade III Hollywood Juvenile on July 14. He has a 4-2-0-1 record with $146,400 in earnings.
The complete field for the Tim Conway Stakes, to be run as the fourth race, with jockeys and weights in post position order: Super Ninety Nine, Martin Garcia, 116; Zeewat, Joe Talamo, 120; I’m Wide Awake, Corey Nakatani, 116; South Floyd, Juan Hernandez, 118; No Rachmones, Garrett Gomez, 116; Scherer Magic, Martin Pedroza, 122, and Merit Man, Patrick Valenzuela, 118.
The $70,000 Swingtime Stakes for fillies and mares, three and up at one mile on turf, attracted a field of 11 that includes Cathy’s Crunches, a winner of the restricted Adoration Stakes at Del Mar Sept. 2.
Conditioned by Hall of Famer Jerry Hollendorfer, Cathy’s Crunches overcame trouble turning for home to win by 1 ¼ lengths, going one mile on Polytrack under Joe Talamo in 1:36.40. Owned by Mark DeDomenico or Hollendorfer, the 4-year-old Florida-bred filly has lifetime earnings of $284,660 from a 17-6-4-4 record.
The complete field for the Swingtime Stakes, to be run as the ninth race, with jockeys and weights in post position order: A Jealous Woman, Brice Blanc, 124; Byrony, Corey Nakatani, 120; Oh Molly Brannigan, Juan Hernandez, 115; Private Affair, Deshawn Parker, 118; Gem of Soul, Alonso Quinonez, 122; Imperialistic Diva, Edwin Maldonado, 118; Madera Castana, Wesley Henry, 118; Romantic Wish, Garrett Gomez, 120; Cathy’s Crunches, Joe Talamo, 124; Lady Ten, Martin Garcia, 121, and Little Emily, David Flores, 122.
First post time for the 10-race card on Saturday is 1 p.m.