Stable Notes

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January 29, 2010

ESPINOZA, THE USUAL Q.T. IN ‘CLASSIC’ FORM

A resurgent Victor Espinoza, in a three-way battle for the lead in Santa Anita’s jockeys’ race, hopes to continue his surge on Saturday when he rides streaking winner The Usual Q.T. in the $500,000 Sunshine Millions Classic presented by Pepsi Cola.

“Victor’s riding great,” said agent Tony Matos, “even though we haven’t ridden that many horses.

January 28, 2010

LEGENDARY ACTOR/OWNER JACK KLUGMAN TO ATTEND SUNSHINE MILLIONS

Legendary actor and enthusiastic horse owner Jack Klugman will be at Santa Anita Saturday to watch Pretty Unusual run in the $300,000 Sunshine Millions Filly & Mare Turf presented by San Manuel Indian Bingo and Casino. The 87-year-old star of sitcoms, movies, television and Broadway shows owns one-third of the El Encino Stakes winner, along with Madeline Auerbach and Murray Goda.

“He’s a great fan of racing,” trainer Barry Abrams said of Klugman, a native of Philadelphia who now resides in Malibu.

January 27, 2010

FRESHENED UNUSUAL SUSPECT RETURNS IN SUNSHINE MILLIONS CLASSIC

Unusual Suspect is the exception to the rule in the training regimen of Barry Abrams, who has been known to race his charges at uncharacteristically frequent intervals. Unusual Suspect will be making his first start in nearly three months when he runs in Saturday’s $500,000 Sunshine Millions Classic presented by Pepsi Cola at Santa Anita.

“His race in the Cal Cup Mile (Oct. 3, in which he finished sixth) didn’t set up well for him,” Abrams said.

January 24, 2010

POPULAR SUNSHINE MILLIONS RETURNS ON SATURDAY

The Sunshine Millions, which matches California-bred horses against Florida-breds, will be presented for the eighth time next Saturday, Jan. 30, at Santa Anita and Gulfstream Park.

January 23, 2010

RACING RESUMES AT SANTA ANITA UNDER CLEAR SKIES

Under welcome sunshine and blue skies, racing resumed at Santa Anita Saturday after heavy week-long rains forced cancellation of live racing Monday, Thursday and Friday. Thanks to the tireless efforts of track superintendent Richard Tedesco and his crew, the absence of training on the Pro-Ride main track did not cause major scheduling alterations for most local horsemen.

“I didn’t even take Lookin At Lucky to the track,” said the meet’s leading trainer, Bob Baffert, of his latest Eclipse Award winner.

January 18, 2010

RACING NEEDS CHAMPIONS LIKE ZENYATTA, JOHN HENRY

Zenyatta is back and racing needs her. It needs star power, and she has it. The welcome news that the unbeaten mare would be “unretired” and continue to run in 2010 generated a breath of fresh air within the industry.

Ron McAnally knows. He trained one of the last major gate attractions, the late John Henry, a two-time Horse of the Year who was the rage of the 80s.

January 17, 2010

ZENYATTA COMEBACK ‘GREAT FOR EVERYBODY’

Perfection is back. The whole of racing, especially in Southern California, is enamored by the announcement Saturday by Jerry Moss that undefeated champion Zenyatta will race again.

“It’s the greatest thing to happen to racing in years, that they decided to run her again,” Hall of Fame trainer Richard Mandella said Sunday morning between training chores at Santa Anita. “It’s not like she’s ever been abused. (Trainer) John Shirreffs is not going to do that. She’s lightly raced (14 starts). What’s the point of retiring her?

January 16, 2010

HORSE OF YEAR DEBATE CONTINUES AS ANNOUNCEMENT NEARS

Horse of the Year 2009 will be announced Monday night at the annual Eclipse Awards dinner in Beverly Hills.

January 15, 2010

HORSE OF YEAR OPINIONS HOT AND HEAVY AS ANNOUNCEMENT NEARS

Horse of the Year 2009 will be announced Monday night at the annual Eclipse Awards dinner in Beverly Hills.

January 14, 2010

‘RENDEZVOUS’ ON SYNTHETIC IN SAN FERNANDO STAKES

Rendezvous makes his first start on synthetic in almost a year when he runs in Saturday’s Grade II $150,000 San Fernando Stakes for 4-year-olds at 1 1/16 miles.

The son of 1998 Belmont Stakes winner Victory Gallop is coming off five straight turf races, his most recent last Nov. 7, when he finished eighth in the Oak Tree Derby.

“He was never off the board on the grass until he ran twice at Santa Anita, and he didn’t hit the board in either one,” said Dan Ward, assistant to trainer Jerry Hollendorfer.