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March 1, 2009

LARGE FIELD NO DETERRENT FOR SMITH, TIAGO IN SANTA ANITA HANDICAP

A full field of 14 is in prospect for the Santa Anita Handicap next Saturday, and as far as Mike Smith is concerned, the more the merrier.

Smith rides Tiago, a stretch-running son of Pleasant Tap, in the mile and a quarter Big ‘Cap. Potential traffic problems are always a risk in a bulky field, but Smith was quick to take an optimistic stance for Tiago, a half-brother to Giacomo, 50-1 winner of the 2005 Kentucky Derby with Smith aboard.

LARGE FIELD NO DETERRENT FOR SMITH, TIAGO IN SANTA ANITA HANDICAP

A full field of 14 is in prospect for the Santa Anita Handicap next Saturday, and as far as Mike Smith is concerned, the more the merrier.

Smith rides Tiago, a stretch-running son of Pleasant Tap, in the mile and a quarter Big ‘Cap. Potential traffic problems are always a risk in a bulky field, but Smith was quick to take an optimistic stance for Tiago, a half-brother to Giacomo, 50-1 winner of the 2005 Kentucky Derby with Smith aboard.

February 28, 2009

EUROPEAN ACE DANSANT SETTLES IN FOR SANTA ANITA HANDICAP

European invader Dansant enjoyed taking in the scenic sights at Santa Anita for the first time Saturday morning, jogging twice around the track in preparation for the $1 million Santa Anita Handicap on March 7.

“He’s settled in very well and he’s very alert,” said Cindy Niemetz, West Coast representative for the International Racing Bureau. “He’s scheduled to canter tomorrow.”

Andrew Morris, traveling lad for trainer Gerard Butler, supervised Dansant’s maneuvers in Butler’s absence. No rider has been named for Dansant.

February 27, 2009

REDDAM MULLS SANTA ANITA HANDICAP FOR RED ROCKS
Red Rocks, winner of the Breeders’ Cup Turf in 2006 and the Grade I Man o’ War Stakes on turf at Belmont Park last July, could make his first start on a surface other than grass in the Grade I Santa Anita Handicap on March 7.
“He’s going to breeze Saturday (five furlongs at Payson Park in Florida) and then we’ll think about it,” trainer Mark Hennig said by phone late Thursday. “Paul’s never shy about taking a shot,” Hennig continued, referring to owner J. Paul Reddam. “He’s expressed some interest.”

February 26, 2009

COLONEL JOHN ON TRACK FOR MARCH 7 SANTA ANITA HANDICAP
A full field with ample speed is in prospect for the $1 million Santa Anita Handicap on March 7, and that’s encouraging news for Eoin Harty, who trains stretch runner Colonel John.
Winner of the Grade I Santa Anita Derby and the Grade I Travers Stakes as a 3-year-old last year, Colonel John worked seven furlongs on Pro-Ride Wednesday in 1:25.40.
“I would think there will be plenty of pace (in the Big ‘Cap),” Harty said. “He worked good. The track was tiring, because it was dug up Tuesday night, but he went well.”

February 25, 2009

ZAMBEZI SUN JOINS FULL LINEUP FOR MARCH 7 SANTA ANITA HANDICAP
Zambezi Sun, a disappointing seventh as the 9-10 favorite in his U.S. debut Sunday in the Grade II San Luis Obispo Handicap at 1 ½ miles on turf, will wheel back two weeks later in the Grade I Santa Anita Handicap on March 7, Bobby Frankel said Wednesday morning.
“There’s nothing wrong with him,” the Hall of Fame trainer said. “He didn’t run hard; he’s OK. I just got him fit enough to run (in the Big ‘Cap).”

February 22, 2009

RAIL TRIP’S NEXT RACE UNDECIDED; VALDIVIA ON CHAMPS ELYSEES IN BIG ’CAP

Although Rail Trip has been nominated to the $1 million Santa Anita Handicap on March 7, chances of the unbeaten gelding running in the mile and a quarter classic seemed extremely remote Sunday.

February 21, 2009

EXPENSIVE CLAIM BALFOUR PARK EYES NEXT SATURDAY’S SHAM STAKES

Balfour Park, claimed for the rarified price of $100,000 last out by trainer Craig Lewis, likely will make his next start in the Grade III Sham Stakes for 3-year-olds at 1 1/8 miles next Saturday.

“More than likely (he’ll run),” Lewis said. Balfour Park, a Kentucky-bred son of the Seeking the Gold sire Mutakddim, has raced only three times, breaking his maiden in the $100,000 race at one mile on Jan.

February 20, 2009

ON FIRE LOOKS LIKE A NATURAL FOR ABRAMS IN SAN LUIS OBISPO

If ever a horse was a natural for Barry Abrams to train, it’s On Fire.

February 19, 2009

FRANKEL CALLS AUDIBLE, ENTERS ZAMBEZI SUN IN SUNDAY’S SAN LUIS OBISPO

Zambezi Sun, a highly regarded Group 1 winner in Europe who had been scheduled to make his United States debut in the $1 million Santa Anita Handicap on Pro-Ride on March 7, instead has been entered in Sunday’s San Luis Obispo Handicap scheduled for 1 ½ miles on turf by Hall of Fame trainer Bobby Frankel, who still plans to run the English-bred horse in the Big ’Cap.

“I might have missed a little training, so this way it will be like a workout for him,” Frankel said of the English-bred son of the Danehill stallio