Santa Anita News
Jeff Siegel's "Added Money"
For the week ending Dec. 29 - The main track on Monday (Dec. 29) played fair and square, so Suit Yourself’s deep closing win into the teeth of slow fractions in the third race was quite commendable. Since there were no takers for $16,000, the Tribal Rule gelding should be tough on the raise for the Mike Puype barn. . .Trainer Jack Carava may have made the claim of the week when he took big class dropper Trainspotting from Mike Mitchell in the 5th race, a fast, highly-rated dash for juvenile $25,000 claimers. Don’t be surprised if this heat doesn’t turn out to be very productive. Mitchell’s other starter, Now and Zen, wound up fourth with an eager late kick after a slow start and certainly is worth following. . . Bobby Frankel may still have high hopes for his A. P. Indy colt Andiron, but he had to be extremely disappointed with the colt’s last place finish in Monday’s sixth, a paceless race won by Papa Clem. One race is hardly a career, but Andiron should have at least done something. The runner up, Mayor Marv, had every chance and is developing into something of a trial horse. He probably can’t beat a good maiden, but it takes a pretty good maiden to beat him. Meanwhile, third place finisher Millennium Lakes, in from Canada for Mark Casse, finished with some interest and likely will move forward next time if he gets some pace to run at. . .Nice week for Carla Gaines. She had the talented but bad-footed Lucky J. H. ready to win in his first start since April in the Impressive Luck Handicap down the hill, as the soon-to-be 7-year-old survived the late kick of troubled Majestic Diamond, who has hindered by a lack of pace and his rider dropping the stick. Dream of Kaylee was one of the more impressive maiden winners during the Oak Tree meeting and I believed the Cactus Ridge colt would develop into a high class sprinter this winter for Bob Hess. He may yet, but he was disappointingly flat when third of four, beaten just over a length, in Sunday’s third won by the Mullins-trained Gato Go Win. . .Deputy Flyer had impressed the private clockers prior to his racing debut, so it was somewhat surprising to see the Ron Ellis-trained gelding leave at 7-1 in Sunday’s fifth race. The 3-year-old son of Benchmark accelerated with purpose when room to developed into midstretch to take control quickly and win with plenty in hand in what was a better than par race for the level. He should run on, too. The stallion More Than Ready has proven to be a terrific grass sire, yet we’ve never quite figured out why. He was a very good, precious race horse, but he never actually ran on turf in 17 career starts and his sire, Southern Halo, was pretty much useless on the lawn. First time starter Ready Steady Gone debuted in a downhill turf dash for Peter Miller in Saturday’s second race and displayed an impressive turn of foot (final sixteenth in less than six) to win going away like a rather nice prospect. . .Trainer Carla Gaines, who won with a first timer opening day (Point Encounter), had Temple City fit enough to score at first asking in Saturday’s third, but the late-developing son of Dynaformer ran like he’d never seen the main track before. Big, somewhat awkward and definitely green while finishing on his wrong lead, Temple City won on sheer ability. I’ll be interested to see what he can become once he figures things out. . .Jockey John Velasquez was impressed with Indian Blessing’s victory in the Grade 1 La Brea Stakes, but told HRTV’s Scott Hazelton that “she’s five lengths better on dirt.”. . Class dropper Dial Four Peace graduated in Saturday’s ninth race running 5 ½ furlongs in 1:03.08. The sixth race split of the race, won by debuting Naughty Nine, went 1:04.34, or approximately seven or eight lengths slower. Sometimes it pays to get lucky at the draw. . . Two good handicapping angles could have led you to play Bob Black Jack in the Malibu Stakes - he clearly appeared to be the controlling speed and his affinity for the Santa Anita main track had been established last year when he turned in four superb efforts, winning two stakes, placing in two others, and running six furlongs in 1:06 and change. I didn’t play him; I thought Into Mischief and Colonel John would inhale him. Wrong. Bob Black Jack goes next in the $300,000 Sunshine Millions Sprint at Santa Anita Jan. 24, Into Mischief goes to Kentucky to start a stud career (a bit premature, don’t you think?), and Colonel John tries for some redemption in the San Fernando Stakes Jan. 17. Speaking of the second jewel in the three-race Strub Series, that race could bring back Gio Ponti, who romped in the off-the-turf Sir Beaufort Stakes. This was his first start on anything but turf, and now that trainer Christophe Clement knows this colt can handle the main track, he might keep him on the Pro-Ride this winter where the real money is. If Gio Ponti does start in the San Fernando, who do you think Ron Anderson (Garrett Gomez’ agent) will opt for – Gio Ponti or Colonel John? You had to be impressed with Point Encounter’s debut win. Touted as the second coming and hit heavily from 5-1 on the morning line down to 6/5, the Carla Gaines-trained colt established the pace and kept on going to record a powerful 95 Beyer figure. Everybody’s assuming he’ll be even better going long, and being by Point Given there’s no reason he won’t run on but I’m sure Carla wasn’t thrilled that the colt was subjected to such a taxing effort by the very well-meant runner-up Unionize. Neither colt needed to run this hard first time out, but there are no walk-overs in the traditional tough-as-nails opening day maiden dash for 2-year-olds.