Santa Anita News
Jeff Siegel's "Added Money"
Trainer Julio Canani rarely has the opportunity to train young talent but he’s got a gem of a prospect in Miss Silver Brook, a $600,000 2-year-old in training purchase who made her debut in Sunday’s 6th race and could not have been more breathtaking. A strong, powerful filly with plenty of scope, she’s a daughter of Cozzene from a Turkoman mare and thus is bred to run as far as fillies are asked to. Yet, she was precocious enough to graduate sprinting in as visually impressive a performance as you’ll likely see from any maiden filly this meeting. Canani says he’ll go slowly with Miss Silver Brook, perhaps allowing her to rise through her conditions, but already he has to be thinking Kentucky Oaks and how best to get her there. Speaking of 3-year-old fillies, Haka lost nothing in defeat when settling for second behind easy front-running Century Park in the Santa Ysabel Stakes. The Claiborne filly broke sharply but was taken back off the pace by jockey Garrett Gomez, who may have anticipated (as we did) a quicker early pace. Lacking room on the turn when attempting to move into contention, Haka finally got clear along the rail in the upper stretch and closed with courage, but Century Park (first six furlongs in 1:13 2/5) wasn’t coming back. Haka could have, and probably should have won, but having said that we still think her future is on turf (Dynaformer). More evidence that the biggest class drop in racing is from straight maiden to maiden claiming (specifically in races for 2 and 3-year-olds, older horses not so much) came in the nightcap when trainer Doug O’Neill dropped Waddup G into a soft maiden $32,000 claimer. The daughter of Malibu Moon had proven to be overmatched against tougher straight maidens but quickly gained her confidence with a much-the-best six length romp after rallying wide into the teeth of soft fractions. She should prove to be a useful claim by John Sadler. Now that Mark S the Cooler has shown he’s wanted to be a turf horse all along – his maiden win in Saturday’s 6th race was easily his best career effort – we wonder if O’Neill and owner Paul Reddam will keep him on the sod from here on in. By Johar from a Diesis mare, Mark S the Cooler was always bred for turf and the fashion in which he quickened when set down to blow past favorite Herr Mozart in the final furlong stamps him as a major grass prospect down the road. Next stop for Cowboy Cal most likely is next month’s Strub Stakes and he’ll be one of the favorites after beating older horses in the San Pasqual ‘Cap. Contested speed going long had been death earlier this meeting but now it’s possible to win on the front end two turning (although still not easy). Cowboy Cal took all the heat and then reached back for reserve energy that we didn’t think he had to survive the late kick of Informed to win the 1 1/16 affair with a legit speed figure. The older handicap ranks sure could use some fresh faces and he, and possibly Gio Ponti, appear more than ready to join the ranks. Both were considered basically turf horses before the meeting but if it’s one thing we’ve learned about the Pro Ride surface is that grass runners generally handle it just fine. Trainer Barry Abrams has been singing the praises of his stallion Unusual Heat for years and Barry is right – I don’t recall any California-based stallion doing so well with so little in terms of the quality of mares that have been bred to him. The Nureyev stallion (whom Barry claimed off of Richard Mandella for $80,000 way back in June of ’96) is the sire of Too Much Heat, a convincing winner of a maiden state bred sprint on Friday. Hard to believe but Unusual Heat is now 19 years old. If you have a 3-year-old colt by A. P. Indy capable of breaking his maiden over a distance of ground at a major race track this time of year, you’ve got yourself a classic contender whether he really is one or not. Trainer Eoin Harty may have one in Hi Flyin Indy, who graduated in Thursday’s opener, although he didn’t exactly blow anybody away in the process. Hi Flying Indy made hard work of it when wearing down long shot Life Goes on and didn’t run particularly fast in doing it, but he still has that pedigree and gives you the impression that once light switch goes on he could develop rather quickly. Or not. We’ll see. Trainer Jerry Hollendorfer unleashed a promising Euro in Thursday’s 7th when Sugar Mint roared down the hill to take a first level allowance race going away like a filly who can do a lot more winning around these parts. Bred to run all day (High Chaparral) and in fact placed in stakes overseas at 1 7/16 miles, she should prove to be a very valuable commodity down the road in the older filly and mare turf division. Also likely to move quickly up the ranks is Hollendorfer’s ex-claimer Devoted Magic, a devastating entry level allowance winner in Wednesday’s 7th race. Devoted Magic was so impressive he could be wheeled right back in the Sunshine Millions Sprint on Jan. 24, a race made somewhat easier with the defection of Bob Black Jack, the impressive winner of the Malibu Stakes who has been stopped on due to an undisclosed injury.