Santa Anita News
STABLE NOTES BY ED GOLDEN
SPECTACULAR SANTA ANITA SENDOFF FOR ZENYATTA SATURDAY
Zenyatta returns to the scene of her greatest triumph Saturday when the champion mare will be honored in a farewell appearance at Santa Anita Park, where she captured the hearts of the racing world with a historic victory in the $5 million Breeders’ Cup Classic on Nov. 7.
The 5-year-old daughter of Street Cry retired undefeated in 14 starts after becoming the first female to defeat males in 26 runnings of the mile and a quarter Classic.
“There are so many things that come to mind,” trainer John Shirreffs said when asked his most prominent memory in Zenyatta’s brilliant career. “That’s a tough one, but I think it was her ability to run such a great race on a big day. She showed up 14 times in a row. That’s what I’ll always remember.”
In addition to her impeccable record on the track, Shirreffs recalled with fondness Zenyatta’s docile demeanor around the barn. “She’s a sweetheart,” he said.
Just yesterday, Zenyatta worked a half-mile at her Hollywood Park headquarters in :49.40, breezing, raising speculation that she might race again, but Shirreffs squelched any such rumor. “As far as I know, Mr. Moss retired her,” Shirreffs, said, referring to Jerry Moss, who owns Zenyatta with his wife, Ann. “Zenyatta is just winding down from her regular training regimen,” Shirreffs added.
Shirreffs said the Mosses haven’t “gotten into that yet” when asked about potential stallions for what will be one of the world’s most attractive broodmare prospects. As for when she would ship to Kentucky to be bred, Shirreffs revealed no specific date. “It’s early yet,” he said. “Breeding season doesn’t start for another month and a half.”
Zenyatta is scheduled to leave Hollywood Park Saturday morning for her appearance at Santa Anita on the track’s traditional day-after-Christmas opening.
All fans in attendance at Santa Anita will receive an attractive full-color poster of Zenyatta, courtesy of HRTV, and will be treated to a winner’s circle ceremony honoring the magnificent mare. HRTV’s Kurt Hoover will host.
The Associated Press announced Tuesday that Zenyatta finished second to tennis star Serena Williams in its Female Athlete of the Year voting.
“We are thrilled and very honored to have Zenyatta return here to Santa Anita one final time,” said Santa Anita President Ron Charles. “This will be great for all of our fans as well. What she accomplished in the Breeders’ Cup Classic is something none of us who witnessed it will ever forget, and to have her with us as we celebrate our 75th anniversary is very special.
“On behalf of everyone here, we want to thank Jerry and Ann for allowing us to get close to her and to enjoy Zenyatta this one last time. For her to be able to return to the scene of one of the greatest moments in the history of American racing is something I think everyone is going to cherish.”
In addition to the Zenyatta poster, fans also will receive Santa Anita’s traditional wall calendar, which this year features dramatic photos chronicling the greatest moments of the past 75 years. Four stakes races highlighted by the Grade I $300,000 Malibu Stakes for 3-year-olds and the Grade I $300,000 La Brea Stakes for 3-year-old fillies headline the 10-race opening day program.
First post time opening day is 11:30 a.m. Gates open at 9 a.m.
PAPA CLEM RETURNS IN GRADE I MALIBU STAKES
Arkansas Derby winner Papa Clem seeks his first victory since capturing that Grade II event last April 11 when he runs in the Grade I $300,000 Malibu Stakes at Santa Anita on Saturday.
The 3-year-old son of Smart Strike owned by Bo Hirsch and trained by Gary Stute hasn’t raced since finishing seventh in the Grade II Del Mar Derby at 1 1/8 miles on turf Sept. 6.
“He bled a little that day,” Stute said, “so we decided to give him a little time off and point for the new year.” Stute sent Papa Clem to trainer Vladimir Cerin’s facility in Bradbury where the bay colt received hyperbaric treatment.
“He worked seven eighths the other day,” Stute said. “I would have liked to have one other work in him, but he’s pretty close to fit. I’m anxious to get him back. My bank account needs the money.”
The field for the Malibu: Misremembered, Victor Espinoza; Kinsella, Garrett Gomez; Square Eddie, Joe Talamo; Supreme Summit, Michael Baze; Mythical Power, Joel Rosario; Jeranimo, Brice Blanc; Papa Clem, Tyler Baze; Join in the Dance, Chantal Sutherland; Coronet of a Baron, Ahmed Ajtebi; New Bay, Alex Solis; Smart Bid, Jeremy Rose; Hunch, Rafael Bejarano; and M One Rifle, Mike Smith.
TYLER BAZE BACK IN ACTION AT SANTA ANITA
Tyler Baze was on horses Tuesday morning for the first time since recovering from surgery on his left pinky finger and is set to resume riding on opening day. The 27-year-old Seattle native rides Lava Man in Sunday’s Grade II $150,000 San Gabriel Handicap at 1 1/8 miles on turf.
“The finger had to be reset,” agent Ron Ebanks explained. “Doctors had to crack the bone in the finger, straighten it, reset the knuckle that had been out of place forever, and then they had to tie a tendon. The operation went as well as they could have expected.
“He needed about three and a half to four weeks to recover, and today is the first day he’s on horses. He worked five this morning, and he feels good. He’s finally healed.”
Baze injured his finger when he was unseated by R. Bee Ess as they went to the gate for the 10th race at Del Mar on Aug. 22.
JON WHITE ALTERS HIS HRTV SCHEDULE
HRTV’s Jon White will take a leave of absence during the Santa Anita meet to focus on his new assignment of providing the track’s morning line program odds.
White will continue co-hosting Santa Anita’s simulcast with Kurt Hoover, and will appear on selected HRTV programming during the winter, including as host of HRTV’s award-winning “Inside Information” series.
“Jon was the first on-air talent hired for HRTV and he remains an important member of our network,” said HRTV Director of Broadcasting Amy J. Zimmerman. “While we will miss his insights on a daily basis, we understand the enormous amount of time required for creating the morning line for Santa Anita and respect his decision to take a leave of absence from HRTV. We join our viewers in looking forward to Jon’s return to our network on a full-time basis at the conclusion of Santa Anita’s meet in April.”
Added White: "The reason I asked for a leave of absence from HRTV during the Santa Anita meet is the morning line has been added to all of the work I still do for the track, such as the Handicappers' Helper comments in the program and the paddock commentary for the simulcast network. If the time I'd be on the air for HRTV and all of the prep work needed to do that were added on top of all I now do for Santa Anita, it just would be too much. I look forward to returning to HRTV in April after the Santa Anita meet is over."
FINISH LINES: Ron Anderson is optimistic that Garrett Gomez can overtake leader Julien Leparoux in the year’s final days and capture his fourth consecutive national purse earnings title. Through Monday, Gomez was $227,864 behind Leparoux, thanks in large part to Gomez’s victory aboard Lookin At Lucky in the $750,000 CashCall Futurity at Hollywood Park last Saturday. “I think we have a pretty good chance,” Anderson said, “but it’s going to be close.” . . . World traveler Chantal Sutherland, a popular member of Santa Anita’s riding colony last season, is back. “She rode 11 horses closing day at Woodbine, left there to ride in the Jockey Challenge competition in Hong Kong, and arrived here late last Tuesday and has been working horses ever since,” agent Tommy Ball said. “I never thought I would do this well,” Sutherland said of her previous season at Santa Anita. “I came here to better myself as an athlete . . . It’s been like a dream.” . . . Simon Callaghan is among the new faces at Santa Anita. The 26-year-old from Newmarket, England, has been training for two years and has 14 horses on hand for the 83-day meet, some for owner Anthony Ramston. “I discussed coming here with Mr. Ramston and a few of my other owners back home, including Michael Tabor, and they said they’d support the move,” Callaghan said. “All my horses here have European form. Some are lightly raced, but I feel they definitely have stakes potential.” . . . Agent Craig O’Bryan will represent jockey Ahmed Ajtebi (pronounced ASH-tebi) at Santa Anita through Jan. 20. The 27-year-old rider won two $5 million races back-to-back in his native Dubai on World Cup day last March . . . Luis Medina, who rode Twin Sparks to victory in world-record time of 1:06.49 for six furlongs in the Caballo del Sol Stakes at Turf Paradise on Nov. 21, makes his Santa Anita debut this meet. The 23-year-old native of Puerto Rico tacks 107 pounds and has ridden at Belmont Park and Aqueduct. Vic Lipton has his book . . . Agent Roger Olguin now represents jockey Felipe Valdez, who won three races at Hollywood Park last Thursday . . . Medina ReRun, the nonprofit Thoroughbred adoption program, is offering two Moneighs created by Zenyatta on its online ebay store Saturday. The sale will also feature two Moneighs by Zenyatta’s stablemate, Life is Sweet, winner of the Breeders’ Cup Ladies Classic. The horses create the paintings by using their muzzles, whiskers, a hoof, and tail. “Moneigh Mary Simons,” who heads ReRun’s Moneigh fundraising program, said “the Zenyatta Moneighs commemorate her brilliance and exit from the racing stage. She and Life is Sweet are raising needed funds to help less famous Thoroughbreds get good homes.” The ebay store is on ReRun’s website, www.rerun.org, which is also the site of ReRun’s annual fund-raising campaign . . . Northern California owner Keith Pronske has been appointed to the board of directors of the Thoroughbred Owners of California (TOC) to fill a vacancy created by the resignation of Tom Bachman. Pronske, a native of San Francisco, has been in the Thoroughbred business since 1997. . . Octogenarian Ivan Puhich, still with a spring in his step, is looking forward to a successful meet with veteran Julio Garcia, one of three jockeys with that surname riding at Santa Anita this meet. The others are Martin and Matt. The three are not related.