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STABLE NOTES BY ED GOLDEN
PAPA CLEM FIRES ANOTHER BULLET FOR SAN FERNANDO STAKES
On a drizzly Wednesday morning, Arkansas Derby winner Papa Clem had his final blowout for Saturday’s Grade II $150,000 San Fernando Stakes for 4-year-olds at 1 1/16 miles. Papa Clem went four furlongs in a bullet :47 seconds flat. It was the third consecutive bullet drill for Papa Clem since finishing third in the Grade I Malibu Stakes at seven furlongs on Dec. 26.
“I had 46 and one,” Stute said. “I thought he was a little short last time. Hopefully, he should be fit this time. I need to win one, I know that.”
Papa Clem’s last victory came nine months ago in the Grade II Arkansas Derby last April 11. His only other win came in a one-mile maiden race at Santa Anita on Dec. 29, 2008. He followed that with seconds in the Grade II Robert B. Lewis Stakes and the Louisiana Derby, before winning the Arkansas Derby.
Papa Clem’s other bullet works since the Malibu came Jan. 1, five furlongs in :57 4/5, and Jan. 7, seven furlongs in 1:26 1/5. Stute felt the colt would have benefited from one more work prior to the Malibu, in which Papa Clem stalked front-runner M One Rifle, who went on to win by 2 ½ lengths.
The field for the San Fernando, second leg of the Strub series: Smart Bid, Mike Smith; Viscount, Garrett Gomez; Rendezvous, Rafael Bejarano; Papa Clem, Tyler Baze; Mr. Hot Stuff, Joe Talamo; Mythical Power, Joel Rosario; Gallant Son, Alex Solis; and Quindici Man, Victor Espinoza.
CHAMPION STARDOM BOUND SET FOR 4-YEAR-OLD DEBUT IN EL ENCINO
Stardom Bound, champion 2-year-old filly of 2008, worked four furlongs on Pro-Ride Wednesday in :48.20 for her 4-year-old debut in the Grade II $150,000 El Encino Stakes at 1 1/16 miles on Sunday. The gray daughter of Tapit was ridden by Michelle Nevin, assistant to Richard Dutrow Jr., who is the trainer of record.
“It was very, very nice,” said trainer Gary Stevens, in whose barn Stardom Bound has taken up residence. “She went as slow as Michelle could take her . . . It looked like she went in :50 . . . We wanted to work her on turf, but there were no turf works today. The track was in great shape this morning.”
Stardom Bound, owned by the IEAH Stables of Michael Iavarone, Paul Pompa Jr. and David Lanzman, is unbeaten in four Grade I races at Santa Anita: the Oak Leaf Stakes, the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies, the Las Virgenes Stakes and the Santa Anita Oaks.
Probable for the El Encino: Best Lass, Alex Solis; Dream Empress, Tyler Baze; Freedom Star, Martin Garcia; Gilded Gem, Victor Espinoza; Justwhistledixie, Garrett Gomez; Spirit Seeker, Joel Rosario; and Stardom Bound, Mike Smith.
BIANCONE, LEPAROUX UNITE ON QUASICOBRA FOR SAN MARCOS
Frenchman Patrick Biancone has engaged fellow countryman Julien Leparoux to ride Quasicobra in Monday’s Grade II $150,000 San Marcos Stakes scheduled for 1 1/4 miles on turf. Leparoux, a finalist for an Eclipse Award as outstanding jockey of 2009, will be on hand for the announcement Monday in Beverly Hills.
Quasicobra set the pace before finishing sixth in an optional claiming race at 1 1/2 miles on Santa Anita’s turf course Jan. 6. It was the first race for the 6-year-old Wild Rush gelding in six months.
“A mile and a quarter is more suitable than a mile and a half, but he needed his last race,” Biancone said. “He hadn’t run for a long time. He got tired, but he ran good.”
Probable for the San Marcos: Aggie Engineer, Alex Solis; Dynamic Range, Victor Espinoza; High Court Drama, Michael Baze; Muhannak, Martin Pedroza; Obrigado, Joel Rosario; Quasicobra, Leparoux; and Ridge Dance, Martin Garcia.
RACHEL OR ZENYATTA: HORSE OF THE YEAR CONTROVERSY CONTINUES
Rachel Alexandra or Zenyatta: opinions for Horse of the Year are like arguing politics or religion, infinite and inflammatory, depending on which side you’re on. The winner will be announced Monday at the annual Eclipse Awards dinner in Beverly Hills.
Rachel Alexandra was undefeated in eight starts in 2009; Zenyatta captured the Breeders’ Cup Classic last Nov. 7 for her 14th victory in an unbeaten career.
One thing for sure: there will be no tie, and that’s unfortunate, at least in the eyes of Jay Robbins, who trained 2000 horse of the Year Tiznow.
“I think it’s a shame to slight either one of them,” Robbins said. “It’s very difficult for Zenyatta to remain unbeaten for two years and not be Horse of the Year one of those two years. That said, I can’t really separate the two. That’s why I say it’s a shame they can’t both share it. I really don’t have any feeling about who I would vote for. I think they should both receive it.
“As for Tiznow, it was no surprise when he won it. Winning his last three starts that year, the Super Derby, the Goodwood and the Breeders’ Cup Classic, defeating older horses in the last two, pretty much clinched it for him."
Thanks to her victory in the Breeders’ Cup Classic, Zenyatta has been listed as a finalist for Greatest Sports Moments of the Year by the Los Angeles Sports Council. Those wishing to vote can do so on line at www.lasports.org.
AUTHOR STEVEN CRIST TO SIGN NEW DVD SATURDAY
Daily Racing Form Chairman and Publisher Steven Crist will be at Santa Anita Saturday to sign his new book and DVD, “Exotic Tickets,” from noon to 1 p.m. The signing will take place at Champions! Gift Shop, located in the East Paddock Gardens.
The DVD is 76 minutes in length and instructs players about the fundamentals and nuances of constructing exotic multiple bets and provides winning examples from Crist’s personal betting experience.
Well known as a longtime columnist for The New York Times and Daily Racing Form, Crist is the author of numerous books, most racing-related, and is a well-respected handicapper as well.
In addition to the book and DVD signing on Saturday at noon, Crist will first appear in the East Paddock Gardens with Jerry Antonucci at his Today’s Racing Digest handicapping seminar at 11 a.m. The Digest seminar is free of charge to all fans.
FINISH LINES: Track superintendent Richard Tedesco said “a little over a 10th” of an inch of rain hit Santa Anita as of 9 a.m. Wednesday morning. “The track is great right now,” he said. “We’re not going to get much out of this system, but we could get three to five inches next week starting Monday around 2 a.m.” . . . Unbeaten Kentucky Derby hopeful Conveyance worked five furlongs on Pro-Ride Monday in :58.80 for Saturday’s Grade III $100,000 San Rafael Stakes at one mile. The field for the San Rafael: Cardiff Giant, Victor Espinoza; Domonation, Joel Rosario; Conveyance, Garrett Gomez; Lucky Rave, Alex Solis; and Via Verde, Rafael Bejarano . . . New York invader Franny Freud, now trained by Bob Baffert, worked six furlongs on Pro-Ride Sunday in a bullet 1:12.80 for Saturday’s Grade II $150,000 Santa Ynez Stakes for 3-year-old fillies at seven furlongs. “She went really well,” said Gomez, who was aboard for the drill. “She worked with Viscount (1:12.60). She just cruised around there . . . She quickened when I asked and galloped out really good.” The field for the Santa Ynez: Seriously, Espinoza; Franny Freud, Gomez; Whispering Hush, Mike Smith; Amen Hallelujah, Chantal Sutherland; She’s Funomenal, Rosario; and Switch, Bejarano . . . Malibu Stakes winner M One Rifle worked five furlongs on Pro-Ride Tuesday in a bullet :58.60 for Bruce Headley . . . St Trinians, who won the Paseana Handicap Saturday to remain unbeaten in three starts in the United States, is ticketed for the Grade I $250,000 Santa Maria Handicap at 1 1/16 miles Feb. 13. “We think she’s earned it," trainer Mike Mitchell said of the 5-year-old English-bred mare owned by Dan Capen and Laura Chavers . . All THOROUGHBREDS members will receive a free Santa Anita collectible ice bucket while supplies last on Martin Luther King Jr. Day. First post time Monday is 12:30 p.m. Gates open at 10:30 a.m. Santa Anita will be dark for live racing on Tuesday and Wednesday, Jan. 19 and 20 . . . Entering today’s races, there were 105 contestants alive in ShowVivor.