Mike Pender has a lot to look forward to these days. On his way to his first-ever Breeders’ Cup as a trainer with Oak Tree Mile winner Jeranimo, the 45-year-old conditioner also has Oak Tree Derby winner Ultimate Eagle targeting the Hollywood Derby at 1 ¼ miles on turf on Nov. 27, with recent claim Dance With Gable under consideration for the California Cup Sprint on Oct. 29.

Jeranimo worked a half-mile on Santa Anita’s main track Saturday in :47 flat, while Dance With Gable went five furlongs in :59 flat.

“Jeramino came out of his race in stellar shape and just breezed a nice little :46 and one this morning,” Pender said. “He’s given us every indication barring anything unforeseen to get on that plane to Kentucky.” That would be for the BC Mile on the grass and a meeting with the likes of world-class winners Goldikova and Gio Ponti.

“Ultimate Eagle, that was the toughest race of his career so far,” Pender said of the half-length victory at 34-1 over French invader Venomous. “His speed figures shot up a couple digits from what he used to be running, and we’re very much looking forward to the opportunity in the Hollywood Derby.

“They’re both pretty versatile, although I think Jeranimo has more of a stalking gear than Ultimate Eagle does,” Pender said. “Ultimate Eagle, if he had his way, he would prefer to probably be on the front and say come and catch me. I can’t wait to run him on the dirt. I don’t think Jeranimo is as effective on dirt.

“The Mile has the best horses in the world. I might be a little bit biased of course, but of all the races at the Breeders’ Cup, pound for pound I think the majority of people are looking forward to that race. It does have the three-time defending champ Goldikova.”

Pender claimed Dance With Gable for $40,000 from his last race, a winning effort at Fairplex Park. The 7-year-old Dance Floor gelding is a veritable win machine with 15 victories, which likely accounts for his being claimed five times in his 37-race career.

“(Mike) Machowsky did a super job with him when he took him off of (Jerry) Hollendorfer, and (Bill) Morey got him started up at Golden Gate,” Pender said. “This horse has been well-traveled up and down the California coast line. Ted West just had him in the best form of his life here at the ripe age of seven years old.

“He’s a 15-time winner. We could have got him for 32 ($32,000) down at Del Mar (Sept. 2). He proved to me that day he could run on just about any surface, synthetic, dirt, turf; doesn’t matter with him, and he’s sound as a dollar.”


Santa Anita Park and the California Thoroughbred Breeders’ Association (CTBA) have announced they will partner with Susan G. Komen For The Cure to promote breast cancer awareness on California Cup Day next Saturday, Oct. 29.

“Many businesses and sports franchises throughout the country are now getting involved in this very worthy cause,” said Santa Anita Vice President of Marketing and Sales Chris Quinn. “Along with the CTBA, we are proud to join in this effort and we hope to be able to raise breast cancer awareness both locally and nationally by having this event on Cal Cup Day.

“We’re going to have a great Cal Cup T-Shirt giveaway item and we expect to have a big on-track crowd for Cal Cup. We’ll generate state-wide and national attention via HRTV and our satellite wagering network and our jockeys have agreed to wear pink armbands. We’ll have pink borders on our saddle cloths, as well as a pink winner’s circle and paddock.

“Anyone attending can purchase a pink Susan G. Komen wristband for $5. In one way or another, virtually everyone has been touched by this deadly disease and anything we can do to support the effort to combat it, is worth trying. It should be a great day of racing and we hope to have a lot of fun and to be able to help a good many people as well,” he added.

“We are extremely excited to be partnering with Santa Anita Park and expanding breast cancer awareness to the racing community on what should be an exciting day of racing,” said Matthew Hourihan, Development Coordinator with Susan G. Komen For The Cure. “We look forward to making new friends at Santa Anita and we’re excited to be entering into a partnership with a forward-looking organization that has such a rich and highly respected history.”

The brainchild of the CTBA, the California Cup was initially run at Santa Anita in 1990 and has proven to be one of the most popular days of the year.

“The Cal Cup is traditionally one of the biggest days on our racing calendar and it’s always a lot of fun to get racing people together from throughout the state,” said CTBA President Doug Burge. “We’re very excited to be a part of this and to be able to partner with Santa Anita and the Komen group.

“For the first time ever, we’re going to have our Cal Cup Party in the Club Court area, just off the Club House turn and we think our guests are going to be very receptive to this theme of breast cancer awareness. We hope to be able to raise as much money as we can for a truly great cause,” added Burge.

Those attending the California Cup Party will be treated to a variety of high-end food and beverage, including Santa Anita’s first-ever Pink Cosmopolitan.

First post time on Cal Cup Day is 1 p.m. Admission gates open at 11 a.m. General Admission is $5. Club House is $8.50 and Turf Club admission is $20. Children 17 and under are admitted free when accompanied by a parent or guardian.

For more information on Cal Cup XXII, or to make dining or seating reservations, fans are encouraged to visit or to call (626) 574-RACE.

FINISH LINES: Ancient Title winner Amazombie, working towards the Breeders’ Cup Sprint at Churchill Downs on Nov. 5, went four furlongs before the crack of dawn Saturday in :46.60 for trainer Bill Spawr. “He breezed fantastic,” said Chris Asplin, Spawr’s aide de camp since 1980. “Bill said he’s getting better than he’s ever been.” Exercise rider Nacho Vasquez was aboard for the 5 a.m. drill. Fractional times were :12 3/5, :23 3/5 and :36 flat, with a gallop out time of 1:00 1/5 . . . Unbeaten Oak Leaf Stakes winner Weemissfrankie (Juvenile Fillies) worked five furlongs in :59.40 for Peter Eurton. “I’m very happy,” the trainer said, “especially with the way she pulled up.” Tom Mitchell of Santa Anita’s crack clockers’ team said the filly galloped out in 1:13 flat . . . Yellow Ribbon Stakes winner Dubawi Heights (Filly & Mare Turf) worked five furlongs on the main track in :59.80 for trainer Simon Callaghan, while at Hollywood Park, Unzip Me (Turf Sprint) went five furlongs on Cushion Track in 1:02.80 for Marty Jones . . . Brian Koriner reports California Flag, winner of the 2009 Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint, is scheduled to work a half mile Sunday on Santa Anita’s main track, after which the trainer will have a better line on whether the 7-year-old will run in the Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint for the third time on Nov. 5. “We’ll see how he comes out of the work before deciding,” Koriner said . . . Three players were eliminated from ShowVivor Friday, leaving 11 alive in Santa Anita’s on-line contest . . . Jockey Martin Garcia celebrates his 27th birthday Sunday.