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STABLE NOTES BY ED GOLDEN
• CHILE TODAY, HOT TOMORROW FOR BERRIOS IN GRADE II LAS PALMAS?
• DOG DAY AFTERNOON HAS HAPPY ENDING FOR TRAINER ARMSTRONG
BERRIOS LIKES HIS CHANCES ON PRIVATE AFFAIR IN SUNDAY FINALE
Hector Berrios is hoping history repeats with Private Affair in Sunday’s Grade II, $150,000 Las Palmas Stakes for fillies and mares at one mile on turf, closing day feature on the Santa Anita Autumn Meet program.
Berrios, a 24-year-old native of Santiago, Chile, won his first stakes race in the United States when he piloted Private Affair to a 2 ½ length victory in the CTT & TOC Handicap at Del Mar last August at odds of 9-1.
He was aboard the 4-year-old Peruvian-bred filly again in the Grade I Yellow Ribbon Stakes on Oct. 1. She finished sixth but was beaten only 3 ½ lengths. Berrios expects improvement in the Las Palmas.
“She’ll be 100 percent for this race,” the 24-year-old Berrios said through interpreter, friend and fellow countryman, recently retired jockey Octavio Vergara. “She’s got a good chance in the Las Palmas.”
Berrios has been riding regularly in Southern California for two months, but began his career seven years ago. Through Friday, Berrios had six wins from 64 mounts under the guidance of agent Tommy Ball, who also represents Paul Atkinson.
Private Affair, a bay daughter of Privately Held, is owned by the Green Grass Stable of Nathanial Green, his wife, Sandra, and their daughter, Lauren, of Manhattan Beach.
The field for the Las Palmas, the ninth of 10 races: City to City, Garrett Gomez, 7-2; All Star Heart, Brice Blanc, 7-2; Ash Zee, Joe Talamo, 12-1; Turning Top, Mike Smith, 9-2; Malibu Pier, Joel Rosario, 5-2; Private Affair, Hector Berrios, 8-1; Anniversary Girl, Martin Pedroza, 20-1; and Sarah’s Secret, Rafael Bejarano, 5-1.
CARING TRAINER HAS HEART-WARMING TALE OF ABANDONED PUP
There is one lucky dog that has been walking contentedly on a leash held by Janet Armstrong at Clockers’ Corner this meet. It’s a seven-month-old light chestnut female with white stockings and a white blaze that is a Chihuahua and Basenji mix.
Armstrong, who trains exclusively for the Budget Stable of Sydney Belzberg, discovered the disheveled and despondent dog about six weeks ago at a highway’s edge as she drove on Southern California’s 10 Freeway near the 605, but at 10:30 in the morning and rush-hour traffic not yet abated, Armstrong had no safe or practical means to pull over for a rescue mission.
“I had to drive back to Santa Anita to get my assistant for help,” Armstrong said. “That took about 30 minutes roundtrip, but when we got back, the dog was still there. She was covered in diesel fuel and full of ticks and fleas. I don’t know how she got there or how long it was since she had eaten. She looked starved, but we were able to get her in the car and now she’s doing fine.”
Once safely rescued, Armstrong needed a name for the dog. One was eliminated immediately, while another seemed a natural.
“Well, I couldn’t call her Diesel,” Armstrong said, “but when she was cleaned up she looked so beautiful, and since I found her on the 10 Freeway, I called her Bo, after Bo Derek.”
Derek, now a member of the California Horse Racing Board, made her signature movie as the voluptuous beauty in the 1979 smash, "10,” co-starring the late Dudley Moore.
FINISH LINES: Racing Office Manager and Horsemen’s Liaison Amy Atkinson, wife of jockey Paul Atkinson, and Paymaster Cece Connor, hosted a meet-ending bash Saturday in the racing office for racing employees, the gate crew, receiving barn personnel, jockeys and others. Goodies included lox, bagels, cream cheese, donuts, cookies and a homemade Kailua cake baked by Atkinson . . . Four players remain alive in Santa Anita’s on line handicapping contest, ShowVivor, with two racing days left in the 24-day meet . . . Tomorrow, closing day, gates open at 10 a.m. First race post time is 12 noon. Standard Time begins Sunday. Turn your clocks back one hour tonight.