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STABLE NOTES BY ED GOLDEN
• SUGARINTHEMORNING GETS CLASS TEST IN GRADE I LA BREA
• ROBBINS REMEMBERS MALIBU VICTORY BY JOHNNY EVES
McANALLY SEEKS FOURTH LA BREA WIN WITH SUGARINTHEMORNING
When it comes to running Sugarinthemorning in this Saturday’s Grade I, $300,000 La Brea Stakes, Ron McAnally is taking a realistic approach.
“She’s doing well, working good, had a good seven-eighths the other day (1:25.40 on Friday) and a good three-quarters before that,” the 79-year-old Hall of Fame trainer said Monday morning.
“But in my opinion, she’s in a little tougher than she’s ever been but it was the owner’s idea and he pays the bills.
“His name is Steve Weissman.” Sugarinthemorning also is owned by Weissman’s daughter, Samantha. Father and daughter reside in Dana Point.
Sugarinthemorning has five wins from 11 starts, including two ungraded stakes, the Fleet Treat and the Torrey Pines at Del Mar last summer. In her only previous graded race, the Grade I Darley Debutante at Del Mar when she was a 2-year-old, the daughter of Candy Ride was a pace factor before weakening to sixth.
McAnally has three prior wins in the La Brea: with Savannah Slew in 1985; Brought to Mind in 1990; and Affluent in 2001.
Asked if she was named for the 1957 hit “Sugartime” sung by the McGuire Sisters for Coral Records in 1957, McAnally said, “I don’t know. The owner named her and he thought it was a good name.”
Probable for the La Brea: Great Hot, Chantal Sutherland; Home Sweet Aspen, Joel Rosario; May Day Rose, Martin Garcia; Sugarinthemorning, Garrett Gomez; Teddy’s Promise, Victor Espinoza; Tiz Flirtatious, Rafael Bejarano; and Turbulent Descent, David Flores.
OPENING DAY FLASHBACK: JOHNNY EVES WINS 2007 MALIBU
Jay Robbins is the only trainer in history to saddle a back-to-back winner of the Breeders’ Cup Classic, having done so in 2000 and 2001 with Tiznow.
While no Tiznow, Robbins developed Johnny Eves into a multiple graded stakes winner, including the Grade I Malibu in 2007. The speedy gelding won by a length at 11-1 under David Flores.
“It was a little bit of a surprise,” Robbins recalled. “It was a good field, a large field (14 horses). Later he ran in the San Fernando, second leg of the Strub series, and got beat a nose by Baffert (Air Commander ridden by Aaron Gryder at a $106.80 win payoff) right on the money. He was stretching out (to a mile and a sixteenth) and he almost carried his speed all the way.”
A California-bred son of Skimming, Johnny Eves currently is enjoying retirement at Ridgeley Farm in Hemet.
“It was fun while we had him,” Robbins said. “He was no Tiznow, but he was a pretty good substitute.”
FINISH LINES: With 288 recorded workouts at Santa Anita on Christmas Eve day, clockers were busier than Santa’s elves, but it was far from a record, according to head clocker John Malone. “We had 400 and change about seven or eight years ago,” he said…Rumor, a daughter of the late Indian Charlie nominated to three stakes next weekend including the La Brea and the Grade III Monrovia on Jan. 2, runs in the $75,000 Kalookan Queen Handicap at 6 ½ furlongs on the main track New Year’s Day, Hall of Fame trainer Richard Mandella said. Garrett Gomez rides . . . Bob Baffert said he nominated Bayakoa Handicap winner Ellafitz to next Sunday’s Grade II Robert J. Frankel Stakes at 1 1/8 miles on turf “but she’ll only run if it rains and it’s taken off the grass.” The daughter of Tiznow has never raced on turf in 12 career starts.