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STABLE NOTES BY ED GOLDEN
• FLORES HOPES FOR LESS TURBULENCE IN GRADE I LA BREA
• CITY TO CITY ‘PERFECT’ COMING INTO SUNDAY’S FRANKEL STAKES
• CENTRILINTELIGENCE OK AFTER GRADE I MALIBU MISHAP
• MORNING LINE ODDS AT THE READY AT SANTA ANITA
TURBULENT DESCENT READY TO ‘MOVE ON’ IN LA BREA STAKES
David Flores knows Turbulent Descent like the back of his hand. The 43-year-old jockey has ridden the daughter of Congrats in each of her nine races, winning six and finishing second twice. Not only has he ridden her in every race, the Tijuana native also “always works her,” according to trainer Mike Puype.
Next up for Team Turbulent Descent: Saturday’s Grade I, $300,000 La Brea Stakes for 3-year-old fillies at seven furlongs. All parties expect the bay filly to show marked improvement from her most recent race, the Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Sprint, in which she finished worse than second for the first time in her career, dawdling home fifth but with a major excuse. Daily Racing Form’s trouble line reads, “Rough start.”
“It was a rough start from right out of the gate,” Flores recounted of the Breeders’ Cup race over a “good” track at Churchill Downs on Nov. 4. Turbulent Descent, who has been favored in every race, five times at odds-on, broke from the No. 3 post position in a field of 12 going seven furlongs.
“We got bumped pretty hard, but at that time, I was very comfortable,” Flores continued. “I just wanted to give her a chance and got her to relax, but the bumping started again before the five-eighths pole, right when we passed the chute. I was carried out and it was just too much bumping. She got her way through, but she made an early move and it was something I didn’t want to do. But what are you going to do? You have to get over it and just move on.”
Addressing his successful, long-term association with Turbulent Descent, Flores said, “I worked her the very first time a half mile at Del Mar. Mike was very high on her from the beginning and I understand why. We’ve been very patient with her from the beginning and when the time comes for her to get serious in her races, she does the job very easily.”
The field for the La Brea, the eighth of nine races: Home Sweet Aspen, Joel Rosario; Turbulent Descent, Flores; May Day Rose, Martin Garcia; Include Me Out, Joe Talamo; Sarah’s Secret, Rafael Bejarano; Sugarinthemorning, Garrett Gomez; Great Hot, Chantal Sutherland; California Nectar, Hector Berrios; and Teddy’s Promise, Victor Espinoza.
LONG-TIME FRANKEL AIDE DAN WARD REMEMBERS FORMER MENTOR
Dan Ward worked with the late Hall of Fame trainer Bobby Frankel for 22 years before joining forces with another Hall of Fame trainer, Jerry Hollendorfer.
It’s pure coincidence that Hollendorfer has entered City to City in a race named for Frankel, Sunday’s Grade II, $150,000 Robert J. Frankel Stakes for older fillies and mares at 1 1/8 miles on turf. Ward says conditions are ideal for City to City, a Kentucky-bred daughter of City Zip.
“She’s coming into the race perfect,” Ward said. “She likes this turf, it’s a good distance, and we’re even in Frankel’s old barn (at Santa Anita, No. 48), so we’re going to give it a try.”
Ward could write a book about his tenure with Frankel, who died 25 months ago, but he kept his remembrances relatively brief.
“Nearly 20 ago I had a horse at Hollywood Park and Bobby was at Santa Anita,” Ward said. “The horse was two, turning three and came to the states in November. Bobby told me the horse was pretty good and to get him ready for the Baldwin, which was in late March.
“So the horse is training OK, but the day before the race, Bobby gets the (Racing) Form and says to me, ‘Do you like the horse? He’s got no bleeping chance.’ You know how he talked.
“So I said, ‘Yeah, he’s gonna win. Bet your money.’ So he wins with (Kent) Desormeaux (at odds of nearly 6-1). The horse was Future Storm in 1993. They interviewed Bobby on TV after the race and asked him if he liked the horse.
“Bobby says, ‘It’s the first time I’ve ever seen him.’”
Ward could write a book on Frankel, but he closed with this chapter.
“We had a horse at Hollywood Bobby didn’t think was that good. She was a 3-year-old maiden and was training on the dirt. The meet was about to start and this really good horse came in from France and was going to prep for a stakes race.
“Bobby wanted to work him in company so we put the maiden in against him. The maiden drew away from the horse from France. Bobby asked me how the horse worked, and I said, ‘He couldn’t catch the filly.’
“It turned out to be Possibly Perfect, who was a multiple Grade I stakes winner and Eclipse Award winner as champion grass female of 1995.”
The field for the Frankel: Bauble Queen, Garrett Gomez; Celestial Kitten, Mike Smith; City to City, Rafael Bejarano; Turning Top, David Flores; Whisper Louise, Victor Espinoza; and Miss Mittagong, Joel Rosario.
MALIBU FOLLOW-UP: CENTRALINTELIGENCE OK AFTER INCIDENT
Centralinteligence, who was vying for the lead in the opening day Malibu Stakes when he inexplicably took up sharply going into the far turn and dropped back to eventually finish last in the field of 10, came out of the Grade I affair in good shape, according to co-owner Bob Feld, who represents Bongo Racing Stable.
“He was sound after the race,” said Feld Thursday morning from Clockers’ Corner. “Ron (Ellis) jogged him and he seems fine. He’ll probably walk for a week and then jog another week and we might look for a two-other-than (allowance race).
“We went from being in front to being eliminated, so that was very disappointing. It’s hard to say what happened for sure, but Hoorayforhollywood was outside of us and he came in and it looked like our horse shied from that. It looked like Joel (Rosario) took hold of him and at that point, he threw his head and we got shuffled way back . . .
“I really think that had that not happened, he would have been no worse than second and I think he’d have been head and head with The Factor to the wire. I think he’d have made a race of it.”
Centralinteligence, a 3-year-old Kentucky-bred gelding by Smarty Jones, came into the Malibu off a strong second-place allowance finish on Nov. 27 at Hollywood Park to highly regarded Smash, who ended up running seventh in the Malibu. Centralinteligence was dispatched at odds of 7-1.
Despite his misfortune in the Malibu, Feld was impressed with the opening day crowd of 44,579.
“It was a phenomenal day,” said Feld. “At this point in my life, and I’ve been coming here for more than 40 years, I do remember the glory days and this was just like that. I haven’t seen that many cars in the infield parking lot in many years. Everywhere I went, the place was just jammed and people were having a great time.”
HRTV WINS TV-FEATURES MEDIA ECLIPSE AWARD FOR RANDY ROMERO DOCUMENTARY
The National Thoroughbred Racing Association (NTRA), Daily Racing Form and the National Turf Writers And Broadcasters (NTWAB) announced today that HRTV has won the 2011 Media Eclipse Award in the Television-Features programming category for its documentary “Inside Information: Randy Romero,” about the triumphs and lifelong struggles for survival of the Hall of Fame jockey. The program aired on Dec. 26, 2010.
This is the second consecutive Media Eclipse Award won by HRTV for programs which were written and produced by the network. Last year, HTRV won the Television-Features award for “Inside Information: Swale” about the 1984 Kentucky Derby and Belmont Stakes winner.
In “Randy Romero,” HRTV unfolds the life story of a young Louisiana jockey, nicknamed the “Ragin’ Cajun,” who overcomes physical and emotional obstacles to reach racing’s heights but suffers personal hardships throughout. Along the way, Romero recounts a horrific near-death incident following a sauna explosion at Oaklawn Park in 1983, when nearly two-thirds of his body was burned. In the days following the accident, Romero’s father, Lloyd, prevented Randy’s mother from visiting their son in the hospital.
Following a long period of rehabilitation, Romero resumed his career and went to the top of the game, winning the 1988 Breeders’ Cup Distaff on the undefeated Personal Ensign. This moment of glory came in vivid contrast two years later when Romero’s mount Go For Wand died tragically in the 1990 Distaff at Belmont Park. In later years, Romero endured other serious health problems after his retirement from racing. He experienced kidney and liver failure in 2002 and was diagnosed with hepatitis C. Romero had a kidney removed six years later.
Personal recollections of Romero’s life are enhanced by interviews with longtime friends Carol Angel, Jimmy Lafont and Mark Guidry; brother Gerald; son Randy Romero II and jockey Gary Stevens who rode Winning Colors in the 1988 Breeders’ Cup Distaff.
“Because of the subject matter--physical and emotional abuse, severe burns, the horrific breakdown of Go For Wand - this was a show that was emotionally hard on everyone who worked on it, but no more so than for the man who lived through the events,” said Amy Zimmerman, executive producer of HRTV and the co-writer of the documentary. “Everyone at HRTV is very grateful to Randy Romero for his honesty and assistance in letting us to tell his story.”
“Inside Information: “Randy Romero” was a collaborative production effort by the HRTV team. In addition to Zimmerman, production duties were handled by Phil Kubel, Steve Scheidler, and Kathryn L. Beranich. Kristen Rocky was the field producer, who conducted interviews and directed the shoot Romero and his friends and family in Louisiana. The documentary was narrated by Carolyn Conley.
HRTV also received the Media Eclipse Feature award in 2006 for the Pony Highway production of “On the Muscle” and in 2008 for the Hennegan Brothers’ documentary “The First Saturday in May.”
Honorable mention in the Television--Features category this year went to NBC Sports for its “Keeneland History,” segment on the 75th anniversary of Keeneland Race Course, which aired on the Autumn at Keeneland telecast, Oct. 15. Jim Carr was the producer. Judges in the Television-Features category were Dave Johnson, television producer, host and longtime racing voice of the Triple Crown; Peter Lasser of Lasser Productions and Pat Scanlon of Shamrock Communications.
The Eclipse Awards, presented by the Daily Racing Form and Breeders’ Cup Limited, are bestowed upon horses and individuals whose outstanding achievements in North America have earned them the title of Champion in their respective categories. Those awards are voted by NTRA, Daily Racing Form and the National Turf Writers and broadcasters. Awards also are given to recognize members of the media for outstanding coverage of Thoroughbred racing.
SANTA ANITA NOW OFFERS “EARLY” AND “FINAL” MORNING LINES
Santa Anita has become the first track in California to offer fans both “early” and “final” editions of the morning line. Jon White’s “early” odds began appearing in the Daily Racing Form this week and may be different than his “final” odds that appear in the track program and on the tote boards.
“This is something that’s new for us,” said Rick Hammerle, Santa Anita’s Racing Secretary and Vice President, Racing. “We’ve listened to our fans who wanted to see odds in the Racing Form for races at Santa Anita. Now when a fan is looking at the past performances for Santa Anita in the Racing Form the day or night before the races, they will have the ‘early’ odds. I think that will especially be helpful when we have carryovers.”
Hammerle noted that the reason for having both “early” and “final” odds is scratch time will remain the day before race day.
“We didn’t want to move scratch time up to two days before race day because this way horses that are scratched the day before race day won’t be on the program,” Hammerle explained.
“It takes a little juggling in that sometimes it's essentially the same deadline for both the ‘early’ and ‘final’ odds,” White said. “I have to get out the ‘early’ line for a Saturday at pretty much the same time I have get out the ‘final’ line for a Friday. So that can get a bit tricky.
“I also have to make the ‘early’ odds without all of the information I ultimately will be able to consider for the ‘final’ odds. Between the ‘early’ and ‘final’ odds, for instance, I am able to check all of the Thoro-Graph figures for each horse on the card. Incorporating Thoro-Graph figures into the line-making process has helped me a lot in my goal to, as much as possible, avoid having a horse get bet way down from the morning line.
“Also in the time between the ‘early’ and ‘final’ odds, I am able to check the selections of a couple of public handicappers I respect, Bob Ike and Brad Free. Bob Ike’s selections appear in a number of newspapers. Brad Free’s selections appear in the Racing Form.”
VOTING OPENS FOR SECRETARIAT ‘VOX POPULI’ AWARD
Online voting is now open for the second annual Secretariat Vox Populi Award. Created by Secretariat's owner Penny Chenery, the Vox Populi, or “Voice of the People,” Award recognizes the racehorse whose popularity and racing excellence resounded most with the American public and gained recognition for the sport during the past year.
This year’s nominees are: Rapid Redux, who with 19 wins during 2011, equaled Citation's modern day U.S. record for victories in a calendar year; Goldikova, the international star who attempted to win the TVG Breeders’ Cup Mile for the fourth consecutive year; Havre de Grace, the 4-year-old filly who captured the Woodward as well as other notable stakes races this year; and Uncle Mo, the 2-year-old king of 2010 who thrilled fans in 2011 despite battling a liver ailment during the year.
The Secretariat Vox Populi Award was established in 2010 and recognized the great Zenyatta as the inaugural winner. This year, the winner will be selected on the equally weighted basis of the public’s online poll results, opinions offered by the Vox Populi Committee, and input from Mrs. Chenery. Voting in the online poll, which can be found at HYPERLINK "http://www.Secretariat.com" www.Secretariat.com, ends Jan. 2, 2012, with the public presentation to the 2011 winner scheduled for Jan. 15 at Santa Anita.
The Vox Populi Committee consists of Charlsie Cantey, long-time national television horse racing commentator; Steve Cauthen, Hall of Fame jockey and 1978 Triple Crown winner aboard Affirmed; Mayhem Pictures’ Mark Ciardi, producer of Disney Studio’s 2010 film Secretariat; Ed Seigenfeld, former executive vice president at Triple Crown Productions; Eric Wing, senior director of media relations for NTRA; and Amy Zimmerman, executive producer for HRTV and producer for NBC and ESPN racing telecasts.
“We are thrilled to have assembled such a distinguished and progressive group of talented individuals for the Vox Populi Committee,” said Mrs. Chenery. “They all understand the special meaning of this unique award and the vision we have for its place in the industry. I am eager to hear what they have to say as well as to see the results of our fan voting.”
For more information about the Secretariat Vox Populi Award, visit HYPERLINK "http://www.Secretariat.com" www.Secretariat.com, the official website for the legendary Thoroughbred champion. Celebrating racing's past to enrich its future, Secretariat.com is a comprehensive online source for historical information, photography, merchandise, and memorabilia chronicling the enduring legacy of America's Horse.
FINISH LINES: Bill Spawr has been high on Ismene from the start and when she drew the No. 6 post position for the California Breeders’ Champion Stakes for fillies on opening day, he liked her even more. “That helps her relax, when she’s out in the clear like that,” Spawr said. “It’s like a work . . . I’m pretty excited about her, because her potential is unlimited . . . especially if she can go two turns and I think she will.” Spawr said Ismene came out of the race “real nice” but he won’t make a decision on a stretch-out test “until another week or 10 days.” Ismene is a daughter of Tribal Rule, the leading sire of 2-year-olds among California stallions in 2011. The son of Storm Cat stands at Ballena Vista Farm for $5,500 live foal . . . Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Sprint winner Secret Circle is scheduled to make his 3-year-old debut in the Grade I, $100,000 Sham Stakes at one mile on Jan. 7, Bob Baffert said, adding he has nothing specific in mind for 2010 Norfolk Stakes winner Jaycito, who has been working at Hollywood Park. “He’s getting ready,” Baffert said. Jaycito worked six furlongs at Hollywood Tuesday in 1:13.60, while Secret Circle went six furlongs at Santa Anita Wednesday in a bullet 1:10.80, fastest of 26 drills at the distance, the average time of which was 1:14.03 . . . Kyoto, Japan native Yutaka Take, a multiple riding champion in his homeland, will visit Santa Anita Friday as he enjoys a vacation in the United States . . . Congratulations to retired Hall of Fame riding great Laffit Pincay Jr., who celebrates his 65th birthday today. Pincay won the Grade I La Brea twice, in 1979 on Great Lady M. for D. Wayne Lukas and in 1976 aboard Kirby Lane for Laz Barrera . . . This Sunday, New Year’s Day, all THOROUGHBREDS members will receive free a long-sleeve T-shirt at Santa Anita with paid admission while supplies last. There will be special holiday racing on Monday, Jan. 2. Santa Anita will offer $2 beers, hot dogs and soft drinks, in addition to presenting the Grade III Monrovia Stakes for older fillies and mares at about 6 ½ furlongs on the turf . . . Champagne d’Oro, prepping for the Monrovia, worked four furlongs on Santa Anita’s main track Wednesday in a bullet 46 seconds for trainer Eric Guillot. Probable for the Monrovia: Champagne d’Oro, Givine, Mizdirection and Unzip Me. Unzip Me, who won the Monrovia last Jan. 2 at odds of 7-10, worked five furlongs on Hollywood’s Cushion Track Tuesday in 1:01.80, breezing, for trainer Marty Jones.