Chantal Sutherland is hoping for smoother sailing for Great Hot in Saturday’s Grade I, $300,000 La Brea Stakes for 3-year-old fillies at seven furlongs. Last out, in the Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Sprint at Churchill Downs on Nov. 4, Great Hot was only three lengths off the lead at the half-mile marker in the seven furlong race before traffic problems eliminated any chance of victory.

The Brazilian-bred mare owned by Jessica Coudelaria and trained by A.C. Avila finished 11th of 12, beaten more than 23 lengths.

“She got kind of bumped on the turn and it was not the greatest trip,” said Sutherland, who has ridden the daughter of Orientate in her last six races, two of them victories. “I think she was a little overwhelmed and kind of went, ‘What?’

“But she’s a wonderful filly. She ran a pretty hard race the race before (winning the Grade II Raven Run at Keeneland by a head), and it was a little quick back (three weeks), but I think A.C. knows what he’s doing.

“Breeders’ Cup races are tough. But she’s versatile and she’s pretty cool. I’m excited and looking forward to getting things rolling again.”

The field for the La Brea, the eighth of nine races: Home Sweet Aspen, Joel Rosario, 9-2; Turbulent Descent, David Flores, 6-5; May Day Rose, Martin Garcia, 8-1; Include Me Out, Joe Talamo, 12-1; Sarah’s Secret, Rafael Bejarano, 12-1; Sugarinthemorning, Garrett Gomez, 12-1; Great Hot, Chantal Sutherland, 6-1; California Nectar, Hector Berrios, 20-1; and Teddy’s Promise, Victor Espinoza, 6-1.


Turning Top led much of the way before finishing fourth in the Grade I Yellow Ribbon Stakes in her last start, on Oct. 1. The Irish-bred Pivotal mare could find herself on the lead again in Sunday’s Grade II, $150,000 Robert J. Frankel Stakes at 1 1/8 miles on turf, but trainer Simon Callaghan says it ain’t necessarily so.

“She doesn’t have to race on the lead,” Callaghan said. “It’s just that nothing really went (to the front) in the Yellow Ribbon (won by Turning Top’s stablemate, the recently retired Dubawi Heights), so she found herself in front. She’s very versatile. If there’s speed, she can sit in behind; if there isn’t she can be on the lead. She’s straightforward.

“But I don’t see much speed in the Frankel, so I’d imagine we’ll be certainly forwardly placed if we’re not on the lead. She runs well fresh and seems in really good form. It looks like a good spot for her.” 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.


Dan Hendricks would like to win Saturday’s Eddie Logan Stakes at one mile on turf for two reasons: the winner’s share of the $75,000 purse would be nice, and so would winning the race named for Santa Anita icon Eddie Logan, a fixture at The Great Race Place since it opened on Christmas Day, 1934, until his death at the age of 98 on Jan. 31, 2009.

“This is the first time going two turns,” Hendricks said of Sheer Talent, a bay ridgling with four races on his brief resume, none further than seven furlongs. “He ran seven-eighths in the (Grade III) Hollywood Prevue and was a real good fourth.

“He just leveled off at the end. Garrett (Gomez) thought he would run on further, so we’re trying the mile.”

Logan, who operated a shoe shine stand outside the racing office since the track’s opening until shortly before his death, has an infinite number of fans.

“He was a fixture,” Hendricks said. “You’d see him every time you came in and you made sure you went by and said hello. It was almost like a good luck thing to say hi every day. He was a good guy who enjoyed people.”

The field for the Eddie Logan: Sheer Talent, Gomez, 8-1; Devil in Disguise, Mario Gutierrez, 20-1; Smart Ellis, Victor Espinoza, 8-1; Champions Gate, Joel Rosario, 9-2; Stoney Fleece, Corey Nakatani, 5-2; Chips All In, Alonso Quinonez, 9-2; Fear the Beard, Hector Berrios, 30-1; Daddy Nose Best, Julien Leparoux, 9-5; and The Black, Brice Blanc, 30-1.


Eclipse Award-winning HRTV will be available Friday, Saturday and Sunday via independent broadcaster KVMD (Los Angeles) from 2:30 p.m. to 5 p.m. KVMD is available over-the-air throughout the Los Angeles market on channel 31, and is also available on DirecTV, DISH Network and on all cable and Telco systems in Los Angeles and Ventura counties, as well as the Inland Empire and Orange County.

“HRTV will be available via KVMD throughout the meet on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays,” said Santa Anita President George Haines. “We’re extremely proud of the quality programming provided to race fans by HRTV and this arrangement is a positive step toward our goal of expanding our distribution and reaching a growing fan base throughout Southern California.”

The National Thoroughbred Racing Association (NTRA), Daily Racing Form and the National Turf Writers and Broadcasters (NTWAB) announced Thursday that HRTV, for the second consecutive year, had won a Media Eclipse Award in the Television-Features programming category.

HRTV won its 2011 Eclipse Award with its documentary “Inside Information: Randy Romero.” The feature, which originally aired Dec. 26, 2010, tells the life story of the retired Hall of Fame jockey who overcame physical and emotional obstacles en route to racing’s heights while enduring personal hardships throughout his career.

HRTV viewers are encouraged to check the KVMD page at for local channel listings throughout Southern California.


Santa Anita’s popular on-line handicapping contest, ShowVivor, will once again be available for fans to play beginning this Sunday, Jan. 1.

ShowVivor requires fans to select one horse each racing day that finishes no worse than third. It’s easy to play and free to enter.

The contest will feature $5,000 in prize money, with a $3,000 cash award going to the top finisher along with two complimentary nights at Treasure Island, Las Vegas. Prizes will also be awarded to the first runner up ($1,500) and the second runner up ($500).

ShowVivor participation is free of charge and contestants will be required to select one horse per day to finish first, second or third in any race on the live program. If a selection finishes lower than third, that player is eliminated. All selections must be registered on-line no later than 10 minutes before first post time at Santa Anita.

Fans are encouraged to register for ShowVivor as soon as possible at First post time on Sunday, Jan. 1 is 12:30 p.m. In order to participate, all players must be registered on Sunday no later than 12:15 p.m.

Santa Anita’s 79-day winter/spring meet runs through April 22. Regular first post time on weekends and holidays will be 12:30 p.m., while regular first post on weekdays is 1 p.m.


According to a story in the Orange County Register: A California man is the latest layaway angel to embrace the spirit of Christmas charity by paying off $16,000 still owed to one shop for presents. David Wilson, a car dealer from Laguna Beach, contacted the KMart in Costa Mesa after seeing a television report about other donors paying off strangers' outstanding accounts.

He asked the manager to tally up accounts with balances of $100 or less, then wrote a check for $15,919.61 to pay off the whole lot.

The manager of the Costa Mesa KMart, Tricia Lawrence, then spent the whole weekend calling customers to let them know that they could come in and collect their presents. “The funniest thing is that I haven't been called a liar so often in my life,” she told the Orange County Register.

But as well as his $16,000, an additional $8,000 has been paid off by strangers, including a seven-year-old girl who paid $47 off accounts from cash she had been saving in her piggy bank.

The impoverished shoppers who had been gradually paying off balances on their Christmas presents have been so grateful, many were reduced to tears.

Kristen Sepulveda owed $251 on a scooter, some Nancy Drew books and a few stocking fillers. But when she arrived at the KMart with her 7-year-old daughter, Skylar, they found their balance had been slashed to one penny. Both Mrs. Sepulveda and her daughter wept with joy at the news.

“To walk into that was probably one of the most . . . I'm just so . . . I was just . . . it was just amazing,” she told the Register.

She even asked the manager at the Costa Mesa KMart if she could write a thank you note. But there was no one to send it to.

As many Americans suffer the continuing effects of the country’s severe economic problems, the layaway angels offered some Christmas cheer. Many angels have preferred to remain anonymous, but Mr. Wilson told the Register he chose to go public in the hope that he can inspire more to donate.

He said he made the charitable gesture as a present to his wife, Holly, on her birthday.

“I wrote (the amount of money he gave KMart) on a piece of paper and tied a bow on it and told her happy birthday,” he said. “She said it was the best birthday present she ever got.”

On Thursday, perhaps The Man Upstairs smiled upon the Wilsons’ kindness and generosity when a New York-bred gelding they own, Metropolitan Man, won Santa Anita’s fifth race. The winner’s share of the $40,000 purse: $24,000.

FINISH LINES: Joe Steiner was elated to win Thursday’s first race for Hall of Fame trainer Jack Van Berg aboard Warren’s Hopeful, an 18-time maiden going in to the one mile test for $20,000 claiming horses. “She ran second last time when I rode her,” said the 47-year-old Steiner, who began his career in 1981. “She was beaten eight lengths, but she ran a good race. I had a lot of confidence in her.” Warren’s Hopeful, a 4-year-old California-bred daughter of Mongol Warrior owned by Samuel Almaraz of Inglewood, won by 2 ¼ lengths at odds of 9-1. “Jack was here yesterday and it was a great day,” Steiner continued. “I feel like I won a stakes race. I’ve been riding a long time but never won a race for Jack Van Berg (one of five trainers with more than 6,000 career victories), so that was a great high for me. I was so excited to win a race for him.” Two days ago, Steiner hired agent Jim Pegram, who also represents Martin Garcia . . . Way too Much gave trainer Tim McCanna his first-ever win at Santa Anita when the 6-year-old gelding won Thursday’s sixth race under Daniel Vergara. McCanna is a 10-time training king at Emerald Downs in Washington . . . For Southern California race goers unfamiliar with the name Troy Taylor, when Two Feathers won Thursday’s eighth and final race, it was not the first win at Santa Anita for the veteran trainer. “I got my first win as a jockey agent for Troy Taylor,” said Richie Silverstein, who represents Martin Pedroza and Kayla Stra. “The horse was King Toro right here at Santa Anita in 1980 and the rider was Victor Mercado.” Taylor earned his bones at outposts like Hastings Park in Canada. He has 20 head on hand at Santa Anita. Now a spry 80 years old, he took out his trainer’s license in 1953 . . . CashCall Futurity winner Laison, a candidate for the Robert Lewis Stakes on Feb. 4, worked five furlongs on Santa Anita’s fast main track Friday in 1:00.40. “He looked good,” said owner Arnold Zetcher, on hand for the drill supervised by Bob Baffert . . . Business is bustling at Champions Gift Shop. Proprietor Chris Crocker reports that gift orders from throughout the United States including Alaska and Hawaii have increased. “Our biggest ordering states are Pennsylvania, New York and Nevada,” Crocker said. “This year, I've had a big increase in shipments to Wisconsin---promotions for the Rose Bowl (between Wisconsin and Oregon on Monday) are paying off in advance. I've been shipping them to some of the same fans for over 15 years, including our very ‘first’ one logged into the gift shop customer list, Mr. John Tamborelli of Des Moines, Washington.” . . . Saturday’s Daily Racing Form seminar, hosted by National Correspondent Jay Privman, will feature Tom Quigley of Horseplayer Magazine. The handicapping session starts at 11:30 a.m. in the East Paddock Gardens . . . On 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. First post time Monday is 12:30 p.m.