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STABLE NOTES BY ED GOLDEN
• WHISPER LOUISE COULD BE CLOSER TO PACE IN FRANKEL STAKES
• ROME’S MIZDIRECTION RETURNS TO SPRINT IN MONDAY’S MONROVIA
ADJUSTMENTS CONSIDERED FOR ‘LOUISE’ IN SUNDAY’S FRANKEL STAKES
Whisper Louise seeks her first stakes win Sunday in the Grade II, $150,000 Robert J. Frankel Stakes for older fillies and mares at 1 1/8 miles on turf.
The Irish-bred daughter of Chevalier has run only in stakes in this country, finishing second, seventh, fourth and second, beaten a head in her most recent, the restricted Spearfish Stakes at Hollywood Park on Dec. 8. That race was at one mile.
“A mile and an eighth should be good for her,” trainer Jim Cassidy said. “She’s training well, but there’s not a whole lot of speed in there, so we’ll probably be a little closer, but there’s nothing we can do about it. She’s doing good, but we may have to make adjustments to compensate for any lack of pace.”
On paper, Turning Top figures to get a lonesome lead unless there’s a change in strategy.
As for remembrances of his former peer, Bobby Frankel, for whom the race is named, Cassidy allowed as to how racing misses the Hall of Fame trainer, who died just over 25 months ago.
“You could say a lot of things about Bobby,” Cassidy said, “but what comes to mind is, he was his own guy.”
The field for the Frankel, race eight of nine: Bauble Queen, Garrett Gomez, 5-1; Celestial Kitten, Mike Smith, 7-2; City to City, Rafael Bejarano, 5-2; Turning Top, David Flores, 4-1; Whisper Louise, Victor Espinoza, 4-1; and Miss Mittagong, Joel Rosario, 4-1.
MIZDIRECTION ON RIGHT COURSE FOR MONDAY’S MONROVIA STAKES
Mizdirection, a versatile daughter of Mizzen Mast trained by Mike Puype, seeks her first win sprinting in Monday’s holiday feature, the Grade III, $100,000 Monrovia Stakes for older fillies and mares at about 6 ½ furlongs on turf.
Winner of the Sandy Blue Handicap at one mile on grass last August, Mizdirection was an eventful fourth, beaten less than a length, in the Grade II Raven Run on Keeneland’s Polytrack on Oct. 22, then won going six furlongs on Hollywood Park’s turf course on Dec. 4. Garrett Gomez has ridden the gray Kentucky-bred in her last five races.
“I’ve only had the opportunity to ride her twice sprinting,” said Gomez, who celebrates his 40th birthday on New Year’s Day. “Both times she ran really good. In the Raven Run I was in behind horses and I couldn’t get out, so she actually ran a really good race.
“Last time she just pretty much played with them (winning by nearly three lengths as the 1-5 favorite). We had been routing her, so we thought maybe 6 ½ would be a good direction for her. She’s very nice and has real tactical speed and you can kind of do what you need to with her when you’re sprinting.
“Going a route of ground, we try to get her to relax a bit, but for now we’re going back to what she’s pretty good at and that’s sprinting. We’ll see how she does and maybe later on try routing again.”
The field for the Monrovia: Mizdirection, Gomez; Givine, Joel Rosario; Up In Time, Martin Garcia; Wild Mia, David Flores; Remit, Corey Nakatani; Champagne d’Oro, Joe Talamo; Berg Bahn, Victor Espinoza; Fifth Amendment, Mike Smith; Separate Forest, Hector Berrios; Unzip Me, Rafael Bejarano; and Silver Rock, Edwin Maldonado-Alicea.
SANTA ANITA’S ON-LINE SHOWVIVOR STARTS TOMORROW
Santa Anita’s popular on-line handicapping contest, ShowVivor, will once again be available for fans to play beginning tomorrow, 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 www.santaanita.com. 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.
Prior to Saturday’s first race, 4,770 fans had already entered the competition.
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.
FINISH LINES: Jockey Christian Santiago Reyes took off his scheduled four mounts today after suffering a minor injury to his left ankle in a training mishap Saturday morning. “He wanted to ride today, but doctors advised him to play it safe until tomorrow,” said his agent, Alex Procel Crowley. “X rays were negative and he plans to ride on Sunday.” . . . Trainer Mike Mitchell has four horses entered on Saturday’s card, with jockey Julien Leparoux named to ride each one . . .Multiple stakes winner Caracortado, nominated to next Sunday’s Grade III Daytona Stakes at about 6 ½ furlongs on turf, is scheduled to work six furlongs on Santa Anita’s main track Sunday under Zoe Cadman, trainer Mike Machowsky said. With downhill turf specialist Mr Gruff (five for six with one second by a nose over the course) and the Steve Asmussen-trained Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint winner Regally Ready likely for the race, the Daytona is shaping up as a very salty “hundred grander”…Bing Crosby winner Euroears worked five furlongs on Santa Anita’s fast main track Saturday in 59.40, breezing for Bob Baffert, while Santa Anita Handicap runner-up Setsuko went four furlongs for Richard Mandella in 47.40 . . . Rob Dyrdek, MTV superstar and skateboard guru, is part owner of Chickie Charms, 7-2 morning line choice in today’s fifth race . . . Groovin Solo, winner of yesterday’s fourth race for owner/breeder/trainer Myung Kwon Cho, is a full brother to come-backing San Felipe Stakes winner Premier Pegasus . . . Agent Jim Pegram has booked Martin Garcia on Massone for trainer Tim Yakteen in next Saturday’s Grade II, $150,000 San Pasqual Stakes, a major steppingstone to the Grade I, $750,000 Santa Anita Handicap on March 3 . . . Sunday’s first Fans’ Forum at 11:15 a.m. features syndicated handicapper Terry Turrell and his son, Toby, publisher of Winners Card. Jack Disney hosts at the East Paddock Gardens . . . Tomorrow, 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.