Creative Cause will break from the No. 2 post position when he makes his 3-year-old debut Sunday in the Grade II, $150,000 San Vicente Stakes for 3-year-olds at seven furlongs. Joel Rosario feels the 3-5 favorite on Jon White’s morning line is ready for another solid performance, no matter the draw.

“I don’t think the post will be a problem,” said Rosario, who, with three more wins Friday, has opened a 42-33 lead over runner-up Rafael Bejarano in Santa Anita’s standings through 33 racing days. “He’s probably the best horse in the race so the post position shouldn’t matter.

“If he comes back running the way he did when he left, I think he’s going to be really tough, but no one knows until the race is run. It’s horse racing and no one knows what’s going to happen.”

Creative Cause, a gray son of Giant’s Causeway owned by Heinz Steinmann and trained by Mike Harrington, has not raced since finishing third by a length after a wide trip in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile at Churchill Downs on Nov. 5. Prior to that, he won the Grade I Norfolk Stakes at Santa Anita by 3 ¼ lengths on Oct. 1. Rosario was aboard each time.

“Mike usually leaves strategy up to me,” Rosario said. “Even when I rode him before he never told me anything. Just ride him and do your thing and hopefully put him in the winner’s circle.”

The field for the San Vicente, race seven of nine: Let’s Get Crackin, Victor Espinoza, 6-1; Creative Cause, Joel Rosario, 3-5; Drill, Martin Garcia, 9-2; Smoking G, Corey Nakatani, 8-1; American Act, Martin Pedroza, 4-1; and Captain Obvious, Mario Gutierrez, 12-1.


Trainer Simon Callaghan expects dramatic improvement from Up In Time when she runs in Monday’s Presidents’ Day feature, the Grade II, $150,000 Buena Vista Handicap for older fillies and mares at one mile on the turf.

The 4-year-old English-bred filly finished fifth in the Grade III Monrovia Stakes at about 6 ½ furlongs on turf on Jan. 2. In her two previous races at one mile on turf, the daughter of Noverre won each time, including the Grade III Harold C. Ramser at Santa Anita last Oct. 16.

“She’s definitely back at her best distance of a mile,” Callaghan said. “She ran 6 ½ last time and it was a little bit sharp for her, and it was a good field. The mile is an ideal distance for her and she’s training really well coming into the race. We’re really happy with her.”

Added Brice Blanc, who rode Up In Time in the Monrovia and is back on for the Buena Vista: “The mile is going to be a lot better for her. She’s more steady at that distance. In the Monrovia when we crossed the dirt, she didn’t quite quicken. She stayed about the same pace.” p>Strawberry Morn, the dam of Buena Vista Handicap entrant Strawberrydaiquiri, won the very first race ever run at Emerald Downs, the U.S. Bank Stakes, by 10 lengths on June 20, 1996, notes Washington native Jon White, who makes Santa Anita’s morning line.

“Strawberry Morn was a very nice filly,” White said. “She won a whole bunch of stakes races, mostly at Hastings in Vancouver, B.C. Strawberry Morn's sire, Traveling Victor, was the Canadian Horse of the Year in 1983 and won the biggest race in the Northwest, the Longacres Mile, in 1984.”

The Buena Vista will be Strawberrydaiquiri’s California debut and first start for trainer Ben Cecil. The field for the Buena Vista: Wild Mia, David Flores, 6-1; Strawberrydaiquiri, Joel Rosario, 4-1; Cambina, Mike Smith, 4-1; Camille C, Kayla Stra, 30-1; Vamo a Galupiar, Joe Talamo, 7-2; Sweetly Peppered, Kevin Krigger, 30-1; Up in Time, Brice Blanc, 6-1; Andina, Frederic Lenclud, 8-1; City to City, Corey Nakatani, 6-1; So Belle, Chantal Sutherland, 20-1; and Briecat, Victor Espinoza, 8-1.

Santa Anita offers $2 beers, hot dogs and soft drinks on Presidents’ Day. First post time is 12:30 p.m. Gates open at 10:30 a.m.


Breeders’ Cup Sprint champion Amazombie and The Factor, the nation’s two top-rated sprinters in some quarters, are expected to square off in next Saturday’s Grade II, $200,000 San Carlos Stakes at seven furlongs.

The race will mark the belated 2012 debut of Amazombie, who was scheduled to start in the Palos Verdes Stakes on Jan. 21, but was scratched due to an off track.

The Factor has not raced since winning the Grade I Malibu Stakes on Dec. 26, but has a series of strong workouts at Hollywood Park for Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert.

Probable for the San Carlos: Amazombie, Mike Smith; Mensa Heat, Joe Talamo; Rothko, Joel Rosario; Sway Away, Rafael Bejarano; and The Factor, Martin Garcia.


At first launch, approximately 2,000 participants registered in the first 24 hours to play in the first-ever Santa Anita Derby contest patterned after the wildly popular March Madness basketball bracket model, with winners to be determined according to the outcome of the Grade I, $750,000 Santa Anita Derby, to be run on April 7.

“We’re going to have four Derby pools or brackets, with eight horses in each,” said Santa Anita’s Director of Marketing Nate Newby. “Each bracket will start off with the highest-rated horse available and will be filled out in order of preference by horses that are less accomplished.

“For instance, our four top seeds at this point are: Out of Bounds, who won the Grade III Sham Stakes here on Jan. 7, Creative Cause, who won the Grade I Norfolk in October and was third in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile, Fed Biz, who ran lights-out going a mile in his first start against winners on Feb. 9, and I’ll Have Another, who won the Grade II Robert B. Lewis Stakes at a mile and a sixteenth on Feb. 4. Those four horses will be the number one seeds in their respective pools.”

Newby explained that all horses would be evaluated and each bracket would be assembled by a committee of experts, including Racing Secretary Rick Hammerle and racing analysts from Daily Racing Form and HRTV.

“The way this will work is each player will be able to select one horse from each pool and lock in a total of four horses for their own individual four-horse bracket,” said Newby. “There will be points awarded for wins, graded stakes wins and placings in various races. The key for players trying to accumulate the most points is to try and draft horses that aren’t ranked highly and hope they out-run their early rankings.

“For instance, a win in a graded stakes is worth three points. If you draft a horse that is ranked number five overall, and this horse wins a graded stakes, you’ll earn the horse’s ranking times three, or fifteen points. If you had drafted any of the four top-seeded horses, you would only pick up three points, as they are all seeded number-one.”

The winner will receive four tickets to the 2012 Breeders’ Cup at Santa Anita on Nov. 2 and 3, along with a $2,000 win voucher on any horse in the $5 million Breeders’ Cup Classic.

“We realize this is a brand-new concept for horseplayers and we’d like to thank our web team at Salted Stone in Monrovia for helping us with the project launch,” said Newby. “Mike Skeehan and his team have put a very user-friendly website together and we think our fans are going to like it.

“We’d like to encourage everyone to register as they can pick up points this weekend. There are some important Derby preps to be run, including the San Vicente (Grade II) here at Santa Anita on Sunday and the El Camino Real Derby (Grade III) at Golden Gate Fields on Saturday. ”

To sign up please visit


Fans attending next Thursday’s basketball game between Santa Anita’s jockeys and Holy Angels School’s seventh graders at La Salle High School in Pasadena will have more than just an opportunity to watch a worthwhile charity event.

Proceeds from the game will benefit the Holy Angels athletic program and the Kentucky-based Permanently Disabled Jockeys Fund (PDJF). Game time is 7 p.m.

“It’s all about the kids,” said retired Hall of Fame jockey Eddie Delahoussaye, who, along with fellow Hall of Fame riders Laffit Pincay Jr., Gary Stevens and Mike Smith will be available from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m. and at halftime to autograph photos and other memorabilia. They will all serve as honorary captains as well. David Flores will again be the jockeys’ game captain.

“The game is a lot of fun and for a very worthy cause,” added Delahoussaye, one of the greatest riders of his generation and currently keeping the wolf away from the door by buying and selling horses. Now 60 and retired from riding since 2003, Delahoussaye remains one of the most popular people in his sport, thanks to his ready approachability and down-home demeanor.

The Eye on Jacob Foundation will co-sponsor the event. The Eye on Jacob Foundation is named for the 13-year-old son of Hall of Fame jockey Kent Desormeaux, who was diagnosed several years ago with Usher’s Syndrome, a rare disorder that causes loss of hearing, imbalance and eventual loss of sight in approximately 12,000 children in the United States.

HRTV analyst Kurt Hoover will again coach Santa Anita’s jockeys, who won last year in overtime, 36-35, on Kerwin John’s game-winning shot at the buzzer.

This year’s Santa Anita jockey team is expected to include: Flores, Paul Atkinson, Rafael Bejarano, Hector Berrios, Brice Blanc, Antonio Castanon, Keiber Coa, Omar Figueroa, Eswan Flores, Martin Garcia, Mario Gutierrez, Kevin Krigger, Modesto Linares, Edwin Maldonado, Corey Nakatani, Alonso Quinonez, Joel Rosario, Christian Santiago Reyes, Kayla Stra, Chantal Sutherland, Mike Smith, Joe Talamo and perhaps others.

La Salle High School is located at the southwest corner of Michillinda Ave. and Sierra Madre Blvd. in Pasadena, approximately four miles northwest of Santa Anita Park. Admission is $5.

FINISH LINES: Rafael Bejarano passed his citizenship test Thursday in Kentucky, said agent Joe Ferrer, who has booked the 29-year-old native of Peru to ride both Castaway and Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Sprint winner Secret Circle for Bob Baffert in Monday’s split Southwest Stakes at Oaklawn Park . . . Corey Nakatani and Kevin Krigger ride at Golden Gate today. Agent Ron Anderson has engaged Nakatani to ride Casual Trick for Nick Zito in next Sunday’s Fountain of Youth Stakes at Gulfstream Park . . . Agent Tony Matos reports Garrett Gomez hopes to make his return early next month, hopefully in time to ride in the Santa Anita Handicap on March 3. The 40-year-old rider is recovering from a broken left heel suffered in a pre-post parade mishap before the Daytona Stakes on Jan. 8 . . . Kentucky Oaks winner Plum Pretty worked six furlongs on Santa Anita’s main track Saturday in 1:11.80 for Baffert, while 9-year-old Awesome Gem, winner of the Grade I Hollywood Gold Cup in 2010 and earner of well over $2 million, had his first breeze on the comeback trail for Craig Dollase, going three furlongs in 37.20, breezing . . . At Hollywood Park, San Felipe candidate Empire Way worked five furlongs on Cushion Track in 1:01.80 for Mike Harrington, while Kilroe Mile contender Mr. Commons went the same distance in 59.60 for John Shirreffs . . . Filming for the second season of the well-received HBO series “LUCK,” filmed in large part at Santa Anita, begins Tuesday and runs through March 5, pointed out Pete Siberell, Santa Anita’s Director of Community Services and Special Projects . . . Belated congratulations to owner Mike Pegram, who celebrated his 60th birthday Friday, one day before his nephew, agent Brad Pegram, who celebrates No. 36 today. Brad is the son of agent Jim Pegram, known to friends as “Uncle Buck.” At first, Mike was hesitant to reveal his age, but then added smiling: “Let’s put it this way: I’m younger than Uncle Buck.” . . . When an electrical relay problem with the starting gate caused a 23-minute delay before Friday’s fourth race, which was scheduled at 6 ½ furlongs down the hillside turf course, Trevor Denman didn’t lose his patience or his sense of humor. When the situation was finally remedied with the arrival of a new gate, instead of his standard, “The horses have now reached the starting gate,” Denman pulled the old switcheroo when he went on the public address system and said, “The starting gate has now reached the horses.”