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STABLE NOTES BY ED GOLDEN
• McANALLY HOPES TO CONGRATULATE HIMSELF AFTER JOHN HENRY
• SPAWR ‘VERY HAPPY’ WITH AMAZOMBIE WORK FOR SA SPRINT
• VETERAN TURF WRITER ART WILSON ON THE MEND
INTERACTION WOULD BE FITTING WINNER OF JOHN HENRY FOR McANALLY
Ron McAnally might wind up shaking his own hand if Interaction wins Sunday’s inaugural John Henry Turf Championship.
The 80-year-old Hall of Fame trainer conditioned legendary two-time Horse of the Year John Henry, who won 12 of his 20 career starts at The Great Race Place and whose statue stands regally in Santa Anita’s Kingsbury Fountain area. Formerly run as the Clement L. Hirsch Turf Championship, the race was renamed this year to honor the rags to riches gelding.
“If I win it, I’ll make the presentation to myself,” McAnally quipped. “Seriously, it’s fitting to have a race named for John Henry where he won so many of his races. Throughout the country, there are other races named for him, but having one at Santa Anita carries more weight than he used to in his races.”
The field for the John Henry: Grassy, Alonso Quinonez, 6-1; Balladry, Patrick Valenzuela, 20-1; Casino Host, Joe Talamo, 6-1; Temple’s Door, Mike Smith, 20-1; Interaction, Victor Espinoza, 6-1; Turbo Compressor, Joe Bravo, 5-2; Fire with Fire, Martin Garcia, 12-1; Slim Shadey, Garrett Gomez, 4-1; Bourbon Bay, 3-1; and Brushburn, Brice Blanc, 30-1.
AMAZOMBIE HAS SHARP WORK FOR SA SPRINT CHAMPIONSHIP
Champion sprinter Amazombie worked six furlongs on Santa Anita’s main track early Saturday morning in 1:13.60 in his final major drill for next Saturday’s Grade I, Win and You’re In Santa Anita Sprint Championship at six furlongs.
“He went the first quarter in 25 and one and the last in 24 flat,” said trainer Bill Spawr, who owns the 6-year-old California-bred son of Northern Afleet with partner Tom Sanford. “He galloped out (seven furlongs) in 1:26 2/5. I’m very happy.”
Spawr said he might send Amazombie on a “two-minute lick” on Thursday prior to the race, formerly called the Ancient Title Stakes. Jimmy Creed, runner-up in the El Cajon Stakes, worked five furlongs for the SA Sprint in a bullet 58.20, fastest of 37 drills at the distance.
VETERAN TURF WRITER ART WILSON ‘CANCER-FREE’ & HOPES TO RETURN SOON
Art Wilson, veteran columnist and Assistant Sports Editor with the San Gabriel Valley News Group (Pasadena Star-News, San Gabriel Valley Tribune and Whittier Daily News) reports that he’s on the mend after battling a form of leukemia for almost one year.
“My doctors have told me I’m cancer-free,” said Wilson, who fell ill covering last year’s Breeders’ Cup World Championships at Churchill Downs. “My kidney function was greatly reduced as a result of the cancer and that’s what got me in trouble. I’ve been undergoing a lot of chemotherapy and dialysis and it’s been very tough but I’m now hoping to be back covering the races at Santa Anita by January 1.
“I really want to thank my family and all of my friends at the racetrack; they’ve been very supportive and it’s helped me get through this. I started coming to the races with my dad when I was a little kid and I can’t wait to get back.”
Wilson also noted that due to the fact his health has now “stabilized,” he would soon be undergoing a bone marrow transplant at UCLA, which he’s hoping will set him on the road to permanent recovery.
FINISH LINES: Top jockey Rafael Bejarano escaped serious injury after being unseated going to the far turn in yesterday’s fifth race and although he was off his remaining mounts, he worked horses Saturday morning and is expected to fulfill his nine riding engagements today . . . Beholder, 3-1 second choice in today’s Chandelier Stakes, was scratched from the race. “She’s training like she doesn’t want to go that far,” said Hall of Fame trainer Richard Mandella, “so we’ll have to come up with a new plan.” . . . Scott Blasi has four horses at Santa Anita for trainer Steve Asmussen but expects more. “There are a lot of (Breeders’ Cup) preps left to run and we’ve got others we plan to bring in,” said Asmussen’s chief assistant, who saddled 3-1 favorite Unbridled’s Note to an authoritative 1 ¼-length victory in Friday’s Eddie D Stakes, hopefully a forerunner to the Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint Nov. 3 . . . Japanese-bred Trailblazer, slated to run in the Grade II Arroyo Seco Mile next Saturday, worked five furlongs at Hollywood Park Thursday in 59.40. He’s trained by Yasutoshi Ikee . . . ShowVivor, Santa Anita’s popular on line handicapping contest, resumes today. For details, go to www.santaanita.com.