Despite heavy rain that forced cancellation of Saturday’s stakes-laden card, horsemen made whatever adjustments were necessary and moved forward towards next Saturday, when the Grade I Las Virgenes Stakes, the Grade II Robert B. Lewis Stakes and the Grade II Strub Stakes have been rescheduled.

“Blind Luck will have an easy work Tuesday,” said Jerry Hollendorfer assistant Dan Ward of the Eclipse Award finalist for champion 2-year-old filly of 2009, a prohibitive favorite for the Las Virgenes. “She’s very smart. Two years ago, when Heatseeker ran second in the San Antonio, they had pushed it back so that there were only three weeks until the Santa Anita Handicap, and he won anyway, so there wasn’t much difference.”

Eoin Harty said Hollywood Prevue winner American Lion would work tomorrow for the Lewis. “No major adjustments,” the trainer said. “We’ll just try again.”

Mike Machowsky expressed similar sentiment when asked about unbeaten Lewis contender Caracortado. “He’ll work five furlongs Monday, and there’s not much difference from his routine,” the trainer said. “We’ll just keep him in shape until the race.”


Santa Anita has announced that three major stakes, the Grade I Las Virgenes, the Grade II Robert B. Lewis and Grade II Strub, which were cancelled Saturday due to rain, have been rescheduled next Saturday, Feb. 13.

All three races will be redrawn and all horses that were nominated are eligible to be entered.

The Grade II Santa Maria Handicap will also be carded as originally scheduled on Saturday.

In addition to the three graded stakes that were cancelled Saturday, the $65,000 Leroidesanimaux Handicap and the $60,000 Wishing Well Handicap will be redrawn and carded for either Thursday, Feb. 11, or Friday, Feb. 12.

The remaining five overnight races that were cancelled Saturday will be offered again as extra races to horsemen in the coming week. Those races that are used will be redrawn and are open to all horses who meet eligibility requirements.


Hall of Fame jockey Mike Smith is looking forward to riding Mast Track in today’s Grade II, $150,000 San Antonio Handicap for older horses at 1 1/8 miles, a major steppingstone to the Grade I, $750,000 Santa Anita Handicap on March 6.

Smith rides Mast Track for Shirreffs for the first time in the San Antonio. The 6-year-old Mizzen Mast horse previously was trained by the late Bobby Frankel and his top aide, Humberto Ascanio, before being turned over to Shirreffs.

“He’s been training really well,” Smith said of the 2008 Hollywood Gold Cup winner, now owned by Stronach Stables. “I worked him the last two times and he went nice and easy, well in hand. I’m looking for him to run big. He’s a nice horse and looks really good. He’s coming off a good race (a front-running victory in the Grade III Native Diver Handicap at 1 1/8 miles on Dec. 12), so hopefully he’ll keep moving forward.”


The 43rd annual Holy Angels-Santa Anita Jockeys Charity Basketball Game will take place Thursday, Feb. 25, 7:15 p.m., at LaSalle High School in Pasadena. Proceeds will benefit the Holy Angels athletic department. Legendary Hall of Fame jockeys Eddie Delahoussaye and Laffit Pincay Jr. will be on hand along with four-time national money-earnings champion Garrett Gomez to sign autographs beginning at 6:15 p.m.

Delahoussaye, Gomez and Pincay will also serve as honorary co-captains. Top rider David Flores, who has solidified the jockeys’ attack for more than 15 years, will once again serve as game captain.

“We’ve got a great bunch of guys and we have a lot of fun with this game every year,” said Flores. “There are a lot of great people at Holy Angels and they’ve meant a lot to us here at Santa Anita over the years. This game helps raise money for their sports programs and we have a lot fun with it.

“The last couple of years, they’ve had some pretty big players, but we’re fit and we’ll give ‘em a good game. My kids like to come and they have a blast every year. It should be great.”

As he has for the past 10 years, HRTV anchor/analyst Kurt Hoover will coach the jockeys. “I really think we had more fun last year than ever before,” said Hoover. “David does such a great job in getting the jocks to come out and play and most importantly, to stay loose and have fun with it. I’ll tell you one thing—that gym at LaSalle gets jam-packed and it’s LOUD in there.

“The whole night has a great feel to it and one of the best things is watching how the little kids react to the game. They love it. Paul Atkinson usually has his two little girls there and they treat this like an NBA title game.”

Along with Flores and Atkinson, Rafael Bejarano, Joel Rosario, Mike Smith, Joe Talamo, Martin Garcia, Brice Blanc, Alonso Quinonez, Felipe Valdez, Mike Baze, Tyler Baze, Omar Berrio and others are expected to participate.

In addition to having fun, Hoover is optimistic about the jockeys’ prospects this year. “It’s my understanding that a couple of their tallest kids graduated last year, so hopefully, we won’t have too many trees to contend with. We’ll rely on our quickness and physical condition and I think we’ll be very competitive,” he said.

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

FINISH LINES: There is a Pick Six carryover of $85,150 going into today’s races . . . Julien Leparoux arrived Saturday for his stakes engagements only to learn the card was cancelled, but the 2009 Eclipse Award winner as outstanding jockey rides at Santa Anita today and will be back next Saturday for the mounts he missed yesterday . . . Eclipse Award-winning apprentice rider Christian Santiago Reyes will be at Oaklawn Park on Presidents’ Day, Monday, Feb. 15, to ride Cardiff Giant for Jorge Periban in the Grade III Southwest Stakes . . . Bob Baffert and John Sadler were in a flat-footed tie for training honors going into Sunday. Each had 14 wins from 70 starters. Doug O’Neill was third with 12 wins from 61 . . . With three wins Friday, Rafael Bejarano opened a 36-27 lead over runner-up Victor Espinoza in the jockeys’ race . . . Round III of the Strub Handicapping Contest has been rescheduled for Saturday, Feb. 13.