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STABLE NOTES BY ED GOLDEN
• OUTSIDER LITTLE JERRY TRAINING WELL FOR GRADE II LEWIS
• MAN IN MOTION SHIPS IN FOR GRADE II STRUB STAKES
• SADLER LIKES DRAW FOR VAGABOND SHOES IN ARCADIA
• BASMATI SEEKS SHOCKER AGAINST GAME ON DUDE IN SAN ANTONIO
• SUPER BOWL HANDICAP RUN IN TWO DIVISIONS ON SUNDAY
• ON-TRACK PICK SIX TICKET BOUGHT FOR JUST $32, NABS 20% BONUS
LITTLE JERRY TACKLES HEAVYWEIGHTS IN GRADE II ROBERT B. LEWIS
Bet on this: Little Jerry will be the longest shot in Saturday’s Robert B. Lewis Stakes, but it makes no never mind to Richard Baltas.
“We didn’t enter just to make the race go,” said the 51-year-old trainer of the chestnut son of Candy Ride, owned by Jason Tackitt of Riverside and Jerry Fialkowski of Lomita.
Still, Baltas will settle for a piece of the purse, which he is assured of anyway since only four horses were entered in the Grade II race for 3-year-olds at 1 1/16 miles.
“That’s not the reason,” Baltas continued. “I feel Iike we’ve got a legitimate shot. He’s a nice horse. We entered because the horse is doing well.”
Little Jerry won his first start, coming from eighth and last at the half-mile marker to win by a neck at 25-1 in a mile and one-sixteenth maiden allowance race at Betfair Hollywood Park last Nov. 18. He was raised to the Grade I CashCall Futurity next out, finishing eighth by 15 ½ lengths on Dec. 15. Each time he got off to a slow start.
“The first time he ran he really wasn’t ready to run,” Baltas said. “In that race, he never had any dirt in his face, he was in the clear and he won. When we ran him in the CashCall, it was probably too tough of a spot.
“When he (jockey Aaron Gryder) broke he put the horse right on the rail and he ate all the dirt or whatever you want to call it (Cushion Track). He came back, he coughed like 20 times and he had a bit of mucous.
“Since then he’s trained really well. He’s not a real speed horse, so we’re just going to let him run his race.”
Little Jerry’s moniker, from the fertile mind of Tackitt, is derived from a Seinfeld episode in which a fighting rooster--Little Jerry--is named for Jerry Seinfeld. Other than that, the adjective really isn’t appropriate.
“The horse is well over 16 hands,” Baltas said. “He’s a monster.”
In other Lewis news:
Julien Leparoux figures he might be on the lead by default aboard favored Flashback.
The Eclipse Award-winning jockey rode the gray son of Tapit to victory in his only start, a seven-furlong maiden allowance race at Betfair Hollywood Park last Dec. 8, coming from midpack to win by 3 ½ lengths at even money.
“We were on the outside that day,” Leparoux said, referring to post position No. 9 in a nine-horse field. “There was no traffic, we kept him outside, and he won easy. We’ll see what happens (in the Lewis), but I suppose we’re going to be on the lead, looking at the past performances.
“Hopefully we can control the race and win it. It’s tough when it’s a four-horse field. Even the two horses that don’t show any speed (He’s Had Enough and Little Jerry), in a field this small, they might show a little bit more.”
Trainer Doug O’Neill on Breeders’ Cup Juvenile runner-up He’s Had Enough: “He’s doing well. He’s kind of a tricky horse. He doesn’t apply himself every time, but the good thing is, Mario’s (Gutierrez) gotten to know him better and the horse put in a good work the other day, although he probably didn’t want to.
“But Mario made sure he did. He came out of it in good shape. It’s a short field and he doesn’t have a lot of speed away from the gate, so that’s a disadvantage. But win, lose or draw, as long as he runs to the best of his ability, we’ll be happy.”
The field for the Lewis: Little Jerry, Tyler Baze, 8-1; Flashback, Julien Leparoux, 3-5; Den’s Legacy, Garrett Gomez, 5-2; and He’s Had Enough, Mario Gutierrez, 3-1.
Santa Anita offers a $400,000 guaranteed Pick 4 presented by Daily Racing Form on Saturday, Strub Stakes Day, which features three Grade II races.
Super Bowl Sunday is Dollar Day for Thoroughbreds members. General admission is only a buck for all Thoroughbreds members.
First post time is 11 a.m. Gates open at 9 a.m.
EAST COAST SHIPPER DOING WELL FOR STRUB STAKES
Conditions were suitable for trainer Graham Motion to ship Stephanoatsee from the East Coast for Saturday’s Grade II, $200,000 Strub Stakes for 4-year-olds at 1 1/8 miles.
The son of A.P. Indy owned and bred by My Meadowview Farm, LLC, last ran on Nov. 17 at Aqueduct, finishing third in the Grade III Discovery Handicap at nine furlongs.
“We got in Tuesday afternoon and he’s been training every day since,” said Motion assistant Alice Clapham. “He’s been in great form here. We had horses here in the past for a couple of years, so we’ve been here before.
“This horse needs a mile and an eighth and it seemed like a good spot for him. There really wasn’t much around and he was ready to run.”
The field for the Strub: Fed Biz, Mike Smith, 2-1; Guilt Trip, Joe Talamo, 5-2; Tritap, Corey Nakatani, 5-2; Groovin’ Solo, Alonso Quinonez, 30-1; Handsome Mike, Mario Gutierrez, 6-1; and Stephanoatsee, Julien Leparoux, 4-1. Shadow Runner was scratched.
VAGABOND SHOES MAKES U.S DEBUT IN GRADE II ARCADIA
Vagabond Shoes makes his U.S. debut in Saturday’s Grade II Arcadia Stakes at one mile on turf and John Sadler is looking forward to it.
“We got a good draw (post position three),” said Santa Anita’s training leader through Thursday with 13 wins. “I was so happy to see him draw inside in a big field.”
Vagabond Shoes worked six furlongs on Santa Anita’s firm turf course Monday in 1:13.20.
“It was a little bit wet because of the rain,” Sadler said. “I’ve had the horse since sometime before this meet started. He’s got a very good record overseas. He was a Group 3 winner last year . . . he’s run all over the place. He’s a nice horse.”
The field for the Arcadia: Klisz, Mike Smith, 15-1; Forest Mouse, Edwin Maldonado, 20-1; Vagabond Shoes, Julien Leparoux, 8-1; Tribal Tribute, Gary Stevens, 30-1; Sebastian Flyte, Agapito Delgadillo, 30-1; Akkadian, Garrett Gomez, 8-1; Silentio, Rafael Bejarano, 6-1; Willyconker, Kevin Krigger, 12-1; Key Decision, Victor Espinoza, 20-1; Clubhouse Ride, Aaron Gryder, 20-1; Wilkinson, Martin Pedroza, 9-2; Chosen Miracle, Tyler Baze, 6-1; Suggestive Boy, Joe Talamo, 9-2; and Strong Suit, Jamie Spencer, 4-1.
GAME ON DUDE AGAINST THE FIELD IN SUNDAY’S SAN ANTONIO
Basmati is one of four rivals shooting for the moon in Sunday’s San Antonio Stakes. The chestnut son of Borrego owned by Zillah Reddam and trained by Doug O’Neill takes on 1-5 morning line favorite Game On Dude in the Grade II race, a steppingstone to the Grade I, $750,000 Santa Anita Handicap on March 2.
Basmati finished ninth and last in the Grade I Malibu at seven furlongs last out, on Dec. 26, but Doug’s brother, Dennis, feels it’s worth rolling the dice against Game On Dude.
“He came out of the Malibu really good and we knew it was going to be a short field (in the San Antonio),” Dennis said. “Figuring Game On Dude wasn’t totally cranked and looking ahead towards the Santa Anita Handicap, that’s what went into the thinking in running.
“The horse is training really, really well and I would think he’ll be close up. If he can run second or third, that would be huge.”
The San Antonio field: Clubhouse Ride, Aaron Gryder, 9-2; Game On Dude, Mike Smith, 1-5; Make Music for Me, Martin Garcia, 10-1; Chosen Miracle, Joe Talamo, 4-1; and Basmati, Mario Gutierrez, 8-1.
SUNDAY’S SUPER BOWL PARTY HANDICAP SPLIT INTO TWO DIVISIONS
Sunday’s Super Bowl Starter Handicap for 4-year-olds and up at one mile turf was split into two divisions. The fourth race is the San Francisco Division, while the sixth is the Baltimore Division.
This is the eighth straight year Santa Anita’s racing department has offered the popular race, but for the first time, it will be run in two divisions.
Rags-to-riches Unusual Jazz drew the rail in the Baltimore, which, like the San Francisco, offers a $40,000 purse.
“He’ll sit in behind leaders and make one run from the quarter pole to the wire,” said trainer Steve Knapp, who claimed Unusual Jazz for $8,000 at Fairplex in September of 2011 before he climbed the ranks, earning some $170,000 along the way.
The 6-year-old Unusual Heat horse won the March Madness Handicap at Santa Anita going nine furlongs on grass last March and won his last start at a mile on turf by 2 ¼ lengths.
“He came out of the last race very, very well and he’s very sharp right now,” Knapp added. As for Super Bowl XLVII matching the 49ers and the Ravens, Knapp is leaning towards Baltimore, a three-point underdog. “I’d like to see Baltimore win,” he said. “I’d like to see Ray Lewis go out with a victory.”
PICK SIX BONANZA FOR ONE LUCKY ($32) ON-TRACK TICKET ON THURSDAY
Thursday’s Pick Six yielded three winning tickets, each worth $15,283.60. One of them was purchased for just $32 on-track, and was thus eligible for Santa Anita’s 20 percent on-track Pick Six Bonus.
With a 20 percent bonus of $3,056, the lone on-track winner was worth a total of $18,340.32. In order to be eligible for the on-track bonus, Pick Six players must scan their Thoroughbreds Card prior to making all Pick Six wagers.
FINISH LINES: With winning favorite Super Ninety Nine capturing Thursday’s sixth race, 16 players advanced in Santa Anita’s on line handicapping contest, ShowVivor . . . Bob Baffert said both Super Ninety Nine and runner-up Code West came out of the race in good order and are ticketed for stakes engagements in their next starts . . . Ron Ellis has last year’s Santa Margarita winner Include Me Out back jogging at Betfair Hollywood Park after a respite, and is pointing Santa Monica winner Teddy’s Promise to the Grade III Las Flores Stakes at 6 ½ furlongs on March 10.