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STABLE NOTES BY ED GOLDEN
• McANALLY RETURNS TO WINNING WAYS AT SANTA ANITA
• TORRE WILL BE AT SANTA ANITA IN SPIRIT FOR BIG ’CAP
• SPAWR EYES POTRERO GRANDE IN APRIL FOR AMAZOMBIE
McANALLY, INTERACTION HEALTHY FOR SAN MARCOS STAKES
The good news for Ron McAnally these days is, his horses are in better shape than he is. But the 80-year-old Hall of Fame trainer is soldiering on anyway.
McAnally registered his first winner of the meet last Friday when Special Charm, owned and bred by his wife, Debbie, posted a three-quarter length win in the fifth race. Not one to rest on his laurels, McAnally sent out Suggestive Boy to win Saturday’s Grade II Arcadia Stakes.
It was the 699th career win at Santa Anita for McAnally, who ranks third behind two late Hall of Fame greats, Bobby Frankel (917) and Charlie Whittingham (869).
McAnally, recently back at Santa Anita after undergoing surgery on his left knee, hopes to continue his winning ways when he sends out turf marathoner Interaction in Saturday’s Grade II San Marcos Stakes at 1 1/4 miles on turf.
“I think a mile and a quarter is more suitable for him than a mile and a half, although he won the Pellegrini at that distance in Argentina,” McAnally said of the 7-year-old Argentine-bred son of Easing Along, who missed by three-quarters of a length in the Grade II, mile and a half Hollywood Turf Cup last out on Dec. 15. “The horse is training well,” McAnally added.
Interaction will be looking for his first stakes win in the U.S. in the San Marcos. He is coming off five straight stakes, a Grade I in the Eddie Read in which he finished second to champion Acclamation, followed by four straight Grade II outings.
The field for the San Marcos, race nine of 10: Interaction, Joe Talamo, 7-2 ; Juniper Pass, Rafael Bejarano, 6-1; All Squared Away, Garrett Gomez, 10-1; Temple’s Door, Tyler Baze, 8-1; Richard’s Kid, Edwin Maldonado, 6-1; Dreamcatcher, David Flores, 12-1; Golden Itiz, Victor Espinoza, 12-1; Bridge of Gold, Julien Leparoux, 20-1; Fast Track, Orlando Mojica, 30-1; Smart Ellis, Flavien Prat, 12-1; Fire With Fire, Martin Garcia, 10-1; Shaun Washington, Brice Blanc, 20-1; Slim Shadey, Gary Stevens, 9-2; and Huntsville, Corey Nakatani, 15-1.
McAnally called the No. 1 post position for Interaction “perfect.”
In other San Marcos news:
Doug O’Neill on Richard’s Kid, who worked six furlongs in company with Russdiculous on Santa Anita’s fast main track last Saturday morning in 1:12.40 under jockey Kevin Krigger: “He finished up really strong. He looked really good.”
Trainer Patrick Biancone on Bridge of Gold, who makes his second American start and his first since last August: “I’ve had him for three months. He seems to have acclimated well. He worked good, but when we run him, we’ll see where we are. Hopefully he adapts well to American racing.”
BASEBALL GREAT TORRE TO MISS GAME ON DUDE’S BIG ’CAP
Joe Torre won’t be at Santa Anita to see Game On Dude run in the Santa Anita Handicap on March 2. A prior commitment to manage the United States team in the World Baseball Classic competition that starts the same day as the Big ‘Cap precludes the baseball great from watching the multi-millionaire gelding he owns in part run in the Grade I classic at a mile and a quarter.
Torre won’t be lacking in updates, however. He’ll get them first hand from Game On Dude’s Hall of Fame trainer, Bob Baffert.
“Joe’s a real gentleman,” Baffert said Thursday morning. “He loves horse racing and he checks in with me once in a while on Game On Dude. The little time he gets way (from baseball), he tries to spend it at the track. He loves racing and he loves the people.”
Torre’s schedule allowed him to be at Santa Anita Sunday to see Game On Dude win the Grade II San Antonio Stakes by 6 ½ lengths.
In other news from the Baffert barn:
Impressive maiden winner War Academy worked six furlongs from the gate Monday in 1:12.60 under jockey Martin Garcia. “I just wanted to sharpen him up,” Baffert said in explaining the gate move. “I don’t know what I’m doing yet (as to his next race).
“The gray horse (Flashback) will go in the San Felipe (Stakes on March 9).”
John Sadler said Triple Crown hopeful Demonic, who worked five furlongs Tuesday on 1:00.20 under Garrett Gomez, is nominated to the San Vicente (at seven furlongs on Feb. 17) and the San Felipe (at 1 1/16 miles on March 9).
“He’ll probably go in one of the San races,” the trainer said.
Also on the 3-year-old front, Sham Stakes winner Goldencents, pointing to the San Felipe, worked six furlongs Tuesday in a bullet 1:12.40 for Doug O’Neill.
“He worked great,” the trainer said. “He brings it every day. I wish they were all like him. He’s very willing.”
POTRERO GRANDE ON CHAMPION AMAZOMBIE’S AGENDA
Amazombie is back and rarin’ to go. The 2011 Breeders’ Cup Sprint champion had his first official workout Thursday morning since returning from a layoff following a disappointing performance in the 2012 Breeders’ Cup Sprint last Nov. 3.
The California-bred gelding owned by Tom Sanford and trainer Bill Spawr went three furlongs in 38.80 and could make his stakes return at Santa Anita in the Grade II Potrero Grande Stakes at 6 ½ furlongs on April 6.
“I was miffed,“ Spawr joked. “He worked too fast. I wanted him to go 40. He worked a quarter mile about four days ago, but those short works aren’t published. It’s just like an open gallop.
“The track has been playing fine recently for Amazombie’s (stretch-running) style,” Spawr said. “We’ll see how long it lasts. We’d love to run here (in the Potrero Grande). We’ll look at that.”
As for two-time stakes-winning filly Ismene, who disappointed in her return to the races last month after recovering from a chip in her right knee more than a year ago, “We’re just jogging her right now,” Spawr said.
With the major prep races on the road to the Kentucky Derby beginning in earnest, HRTV will offer racing fans the latest information on the Triple Crown trail when it premieres the weekly Fasig-Tipton Pursuit of the Crown, presented by Twinspires.com show, beginning tonight at 5 p.m. Pacific Time.
The comprehensive show will not only focus on the upcoming 139th edition of the "Run for the Roses" from Churchill Downs on Saturday, May 4, but all Triple Crown stops -- the Preakness (May 18) from Pimlico Race Course, and the Belmont Stakes from Belmont Park (June 8).
Laffit Pincay III will host the show, while Hall of Fame jockey Gary Stevens, a three-time Kentucky Derby winner, will deliver his unique insight as analyst. Scott Hazelton will again provide additional Triple Crown news and perspective.
The 30-minute show provides detailed interviews with key owners, trainers, jockeys of Derby/Triple Crown contenders, in addition to offering analysis and profiles of the top 3-year-olds from HRTV's experts.
Beginning Sunday, February 24 (5 p.m. Pacific), HRTV will again introduce a second weekly installment of Fasig-Tipton Pursuit of the Crown, presented by Twinspires.com to its programming schedule. This half-hour show, slated for each Sunday, will offer an instant recap of the weekend's stakes races with Triple Crown implications.
FINISH LINES: Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies champion Beholder worked five furlongs on Santa Anita’s fast main track Thursday morning in 1:01.80. “It was a very easy breeze,” Richard Mandella said by phone from Florida where the Hall of Fame trainer was conducting business. “It was just something to get started for her coming back.” Beholder is ticketed for the Grade I Las Virgenes Stakes at one mile on March 2 . . . Renee’s Titan, who upset Beholder in the Santa Ynez Stakes on Jan. 21, worked five furlongs for Doug O’Neill in 1:01.40 from the gate . . . On Santa Anita’s firm turf course Thursday, Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint winner Mizdirection worked six furlongs in a bullet 1:12.80 for Mike Puype, while Megahertz Stakes winner A Jealous Woman went five furlongs on in a bullet 50 flat for trainer Francis Meza . . . Rainy day feeling: Santa Anita offers special racing on Monday, Feb. 18, Presidents’ Day. Attractive Santa Anita umbrellas will be given free to fans at the track with paid admission while supplies last . . . Veteran turf handicapper Prof. Gordon Jones will join his daughter, HRTV’s Joanne Jones, on HRTV’s Fans’ Forum, 11:30 a.m. Sunday morning in the East Paddock Gardens . . . Joe Talamo, Santa Anita’s second-leading rider entering Thursday’s races, will be Steve Andersen’s guest at Saturday’s Daily Racing Form seminar, 11:30 a.m. in the East Paddock Gardens . . . As a community service, Santa Anita’s Director of Community Services & Special Projects Pete Siberell notes that the track will be providing the parking lot inside of Gate 1 to the Girl Scouts of America for its distribution of cookies to local chapters. The event will take place from 5 a.m. to 5 p.m. this Saturday . . . ShowVivor had only four players alive entering Thursday’s races as the popular online handicapping contest neared the finish line.