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STABLE NOTES BY ED GOLDEN
• STEVENS SAVORS NINE SANTA ANITA DERBY SUCCESSES
• TRAINER ROLLS DICE IN SATURDAY’S RICH CAL-BRED STAKES
• GOMEZ TO THROW OUT FIRST BALL FOR DODGERS
RECORD NINE SANTA ANITA DERBY WINS BY STEVENS ONE FOR THE AGES
Joe DiMaggio’s 56-game hitting streak; Ted Williams batting .406; Wilt Chamberlain scoring 100 points in a game; Woody Stephens winning five Belmont Stakes in a row; and Kelso being named Horse of the Year five straight times.
Add one more to the list of sports records not likely to be broken: Gary Stevens winning the Santa Anita Derby nine times. Back in the saddle again since coming out of retirement three months ago after a seven-year absence, the 50-year-old Stevens could enhance his record if his mount this year, Storm Fighter trained by Bruce Headley, wins the Grade I, $750,000 test at 1 1/8 miles, worth 100 qualifying points to the May 4 Kentucky Derby.
“I’m proud of it,” Stevens said of his nine wins. “I was proud when I tied Shoemaker (at eight with Point Given in 2001). When I won my first one (on the filly Winning Colors in 1988) I thought it was the greatest thing on earth, that I’d won a Santa Anita Derby.
“Then to tie Shoe with eight . . . It’s cool that I’ve got nine, but it would have been all right with me to just stay tied with Shoe at eight. That’s great company to be in.”
After winning with Winning Colors, Stevens went on to capture the Santa Anita Derby in 1990 (Mister Frisky), 1993 (Personal Hope), 1994 (Brocco), 1995 (Larry the Legend), 1998 (Indian Charlie), 1999 (General Challenge), 2001 (Point Given) and 2003 (Buddy Gil).
Asked if one stood above the others, Stevens was quick to respond.
“Winning Colors ran just a freakish race that day,” he said. “Then she went on and won the Kentucky Derby. The whole conglomeration started me on a roll for my entire career.
“The first (Santa Anita Derby win) was the coolest one. Larry the Legend was a great race. He was a fighter . . . Buddy Gil, Mister Frisky, Brocco, Personal Hope. Each win had its special thing, but Winning Colors, that was the one.” In other Santa Anita Derby news:
Bob Baffert said Thursday morning he plans to enter three horses in the race he’s won six times: Flashback, Super Ninety Nine and Power Broker.
Super Ninety Nine, 11 ¼-length winner of a division of the Southwest Stakes at Oaklawn Park Feb. 18, worked four furlongs on Santa Anita’s fast main track Thursday in 47.20. Den’s Legacy, ticketed for the Arkansas Derby on April 13, worked four furlongs for Baffert in a bullet 47 seconds flat.
Doug O’Neill reports Sham Stakes winner Goldencents is “doing great” as he readies for his rematch with San Felipe’s one-two finishers, Hear the Ghost and Flashback. “He’ll work six furlongs tomorrow,” the trainer said.
On Santa Anita Derby Day, Daily Racing Form presents a $750,000 guaranteed Late Pick 4; fans at Santa Anita will be offered a free Santa Anita Derby T-shirt with paid admission, while supplies last; KROQ presents Iration in concert; and there will be more than 50 microbrew/craft beer vendors, in addition to Premium Food Trucks.
Online and mail-in registration for Santa Anita’s popular Derby Day 5K Run and Walk on April 6 is available at www.kinaneevents.com or by mail addressed to: Santa Anita Derby Day 5K, c/o Time Management, P.O. Box 131314, Carlsbad, Ca. 92013-1314.
For more information, visit www.kinaneevents.com.
PALMA PUTS MONEY WHERE HIS HOPES ARE FOR SATURDAY STAKES
Hector Palma is optimistic that horses he trains for Saturday’s rich California-bred or sired 3-year-old stakes are going to run well. How confident? He put up a total of $75,000 in supplemental nomination fees--$25,000 each for three horses--to enter the $200,000 Evening Jewel Stakes for fillies and the $200,000 Echo Eddie Stakes.
The standard nominating fee is $200. The $25,000 fee makes horses eligible for the entire Golden State series.
The three horses Palma supplemented at 25G’s a pop are Good Party in the Evening Jewel and Indian Classic and Fighting Hussar in the Echo Eddie.
“The horses are doing well; that’s the reason I entered,” Palma said. “Fighting Hussar couldn’t handle the track at all (when he finished fifth going a mile on a wet/fast surface in the California Breeders’ Championship Jan. 26). His last race (fourth going six furlongs March 10) set him up well for Saturday’s race.”
Indian Classic broke his maiden on March 1 in his first start since running second in his debut last June.
“Good Party also didn’t like the wet/fast track at all when she finished 10th in the Cal Breeders (filly division on Jan. 26),” Palma continued. “I don’t think she was over the effects of that race when she ran fifth last out.” Good Party was steadied in that race at six furlongs, further compromising her chances. "She was afraid of the dirt hitting her and was running in spots. But she’s worked pretty good since, so we’re giving her one more chance.”
The field for the Evening Jewel, race six of nine: Tilde, Edwin Maldonado; Sweet Marini, Joe Talamo; Awe Golly Molly, Orlando Mojica; Sacred Delight, Tyler Baze; Marks Mine, Abel Cedillo; Cloudy Moon, Kevin Krigger; Hail Mary, Julien Leparoux; Qiaona, Garrett Gomez; Doinghardtimeagain, Rafael Bejarano; Sweetest Secret, Victor Espinoza; and Good Party, Eswan Flores.
The field for the Echo Eddie, which goes as race eight: Back to Bako, Julien Leparoux; Follini, Tyler Baze; Surfcup, Rafael Bejarano; Could Be Troubles, Garrett Gomez; Alydidit, Orlando Mojica; Indian Classic, Eswan Flores; Raised a Secret, Kevin Krigger; Hunger, Edwin Maldonado; I’m Denny Crane, Aaron Gryder; Fighting Hussar, Victor Espinoza; and Lovmeister, Agapito Delgadillo.
GOMEZ THROWS OUT FIRST PITCH FRIDAY NIGHT FOR DODGERS
Two-time Eclipse award winning jockey Garrett Gomez has been selected to throw out the first pitch Friday night at Dodger Stadium, as the Dodgers host their cross-town rivals, the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim.
America’s leading jockey by money-won four consecutive years from 2006 through 2009, Gomez won back-to-back Eclipse Awards in 2007 and 2008.
Gomez, who is in search of his first Kentucky Derby win, has been named to ride the probable favorite in the upcoming Grade I Santa Anita Derby on April 6, the Bob Baffert-trained Flashback.
A striking grey, Kentucky-bred Flashback comes off a strong second-place finish as the favorite in the Grade II San Felipe Stakes on March 9.
Under a new Kentucky Derby qualifying system instituted by Churchill Downs, the winner of the Santa Anita Derby will receive 100 points, and thus be guaranteed a berth in the Run for the Roses on May 4.
A winner of 13 Breeders’ Cup races, Gomez, 41, is currently on the ballot for consideration for induction into the National Museum of Racing Hall of Fame.
In addition, his tell-all book, “The Garrett Gomez Story: A Jockey’s Journey Through Addiction & Salvation” is a finalist for the Tony Ryan book award.
A native of Tucson, Arizona, Gomez is an avid golfer and resides in nearby Duarte with his wife, Pam, son, Jared and daughter, Amanda.
Game time Friday at Dodger Stadium is at 7:10 p.m., with the first pitch to be thrown out at approximately 6:30 p.m.
HRTV PREMIERES ‘INSIDE INFORMATION: THE RIVALRY’ ON SUNDAY
Compelling rivalries have always produced great drama in horseracing, and the unforgettable rivalry that evolved between legendary Hall of Fame stars Sunday Silence and Easy Goer will be the subject of a two-part special unveiled by HRTV's award-winning documentary show, ‘Inside Information.’
Part one premieres this Sunday at 5:30 p.m. Pacific Time. Part two will air on Sunday, April 28, also at 5:30 p.m. Pacific Time
In 1989, the clashing of Sunday Silence and Easy Goer on the track was the culmination of what many believed a "perfect" rivalry.
The two were owned by prominent owners in the sport's history--Arthur Hancock, in partnership with Hall of Fame trainer Charlie Whittingham, and Dr. Edward Gailliard (Sunday Silence), and Ogden Phipps (Easy Goer). Each was trained by legendary Hall of Famers--the aforementioned Whittingham guiding Sunday Silence, and Shug McGaughey prepping Easy Goer.
A coast-to-coast rivalry quickly ensued with Easy Goer perceived as an "East Coast" horse, while Sunday Silence commandeered attention of those on the West Coast.
Part one focuses on the early portions of both horse's careers, and sets up the collision course for the first Saturday in May, which resulted in Sunday Silence's resounding Kentucky Derby win over Easy Goer.
Part two will include the succeeding three epic battles between the two, including Easy Goer's derailing of Sunday Silence's Triple Crown bid in the Belmont, through Sunday Silence's gritty neck victory in the Breeders' Cup showdown, en route to "Horse of the Year" honors. It will also dissect each's legacy, and chronicle their post-racetrack careers, which included an outstanding stud career in Japan for Sunday Silence, and Easy Goer's premature death.
The shows offer interviews with many key figures of the rivalry, including: McGaughey, Pat Day (Easy Goer's jockey), Patrick Valenzuela (Sunday Silence's jockey), Peggy Whittingham, Chris McCarron (who rode Sunday Silence in the Breeders' Cup), track announcer Trevor Denman, prominent turf writer Bill Finley, Hancock, and many more.
SURGERY SET TODAY FOR JOCKEY JOY SCOTT
Joy Scott was scheduled to undergo surgery this afternoon at Huntington Memorial Hospital on a compound fracture of her right femur suffered in a March 12 in a training accident at Santa Anita.
“They’re inserting a rod and several plates now that the infection has cleared up,” said trainer Howard Zucker, who is spearheading a fundraising effort for the 54-year-old jockey, with the help of Bob Fletcher of the Winners Foundation. “They’re putting some hardware in her.”
FINISH LINES: Fans at Santa Anita Saturday can bet on races six, seven, eight and nine from Dubai on World Cup Day. Post time for the sixth race is 8:45 a.m. Pacific Time, while post time for the last Dubai race is 11:05 a.m. The Top of the Stretch opens at 8 a.m. for wagering on the aforementioned races . . . Sunday is Easter family Fun Day at Santa Anita from 12 noon to 4 p.m. The Great Race Place presents San Gabriel Valley’s biggest Easter Egg Hunt, with more than 15,000 candy-filled eggs up for grabs on a day which includes pony rides, face painting, carnival games, bounce houses and more. Each hunt is $2; kids get in free . . . Host Tom Quigley’s guest Saturday, 11:30 a.m., in the East Paddock Gardens, is Southern California horse player Chuck Baldini, who claims to have "the greatest parlay" in racing history.