Ron Ellis has had Centralinteligence ticketed for the Breeders’ Cup Sprint all year. It was just a matter of how to get there.

The son of 2004 Kentucky Derby winner Smarty Jones is expected to take a major step towards that $2 million goal at Santa Anita on Nov. 2 when he runs in Saturday’s Grade I, “Win and You’re In” Santa Anita Sprint Championship at six furlongs. It will mark his first race since winning the Grade I Triple Bend Handicap at Betfair Hollywood Park on June 29.

“The break was by design,” said Ellis, who trains the 5-year-old chestnut gelding for major owners John and Jerry Amerman, Bob Feld (Bongo Racing) and Gary Finder. “He ran three times in rapid succession at Hollywood (fourth in the Cool Frenchy on May 4 and second in the Los Angeles Handicap on May 27, before the Triple Bend).

“It culminated with a big effort (in the Triple Bend),” Ellis said. “He got a big (Beyer) number (108) and all that. He hasn’t run very well at Del Mar in the past, the one time I tried him down there, and he didn’t train well down there, so we just skipped Del Mar and pointed him for this meet. We worked a minute out of the gate Sunday at Hollywood and he’s ready to go.”

Asked about holding the Breeders’ Cup at Santa Anita for the second of three straight years and the seventh time overall, Ellis said, “It’s a big bonus for us. It’s kind of a home field advantage, so how could you not be for it being here?”

The field for the Santa Anita Sprint Championship, the ninth of 10 races: Gonna Fly Now, Joe Talamo, 12-1; Declassify, Rosie Napravnik, 4-1; Centralinteligence, Victor Espinoza, 4-1; Distintiv Passion, Edwin Maldonado, 12-1; Trinniberg, Jose Valdivia Jr., 4-1; Roman Threat, Gary Stevens, 6-1; Points Offthebench, Mike Smith, 4-1; and Goldencents, Rafael Bejarano, 3-1.


Having ridden her in 12 of her 25 career starts, the last six in a row, Victor Espinoza knows the ways of Teddy’s Promise like the back of his hand.

The 5-year-old Salt Lake mare trained by Ron Ellis has a reputation of not favoring running on the inside, but Espinoza says she is maturing with age, which should be a plus when she goes in Saturday’s $100,000 L.A. Woman Stakes for fillies and mares, three year olds and up, at 6 ½ furlongs. “She ran great at Hollywood (in the Grade II A Gleam Stakes, July 13, finishing second as the 13-10 favorite),” Espinoza said. “I think she’s maturing and has more confidence now being inside horses than before.

“We’d prefer to be outside, and that’s where we are on Saturday. It’s a little bit better post for her. She likes this track, she likes to win and she likes to run fresh, so I’m optimistic.”

The field for the L.A. Woman Stakes: Ismene, Gary Stevens; Sister Kate, Martin Pedroza; Socialbug, Mike Smith; Conkate, Edwin Maldonado; Executiveprivilege, Rafael Bejarano; Teddy’s Promise, Espinoza; and Great Hot, Chantal Sutherland-Kruse.


Gary Stevens took time from having his picture taken in Santa Anita’s winner’s circle to visit New York Monday night where he was among those honored at a dinner in the Grand Ballroom of the Waldorf-Astoria, hosted by the Buoniconti Fund, the fundingraising arm of the Miami Project to Cure Paralysis.

In 1985, Barth A. Green, M.D., and NFL Hall of Fame linebacker Nick Buoniconti, helped found The Miami Project to Cure Paralysis after Nick’s son, Marc, sustained a spinal cord injury during a college football game.

Among the other athletes honored in addition to Stevens were Terry Bradshaw, James Worthy and Nick Faldo.

“It was a great night,” said Stevens, Santa Anita’s riding leader through three days with six wins from 13 mounts, four of the triumphs coming in stakes races. “I enjoy doing charity work and fund raisers, but this was probably one of the most enjoyable I have done.

“I’m a huge advocate of paralysis research. (Bill) Shoemaker had me on the paralysis project of Los Angeles. He was on that board. I’ve been aware of the research that’s been ongoing for many years.”

Stevens and his peers have had their awareness heightened to an even greater extent by the more recent spinal injuries of jockeys Rene Douglas and Eibar Coa.

“The Buoniconti Fund raises money for the Miami project, which is the biggest paralysis researcher in the world,” Stevens said. “They are making wonderful advances; they raised huge money the other night. It was a great evening and a fun night.”

FINISH LINES: Downhill turf sprint specialist Chips All In is scheduled to undergo precautionary diagnostic tests tomorrow morning, after which the winner of the Grade III Eddie D. Stakes on opening day likely will be supplemented to the $1 million Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint at Santa Anita on Nov. 2, Jeff Mullins said. “When you put up $120,000 (including starting fees), you want to make sure everything is OK before you go ‘chips all in,’” the trainer added . . .Defending Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint winner Mizdirection worked five furlongs on turf Thursday morning in 59.40 with Mike Smith aboard for trainer Mike Puype. Private clocker Toby Turrell caught the gray mare in 22 4/5 for the first quarter, going “handily late.” . . . Impressive Fairplex Park maiden winner Come On Alannah, prepping for Sunday’s Surfer Girl Stakes at one mile on turf, blew out three furlongs on grass Thursday in 36.60 for trainer and part owner Michael Talbot . . . Doug O’Neill is still looking for a stallion farm for retired Richard’s Kid, an 8-year-old winner of more than $2.4 million. “We’re working on it,” the trainer said. “There’s a lot of interest. It’s just a matter of finding the best place for him.” . . . Ron McAnally is back from a South American junket that included stops in Buenos Aires and Chile, capped by a visit to Keeneland. “I hadn’t been there for seven or eight years,” said the Hall of Fame trainer, whose South American imports include Bayakoa, Candy Ride and Paseana, and “20 horses that won a million dollars or more.” Here’s hoping McAnally’s most recent acquisitions follow in their hallowed footsteps . . . After three racing days, 1,217 players remained alive in ShowVivor entering Thursday’s races . . . Saturday is Jockey Autograph Day at Santa Anita. Fans can meet the track’s top riders at the East Paddock Gardens in front of Champions Gift Shop from 11 a.m. to 12 noon and receive a free print of the 2013 Autumn meet jockey colony.