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STABLE NOTES BY ED GOLDEN
• CHELIOS STEPS UP IN GRADE III LAZ BARRERA
• SATURDAY STAKE HONORS LATE TRAINING GREAT
• PARTY ON AT SANTA ANITA ON PREAKNESS DAY
CHELIOS MAKES STAKES DEBUT IN GRADE III BARRERA
Chelios makes his first stakes start in his fourth career race when he runs in Saturday’s Grade III, $100,000 Laz Barrera Stakes for 3-year-olds at seven furlongs.
A Glen Hill Farm homebred by Distorted Humor, Chelios was second to Ferocious on April 12 at seven furlongs, beaten 2 ½ lengths. It was the bay colt’s first start in 10 weeks.
“That race should help him,” trainer Tom Proctor allowed, quickly adding, “I don’t know if he can beat the horse that beat him (Ferocious), but we’ll see.”
Proctor played host at his barn to trainer Art Sherman at Churchill Downs, where the trainer of California Chrome bedded down the colt that would go on to win the Run for the Roses last Saturday.
“I’m glad that it worked out well for Art,” Proctor said. “I always believed there are no fairytales in this business, but I might have saw one.”
California Chrome, meanwhile, is set to fly out of Churchill Downs on Monday at 12:30 p.m. and arrive in Maryland at 2 p.m., along with groom Raul Rodriguez and exercise rider Willie Delgado.
California Chrome is scheduled to go to the track at Pimlico Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday just prior to 7 a.m., and be the first horse on the track at 5 a.m. Saturday morning. Only Preakness starters will be permitted on the track that day from 5 a.m. to 6 a.m.
Doug O’Neill, off to a fast start at the Spring Meet with eight wins through Thursday to lead the trainers’ standings, runs Twenty Percent in the Barrera,
The son of Dixie Union was an impressive 3 ¼-length winner in his debut race on March 22. “That’s a tough race,” O’Neill said of the Barrera. “I wasn’t really expecting to see that kind of depth to it, but my horse is doing well, so we’ll see what happens.”
The field for the Barrera, race seven of nine: Ferocious, Joe Talamo, 5-2; Tonito M., Rafael Bejarano, 6-1; Kobe’s Back, Corey Nakatani, 9-5; Chelios, Gary Stevens, 3-1; Twenty Percent, Mike Smith, 6-1; Puppy Manners, Tyler Baze, 20-1; and Top Fortitude, Kayla Stra, 6-1.
BARRERA HONORS TRAINER OF LAST TRIPLE CROWN WINNER
Saturday’s stakes race is named for Lazaro Sosa Barrera, a Hall of Fame trainer who died at the age of 66 on April 25, 1991.
Born in Havana, Barrera was one of nine brothers who went on to become involved in Thoroughbred racing in the United States.
In an illustrious career that lasted 50 years, Barrera is one of only three trainers ever to win four consecutive Eclipse Awards, but will be best remembered as the trainer of Affirmed, the last Triple Crown winner, in 1978.
Former jockey agent and current Racing Manager for Triple B Farms Alex Procel took time to recount one of many tales about the late, great trainer.
“We were in Puerto Rico to run a horse in a stakes with David Flores riding,” Procel said. “They loved Laz in Puerto Rico, and the day before the race, they had a party for him.
“One guy came over and said, ‘I know why you guys are here. You came for Mister Frisky.’ I said, ‘Who? Who’s Mister Frisky?’ He said, ‘He won 11 in a row.’ So we met the owners, who said they were thinking about sending the horse to the United States, and that’s how he came to this country with Laz as his trainer.”
Among Mister Frisky’s victories is the 1990 Santa Anita Derby.
COME TO SANTA ANITA TO CHEER ON CALIFORNIA CHROME IN PREAKNESS
Plan now to celebrate Preakness Stakes Day May 17 at Santa Anita and root on the Golden State’s Santa Anita Derby and Kentucky Derby winner California Chrome in the second leg of the Triple Crown, and also wager on a live racing card at The Great Race Place.
Fans can party in the Infield and enjoy live music, craft beers and repast from a variety of food trucks. Special packages are available on line at santanaita.com/events. Use promo code INFIELD for a 50 percent discount.
The first 10,000 THOROUGHBREDS members, or any new members who wish to sign up on May 17, attending Santa Anita on Preakness Day will receive a free California Chrome baseball cap with paid General Admission, while supplies last. It is free to sign up at all admission gates.
The cap is a replica of California Chrome’s distinctive purple and teal colors.
First live race post time at Santa Anita Preakness Day will be 11:30 a.m. Admission gates open at 8 a.m. First race post time at Pimlico is at 7:45 a.m. Pacific Time.
There is free admission to Santa Anita’s spacious Infield every Saturday, Sunday and on Memorial Day, Monday, May 26, in addition to free parking when patrons enter through Gate 6.
MILESTONE OF 5,000 WINS ANCIENT HISTORY TO STEVENS
According to Equibase, Gary Stevens is 18 career wins shy of 5,000. That’s news to Gary Stevens. According to the Hall of Fame jockey, he won No. 5,000 at Belmont Park more than eight years ago, in October, 2005, aboard a 3-year-old filly named Joint Aspiration in the Gaviola Stakes.
“It’s a footnote to me,” Stevens said of the Equibase total of 4,982, “because I’m already over 5,000. I’m not excited about the so-called milestone or anything else; I’m excited about every win that I have.
“It upsets me that foreign wins aren’t counted. I’ve ridden and won Group races in France, England, Dubai, Hong Kong and consider myself an international rider, not just a Southern California rider, although my home is here and I love it.
“But do we not count European races?”
Equibase and Daily Racing Form only consider victories in North America, which accounts for the discrepancy in Stevens’ totals.
FINISH LINES: Kentucky Derby-winning jockey Victor Espinoza will sign California Chrome posters and patron items on a first come, first served basis at Santa Anita Saturday from 12 noon to 1 p.m. in the East Paddock Gardens across from Champions Gift Shop . . . Beholder is due to work in the next few days as she prepares for the $1 million Ogden Phipps on Belmont Stakes Day, June 7. “She couldn’t be better,” Richard Mandella said of the two-time Eclipse Award-winning filly, who made her 4-year-old debut a winning one by capturing the Santa Paula Stakes on April 20 . . . Bright Thought, who set the pace in the Woodford Reserve at Churchill Downs before fading behind victorious two-time Horse of the Year Wise Dan last Saturday, came back in good order according to trainer Jorge Gutierrez and is ticketed for the Grade II, $200,000 Charles Whittingham Stakes at 1 ¼ miles on turf May 24 . . . Moreno, third in the $1.5 million Charles Town Classic behind Imperative and Game On Dude April 19, worked five furlongs on Santa Anita’s main track Friday in 1:01 for trainer Eric Guillot, who has the 4-year-old set for the Grade III Pimlico Special on May 16. Joel Rosario rides in the mile and three-sixteenths race . . . Corey Nakatani rides Frank E. Kilroe Mile winner Winning Prize for Neil Drysdale in the Grade III, $100,000 American Stakes at one mile on grass May 17, which hopefully will lead to the Grade I, $400,000 Shoemaker Mile on June 14 . . . Longtime Santa Anita usher Don Liddiard, who died last Tuesday at the age of 73, will have Saturday’s fifth race named in his honor.