World-famous boxing trainer Freddie Roach was at Santa Anita Sunday to present the trophy for the $55,000 Joe Hernandez Stakes, in a winner’s circle ceremony.

The affable Roach, who celebrated his 50th birthday last Friday, is a former boxer who is a member of the World Boxing Hall of Fame and he has been voted Trainer of the Year by the Boxing Writers Association of America on four different occasions. Regarded as one of the greatest trainers of all time, Roach currently works for superstar fighter Manny (Pac Man) Pacquiao. Roach has trained 25 world champions to date, including Pacquiao, who has held seven separate weight division championships.

“We were honored to have Freddie join us,” said Santa Anita President Ron Charles. “There was a great story on him in Sports Illustrated recently and he really is the go-to-guy in his business. There’s a great deal of interest in Pacquiao’s upcoming fight with Joshua Clottey at Cowboy Stadium in Dallas on March 13 and I think a lot of fans, both racing and boxing, will come out to see Freddie here at Santa Anita. Let’s just hope he can pick horses as well as he does fighters.”

A native of Dedham, Massachusetts, Roach now resides in Los Angeles and is the owner of the Wild Card Boxing Club/Gym in L.A.

First post time on Sunday is 12:30 p.m.


Today and Sunday, author Rudi Alvarado will autograph his book, “The Untold Story of Joe Hernandez, the Voice of Santa Anita,” from 10:30 a.m. to 12 noon. The award-winning book includes an audio CD of some of Joe’s most memorable calls. Joe’s son, Father Frank Hernandez, also will be on hand for the signing.

Joe Hernandez was the voice of Santa Anita from the time the track opened on Christmas Day 1934 until he fainted at the microphone on Jan. 27, 1972. During that time he called an incredible 15,587 races in a row. Over the course of his career his cry of “There they go!” echoed over a number of memorable races including Seabiscuit’s win in the 1940 Santa Anita Handicap and Johnny Longden’s last ride in 1966. His cry of “And here comes Malicious!” and “Silky Sullivan trails …” are remembered to this day.

Hernandez broke into the business of race calling in 1932, when he became the first race caller at Tanforan. In the coming years, he became the premiere race caller on the West Coast, at a time when most Mexicans and Mexican Americans were being repatriated to Mexico due to America’s Great Depression. In the late 1930s, Alfred Vanderbilt Jr. hired Hernandez to call the races at Pimlico Race Course and Belmont Park. In 1950, Hernandez called the Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs. A recording of his call was later distributed to over 60,000 racing fans.

Hernandez was not only a race caller; he was a highly respected sportswriters, handicapper, jockey agent, bloodstock agent, radio and television producer, music composer, actor, athlete and philanthropist. He also owned a number of businesses related to horse racing. For example, he owned his own film patrol company (a company that recorded races in order to determine if a foul was committed during a race). Hernandez also imported, owned and raced Thoroughbreds under his own silks. The most noted race horse to run under Joe’s colors was Cougar II, the Chilean import who was inaugurated into Thoroughbred racing’s Hall of Fame in 2006.

A bronze bust of Hernandez was unveiled at Santa Anita on Dec. 26, 1974. The piece rests in front of the track’s main grandstand entrance. Santa Anita track officials decided to place the piece there so Joe could be close to his fans, and they to him. As Alvarado notes in his biography on Hernandez, “From here the bust would also serve to introduce Joe, and what he meant to Santa Anita’s future racing fans. Most importantly, placed here, Joe’s gaze would always fall on his beloved Santa Anita.”


Dr.Michael “Mick” Peterson, executive director of the Racing Surfaces Testing Laboratory, will be the featured speaker at the annual Modern Veterinary Medicine & Your Racehorse seminar on Sunday, March 14. His topic is “Assessing Track Surfaces.”

Dr. Peterson, Ph.D., is the Libra Foundation Professor for the College of Engineering at the University of Maine. Dr. Peterson’s research links traditional understanding of engineering mechanics and materials to the biomechanics of animals.

The program is presented by the California Thoroughbred Foundation, Southern California Equine Foundation, and Thoroughbred Owners of California and starts at 5:30 p.m. in the Carleton F. Burke Memorial Library at the California Thoroughbred Breeders Association offices, 201 Colorado Place, Arcadia. Reservations for the free program are required by calling the TOC at (800) 994-9909 or visiting by March 10. Seating is limited.

Over the past six years, Dr. Peterson has developed a passion for understanding racing surfaces, including tracks for thoroughbreds, quarter horses and standardbreds. He has developed test protocols that have been used at more than 30 thoroughbred racing venues.

The Racing Surfaces Testing Laboratory is a non-profit organization supported by the industry. It provides research, testing and materials characterization services for the horse racing industry

FINISH LINES: The two winning tickets on Friday’s Pick Six that paid $552,544 each were purchased on an $810 ticket at Barona Casino and a $432 ticket at a Nevada hub . . . Dave in Dixie and Sidney’s Candy, candidates for Saturday’s San Felipe Stakes, worked six furlongs at Hollywood Park Saturday in 1:12.80 and 1:13.80, respectively, for John Sadler . . . ShowVivor II was down to nine contestants going into Saturday.