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STABLE NOTES BY ED GOLDEN
HRTV TO AIR 2010 DEBUTS OF RACHEL ALEXANDRA, ZENYATTA SATURDAY
HRTV will present a special one-hour live show Saturday featuring the 2010 debuts of 2009 Horse of the Year Rachel Alexandra and unbeaten Breeders’ Cup Classic winner Zenyatta. Entitled “The Champions Return,” the show will be hosted by Scott Hazelton and Gary Stevens, who will be live at the Fair Grounds for Rachel Alexandra’s race, the $200,000 New Orleans Ladies’ Stakes at 1 1/16 miles. It will go as the 10th race at approximately 3:15 p.m. The Santa Margarita will be Santa Anita’s seventh race with a probable post time of 3:40 p.m.
Team Zenyatta plans to use the Santa Margarita as a steppingstone to the “Race of the Ages” against Rachel Alexandra in the $5 million Apple Blossom Handicap at Oaklawn Park on Friday, April 9.
“She worked very well Friday morning,” trainer John Shirreffs said of her six furlong move in 1:11.80, breezing at Hollywood Park. “I had her in 1:11 and three or four. She looks like she’s on top of her game right now. She walked yesterday morning for an hour and a half and she walked yesterday afternoon for another hour. We took her to the main track this morning and she jogged a mile (the wrong way).”
Shirreffs said that Zenyatta would “probably van over (to Santa Anita) Thursday afternoon.” He also said that he was anxious to find out what Zenyatta’s weight assignment would be for the Santa Margarita. Weights were due out Sunday afternoon.
“She worked unbelievable the other day,” said her regular rider, Mike Smith. “I know it sounds funny, but I really think she’s getting better. She seems more and more focused and she couldn’t be doing any better.”
ARKANSAS WEATHER COULD KEEP LOOKIN AT LUCKY IN SAN FELIPE
Bob Baffert left the door slightly ajar for 2009 male 2-year-old champion Lookin At Lucky to make his 3-year-old debut in next Saturday’s Grade II, $150,000 San Felipe Stakes. If not, it would come in the Grade II, $300,000 Rebel Stakes at Oaklawn Park the same day. Both are 1 1/16 miles.
“I’ll look at the weather at Oaklawn and if it looks like snow, I’ll just keep him here,” Baffert said Sunday morning. “But right now, the Rebel looks pretty firm. We have a lot of questions that have to be answered, wearing blinkers for the first time in a race and running on dirt for the first time. The closer you get to the Kentucky Derby (May 1), the better off you are knowing the answers.”
Meanwhile, Baffert, wife Jill and boxer Derby were basking in the sunshine at Clockers’ Corner after Misremembered’s game victory in Saturday’s Santa Anita Handicap. Baffert said he is considering the Grade II, $500,000 Oaklawn Handicap April 4 for the son of Candy Ride’s next race.
Mike Machowsky, meanwhile, said Sunday that unbeaten Caracortado “is like a wild man” as he awaits the San Felipe. Eoin Harty reports that Eclipse Award-winning jockey Julien Leparoux will ride American Lion in the San Felipe.
BOREL LATEST CAJUN TO WIN SANTA ANITA’S GEORGE WOOLF AWARD
Maybe it’s the water, maybe it’s in the genes, but whatever it is, Louisiana is a breeding ground for great jockeys. One of the most successful is Calvin Borel, 2010 winner of Santa Anita’s George Woolf Memorial Jockey Award, who will be on hand next Sunday to receive the prestigious honor.
Among the Cajun Country natives who have won the award are Eddie Delahoussaye (1981), Kent Desormeaux (1993), Craig Perret (1998), Robby Albarado (2004), Ray Sibille (2005) and Mark Guidry (2006).
A two-time Kentucky Derby winner, Borel is the 61st Woolf winner selected by a vote of his peers. The 43-year-old rider from St. Martin Parish, Louisiana, is the regular rider of the superstar filly and 2009 Horse of the Year Rachel Alexandra. Borel stunned the racing world last year by winning the Kentucky Derby in an unforgettable rail-skimming, last-to-first victory aboard 50-1 shot Mine That Bird.
“I think so many good riders come out of Louisiana because of the area where we were raised,” offered 58-year-old retired Hall of Fame jockey Delahoussaye, who hails from New Iberia, Louisiana. “It’s all rural farmers and hard-working people, and they all have race horses.”
Eddie D., who retired in 2003, had little if any competition on horseback with Borel, but feels a kinship nevertheless.
“I know Calvin, but I was always out here when he was riding back east,” Delahoussaye said. “I don’t remember if I ever rode with him.” But they might be linked closer than he thinks.
“Eddie’s momma and Calvin’s, on Eddie’s side of the family, are third or fourth cousins,” said Delahoussaye’s wife, Juanita. Bloodlines aside, Delahoussaye has an eye for talent in the saddle. “By watching him ride, I can see he’s a good rider,” Delahoussaye said, “and he’s a good guy. He deserves the award, that’s the bottom line right there.”
FINISH LINES: Trainer Alexis Barba said Sunday morning that Saturday’s Pasadena Stakes winner Make Music for Me likely would make his next start in the Grade I, $750,000 Santa Anita Derby on April 3, while “no plans have been made” for Sham Stakes winner Alphie’s Bet. Barba will be HRTV’s guest on Wednesday’s “Across The Board” show at 5 p.m. . . . Richard Mandella said Sham runner-up Setsuko came of the race fine and “we’ll probably look at the Santa Anita Derby.”. . . Trainer Mike Machowsky says he’ll regroup with Nextdoorneighbor, impressive maiden winner who faded to seventh after setting the pace in the Sham. “I’m not really sure why he was on the lead,” Machowsky said. “I have no plans for him right now.” . . . Blind Luck, who finished third, beaten two necks, as the 1-2 favorite in the Santa Anita Oaks, is ticketed for the Grade II, $250,000 Fantasy Stakes at Oaklawn Park on April 5. “Jerry (Hollendorfer) hates to lose,” assistant Dan Ward said Sunday morning. “She ran very good and came back good.” Ward said there had been “no discussions at all” on whether Hollendorfer would make a rider change from Rafael Bejarano for the Fantasy. “I like Raffy a lot and I know he wants to win just as much as we do.” . . . Agent Ron Anderson said two-time Eclipse Award winner Garrett Gomez rides Life Is Sweet for John Shirreffs in the Dubai World Cup on March 27. Brad Pegram has booked Mike Smith on Richard’s Kid in the $10 million race. Gomez rides Palos Verdes Handicap winner Kinsale King for trainer Carl O’Callaghan in the $2 million Golden Shaheen and Courageous Cat for Bill Mott in the $5 million Duty Free at 1 1/8 miles on turf. Kinsale King worked five furlongs at Hollywood Park Sunday in 1:01.80, breezing . . . Trainer Jim Kasparoff says San Carlos Handicap winner Bob Black Jack is doing well at his Hollywood Park headquarters as he prepares for the Grade II, $150,000 Potrero Grande Handicap at 6 ½ furlongs on April 3 . . . Trainer Ron Ellis celebrates his 50th birthday on Wednesday . . . One of next Sunday’s races will be named the Clockers’ Corner Handicap. Popular eatery host Rosie Ybarra will present the trophy. “Is it like the Academy Awards?” Rosie asked. “Do I have to wear a gold dress and walk down a red carpet?” . . . ShowVivor II had seven contestants alive going into Sunday, while WinVivor II, which began Saturday, had 57.