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STABLE NOTES BY ED GOLDEN
BLANC HOPES TO FIRE BULLETS IN WEEKEND STAKES RACES
Brice Blanc rides two horses for trainer David Hofmans in stakes this weekend at Santa Anita, and the 37-year-old Frenchman likes his chances on each one.
Blanc rides Turns My Head in Saturday’s $100,000 La Puente Stakes for 3-year-olds at 1 1/8 miles on turf, and Lemon Supreme in Sunday’s Grade III, $100,000 Las Cienegas Handicap for older fillies and mares at about 6 1/2 furlongs on turf.
“She tries hard,” Blanc said of Lemon Supreme, a 5-year-old Lemon Drop Kid mare who will be running in her first stakes race. “She was a little green and drifted out crossing the dirt in her last race down the hill, and it kind of broke my momentum. She came back on after that, and I think with this second start down the hill, she’ll be more comfortable.”
Lemon Supreme broke from the inside post when she finished third on March 25. She drew post position four for the Las Cienegas. “Sometimes the inside post is a disadvantage going down the hill,” allowed Blanc, who is represented by agent Mike Ciani. “But that day, it actually worked OK, because they didn’t go that fast, and I wound up making the lead easy. But first time down the hill, I usually like to have a ‘rabbit’ to follow, because crossing the dirt can sometimes be a little tricky.”
Turns My Head broke her maiden March 20 going the same distance on the grass as she tries in the La Puente. “The filly she beat (Cosset) is a very nice filly for Juddmonte,” Blanc said, “and I know my filly can go that far. I don’t think too many in the race have done that. It would be nice to win both races this weekend and go out with a flourish. We need it.”
Through Thursday, Blanc had six wins from 105 rides.
The field for the La Puente: Runaway Bandido, Michael Baze, 6-1; El Mirage King, Tyler Baze, 15-1; Lucky Rave, David Flores, 9-2; Fantastic Pick, Joel Rosario, 7-2; Turns My Head, Brice Blanc, 8-1; Ace of Aces, Martin Garcia, 4-1; Dream Nettie, Joe Talamo, 5-1; and Bogie, Alex Solis, 6-1. Coloursoftheglen was scratched.
ANNIHILATION ‘READY TO GO’ IN SUNDAY’S LAS CIENEGAS HANDICAP
If Annihilation is to extend her winning streak to three in Sunday’s Grade III, $100,000 Las Cienegas Handicap for older fillies and mares at about 6 ½ furlongs on turf, Gotta Have Her is the horse to beat.
So says Dan Hendricks, who trains Annihilation, a 4-year-old daughter of Northern Afleet owned by Jeff Davenport, Tom Lenner and William Strauss, et al. Gotta Have Her, who won the Las Cienegas last year by a nose for trainer Jenine Sahadi, has not raced since finishing second to California Flag in the Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint last Nov. 7. A 6-year-old Kentucky-bred mare by Royal Academy, Gotta Have Her’s class is evident by her record of 8-7-3 from 24 starts, with earnings of $870,608.
“Jenine’s got the better horse,” Hendricks said. “She’s just been off since the Breeders’ Cup last November, so I’ve got to hope maybe she’s not as tight as she was when she won all those races. I’ve got to find some edge to beat her, so I’m hoping it’s recency. We’re fresh and good and ready to go.”
Annihilation won the restricted Leggio Memorial at the Fair Grounds on Jan. 23, followed by a come-from-behind neck victory in the Clockers’ Corner Handicap at Santa Anita March 14.
The field for the Las Cienegas, which is the fourth of nine races: Jehan, Martin Garcia, 116; U R All That I Am, Michael Baze, 116; Unzip Me, Joe Talamo, 118; Lemon Supreme, Brice Blanc, 114; Nadeshiko, Joel Rosario, 117; Czechers, Rafael Bejarano, 118; Gotta Have Her, Tyler Baze, 123; Annihilation, Alex Solis, 119; and Burg Berg, Mike Smith, 115.
TWO-YEAR-OLDS ARE BACK AND SO IS PEDROZA
A year ago this time, Martin Pedroza was recovering from a painful pelvic fracture that sidelined him for six months after a post parade mishap on Jan. 11, 2009. The injury prevented him from participating in one of his specialties, riding and winning 2-year-old dashes at Santa Anita.
But the personable Panamanian is back at it, yesterday winning the first race, a two-furlong affair aboard Warren’s Gus for owner Benjamin C. Warren and trainer Cliff Sise Jr. The 4-5 favorite won by a length and a quarter.
“Since they’ve had 2-year-old races here, Martin has probably won more than half of them,” estimated his long-time agent, Ritchie Silverstein. “The problem is, last year he was laid up in the hospital, so he never got to ride in the spring. The year before, (trainer) Walther Solis won a ridiculous number of 2-year-old races, like eight or nine, and (Jose) Valdivia (Jr.) and (Danny) Sorenson rode most of those.
“So it had been a couple years since we won a 2-year-old race at Santa Anita. There’s been a changing of the guard and a whole different set of trainers here now. I was riding (2-year-olds) for Wesley Ward and Jerry Dutton and Lance Stokes. Those guys aren’t here, so a lot of guys have forgotten about us, unfortunately.
“Fortunately, Sise and Adam Kitchingman haven’t, so we still have some quality 2-year-olds.”
FINISH LINES: Major League baseball Hall of Famer Frank Robinson will be a Santa Anita visitor on Saturday . . . Agent George Ortuzar will represent Peruvian apprentice rider Johnny Gihua when he debuts at Santa Anita. The 24-year-old tacks 105 pounds and has ridden 44 winners to date. . . Former trainer Frank Monteleone has taken the book of apprentice jockey Jesus Velasquez . . . All fans in attendance Saturday will receive free Santa Anita’s 75-year anniversary Second Chance Wall Clock with paid admission, while supplies last . . . Next Saturday, April 17, all fans in attendance at Santa Anita will receive a free Santa Anita Park baseball cap, courtesy of San Manuel Indian Bingo & Casino, with paid admission while supplies last . . . Trainer A.C. Avila, who has a reputation for winning with longshots, says he won with his shortest-priced horse ever when Blame the Wine paid $3 in capturing yesterday’s seventh race. The 5-year-old mare was claimed for $25,000 by Jerry Hollendorfer.