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STABLE NOTES BY ED GOLDEN
• SAN FERNANDO WIDE OPEN WITHOUT SIDNEY’S CANDY
• GOMEZ ASSIGNMENT TOUGHER WITH DEFECTION OF FAVORITE
• TAPIZAR FAVORED IN GRADE III SHAM STAKES SATURDAY
SIDNEY’S CANDY’S DEFECTION DRASTICALLY CHANGES MORNING LINE
Sidney’s Candy would have been the 4-5 San Fernando morning line favorite, according to Jon White, Santa Anita’s oddsmaker.
“Obviously the defection of Sidney’s Candy dramatically changed the morning line for the race,” White said. “Sidney’s Candy undoubtedly would have been a heavy favorite, but now I’m not even sure who will be the favorite. It was a tough call between Thiskyhasnolimit and Tweebster. I think either one of them could go favored.
“I made Thiskyhasnolimit the 5-2 favorite based to a large extent on the way he was bet in the Grade I Malibu. Thiskyhasnolimit was bet to 6-1 into the likes of Twirling Candy, Smiling Tiger, Caracortado and Alcindor. Thiskyhasnolimit never threatened and finished sixth, but he’s coming out of tougher races—like the Malibu and Breeders’ Cup Dirt Sprint—than Tweebster. And Thiskyhasnolimit has run a number of good races on the dirt, while this will be Tweebster’s first start on dirt.
“But Tweebster is the ‘now’ horse with a red-hot jockey and trainer team in (Rafael) Bejarano and (Bob) Baffert. He’s scary because he’s sharp and improving. Make Music for Me’s only two wins have come on the grass, but he did finish fourth on the dirt in the Kentucky Derby. In the Derby, he was flying late and beat 16 horses, including Lookin At Lucky.”
The field for the San Fernando, one of three graded stakes Saturday: Tweebster, Rafael Bejarano, 3-1; Paris Vegas, Brice Blanc, 15-1; Haimish Hy, Joe Talamo, 5-1; Do It All, Patrick Valenzuela, 20-1; Thiskyhasnolimit, Garrett Gomez, 5-2; Indian Firewater, Mike Smith, 4-1; Make Music for Me, Chantal Sutherland, 7-2; and Victory with Honor, Alonso Quinonez, 20-1.
SAN FERNANDO PACE SCENARIO NOT SO SWEET WITH SIDNEY’S CANDY OUT
With the defection of Sidney’s Candy from Saturday’s San Fernando Stakes, the assignment of Garrett Gomez to win the Grade II race for 4-year-olds at 1 1/16 miles became a mite more difficult. Gomez was hoping for a pace duel between Sidney’s Candy and Tweebster, which could have benefited the late-running style of his mount, Thiskyhasnolimit for trainer Steve Asmussen.
Trainer John Sadler said Friday morning that Sidney’s Candy “was a little off behind” and would not run in the San Fernando. “We hope to make the next one,” Sadler said, referring to the final leg of the Strub Series, the Grade II, $200,000 Strub Stakes at 1 1/8 miles on Feb. 5.
That said, Gomez expects an improved effort from Thiskyhasnolimit’s sixth-place finish in the Malibu Stakes at seven furlongs Dec. 26.
“He loomed up like he was going to run pretty good in the Malibu,” Gomez said of the son of Sky Mesa. “Then he kind of flattened out and stayed where he was. On Saturday, I think he’ll be more forwardly placed and better than he was . . . He should get into a rhythm that he’s comfortable with. He’ll be fine. It’s two turns, and that in itself should help him.”
ASMUSSEN COLT TAPIZAR 8-5 CHOICE IN SHAM STAKES
Tapizar’s reputation precedes him. That’s why Garrett Gomez is looking forward to riding him in Saturday’s Grade III, $100,000 Sham Stakes at 1 1/16 miles, a major prep for the Grade I, $1 million Santa Anita Derby on April 9.
“I’ve never even worked him, but I know he can run,“ Gomez said of the son of Tapit, who broke his maiden by 10 ½ lengths at Churchill Downs Nov. 27. “He was very impressive winning that race,” Gomez said. “When I saw him on the track here, he looked really good. I don’t know much about him, but I know he can run.”
Tapizar, trained by America’s leading trainer by races won, Steve Asmussen, is the 8-5 favorite on oddsmaker Jon White’s morning line.
The field for the Sham: Clubhouse Ride, Patrick Valenzuela, 3-1; Uncle Sam, Rafael Bejarano, 5-2; Anthony’s Cross, Joel Rosario, 7-2; Tapizar, Gomez 8-5; and Pride of Silver, Victor Espinoza, 8-1.
ALEC’S MOON FINDS HER BEST STRIDE FOR SANTA YNEZ STAKES
Trainer Jerry Hollendorfer would like nothing better than to see Alec’s Moon emulate stablemate Blind Luck Saturday when the 3-year-old daughter of Malibu Moon runs in the Grade II, $150,000 Santa Ynez Stakes for 3-year-old fillies at seven furlongs.
“Her best style is when she comes from behind and is not too close to the lead,” said Dan Ward, top assistant to trainer Jerry Hollendorfer. “Her last race at Hollywood Park (a one-length win when she closed from sixth and last after breaking from the No. 1 post position going 5 ½ furlongs) was what she does best. She broke her maiden on the lead at Santa Rosa (July 31), but I think she’s found her best style now."
Jon White’s morning line odds for the Santa Ynez: California Nectar, Patrick Valenzuela, 3-1; Star Presence, Mike Smith, 6-1; Zazu, Joel Rosario, 2-1; Plum Pretty, Rafael Bejarano, 5-2; Warren’s Flyer, Martin Pedroza, 12-1; Alec’s Moon, Garrett Gomez, 10-1; and Teroda, Victor Espinoza, 10-1.
BLIND LUCK MAKES 4-YEAR-OLD DEBUT ON SANTA ANITA’S NEW DIRT TRACK
Team Hollendorfer expects Blind Luck to run her race when she makes her 4-year-old debut in Sunday’s Grade II El Encino Stakes, favorable pace or not.
Blind Luck, heavily favored to win an Eclipse Award Monday as the outstanding 3-year-old filly of 2010, spots her rivals gobs of ground, then closes with a run through the stretch. That modus operandi has been successful nine times from 15 career starts for the rags-to-riches daughter of Pollard’s Vision trained by Jerry Hollendorfer.
“Pace would definitely help,” said Hollendorfer assistant Dan Ward. “But it’s not like she’s run in races before that haven’t had any pace. Every time she runs they go slow. In the Alabama, they went :49 for a half and almost 1:15 for three-quarters and she won, so that was very awesome.”
The El Encino will mark Blind Luck’s first competitive effort on Santa Anita’s new traditional dirt main track. “But she’s trained very well on it,” Ward said. “She’s run at nine different tracks (actually on nine different surfaces, including Santa Anita’s when it was synthetic). It’s not like she has to carry her track with her.”
The field for the El Encino: Champagne d’Oro, Joe Talamo; Blind Luck, Joel Rosario; Malibu Pier, Garrett Gomez; Fashion Trend, Victor Espinoza; Our Georgia, Patrick Valenzuela; Always a Princess, Rafael Bejarano; Life Well Lived, Alonso Quinonez; and It Tiz, David Flores.
PRE-ENTRIES FOR RICH SUNSHINE MILLIONS TO BE TAKEN NEXT WEDNESDAY Santa Anita Racing Secretary Rick Hammerle reminds horsemen that pre-entries for the rich Sunshine Millions will be taken next Wednesday, Jan. 19.
Six races worth $1.8 million in purse money will be run on Saturday, Jan. 29, three at Santa Anita and three at its sister track Gulfstream Park. The event showcases horses from two of the nation’s best Thoroughbred breeding states—California and Florida—in head-to-head competition.
Santa Anita features the $200,000 Sprint at six furlongs; the $300,000 Distaff at 1 1/16 miles; and the $300,000 Turf at 1 1/8 miles.
Gulfstream presents the $200,000 Filly & Mare Sprint at six furlongs; the $300,000 Filly & Mare Turf at 1 1/8 miles; and the $500,000 Classic at 1 1/8 miles.
All racing fans in attendance at Santa Anita on Sunshine Millions Day will receive free a Sunshine Millions 18-pack cooler bag while supplies last. First post time will be 12 noon.
FINISH LINES: Ron McAnally plans to run Beverly D winner Éclair de Lune in the $75,000 Megahertz Stakes for older fillies and mares at one mile on turf Jan. 23. “A mile is a little short for her,” the Hall of Fame trainer said, “but there’s no place else to run her right now.” Éclair de Lune missed the inaugural Robert J. Frankel Stakes at 1 1/8 miles on Jan. 1 due to lack of training caused by inclement weather . . . Trainer Peter Miller reports that CashCall Futurity winner Comma to the Top is training well at Hollywood and probably will make his next start on the Triple Crown trail in the El Camino Real Derby at Golden Gate Fields on Feb. 12. As of Jan. 5, Comma to the Top was 40-1 in the Las Vegas Hilton’s Kentucky Derby Future Book, while Tapizar and Uncle Sam, who run in Saturday’s Sham Stakes, were 60-1 and 100-1, respectively. Bob Baffert’s freaky fast and right-of-center The Factor was 18-1 . . . Mike Mitchell says St Trinians is “doing super” at her Hollywood base as she prepares to defend her crown in the Grade II, $150,000 Santa Maria Stakes at 1 1/16 miles on Feb. 12 . . .THOROUGHBREDS members can receive free an attractive wind shirt at Santa Anita on Monday, Martin Luther King Jr. Day, upon scanning of their membership card at the admission gate. Shirts will be limited to one per customer, while supplies last.