Corey Nakatani has ridden Mr. Hot Stuff three times, and each time the imposing colt has made a late run, finishing third twice and winning once. His form will have to continue advancement in the Santa Anita Derby a week from Saturday if he hopes to upset the likes of The Pamplemousse, Pioneerof the Nile and Chocolate Candy in the Grade I race at 1 1/8 miles.

“He’s a big, strong horse by Tiznow that can run,” Nakatani said of Mr. Hot Stuff. “We know that he’s got ability and we know that he can run. We just have to see where he takes us.”

If it takes Nakatani to the winner’s circle, the 38-year-old jockey would become only the fourth rider in 72 runnings of the Santa Anita Derby to win it back to back. Nakatani won it last year with Colonel John, who, like Mr. Hot Stuff, is owned by the WinStar Farm and trained by Eoin Harty.

Previous riders to win the Santa Anita Derby in consecutive years were John Longden (On Trust, 1947, and Salmagundi, 1948); Laffit Pincay Jr. (Solar Salute, 1972, and Sham, 1973); and Gary Stevens, who did it twice, three straight years from 1993 through 1995, with Personal Hope, Brocco and Larry the Legend, and in 1998 and 1999 with Indian Charlie and General Challenge.

Probable for the 72nd Santa Anita Derby, one of five stakes to be decided on April 4: Chocolate Candy, Joel Rosario; Feisty Suances, no rider; Mr. Hot Stuff, Corey Nakatani; The Pamplemousse, Alex Solis; and Pioneerof the Nile, Garrett Gomez.
In other Santa Anita Derby news:

Bob Baffert said he “might run” maiden winner Life Goes On in the Santa Anita Derby. The son of the Baffert-trained 2002 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile champion Vindication won wire to wire by 2 ¾ lengths at one mile on Pro-Ride March 19 under Tyler Baze. Pioneerof the Nile jogged on Friday.
Trainer Frank Lucarelli said he was considering the Santa Anita Derby or the Illinois Derby (Grade II, $500,000, 1 1/8 miles at Hawthorne Race Course on April 4) for Gallant Son, winner of the restricted Pasadena Stakes at one mile on turf March 15. “We’ll make a decision today,” Lucarelli said Friday morning. Gallant Son, by the Unbridled stallion Malabar Gold, was seventh in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile behind champion Midshipman at Oak Tree last Oct. 25, beaten only 3 ½ lengths despite an eventful trip.

Santa Anita will host a media post position draw breakfast, 10 a.m. at Clockers’ Corner this Wednesday, April 1. Among the contingent of horsemen participating will be Baffert, trainer of Pioneerof the Nile, Julio Canani, who conditions The Pamplemousse, Eoin Harty, trainer of Mr. Hot Stuff, Jerry Hollendorfer, trainer of Chocolate Candy, jockeys Alex Garrett Gomez, Joel Rosario, Alex Solis and Corey Nakatani, and David Bienstock, part owner of The Pamplemousse.

HRTV’s Gary Stevens will assist Santa Anita racing office officials with the draw. The retired Hall of Fame jockey won a record nine Santa Anita derbies from 1988 through 2003. Along with participating horsemen, Stevens will also be available for media interviews.

The breakfast will feature a raffle benefiting CARMA (California Retirement Management Account, a charitable organization that raises money for retired California race horses). Tickets are $5 each or five for $20 and available now at Clockers’ Corner and the racing office. Grand prize is 50 percent of the cash from the raffle tickets. Additional prizes include two nights at the Las Vegas Hilton. Participants must be present to win.


For the first time, Jack Carava is training exclusively for long-time client Ron Valenta this meet, and it’s paid dividends. Valenta, who races as La Caňada Stables, LLC, is the runaway leader among owners with 17 wins.

“He’s had a good meet,” Carava said. “He won the most races two years ago (with 12 wins) and was second last year (with 11). He’s had a great meet. We’ve had plenty of starters (83), but we’ve had a real good meet all the way around. Everything’s been going according to plan.

“This is the meet Ron points to, because he lives nearby in La Caňada and can watch most of his horses run, and he enjoys coming to Santa Anita. He wanted to make sure the barn was well-stocked. Plans worked out well.”

Carava saddles Beltene for Valenta in Sunday’s Santa Paula Stakes for 3-year-old fillies.
The field for the Santa Paula: Beltene, Joel Rosario, 118; Empressive Lady, Alex Solis, 116; Pinkarella, Martin Garcia, 114; Carlsbad, Tyler Baze, 116; Ultra Blend, Jose Valdivia Jr., 116; and Heartless Vixen, Rafael Bejarano, 116.


Advance full card wagering on Saturday’s Dubai World Cup races will be available today at Santa Anita. On Saturday, Early Bird wagering starts at 8:30 a.m. HRTV’S coverage Saturday will begin at 6:30 a.m.

HRTV's on-air tandem of Hall of Fame jockey Gary Stevens and Scott Hazelton will be reporting from Dubai. In addition, Jeff Siegel and Carolyn Conley will also contribute coverage on location at Santa Anita throughout the card.

The 14th running of the Dubai World Cup program offers seven stakes races with more than $21 million in purse money. The highlight of the day is the $6 million Dubai World Cup at 1 1/4 miles. Post time for the World Cup is expected to be 10:30 a.m.
This Sunday at 6:30 p.m., HRTV will premiere a new weekly program, "HRTV Rewind.”
The half-hour show will recap all racing action seen on the network the previous week. It will include key races and informative interviews, as well as observations from HRTV's team of analysts.

"HRTV Rewind" will also highlight key moments from the network's original live shows --RaceDay America, Against the Odds, Across the Board, and Pursuit of the Crown.


An in-depth look at the successful development of the North American Riding Academy (NARA) by Hall of Fame jockey Chris McCarron, and the state-of-the-art drug testing procedures at the University of California Davis laboratory, will be the two featured segments for HRTV's "Inside Information" this Sunday at 6 p.m.

Until recently, aspiring trainers and jockeys never enjoyed a fully-structured school which could satisfy their desire to teach the nuances of making a career on the racetrack. That changed in 2005, when McCarron founded the North American Racing Academy in Lexington, Ky.

The mission of the Academy is to turn out individuals with a well-rounded education in horsemanship.

"Anybody knows that jockeys get hurt, lose their heart, and decide they don't want to do this any longer," said McCarron, who was a Hall of Fame inductee in 1989. "So they need to have something to fall back on. And what this program provides is an opportunity for these young men and women to learn life skills. We teach basic personal finance, we teach communication skills, (and) we teach all kinds of horsemanship . . . so it's a full-blown program."

Graduates of NARA emerge with a degree from Bluegrass Community and Technical College. They already have one very important connection to the game--learning the intricacies from one of the sport's most respected and celebrated, jockeys.

Throughout the sport, stricter measures and guidelines with regard to allowable medications has made drug testing and research more critical than ever before. In California, on the UC Davis campus, the Kenneth Maddy Equine Analytical Chemistry Laboratory is entrusted with overseeing the crucial application of the medication rules determined by the California Horse Racing Board (CHRB).

The Maddy lab tests over 80,000 blood and urine samples for the CHRB. In addition to drug testing, the lab also researches new drugs and helps set the standards for the usage of medical and therapeutic drugs within the sport. With a dedicated staff and top of the line technology, the Maddy Lab continues to be a leader in equine drug research testing for the industry.

"The probability that a trainer or a veterinarian knows a drug they can use and get away with better than we do is very small," stated Dr. Scott Stanley, DVM. "We test for hundreds of drugs, well over 800 drugs that we look for in every single sample."

FINISH LINES: Ventana suffered a cut on his head in a stall mishap Thursday, necessitating his being scratched from today’s second race. “He needed four staples to close the wound, but he’ll be all right,” said trainer Bob Baffert, who also had 3-5 morning line favorite Zensational entered in the one-mile race for 3-year-olds . . . Danny Sorenson won Santa Anita’s first 2-year-old race of the meet at two furlongs Thursday aboard 9-10 favorite Turbo Time, who prevailed by a head over the filly Miss Dubai. “With 2-year-olds, you’re pretty much in an all-out go mode,” the veteran rider said. “My horse pretty much was by himself until Miss Dubai caught him (on the inside). My horse was kind of daydreaming. But when the filly caught him, he focused again and surged to win. You have to get the trip and not be crowded to win, going such a short distance. If you lose two lengths at the start, you’ve only got 300 yards to make it up, and that’s hard to do. But with a clean trip like I got and a talented and business-like horse, your opportunity becomes very good. My horse trained well for (trainer) Walther (Solis). His crew has been fantastic in getting their young horses mentally ready, as well as physically. He went to the gate like a pro, and he ran like a pro.” . . .Tom Werner, owner of the Boston Red Sox, will be a Santa Anita visitor Saturday . . . Three participants remained alive in Santa Anita’s popular on line handicapping contest, ShowVivor II, going into Friday’s races . . . Happy 29th birthday wishes to press box manager Debbie Olsen. Happy 21st wishes to Meagan McClellan, daughter of top agent Scotty McClellan.