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STABLE NOTES BY ED GOLDEN,THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 12TH, 2009
DELGADILLO SEEKS FIRST GRADE I VICTORY IN SANTA MARIA
Agapito Delgadillo goes for the biggest win of his career Saturday. The 42-year-old jockey, who has dealt with weight problems for the past decade, rides Tizfiz for trainer Rafael DeLeon in the Grade I Santa Maria Handicap for older fillies and mares at 1 1/16 miles.
Victory would give Delgadillo his first Grade I triumph in nearly 25 years as a jockey. He registered one of his greatest wins when he rode Tizfiz to a nose victory at 9-1 in the Grade II, $150,000 San Gorgonio Handicap on Jan. 4. Prior to that, his richest stakes win came in the $200,000 California Derby at Golden Gate Fields in 1997.
“I feel good about my chances on Tizfiz,” said Delgadillo, a native of Mexico City whose book is handled by Alex Procel-Crowley. “I'm happy with her. I worked her Wednesday (four furlongs in :48.40 on Santa Anita’s Pro-Ride) and she went fine.”
Procel-Crowley, who has been representing Delgadillo since last November, said the jockey has been on a regimen to combat his weight issues. Currently, he can tack 118 pounds.
“He’s on a special program,” Procel-Crowley said. “He never actually retired from riding as was reported in the past. Agapito just stayed away for a couple of months to get his weight under control. Right now, his weight is fine, but he’s not a small kid.”
Tizfiz, a 5-year-old Kentucky-bred mare by Tiznow, was claimed for $50,000 by DeLeon last Oct. 4. She was second first out after the claim in an allowance race, then won the restricted Queen O Green Handicap at Turf Paradise before the San Gorgonio. Delgadillo has ridden her in her last two victories.
“I’ve had problems with my weight, especially when we’re not racing,” said the mustachioed rider. “I can put on two or three pounds after two days off, and then I have to work to take it off. The rest of the week, I reduce every day. It hasn’t been easy, but if we win on Saturday, it will all be worth it.”
The field for the 67th Santa Maria: Briecat, Jose Valdivia Jr.; Tizfiz, Agapito Delgadillo; Country Star, Joel Rosario; Mistical Plan, Victor Espinoza; Marzelline, Tyler Baze; Roshani, no rider; Bsharpsonata, no rider; Santa Teresita, Joe Talamo; Island Hop, Chantal Sutherland; Visit, Garrett Gomez; Leah’s Secret, Eibar Coa; and Model, Rafael Bejarano. DESERT CODE SET FOR SUNDAY’S DAYTONA, RAIN OR SHINE
With wet weather in the forecast through Monday, trainer David Hofmans said Desert Code would run in Sunday’s Grade III Daytona Handicap scheduled at about 6 ½ furlongs on turf rain or shine, grass or Pro-Ride.
“We’ll run anyway,” Hofmans said of the 5-year-old E Dubai horse, who registered a 35-1 upset in his last race, the $1 million Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint at Oak Tree on Oct. 24, 2008. “He likes the synthetic, especially if it’s a little wet.”
Aaron Gryder, who has ridden Desert Code twice in the past, finishing third by a head in the 2007 Hollywood Turf Express and second by a half-length in the Mervyn LeRoy Handicap on Hollywood Park’s Cushion Track last year, will be back aboard. Richard Migliore, who has ridden Desert Code in 14 of his 19 lifetime starts, including the Turf Sprint, “has several to ride in Florida that day,” Hofmans said.
Santa Anita track superintendent Richard Tedesco said the local weather forecast calls for up to two inches of rain from Sunday into Monday. The field for the sixth running of the $100,000 Daytona: Desert Code, Gryder, 122; Z Humor, Garrett Gomez, 115; Euroglide, Michael Baze, 114; Sky Cape, Mike Smith, 118; Guns On the Table, Tyler Baze, 113; Dark Islander, Rafael Bejarano, 115; Majestic Diamond, Julien Couton, 116; and Big Bad Leroybrown, Joel Rosario, 113. GINGER POP DRAWS NO. 6 FOR SUNDAY’S LA CAŇADA STAKES
Ginger Pop drew better for Sunday’s Grade II La Caňada Stakes than she did for the Jan. 18 El Encino Stakes, when was No. 10 in a field of 10, finishing fourth by 5 ½ lengths behind victorious Life Is Sweet in the mile and a sixteenth race. Ginger Pop drew post position No. 6 in the 1 1/8-mile La Caňada, while favored Life Is Sweet is on the outside at No. 9.
“It shouldn’t be a factor,” trainer Dan Hendricks said of Ginger Pop’s position. “She’s pretty handy and can place herself anywhere she needs to be.”
The field for the $200,000 La Caňada: Bsharpsonata, Rafael Bejarano, 120; Miss Singhsix, Joel Rosario, 116; Accopela Choir, Martin Garcia, 116; Magical Fantasy, Alex Solis, 120; Taste’s Sis, Alonso Quinonez, 116; Ginger Pop, Jose Valdivia Jr., 116; Spring Style, Tyler Baze, 116; Modification, Joe Talamo, 116; and Life Is Sweet, Garrett Gomez, 123. FILLY EVITA ARGENTINA FACES MALES IN MONDAY’S SAN VICENTE
Evita Argentina is scheduled to face males for the first time in her six-race career in Monday’s Grade II San Vicente Stakes for 3-year-olds at seven furlongs.
“She’s a late-running sprinter, it was really the only race for her, so we’re going to give it a try,” trainer John Sadler explained. “The weather is good for us (rain or shine).”
Probable for the 68th running of the $150,000 San Vicente: Cut the Check, Jose Valdivia Jr.; Evita Argentina, Garrett Gomez; New Bay, no rider; Point Attended, Corey Nakatani; Ventana, no rider; and Wall Street Wonder, Joel Rosario. JOCKEYS, HOLY ANGELS MEET FEB. 26; DELAHOUSSAYE, PINCAY HONORARY CAPTAINS
The 42nd annual Holy Angels-Santa Anita Jockeys charity basketball game will take place Thursday, Feb. 26, 7 p.m., at La Salle High School in Pasadena. Proceeds will benefit the Holy Angels athletic department. Legendary Hall of Fame jockeys Eddie Delahoussaye and Laffit Pincay Jr. will serve as honorary captains, and will be available to sign autographs from 6 to 7 p.m. in the La Salle High gymnasium.
“This game has been such a fun thing for all of us over the years,” said Santa Anita President Ron Charles. “To have Eddie and Laffit involved as honorary captains I think helps draw added attention to it and hopefully, it will help us raise more money for the athletic program at Holy Angels.”
The jockeys will once again be coached by HRTV anchor/analyst Kurt Hoover. “We didn’t win last year, but honestly, I think everybody involved had more fun than we’ve ever had,” said Hoover. “Having Eddie and Laffit involved as captains this year is special.”
Hoover was also quick to note key performances last year by David Flores and Gerry Olguin. “David stepped up like he always does and the fact that he tossed in a three-pointer really kind of made the night for everyone. Gerry played fantastic from start to finish and we’re going to be counting on him again.
“We’re also hoping to have Corey Nakatani back. He was out last year with an injury and we missed his intensity--big time,” he added. Although it was scrapped last year in favor of a more free-flowing game plan, Hoover said that the jockeys would revert to a more structured approach.
“We’re going back to the triangle offense,” said Hoover. “It’s worked very well for us in past years, but my guys wanted to open things up more and run and gun last year. I’d like to run this by Phil (Jackson) and I’m hoping maybe he can offer advice as to how we defend these kids as well. Holy Angels had a big height advantage last year, but I think we can make up for that with our quickness, intensity and overall fitness.”
La Salle High School is located at the southwest corner of Michillinda Ave. and Sierra Madre Blvd. in Pasadena, approximately four miles from Santa Anita. Admission is $5. SUNDAY SNOW DAY POSTPONED, RESCHEDULED FOR MARCH 1
Snow Day, scheduled for this Sunday, has been postponed due to predicted inclement weather. It has been rescheduled for Sunday, March 1. On that day, Santa Anita will become a winter wonderland hosting its first-ever Snow Day during live racing. Fun-filled activities for the entire family will be available throughout the Santa Anita infield, including 200 tons of snow, winter games of chance, snow slides, a 50’ x 100’ synthetic ice skating rink, pony rides, face painting and much more. FREE UMBRELLAS AT SANTA ANITA THIS MONDAY, PRESIDENTS’ DAY
With rain in the forecast, free umbrellas will be a timely free gift to all THOROUGHBREDS members at Santa Anita with general admission while supplies last this Monday, Presidents’ Day.
Two stakes highlight the racing program, the Grade II San Vicente Stakes for 3-year-olds at seven furlongs, and the Grade II Buena Vista Handicap for older fillies and mares at one mile on turf. First post time is 12:30 p.m. FINISH LINES: Tomorrow is ‘Free Friday.’ General admission is free, and hot dogs, soda, beer and popcorn are $1 each . . . Thursday’s Pick Six carryover of $90,411.46 is the 15th through 35 days of the current meet . . . Santa Anita Derby and Travers Stakes winner Colonel John was scheduled to work seven furlongs with Garrett Gomez aboard between Thursday’s third and fourth races for the $1 million Santa Anita Handicap on March 7 . . . Santa Anita currently is accepting Round One in the first of three pools on Kentucky Derby Future Book wagering. Pool Two is set for March 12-15, and Pool Three for April 2-5. The 135th Run for the Roses takes place at Churchill Downs on May 2 . . . Jockey Omar Berrio, who has been undergoing rehabilitation for substance abuse, has been reinstated by the California Horse Racing Board after his license was suspended on Aug. 13, 2008. According to a CHRB ruling issued Wednesday, “Berrio may not ride in a race for 60 days from the date of the CHRB ruling, and must sign a drug testing agreement with the CHRB whenever licensed in California, and must comply with the guidelines of the contract set forth by the Winner’s Foundation. Furthermore, Mr. Berrio’s license will be considered probationary for its term.” . . . Former Los Angeles Times handicapper Bob Mieszerski, currently with Today’s Racing Digest.com, and Ed Golden of Gaming Today, will be Jack Disney’s guests at Sunday’s Fans’ Forum, 11:45 a.m., in the East Paddock Gardens, weather permitting. -30-