Santa Anita Stable Notes Friday, January 20, 2023
STABLE NOTES BY VICTOR RYAN FRIDAY, JAN. 20, 2023
• CHILEAN IMPORT AUSTRALIA MIA ADDS INTRIGUE TO ASTRA • DICEY MO CHARA, AIR FORCE RED NEARING STAKES ENCORE • TAIBA, FORBIDDEN KINGDOM LEAD FRIDAY’S WORK TAB • PLAYER-FRIENDLY ‘COAST TO COAST PICK 5’ RETURNS SATURDAY • EARLY FIRST POST SATURDAY OF 12 NOON FOR 10-RACE CARD
CHILEAN IMPORT AUSTRALIA MIA ADDS INTRIGUE TO ASTRA
As the 5-2 morning-line favorite in Saturday’s $100,000 Astra Stakes, Australia Mia makes her U.S. bow with high expectations for owner-breeder Don Alberto Stable in the 1 ½-mile turf marathon.
A Kentucky-bred daughter of Street Sense, Australia Mia raced exclusively in Chile before arriving at trainer’s Michael McCarthy’s Santa Anita barn in October. While in Chile, Australia Mia racked up nine wins in 19 starts, all on turf, including a pair of Group II’s at distances ranging to a mile-and-a-quarter. The 5-year-old mare surfaces in the Astra after working five times at Santa Anita since Dec. 10.
“She’s been here quite some time and has settled in nicely with a steady series of works,” McCarthy said Friday morning. For the Astra, Australia Mia has lured the services of top jockey Frankie Dettori. They will break from post five in a nine-horse field. The Astra will be Australia Mia’s first start since last June, a runner-up effort in a Group III going a mile and a quarter at Club Hipico.
While a multiple winner at the 10-furlong distance, McCarthy acknowledged the extra quarter mile of the Astra remains a question mark. However, he noted the time was right to get Australia Mia’s U.S. campaign started.
“We didn’t really find anything that fit on the calendar. We thought a mile might be a little too sharp for her,” McCarthy said. “We’ll get started here and if it is a tick too far, we’ll cut her back to a mile-and-an-eighth type thing.”
The Astra goes as the eighth race on Saturday’s 10 race card with an approximate post time of 3:30. The field in post position order: Warrens Candy Girl, Umberto Rispoli, 6-1; Lady Clementine, Flavien Prat, 5-1; Queen Ofthe Temple, Juan Hernandez, 3-1; Duvet Day, Kazushi Kimura, 6-1; Australia Mia, Frankie Dettori, 5-2; Almost A Factor, John Velazquez, 15-1; Tiz An Adventure, Mike Smith, 6-1; Barrister’s Ride, Ricardo Gonzalez, 12-1; New Heat, Abel Cedillo, 20-1.
DICEY MO CHARA, AIR FORCE RED NEARING STAKES ENCORE
Dicey Mo Chara and Air Force Red got the Classic Meet off to a flying start for trainer Leonard Powell when taking down the Grade II San Gabriel and Grade II Joe Hernandez, respectively, during opening week. Both of Powell’s graded stakes winners are back working and nearing their encores.
On Friday, Air Force Red had his second work since the Joe Hernandez when going an easy five furlongs in 1:03.20. Dicey Mo Chara, who has already worked twice since the San Gabriel, is slated for a third drill on Saturday.
Following his win in the San Gabriel, Dicey Mo Chara was invited to compete in next Saturday’s $1 million, Grade I Pegasus World Cup Turf at Gulfstream Park. But after some consideration, the connections decided against making the cross-country trip. Dicey Mo Chara will instead run in the $200,000, Grade II San Marcos going 1 ¼ miles on Feb. 5 at Santa Anita.
“The (Pegasus) was going to be a tough race and the ownership (Red Baron’s Barn and Rancho Temescal) loves to support California racing,” Powell said. “This is also a track he likes, so we decided to just stay home and run in the San Marcos.”
As for Air Force Red, who is campaigned by Eclipse Thoroughbred Partners and Holly Golightly, Powell said a decision on his next start will be made in the next couple days.
“We have a couple options for him. We’ll get together with the owners following his work today and make a decision,” Powell said.
Air Force Red, who prior to the Joe Hernandez won the Oct. 29 Lure Stakes at Santa Anita, has a record of 10-5-0-0 and earnings of $354,140. Dicey Mo Chara, who collected his first stakes win in the San Gabriel, has a record of 4-4-3 from 17 starts and earnings of $430,277.
TAIBA, FORBIDDEN KINGDOM LEAD FRIDAY’S WORK TAB
Taiba and Forbidden Kingdom, the 1-2 finishers in the Grade I Malibu on opening day, each worked Friday at Santa Anita.
Forbidden Kingdom got back on the tab with a three-furlong drill in 34.60 seconds for Hall of Fame trainer Richard Mandella. Taiba, who 12 days ago worked an easy half mile in 50.80 seconds for Bob Baffert, picked things up on Friday when completing the same distance in 48.80 seconds. Taiba is slated to ship out of Santa Anita next month and head to the Middle East for a try in the $20 million Saudi Cup in Riyadh on Feb. 25.
In the Malibu, Forbidden Kingdom set the pace before being overtaken in the stretch by Taiba and falling 4 ¼ lengths short. The Malibu was Taiba’s third Grade I win of 2022, bolstering his case as Eclipse Award finalist for champion 3-year-old male.
Baffert also had several other workers Friday. Among the more notable were Grade I Starlet winner Faiza (5f, 59.60), Grade II Los Alamitos Futurity runner-up Carmel Road (4f, 48.8) and Arabian Lion (5f, 59.60), a well-regarded maiden winner who was fifth as the odds-on favorite in the Futurity most recently.
PLAYER-FRIENDLY ‘COAST TO COAST PICK 5’ RETURNS SATURDAY
With all systems go Saturday at both Santa Anita and Gulfstream Park, the ‘Coast to Coast Pick 5’ returns starting at 12:59 p.m.
The Coast to Coast Pick 5 is a $1 minimum wager with a player-friendly 15 percent takeout rate held on Saturdays and Sundays. While last Saturday’s wager was canceled due to no racing at Santa Anita, the following day’s Coast to Coast Pick 5 returned a healthy $2,531.80 for 82 winning tickets.
This Saturday the wager begins with the third race from Santa Anita, a starter/optional claimer going 5 ½ furlongs on turf. The sequence proceeds with the ninth and 11th races from Gulfstream Park and concludes with races six and eight at Santa Anita.
Finish Lines: Saturday’s 10-race card featuring the $100,000 Astra Stakes has an early first post of 12 noon. First post time for Sunday’s nine-race program will also be at 12:30 p.m…2019 Eclipse Award-winning Apprentice Jockey Kazushi Kimura is now represented by agent Brandon O’Bryan. Kimura, leading rider this past season at Woodbine, won his first race at Santa Anita Sunday aboard Kirstenbosch in the Grade III La Canada for John Sadler… Every Friday during the Classic Meet on-track patrons will receive free admission, free parking and drink specials that include $3 beers and $5 margaritas