Santa Anita Stable Notes Saturday, February 11, 2023
STABLE NOTES BY VICTOR RYAN
SATURDAY, FEB. 11, 2023
• O’NEILL TRIO LOOKS TO UPSET THE SWEET LIFE • KNAPP BARN HITTING ON ALL CYLINDERS AT CLASSIC MEET • SUNDAY’S COAST-TO-COAST PICK 5 A SUPER BOWL APPETIZER • EARLY FIRST POST OF 11 A.M. ON SUPER BOWL SUNDAY • JOCKEYS VS. HOLY ANGELS CHARITY HOOPS GAME RETURNS
O’NEILL TRIO LOOKS TO UPSET THE SWEET LIFE
While 5-2 morning-line favorite Manhattan Jungle looms large in Saturday’s $100,000 Sweet Life Stakes for 3-year-old fillies on the hillside turf course, trainer Doug O’Neill will try and use strength in numbers to pull off the upset.
In a field of 11 set to go about 6 ½ furlongs, O’Neill trains the co-third choice Fun Money (6-1); Satin Doll (10-1), the recent Grade III Santa Ynez runner-up who tries turf for the first time; and Happy Gal, who at 20-1 is the longest shot on the morning line.
Satin Doll stamped herself as a potential candidate for the Grade II Santa Anita Oaks on April 1 when running second to Ice Dancing at 12-1 in the seven-furlong Santa Ynez on Jan. 8. But ahead of a potential tilt in the Oaks, or even the Grade III Santa Ysabel at 1 1/16 miles on dirt two weeks from today, O’Neill has elected to test the daughter of Congrats on turf.
“You don’t see many stakes going down the hill so it was intriguing,” O’Neill said of the Sweet Life. “She’s doing well so we’re taking a shot.”
While Satin Doll has never raced on grass, she has been tested over the synthetic track at Turfway Park, which can play akin to a grass course. She finished third in a first-level allowance there on Dec. 14 prior to the Santa Ynez.
“Her best races have been on dirt so far, and she’ll be back on dirt, but we think this is a winnable spot for her.” O’Neill said. “We’ll know more after.”
Satin Doll will break from the rail under Edwin Maldonado, who was also aboard in the Santa Ynez.
Fun Money enters off a pair of runner-up finishes for Reddam Racing. Sent down the hill in a first-level allowance on Jan. 8, Fun Money finished second to The Wild Grazer, who is the 2-1 morning-line favorite in Sunday’s Lady of Shamrock going a mile on turf. Three weeks later on Jan. 29, Fun Money was switched to dirt and beaten just a half length in a first-level allowance for California-sired or bred horses.
Fun Money was bred in Florida but is by California-based stallion Mrazek, who O’Neill also trained. She has missed the board just once in 10 starts.
“She’s just in good form,” O’Neill said. “There’s not a lot of other places to run and she came out of her race in good shape. We figured we’d take a chance. She landed a great outside post and we’re really excited about that.”
The Sweet Life goes as the ninth race on Saturday’s 10-race card. Post time is scheduled for approximately 4:38. The field in post position order: Satin Doll, Edwin Maldonado (10-1); Ragtime Rose, Hector Berrios (12-1); Havana Angel, Juan Hernandez (5-1); Manhattan Jungle, Frankie Dettori (5-2); Pleasant Wave, Kazushi Kimura (20-1); Decorated My Life (8-1); Itzel, Umberto Rispoli (6-1); Excelia, Geovanni Franco (6-1); Naughty Lottie, Kent Desormeaux (12-1); Fun Money, Mario Gutierrez (6-1); Happy Gal, Tiago Pereira (20-1).
KNAPP BARN HITTING ON ALL CYLINDERS AT THE CLASSIC MEET
It’s been quite the start to the Classic Meet for longtime trainer Steve Knapp.
Entering Saturday’s action, the 66-year-old conditioner has connected at a 26 percent clip with 11 wins from 42 to rank fourth in the trainer’s standings. Last year, through the entirety of the six-month Winter-Spring Meet, the Knapp barn won 18 races.
“It’s been a great meet,” Knapp said Saturday morning. “I’ve got more horses and the quality has gone up. That gives me the opportunity to win more races.”
Knapp currently has 54 horses stabled at Santa Anita. Of those, none has caused more of a stir than Bus Buzz.
A California-bred by Stay Thirsty, Bus Buzz debuted last Saturday going six furlongs against state-breds and aired by eight lengths. He blazed the opening half mile in 43.97 seconds and kept right on going when crossing the wire in 1:09.70. The effort earned a 93 Beyer Speed Figure, which according to Daily Racing Form is the 14th best recorded by a 3-year-old this year.
Knapp said Bus Buzz exited the sterling effort in good order and was ticketed for a state-bred allowance on dirt for his next start.
“From the very first work he showed us he could run,” Knapp said. “Just the way he moved you could see it. Then he just got better and better every work. But I didn’t expect that kind of performance. I didn’t know if I had him fit enough…but obviously he was.”
Bred by Terry Lovinger, Bus Buzz is out the Bring the Heat mare Lost Bus, who was a graded-stakes winner for Lovinger. He was sent through the 2021 Fasig-Tipton California fall yearling sale where he fetched $97,000 from Thomas Halasz, who campaigns the gelding in partnership with Lovinger and Amanda Navarro.
COAST-TO-COAST PICK 5 SERVES AS SUPER BOWL APPETIZER
The action will come fast and furious in Sunday’s Coast-to-Coast Pick 5. The sequence, which combines races from Santa Anita and Gulfstream Park, kicks off at 12:37 PT with the eighth race from Gulfstream Park and concludes 59 minutes later with the 10th race from Gulfstream.
The Coast-To-Coast Pick 5 is a $1 minimum wager with a player-friendly 15 percent takeout. The other three legs on Sunday are the fifth race from Santa Anita, ninth race from Gulfstream and sixth race from Santa Anita.
The Coast-to-Coast Pick 5 is offered every Saturday and Sunday during the Santa Anita and Gulfstream meets. Last Sunday’s wager returned $2,634.90 for 73 winning tickets.
JOCKEYS VS. HOLY ANGELS CHARITY HOOPS GAME RETURNS NEXT WEEK After a two-year hiatus due to COVID concerns, the 53rd annual Charity Basketball Game featuring Santa Anita jockeys versus Holy Angels Middle School returns to La Salle High School in Pasadena on Thursday. Game time is set for 7 p.m.
Prior to tip-off, a distinguished group of Hall of Fame jockeys will be on-hand to sign posters and other memorabilia. Retired legends Laffit Pincay Jr. and Gary Stevens will be present along with active Hall of Famers Kent Desormeaux, Victor Espinoza, Mike Smith and John Velazquez.
Set to coach the jockeys on the court is agent Matt Nakatani, who represents Santa Anita-based jockey’s Joe Bravo and Mario Gutierrez.
Admission is $5 with proceeds going to benefit the Permanently Disabled Jockey Fund and Holy Angels Athletics. Tickets can be purchase at the door or in advance via jockey.givesmart.com.
Finish Lines: Sunday will have a special first post of 11 a.m. to accommodate those with plans to watch the Super Bowl…Santa Anita will Santa Anita will conduct live racing on Friday, Feb. 24, which was originally scheduled to be a dark day. First post time will be at 12:30 p.m. The card has been added as a makeup for weather-related cancellations earlier in the Classic Meet…Santa Anita track announcer Frank Mirahmadi will be Tom Quigley’s featured handicapping guest Sunday on the Santa Anita simulcast feed starting at 9:50.