Santa Anita Stable Notes Sunday, February 5, 2023
STABLE NOTES BY VICTOR RYAN
SUNDAY, FEB. 5, 2023
• STRAIGHT NO CHASER HOPES TO MAKE LAST CALL • AIR FORCE RED GETS AN EDUCATION IN G3 THUNDER ROAD • AMERICAN OAKS WINNER RHEA MOON BACK ON WORK TAB • MANDATORY RAINBOW 6 PAYOUT ON SUNDAY • COAST TO COAST PICK 5 RETURNS SUNDAY • SANTA ANITA ADDS RACE CARD FOR FRIDAY, FEB. 24
STRAIGHT NO CHASER A THREAT IN GII PALOS VERDES
Straight No Chaser faced a tall task for his stakes debut when he took on the likes of Taiba and Forbidden Kingdom in the Grade I Malibu on opening day Dec. 26. For his second stakes try on Sunday, the now 4-year-old Speightster colt gets class relief and a cutback in distance to six furlongs for the Grade III Palos Verdes.
Trained by Dan Blacker, Straight No Chaser was a debut winner sprinting on turf last summer at Del Mar before switching to dirt two starts later and capturing a first-level allowance at 6 ½ furlongs on Oct. 29 at Santa Anita. Sent off at 15-1 in the Malibu, Straight No Chaser pressed the pace under Edwin Maldonado until the final furlong where he faded to seventh behind winner Taiba. Straight No Chaser earned a 92 Beyer Speed Figure for the effort, which is a snug fit for the Palos Verdes.
“He gave us a thrill,” Blacker said of the Malibu. “He was the only horse really that properly challenged Taiba and paid the price.”
Straight No Chaser will break from the rail in the Palos Verdes with Maldonado in the irons. He is the 5-1 fourth choice on the morning line. Blacker said Straight No Chaser, who has worked three times since the Malibu “is truly doing well right now.” He is also encouraged by the cutback to six furlongs.
“My gut feeling is seven furlongs is probably too far for him. I think six furlongs is probably his best distance,” Blacker said. “He won at five-eighths first out and those types of horses are usually pure sprinters. I think that’s what he is at this point.”
Straight No Chaser was a $110,000 auction purchase as a 2-year-old and is campaigned by My Racehorse. Blacker expects to see him setting the pace in the Palos Verdes.
“He drew a good post. He has speed and is probably going to the lead,” Blacker said. “I’m excited to see what he can do against these types of horses.”
The Palos Verdes goes as the seventh race on Sunday with an approximate post time of 3:38 p.m. The field in post position order: Straight No Chaser, Edwin Maldonado (5-1); Hopkins, Juan Hernandez (5-2); Howbeit, Mike Smith (2-1); Escape Route, Geovanni Franco, 10-1; Radical Right, Flavien Prat (5-2); McLaren Vale, Kazushi Kimura (6-1).
AIR FORCE RED GETS AN EDUCATION IN G3 THUNDER ROAD
Air Force Red’s bid to become the first two-time stakes winner at the meet came up just short in Saturday’s Grade III Thunder Road going one mile on turf.
Sent off the 9-5 favorite, Air Force Red bobbled slightly at the start before hustling up to secure a stalking position under Santa Anita’s leading rider Juan Hernandez. The 5-year-old Air Force Blue ridgling then ranged up to briefly put a nose in front in deep stretch, but then was nailed on the wire by fast-closing winner Earls Rock and runner-up Du Jour. Air Force Red was beaten just a nose and a neck for top money.
Trainer Leonard Powell on Sunday reported Air Force Red exited the race in good order.
“He ran a good race. He got caught by surprise by two horses flying down the lane,” Powell said. “But he dug in and ran a good race.”
Air Force Red was back around two turns in the Thunder Road after winning the Grade II Joe Hernandez on the hillside turf course on Dec. 31. Powell noted Air Force Red, whose last three wins have all come in front-running fashion, received plenty of education in the Thunder Road.
“He did bobble a little bit at the start and that left us about a length further back then we wanted early,” Powell said. “But on the other hand, it was a good schooling race because it taught him to wait. Hopefully we lost the battle but not the war.”
MANDATORY RAINBOW 6 PAYOUT ON SUNDAY
There will be a mandatory payout of the Rainbow Pick 6 Jackpot on Sunday at Santa Anita. The Rainbow Pick 6 is a 20-cent minimum wager.
With no single-ticket winners on Saturday, the Rainbow 6 pool will start with a carryover of $391,631. Track officials project Sunday’s total pool will exceed $3 million.
The Rainbow 6 kicks off with the fourth race at approximately 2:04 p.m. The sequence has an average field size of 8.6 starters per race.
GRADE I AMERICAN OAKS WINNER RHEA MOON BACK ON WORK TAB
Rhea Moon, who earned her second-straight stakes win in the Grade I American Oaks on opening day Dec. 26, returned to the work tab Sunday when drilling an easy three furlongs in 37.20 seconds on the training track.
On what was a wet morning at Santa Anita, nearly 200 horses had timed workouts either on the main track or training track. Country Grammar and Taiba each continued their preparations for the rich Saudi Cup when each worked seven furlongs in 1:25.60. Additionally, multiple graded-stakes winning sprinter Brickyard Ride continued to gear up for his comeback with a six-furlong move in 1:13.6 under Santa Anita leading rider Juan Hernandez. Brickyard Ride, who has won 12 of 23 starts and banked $744,977 for trainer Craig Lewis and owner-breeder Alfred Pais, has not started since last May when fifth in the Grade II Triple Bend.
As for Rhea Moon, her victory in the 1 1/4 -mile American Oaks for trainer Phil D’Amato followed a win in the Grade III Autumn Miss going a mile here on Oct. 29. D’Amato last week said Rhea Moon was “getting a little working vacation” but would likely return in a stakes sometime in March. Local turf stakes options would include the Grade III Buena Vista at a mile on March 4; Grade III Santa Ana at 1 ¼ miles on March 12; or possibly wait for the Grade II Royal Heroine at a mile on April 1.
COAST TO COAST PICK 5 PAYS NEARLY 7K; RETURNS SUNDAY
The 1/ST Coast to Coast Pick 5 returns Sunday beginning at 12:37 with the eighth race at Gulfstream Park. The sequence also includes the ninth race from Gulfstream Park and the second, sixth and seventh races from Santa Anita.
Note the ninth race at Gulfstream has been washed off the turf and moved to the synthetic track. It will now be run at a mile and 70 yards rather than a flat mile.
The Coast to Coast Pick 5 is a $1 minimum wager with a player-friendly takeout of 15 percent. Saturday’s Coast to Coast Pick 5 returned $6,984.90.
Finish Lines: 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… Nominations for this year’s Triple Crown will be released to the public on Monday…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… Entering Saturday’s action, favorites have won at 28.39 percent clip at the Classic meet.