Santa Anita Stable Notes Thursday, March 23, 2023
STABLE NOTES BY VICTOR RYAN
THURSDAY, MARCH 23, 2023
• LIGHT TRAINING RESUMES THURSDAY AFTER LATEST STORM • CARD ADDED THIS MONDAY AS MAKEUP FOR CANCELLATIONS • MILLIONAIRE SMOOTH LIKE STRAIT RETIRED • GI BIG CAP WINNER STILLETTO BOY BACK ON THE WORK TAB • COAST-TO-COAST PICK 5 RETURNS SATURDAY • NOMINATIONS CLOSE THURSDAY FOR 3 STAKES
LIGHT TRAINING RESUMES THURSDAY AFTER LATEST STORM
With the latest rainstorm to hit Santa Anita having run its course overnight, both the main track and training track reopened for joggers Thursday. There have been no timed workouts at Santa Anita since Monday.
According to track officials, an additional 3.2 inches of rain fell on Arcadia this week. Santa Anita preemptively canceled Friday’s card because of the latest storm and scheduled a makeup date for this Monday. Entries for both the Sunday and Monday cards were being taken on Thursday morning.
Santa Anita has received more than 33 inches of rain since opening day on Dec. 26, Santa Anita Director of Racing and Racing Secretary Jason Egan said Thursday. Friday’s card was the seventh cancellation of the stand. Two of those days have already been made up.
An additional makeup day will also be held Friday, April 21, which was originally scheduled to be a dark day as part of a scheduled break at Santa Anita, which will begin with the conclusion of the Classic Meet on Sunday, April 9. No racing will be held the weekend of April 14-16.
Santa Anita Director of Racing and Racing Secretary Jason Egan said it is possible workouts will resume on Friday. He noted the main track, which has been sealed, would be “cut” at the conclusion of training on Thursday. A final decision for Friday’s training status would be made later Thursday under the advisement of Track Supervisor Jesse Martinez, Egan added.
Santa Anita will remain open for simulcasting on today and Friday. Racing resumes Saturday with a nine-race card highlighted by the Grade III Desert Stormer for older fillies and mares going six furlongs on dirt. Five of the nine races Saturday are scheduled for the turf.
MILLIONAIRE SMOOTH LIKE STRAIT RETIRED, STUD DUTIES POSSIBLE IN ‘24
Grade I-winning millionaire Smooth Like Strait has been retired after four-plus seasons on the racetrack, trainer Michael McCarthy and owner-breeder Michael Cannon said this week.
Smooth Like Strait, whose six stakes wins included the 2021 GI Shoemaker Mile, ends his career with a record of 7-9-3 in 26 starts and earnings of $1,813,863. The 6-year-old full horse by Midnight Lute had been off the board in each of his last four starts, which included most recently a fifth place finish as the odds-on favorite in the March 11 Cotton Fitzsimmons Handicap at Turf Paradise.
Cannon told Daily Racing Form’s Steve Andersen that Smooth Like Strait would be sent to his farm in Nevada to unwind from the racetrack life. Cannon noted it’s possible Smooth Like Strait will serve as a stallion next season, though he added of Smooth Like Strait, “He doesn’t have the pedigree to be commercial.”
Smooth Like Strait is out of the winning Flower Alley mare Smooth as Usual. DRF reported Cannon is also considering breeding some of his own mares to Smooth Like Strait next year.
All seven of Smooth Like Strait’s runner-up finishes came in graded stakes and included five Grade I’s. Most famously, Smooth Like Strait led throughout the 2021 Breeders’ Cup Mile at Del Mar before getting nailed in the final strides by favorite Space Blues.
“He had so many close seconds,” Cannon told DRF. “He almost made $2 million and it could have been 4 or 5.”
GI BIG CAP WINNER STILLETTO BOY BACK ON WORK TAB AT GOLDEN GATE
Stilleto Boy, upset winner of the Grade I Santa Anita Handicap on March 4, returned to the work tab Sunday at Golden Gate Fields with an easy half-mile drill in 51.40 seconds.
Trained by Ed Moger Jr., Stilleto Boy earned his first career Grade I win in the Big Cap when springing a 13-1 upset under Hall of Famer Kent Desormeaux. In last year’s Big Cap, Stilleto Boy finished third.
Moger said via text message on Thursday that Stilleto Boy emerged from the work in good order and that he would be pointed to the Grade II Oaklawn Handicap going 1 1/8 miles at Oaklawn Park on April 22.
Stilleto Boy was purchased at auction in July 2021 for $420,000 by current owner Steve Moger following his win in that year’s Iowa Derby at Prairie Meadows. Prior to his Big Cap score earlier this month, Stilleto Boy had finished in the top-four in eight separate graded stakes without a victory for his new connections. That included a third in the Grade I Pegasus World Cup when making his 5-year-old bow on Jan. 28 at Gulfstream Park.
A gelding by Shackleford, Stilleto Boy has a career record of 21-4-4-8 with earnings of $1,711,675.
COAST-TO-COAST PICK 5 RETURNS SATURDAY The $1 Coast-to-Coast Pick 5 with player-friendly 15 percent takeout rate returns Sunday with races from Santa Anita and Gulfstream Park. The sequence kicks off at 1:07 p.m. PT with the eighth race from Gulfstream Park.
Gulfstream Park’s eighth race is a one-mile turf allowance for older fillies and mares set to go postward. It has a field of 11 entered. The sequence also includes the ninth and 10th races from Gulfstream, the third race from Santa Anita and concludes with the fourth race from Santa Anita at approximately 2:29 p.m.
Saturday’s Coast-to-Coast Pick 5 averages 9.4 starters per race before scratches. Last Sunday’s Coast-to-Coast Pick 5 returned a whopping $146,568.20 to one lucky winner.
FINISH LINES: On-track patrons for Monday’s makeup card will receive free admission and parking, as well as $2 hotdogs, $3 beers and $5 margaritas…On Sunday April 9, Santa Anita will host the biggest Easter Egg hunt in the San Gabriel Valley in the Infield as part of an Easter celebration…There is a $205,612.04 Rainbow 6 carryover for Saturday’s card. The sequence starts with the fourth race at approximately 2:30 p.m.…The win rate for favorites has ticked up to 35.31 percent entering Sunday’s card…