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Santa Anita's 'Big Cap' - March 7 looking solid

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  • Santa Anita's 'Big Cap' - March 7 looking solid

    Looks like this year's running of the $1M Santa Anita Handicap (Grade 1) will be rather interesting! Not only is it getting high profile 'local' runners but also ones from Florida and a shipper from England on top of French-runner Zambezi Sun who was very rank (to say the least) in the San Luis Obispo on Feb 22nd.

    This will be one to watch with all 14 slots likely to be occupied!

    Regarding Zambezi Sun and lack of control:

    Asked right after the race how tough it was to rate Zambezi Sun in the San Luis Obispo, jockey Garrett Gomez was silent while displaying the palm of his left hand, which had a red line imprinted across it from clutching the rein.
    Bobby Frankel is fine with having him run again

    "There’s nothing wrong with him,” Frankel said of the French group I winner he trains for Juddmonte Farms. “He didn’t run hard; he’s OK. I just got him fit enough to run (in the Big ‘Cap).”
    On the British-shipper, Dansant:

    On Wednesday, Dansant, who has won five stakes in England in the last 18 months, left Great Britain for California.

    The 5-year-old horse is the first international shipper for the Santa Anita Handicap since the English invader Jorrocks finished last of 12 behind winner Tiznow in 2001. Jorrocks stayed in California, but Dansant will return to England.

    Dansant has won 2 of his last 3 starts, but trainer Gerard Butler knows he is taking a chance in the Santa Anita Handicap, which is run at 1 1/4 miles.
    Some of the other runners of interest

    As of Wednesday, 16 of the 26 nominated horses were considered candidates - Blue Exit, Champs Elysees, Colonel John, Court Vision [based in Florida], Cowboy Cal, Dansant, Einstein [also based in Florida], Magnum, Mast Track, Matto Mondo, Monba, Nownownow, Slew's Tiznow, Tiago, Victory Pete, and Zambezi Sun.

    Mast Track, the winner of the 2008 Hollywood Gold Cup, and Nownownow, who won the San Fernando Stakes last month, may start in the Grade 1 Frank Kilroe Mile on turf on March 7, their trainers said on Wednesday.

    Frankel said he would make equipment changes to avoid a repeat [with Zambezi Sun being rank]. "He won't do it next time," Frankel said.
    If the Big Cap draws more than the allotted 14 entrants, weight assignments, which will be released on Saturday, are the first tiebreaker.
  • Original Poster

    Tyler Baze might get the mount on Dansant

    Brisnet 2-24

    DANSANT (Dansili [GB]), a five-time stakes winner on synthetic surfaces in England, will ship to Southern California for the March 7 Santa Anita H. (G1). Trainer Gerard Butler had been aiming for the $1 million affair, but he was concerned about whether his charge would be able to get into the field. According to a Monday report in Racing Post, Santa Anita officials telephoned Butler on Saturday night to assure him that Dansant would make the cut.

    "Thankfully, Dansant is in the line-up at Santa Anita and it will be interesting to see how he fares after all the European success at the Breeders' Cup there last year," Butler told Racing Post. "It looks like it's going to be a full field in the race and he sets off for Ayr tomorrow (Tuesday). He will fly from Prestwick airport direct to California."

    Last November, Dansant captured the 1 1/2-mile Wild Flower S. at Kempton for the second straight year. He then trimmed back to 1 1/4 miles in the December 20 Quebec S., where he rolled to a 2 1/2-length score in track-record time at Lingfield.

    His five-year-old debut was delayed by adverse winter weather in England. After a few postponements and venue changes, Dansant finally reappeared in the Mill Wood Winter Open S. at Lingfield on February 10, just failing to catch the lone speed Suits Me (Bertolini) by a half-length after a tepid pace.


    • Original Poster

      Two possibles are not going: Informed and Slew's Tiznow will be directed to other races.

      Although I'm a bit baffled as to how Informed is instead going to Dubai to race:

      From the DRF:

      Informed, second in the San Pasqual Handicap on Jan. 10 and fourth in the San Antonio Handicap on Feb. 8, will make his next start in the $1 million Godolphin Mile in Dubai on March 28. O'Neill said he was told that Informed had been invited on Thursday morning.

      Informed, 5, has yet to win a stakes in his 17-race career.
      Sounds more like he's been invited as "cannon fodder" of sorts.


      • Original Poster

        No Tiago!

        Tiago off his feed and out of Big Cap

        Tiago was not entered for the Big Cap when entries were taken on Wednesday. A four-time stakes winner, Tiago was seen as a leading contender for the Grade 1 Big Cap.

        "He backed off his feed a little," Ingordo said. "It's too bad because he was doing so well. He was training superbly."

        Ingordo said that Tiago could be considered for the $500,000 Oaklawn Handicap at Oaklawn Park on April 4. Tiago won the Oaklawn Handicap in 2008.


        • #5
          Too bad about Tiago. This could have been his race.


          • #6
            Bummer about Tiago.

            But what a field! C'mon Cowboy Cal...
            Don't fall for a girl who fell for a horse just to be number two in her world... ~EFO


            • Original Poster

              The complete field for the Santa Anita Handicap,

              PP: horse, jockey, weight and morning line odds

              1: Matto Mondo, Rafael Bejarano, 116, 6-1
              2: Cowboy Cal, John Velazquez, 120, 5-1
              3: Heroi Do Bafra, Michael Baze, 111, 30-1
              4: Monba, Edgar Prado, 114, 15-1
              5: Colonel John, Garrett Gomez, 119, 9-2
              6: Magnum, Joel Rosario, 116, 12-1
              7: Blue Exit, Robby Albarado, 115, 12-1
              8: Einstein, Julien Leparoux, 121, 6-1
              9: Dansant (GB), Tyler Baze, 116, 20-1
              10: Cause, Jon Court, 110, 30-1
              11: Court Vision, Ramon Dominguez, 119, 6-1
              12: Zambezi Sun, Victor Espinoza, 116, 12-1
              13: Champs Elysees, Jose Valdivia, Jr., 118, 12-1
              14: Stream Cat, Alex Solis, 114, 20-1

              I'm sure Garrett is thrilled to be off Zambezi and on Colonel John

              I'd like to think that Dansant for having been shipped all the way from England for this race would be nice darkhorse wager at 20-1!


              • Original Poster

                A very interesting undercard too for race 10 - the Santa Anita 'Big Cap' (although lets be honest, handicap weight assignments for that field in 2009 would be heartily mocked at back in the 1950's) with the Grade 1 $300k Santa Anita Oaks and its implications on the Kentucky Derby.

                Some will recall that another big filly who crushed her competition and was said to he Kentucky Derby bound won this race with ease four years ago - Sweet Catomine

                $300,000 Santa Anita Oaks (Grade 1)
                Saturday March 7, 2009
                Santa Anita Race 7; off at 3:07 p.m. PST
                3-Year-Old Fillies
                Distance/surface: 1 1/16 Miles / Pro-Ride

                PP. Horse, Jockey
                1. Stardom Bound (KY), Mike E. Smith
                2. Burg Berg(KY), Tyler Baze
                3. Miss Silver Brook (KY), Alex O. Solis
                4. Hooh Why (FL), Robby Albarado
                5. Stormy Slew (KY), John R. Velazquez
                6. Nan (KY), Corey S. Nakatani
                7. Will O Way (KY), Russell A. Baze
                8. Beltene (CA), Joel Rosario
                9. Third Dawn (KY), Rafael Bejarano
                10. Acronym (KY), David R. Flores

                All carry 122 pounds.
                Note Russ Baze has been lured down to So. Cal for this race - he rarely will do so unless he's on a serious mount. 'Will O Way' was last seen (with Baze up) taking the $100,000 California Oaks at Golden Gate Fields Jan. 31st


                • #9
                  I find it interesting that witht he exodus of Tiago, Mike is left without a mount in the Big Cap though he had opportunity to ride three.
                  I will be there, anyone else?


                  • Original Poster

                    Mike might not have Tiago or another mount in the Big Cap but the ride on Stardom Bound puts him in a good position to walk home with a nice pay day

                    Another very good race to watch at Santa Anita on Saturday will be the 50th running of the Frank E. Kilroe Mile on turf

                    The Juddmonte Farms 5-yr old mare Ventura (15 8-5-1) is taking on the boys again for the 3rd time in her career. Twice she won back in England doing so and last time she finished a solid 2nd in Canada in the Grade 1 Woodbine Mile Stakes.

                    Needless to say the Bobby Frankel trained, Garrett Gomez ridden gal has no fear against this field however she is carrying the 2nd highest handicap in the field Gomex has remarked "I have no worries" and has been rather smitten with her as he's been her exclusive rider since she's come to the US. "She's really gotten stronger and more athletic," Gomez said. "She's got such a great turn of foot. I fell in love with her when she first got here."

                    $300,000 Frank E. Kilroe Mile Handicap (G1)
                    Saturday March 7, 2009

                    Post Postion: Horse, Jockey, Handicap
                    1: Ventura(f), Gomez, 118
                    2: Mast Track, Leparoux, 117
                    3: Monterey Jazz, (rider TBA) , 116
                    4: Hewitts, Flores, 114
                    5: Wise River, Albarado, 116
                    6: Artiste Royal (IRE), Bejarano, 119
                    7: Dixie Chatter, Tyler Baze, 115
                    8: Mr Napper Tandy, Rosario, 113
                    9: Global Hunter, Valdivia, 116
                    10: Becrux (ITY), Prado, 115
                    11: Gio Ponti, Dominguez, 118
                    12: Victory Pete, Smith, 113


                    • Original Poster

                      Hopefully Julien will be on his "A game" tomorrow and able to fly from Gulfstream to Santa Anita: Per the DRF March 6th

                      Julien Leparoux took off his mounts Friday due to illness. He was scheduled to fly to California on Friday evening to ride Einstein in Saturday's Santa Anita Handicap. Leparoux took over sole possession of the lead in the jockey standings [at Gulfstream Park] after guiding first-time starter Hold My Calls to victory for trainer Eddie Kenneally in Thursday's nightcap.
                      Regarding Cowboy Cal and expectations:

                      Pletcher would like to see Cowboy Cal near the front and cooperating with jockey John Velazquez.

                      "The biggest challenge is how well he can settle and relax," Pletcher said. "We feel he settles better when he has a horse to track."

                      Then, Pletcher needs Cowboy Cal to finish his job.

                      "Johnny said that when he makes the lead, he turns off," Pletcher said. "He thinks that the race is over. He'll do that and start fighting again when the other horses come up."

                      To win the Big Cap, Cowboy Cal must catch Matto Mondo and then hold off Colonel John, winner of the 2008 Santa Anita Derby and Travers Stakes; Magnum, winner of the San Antonio Handicap on Feb. 8; Einstein, who won the Clark Handicap in November; the Bobby Frankel-trained pair of Zambezi Sun and Champs Elysees; and Court Vision and Blue Exit.
                      A lot of "if's" in this race - from Colonel John having not started since Dec 26 to Matto Mondo having never raced at that distance, yet being pure speed. It again should be a very interesting race to watch!
                      Last edited by Glimmerglass; Mar. 7, 2009, 09:51 AM.


                      • #12
                        Colonel John WOOOOHOOOO!!!!!

                        (Can you tell I'm looking forward to his comeback this afternoon?)


                        • #13
                          Court Vision! Well, at least, that is my prediction of who wins because he has been working very well, but this is a tough race.

                          Looking forward to Colonel John's return as well. I could see a lot of different scenarios play out in this one.

                          Matto Mondo may be able to carry out that speed on the front end.

                          Good luck and a safe trip to all the horses and jockeys!


                          • #14
                            Speeds not been holding well on the main. BUT it is a beautiful day in Southern Cal! I intend to play!


                            • Original Poster

                              Colonel John has SCRATCHED from the Santa Anita Handicap

                              He has developed a fever and that's knocked him out.


                              • #16
                                Oh nooooooooes.

                                Get well buddy -- catch ya next time.


                                • Original Poster

                                  Stardom Bound won the Santa Anita Oaks, but I cannot say she looked like some mega powerhouse over the gals like Sweetcatomine did when she took the Oaks. We'll see how the Santa Anita Derby field shapes up but unless this was her bounce I don't expect her to rout the SAD and that puts a lot of doubt into going the Kentucky Derby path over Oaks.


                                  • Original Poster

                                    Kudos to Einstein and Julien Leparoux for taking the Big Cap! The first East Coast shipper since 1987 to win the Santa Anita Handicap.

                                    I didn't know the 7-yr old is actually a stallion until HRTV mentioned it

                                    Worth noting the top three winners all were from South America.

                                    No word on Blue Exit but it cannot be good


                                    • #19
                                      Glimmerglass, what happened to Blue Exit? We were at the race, track side, but didn't know anything had gone wrong, just couldn't figure where he finished. He was my husband's pick. He looked so intense and unstoppable in the paddock, whereas Einstein looked almost lethargic. A guy next to us muttered, "I came here to bet Einstein but I'm switching to number 7."


                                      • #20
                                        Blue Exit was euthanized due to a fractured cannon bone.