By Ed Golden —-
• MATHIS MILE IS IDEAL FOR BLACKJACKCAT
• WALL CALENDAR AND MORE ON OPENING DAY
• CHEEKABOO NEEDS PACE IN AMERICAN OAKS
• GARY STEVENS SAYS HE IS NOT RETIRING
• NEW YORK-BRED SHARP FOR GRADE I MALIBU
Jockey Mike Smith (Photo by Breeders’ Cup/ Eclipse Sportswire)
BLACKJACKCAT CUTS BACK FOR MATHIS BROS. MILE
Blackjackcat has won sprinting and routing on turf, but will try a mile on grass for the first time when he runs in the Grade II Mathis Brothers Mile for three-year-olds on opening day.
“He’s shortening up but I think it will be beneficial,” said Mark Glatt, who trains the three-year-old Tale of the Cat gelding for owners/breeders Al and Sandee Kirkwood.
“That will probably be his best distance when the dust settles; we’ll see what happens.”
Hall of Fame jockey Mike Smith rides Blackjackcat for the sixth time in eight career races in the Mathis Brothers Mile. Blackjackcat worked four furlongs Tuesday in 49.80.
Probable for the Mathis Brothers Mile: Blackjackcat, Mike Smith; Blackout, riderTBA; Champagne Charley, rider TBA; Conquest Enforcer, Flavien Prat; Curlin Rules, rider TBA; Frank Conversation, Mario Gutierrez; Isotherm, Kent Desormeaux; Mittersill, rider TBA; Moonlight Drive, Rafael Bejarano; Path of David, rider TBA; and Tusk, Drayden Van Dyke.
OAKS DISTANCE A QUESTION MARK, FOR PETE’S SAKE
Cheekaboo, a stone closer, should fancy going a mile and a quarter on turf for the first time in the Grade I, $300,000 American Oaks on Saturday, Dec. 31, but Peter Eurton says there’s more to it than meets the eye.
“She’ll still need speed in there,” the trainer said. “She has to have a pace . . . she needs speed and then the parting of the Red Sea.”
Cheekaboo, a three-year-old California-bred daughter of Unusual Heat, won the Grade II Honeymoon at Santa Anita last June going a mile and an eighth on grass, coming from 10 lengths off the lead midway through the race to get up by a head at 23-1.
Cheekaboo worked six furlongs on the main track Tuesday in 1:13 flat.
Probable for the American Oaks: Barleysugar, Cheekaboo, Do the Dance, Dynamic Mizzes K, How Unusual, Mokat, Mrs. Norris, Queen Blossom and Sassy Little Lila.
Mokat worked six furlongs on the training track in a bullet 1:14.40 for Richard Baltas.
In addition to four graded stakes, Santa Anita will treat fans to its popular 2017 wall calendar and much more with the beginning of its traditional Winter Meet next Monday, Dec. 26.
A fan favorite for decades, the Santa Anita 2017 wall calendar will be given free of charge to all attendees with paid admission.
The 2017 calendar is not only bucolic and picturesque, but contains information on Thoroughbreds so profound even a hard-core race tracker can learn something new.
Themed “Anatomy of a Champion,” the calendar contains a veterinarian’s glossary in layman’s terms.
In short, it’s a keeper!
First post time Monday is 12 noon; admission gates open at 10 a.m
Here’s a schedule of opening day events:
–Grade I, $300,000 Malibu Stakes for 3-year-olds at seven furlongs.
–Grade I, $300,000 La Brea Stakes for 3-year-old fillies at seven furlongs
–Grade II, $200,000 Mathis Brothers Mile (turf) for 3-year-olds
–Grade III, $100,000 San Simeon Stakes for 3-year-olds and up, at 6 ½ furlongs down hillside turf
–Free 2017 Santa Anita Wall Calendar
–Free Mathis Brothers plush Thoroughbred toy to first 5,000 kids 12 and under
–A Mathis Brothers Gift Certificate, free with paid admission
–Craft Beer and Cider Festival on Grandstand Apron (packages available at santaanita.com/events)
–Guest Chef Series in the Chandelier Room featuring a catered menu from one of LA’s hottest restaurants, delicious whiskey tastings, live music and more, visit santaanita.com/events for details
–“Passion for Fashion” contest (free to enter) on the trackside apron where the Grand Prize winner will take home a $2,500 Gift Certificate to Mathis Brothers Furniture and nine runners-up will receive a $250 Gift Certificate.
–Infield Family Fun Zone featuring pony rides and much more, visit santaanita.com/events
–Bud Light Lounge, all you can eat buffet, first beer included, racing program and more, visit santaanita.com/events
Entries for opening day races will be taken tomorrow. For more racing and event information, please visit santaanita.com or call (626) 574-RACE.
GARY STEVENS: ‘I HAVE NOT RETIRED’
Hall of Fame jockey Gary Stevens, who undergoes surgery for replacement of his left hip Wednesday at St. John’s Hospital in Santa Monica, made the rounds at Clockers’ Corner Tuesday, lending a watchful eye on seven-pound apprentice rider Ruben Fuentes as he worked a horse for Ron McAnally.
Fuentes, who has been riding at Turf Paradise, is represented by Mike Ciani, who also handles business for Stevens.
Stevens took it upon himself to squelch a “vicious rumor that I’m going to retire,” stating unequivocally, “I have not retired.”
Ciani is encouraged with what Fuentes has shown so far. “I like what I see,” he said.
“He’s won 20 races and he’ll be riding here this meet. He tacks 110 pounds and he’s ridden in New Mexico and at Turf Paradise.”
FINISH LINES: Mind Your Biscuits, a consistent New York-bred son of Posse trained by Robert Falcone Jr., worked four furlongs Sunday for the Grade I Malibu Stakes opening day in a bullet 47.20, fastest of 62 drills at the distance, the average time of which was 49.15. Also possible for the Malibu are Awesome Banner, Drefong, Mor Spirit, Semper Fortis, Sharp Azteca and Ten Blessings . . . Gary Stute-trained Chao Chum, who upset Enola Gray in the Betty Grable at Del Mar, worked five furlongs Tuesday in 59.40 for the Grade I La Brea Stakes opening day. Enola Gray, also ticketed for the La Brea, worked five furlongs Monday for Phil D’Amato in a minute flat. Also scheduled for the seven furlong La Brea for three-year-old fillies are Coniah, Constellation, Finley’sluckycharm, Lightstream, Lunar Express and Perfect Pic . . . Probable for the Grade III San Simeon on opening day: Acceptance, Bettys Bambino, Drummer, Eddie Haskell, Eric the Trojan, Hobbits Hero, Holy Lute, Iron Rob, Ohio, Richards Boy, Solid Wager, Syntax and Tough Sunday . . . After recovering from a minor tendon issue on his right hand at Del Mar and then taking off for the recent Los Alamitos meet, Rafael Bejarano is back working horses and will ride at Santa Anita opening day. Represented by agent Tora Yamaguchi, Bejarano has 32 riding titles, 27 in California and 15 at Santa Anita . . . Breeders’ Cup Sprint runner-up on the track Masochistic, prepping for the Grade III Midnight Lute Stakes on Dec. 31, worked six furlongs Monday in a bullet 1:13.20. “He was a little bit keen the first part of the work because we’ve had such a light week of training with the rain (Friday) and the closure of the track (last Wednesday),” trainer Ron Ellis said. “But he worked well; he didn’t get tired and we’re hoping to run in the Midnight Lute.” . . . Jonathon Kinchen, 2015 National Handicapping Tour champion, will be Tom Quigley’s guest Monday, 10:50 a.m. in the EastPaddockGardens.
Santa Anita Park is a Stronach Group company, North America’s leading Thoroughbred racetrack owner/operator. The Stronach Group racetracks include Santa Anita Park, Gulfstream Park & Casino, Golden Gate Fields, Portland Meadows, Laurel Park and Pimlico Race Course, home of the world-famous Preakness. The company owns and operates the Palm Meadows Training Center in Florida, and is one of North America’s top race horse breeders through its award-winning Adena Springs operation. The Stronach Group is one of the world’s largest suppliers of pari-mutuel wagering systems, technologies and services. Its companies include AmTote, a global leader in wagering technology; Xpressbet, an Internet and telephone account wagering service; and Monarch Content Management, which acts as a simulcast purchase and sales agent of horseracing content for numerous North American racetracks and wagering outlets. The Stronach Group is North America’s premier supplier of virtual online horseracing games, as well as a leading producer of social media content for the horseracing industry.