Sunday, November 29, 2009

Zenyatta Day at Hollywood Park

Zenyatta fan
Zenyatta fan Colleen Carr at Hollywood Park for Zenyatta Day

Today was Zenyatta Day at Hollywood Park, and Colleen Carr of Temecula, Calif., arrived sporting a homemade replica of the now-famous aqua and pink silks worn by Zenyatta's jockey Mike Smith for owners Ann and Jerry Moss.

She was one of thousands of exuberant fans that traveled from far and wide to be part of the celebration honoring the great mare, winner of the 2009 Breeders' Cup Classic and unbeaten in 14 career starts.

Fans young and old were there to see Zenyatta as she made her final public appearance at the Inglewood track that has been her home base. They received a special edition DVD, "Zenyatta: A Living Legend," along with a "Go Zenyatta" poster, and were treated to a special appearance by Zenyatta as she galloped down the home stretch and made her way into the winners' circle one last time.

California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger was a special guest, congratulating Zenyatta's connections and presenting a bronze California bear to the Mosses -- an award given for Outstanding Achievement. Also in the winners' circle were the members of "Team Zenyatta," including Smith, groom Mario Espinoza and his wife, Carmen (who is also Zenyatta's hotwalker), Shirreff's wife and racing manager for the Mosses, Dottie Ingordo, and exercise rider Steve Willard, who rode Zenyatta down the stretch and into the winners' circle.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Citation Handicap at Hollywood Park Honors One of Racing's All Time Greats

Citation winning
Citation winning the 1951 Hollywood Gold Cup, the final race of his career.

Today's Grade 1 Citation Handicap at Hollywood Park celebrates one of racing's greats: Citation, the eighth Triple Crown champion and one of two North American Thoroughbreds (along with Cigar) to win 16 races in a row in major stakes competition. For 25 years following his Triple Crown triumph, Citation's name was used as the gold standard in Thoroughbred racing, as each year's most talented three-year-olds attempted to become "the first horse since Citation in 1948 to win the Triple Crown."

Owned and bred by Calumet Farm in Kentucky, Citation was a bay colt by Bull Lea out of the mare Hydroplane. He was Thoroughbred racing's first millionaire horse, earning $1,085,760 in a 45-race career that spanned 1947 to 1951. He was trained by Hall of Famers Ben Jones and son Jimmy Jones.

Citation in the winners circle
Citation, Steve Brooks up, after winning the 1951 Hollywood Gold Cup. Pictured left to right are Thomas W. Simmons, Mrs. Steve Brooks and daughter Kathy, Goodwin Knight, Mrs and Mr. Jimmy Jones.

Citation won his first start at the old Havre de Grace Racetrack in Maryland on April 22, 1947 in a 4-1/2 furlong race. He would go on to win 32 times, finishing out of the money only once. He was Champion Two-Year-Old in 1947, Champion Three-Year-Old and Horse of the Year in 1948, and Champion Older Horse in 1951.

Injuries kept Citation from racing as a 4-year-old, but he came back to the races in 1950, winning his 16th race in a row at Santa Anita Park. His owners had brought him back to racing with the goal of becoming the first horse to win $1 million.

Citation backstretchDown the backstretch in the 1951 Hollywood Gold Cup (Citation on outside).

On July 14, 1951, Citation won the Hollywood Gold Cup, pushing his career earnings past $1 million and signaling the end of his racing career. He was retired to Calumet Farm, where he sired a number of noteworthy offspring. In 1959, he was inducted into the National Museum of Racing Hall of Fame. He died on August 8, 1970 at the age of 25.

Photographs courtesy of Hollywood Park.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Ventura to Make Final Career Start in Saturday's Matriarch

Ventura at Santa Anita
Ventura at Santa Anita, 10-17-08.

Ventura will be saddled by Humberto Ascanio, the longtime assistant to Hall of Fame trainer Bobby Frankel, for the final start of her career in The Matriarch on Saturday at Hollywood Park. Frankel, who passed away Nov. 16, is the all-time leading trainer at Hollywood Park. He captured 13 training titles at the Inglewood track -- six of them consecutive -- and saddled a record eight Matriarch winners.

Ventura won the 2008 Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Sprint and was runner-up in 2009. She has earned more than $2 million in 20 career starts, with 9 wins, including the Woodbine Mile against males.

The Grade 1 Matriarch Stakes for fillies and mares three years old and up will be run at one mile on the turf. Saturday is the second day of Hollywood Park’s 18th Turf Festival, a series of grass races that was introduced at the 1991 Autumn Meet. Saturday's card also features the Grade 3 Generous Stakes.

Friday features the Grade 1 Citation Handicap. Sunday — Zenyatta Day at Hollywood Park — will feature the Grade 1 Hollywood Derby and the Grade 3 Miesque Stakes.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Country Tough: A Morning Gallop at Santa Anita

Country Tough gallops and gets a bath, Santa Anita Park, 11-24-09

I followed Country Tough, a lovely chestnut son of Smart Strike, as he went out to the main track at Santa Anita for a gallop then back to trainer Howard Zucker's barn for a cool-down and bath. He is quite the looker, with his coat still showing dapples and gleaming like copper in the morning sunshine.

Country Tough at Santa AnitaCountry Tough, Santa Anita Park, 11-24-09

I've had my eye on Country Tough since he arrived in California from the Fair Grounds for the summer meet at Del Mar, where he hammed it up for a video in his stall.

Country Tough in his stall at Del Mar, 8-16-09

Owned by Dream Walkin Farms, Inc., a partnership that includes country music star Toby Keith and Brad Penny, starting pitcher for the San Francisco Giants, Country Tough ran second in his first California start on November 4 at Oak Tree. I look for more exciting things to come from this three-year-old!

Monday, November 23, 2009

Equine Artist Carole Andreen-Harris Visits Santa Anita

When I was younger, my father -- then a rising star among California landscape artists -- visited Yosemite National Park. The result was a stunning series of landscape paintings that brought to life the magnificence of the mountains, streams, trees and rocks. Each piece was a labor of love, each canvas a reflection of the intricacies of nature that must have nearly overwhelmed him upon first sight.

When I met with artist Carole Andreen-Harris at Santa Anita one morning before Breeders' Cup, I imagined that she must have had similar feelings. Andreen-Harris, who lives in Arizona and has spent years photographing and painting racehorses at local racetracks such as Rillito Park, was suddenly in the midst of the greatest equine athletes in the world. I could feel her excitement as she photographed them jogging, galloping, and breezing by in the crystal clear October sunshine with the picturesque backdrop of the San Gabriel Mountains.

Carole Andreen-HarrisCarole Andreen-Harris snaps a shot of Breeders' Cup horses on the track at Santa Anita.

Visual artists are unique human beings, driven by a desire to express life's beauty in a tangible medium. Andreen-Harris strives to translate the visual power and poetry of the horse in painting. With a lifelong love and obsession for everything equine, she has a special passion for horse racing. Her trip to Santa Anita yielded more than 400 photographs suitable for painting, and she has already begun work on some, including a lovely study of the head of a chestnut horse, for which she sent me a sneak peek.

Work in progress, Carole Andreen-Harris

Her style is one of realism, with the horses the focal points in her paintings. Her use of light to accentuate their sleek coats, combined with the detail of each straining muscle, gives the viewer a sense of the excitement and action of the Thoroughbred racehorse. To see more examples of her work, visit her website at

This post is dedicated to the memory of my father, landscape artist Bernard Wynne, who passed away November 15, 2009, at the age of 89. He lives on in his works.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

An Interview with HANA's Theresia Muller

On a visit to Santa Anita for Breeders' Cup, Theresia Muller, Treasurer of Horseplayers Association of North America (HANA), spoke about the organization and its goals. HANA is a grass roots, non-profit organization made up of horseplayers who are seeking to bring racing back to the prominence it once held in people's hearts on a national level.

Their stated goals include open access to all track signals for all ADWs, takeouts that are competitive with other forms of gambling, the abolishment of breakage, severe penalties for trainers who cheat, and odds updates in real time. To accomplish those goals, HANA is working to increase recognition of the players and their input by those who run racing.

Obviously a passionate horseplayer, Muller also talked about her handicapping methods. When I followed up with her after the Breeders' Cup weekend, she reported that she had been "moderately successful" with her wagering.

"Saturday was much more lucrative for me than Friday, highlighted with wins by Vale of York in the Juvenile and Smart Bid in the Damascus," said Muller. "And for me its very satifying nailing a longshot or two on Breeders' Cup day (also makes my getting up early each morning to hit Clockers Corner worth it)."

She thought the Breeders' Cup card was pretty good overall, with the undercard stakes on both days being good complements. And there were "plenty of exciting finishes and amazing performances, topped off by of course the phenomenal experience of watching Zenyatta."

Muller, who heads out to Southern California two to three times a year, plans to be back for the Hollywood Park Turf Festival on Thanksgiving weekend. Here's wishing the best of luck to her and horseplayers everywhere!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Euroglide Pointing for Cigar Mile at Aqueduct

Euroglide at Peter Eurton's barn, Santa Anita.

Euroglide was happy to walk out with foreman Alex Berec and pose for pictures on a beautiful, sunny morning last week at Peter Eurton's barn, Santa Anita. The 5-year-old son of Honor Glide is nominated for the Grade 1 Cigar Mile at Aqueduct, to be run Saturday, Nov. 28.

Euroglide ran third in the Grade 3 San Simeon Handicap and was a close second in the El Segundo Handicap, both at Santa Anita. In his most recent race, Nov. 4 at Oak Tree, he finished second by a nose in an Allowance Optional Claiming race at 6-1/2 furlongs.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Zap! of the Week: Itssultryinthecape Wins at Hollywood Park

Zap of the Week

Larry Zap offers up some very nice footage of two-year-old fillies Jet Blue Girl and Buckysue, both Larry Zap Bloodstock purchased thoroughbreds, as they school in the Hollywood Park paddock for their races the day before they run. Also watch three-year-old Itssultryinthecape ($4500) as he breaks his maiden impressively in a MSW on grass at Hollywood Park on Nov. 14 2009. Narrated and edited by by Larry Zap. Enjoy!

For more information about Larry Zap, see Contributors on the About tab.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Kat Scratch Fever, No Mistress Work at Hollywood Park

Trainer Ron Ellis worked a couple of three-year-olds together at Hollywood Park on Friday morning. Shown in the stretch are No Mistress (inside) a filly by Canadian Frontier and Kat Scratch Fever, a filly by Forest Wildcat.

Both fillies were timed going 5 furlongs -- No Mistress in 1:01.2 and Kat Scratch Fever in 1:01.4.

Aprisa Luna Works at Hollywood Park

I caught some video of Aprisa Luna, a lovely, unraced filly by Malibu Moon, working at Hollywood Park on Friday morning for trainer Ron Ellis. Aprisa Luna worked 6 furlongs in 1:15.4.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Chrysaor Works at Hollywood Park for Trainer Ron Ellis

I caught a video of Chrysaor, a colt by Fusaichi Pegasus, as he worked at Hollywood Park Friday morning for trainer Ron Ellis. Chrysaor was timed in :36.8 for the 3-furlong work.

Curiosity about the colt's unusual name led me to do a little research, and it seems he is quite aptly named. The son of the great Fusaichi Pegasus bears the same name as the brother of Pegasus in Greek mythology.

According to Greek mythology, Chrysaor was the son of Medusa and the god Poseidon. Medusa, a mortal, was killed by Perseus, who cut off her head. According to myth, from the blood that ran from her neck sprang Chrysaor and Pegasus, her two offspring by Poseidon. Chrysaor was typically represented as a giant, but he has also been depicted as a winged boar.

Fans May Get Another Chance to View the Great Zenyatta

I spoke with trainer John Shirreffs today about how Zenyatta is "decompressing" back home at Hollywood Park following her extraordinary campaign capped off by her historic victory in the $5 million Breeders' Cup Classic.

Zenyatta with groom Mario EspinozaZenyatta with groom Mario Espinoza and hot-walker Carmen Zamora, 11-13-09

Shirreffs indicated that plans are under foot to bring the superstar filly out for her adoring fans -- both at Hollywood Park and Santa Anita -- before she leaves the track for the breeding farm. Stay tuned for details!

Friday, November 13, 2009

David Ingordo, Bloodstock Agent who Selected Zenyatta, on Live Radio Show Sunday

David Ingordo, the bloodstock agent who selected Zenyatta at the 2005 Keeneland September Yearling Sale for purchase for $60,000 to Mr. and Mrs. Jerome Moss, will be the guest this Sunday on Turf Paradise’s Riders Up! weekly radio program. Ingordo is the son of trainer John Shirreff's wife, Dottie Ingordo.

Zenyatta with groomZenyatta with her groom Mario Espinoza, Hollywood Park, 11-13-09

The program airs from 10:00-11:00 am (9:00-10:00 a.m. Pacific Time) on KDUS 1060 AM. The live call-in show can reached at (602) 260-1060. To listen to the show via live audio streaming, go to, then click on the Listen Live - Fan 1060 logo at the top of the web page.

It promises to be a fascinating half hour!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Star Nicholas to Defend Title in On Trust Handicap at Hollywood Park

Star Nicholas heads a field of nine in Saturday's feature race at Hollywood Park, the 26th running of the On Trust Handicap for California-bred 3-year-olds at 7-1/2 furlongs on the all-weather track. Star Nicholas won last year's On Trust, giving trainer Peter Eurton his first Hollywood Park stakes victory.

Star Nicholas, a 6-year-old son of Poteen, was bred in California by Pete Cristofi and Bob Nugent. He has five wins in 20 starts and lifetime earnings of $347,263. He won the Windy Sands Handicap at Del Mar and ran third in the Cal Cup Classic at Oak Tree.

Star NicholasStar Nicholas in his stall, Santa Anita Park, 11-12-09

Regular jockey Michael Baze has the mount for owners King Max Farm, Mostero Family Trust or Nugent, et al.

The On Trust Handicap will run as the eighth race on Saturday’s nine-race program at Hollywood Park. First post is at 12:30 p.m.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Hollywood Park 2009 Fall Meet Opens Friday

Hollywood Park
Hollywood Park kicks off its 2009 Fall race meet with evening racing this Friday, Nov. 13 beginning at 7:05 p.m. The meet runs through Sunday, Dec. 20 and features five grade 1 stakes: the $300,000 Citation Handicap (Friday, Nov. 27), $300,000 Matriarch (Saturday, Nov. 28), $300,000 Hollywood Derby (Sunday, Nov. 29), $750,000 CashCall Futurity (Saturday, Dec. 19), and $300,000 Hollywood Starlet (Saturday, Dec. 20).

The Hollywood Turf Festival will be the highlight of the Thanksgiving weekend with a series of grass races including the Citation, Matriarch, Generous Stakes, Hollywood Derby and Miesque Stakes. The Turf Festival was introduced at Hollywood Park's 1991 Autumn Meet.

Post time is 12:30 p.m., with the following exceptions: 7:05 p.m., Fridays, Nov. 13 & 20. 11 a.m., Thursday, Nov. 26 (Thanksgiving Day).

Zap! of the Week: Zenyatta Wins the 2009 Breeders' Cup Classic

Zap of the Week

Larry Zap takes you up close and personal to watch the great Zenyatta winning the 2009 Breeders' Cup Classic at Santa Anita -- from the walking ring to the winner's circle. Narrated by Zap. Enjoy!

For more about Larry Zap, see Contributors in the About tab.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Zenyatta: A Horse for the People

In a scintillating performance, Zenyatta powered to victory in the $5 million Breeders' Cup Classic at Santa Anita this afternoon before a crowd of 58,845 wildly cheering fans. In beating the world-class field of male runners, Zenyatta soundly established her place in history and preserved her perfect record, with 14 wins in 14 starts.

Zenyatta Breeders Cup 2009Zenyatta stomps and dances through the paddock, Breeders' Cup 2009

For those of us lucky enough to be among the cheering crowd, it was a time to be cherished and remembered forever. In an almost surreal moment after she crossed the finish line, people all around me screamed, wept, clapped wildly, and hugged each other with joy. Trainer John Shirreffs tossed his hat into the cheering crowd, and jockey Mike Smith scattered a shower of flower petals into the air as thousands crowded around the winners' circle.

Zenyatta and John ShirreffsZenyatta and John Shirreffs make their way through the paddock, 11-7-09

Zenyatta cools down outside her barn after winning the 2009 Breeders' Cup Classic

They say that when times are tough, people need a hero. Seabiscuit filled that role during the Great Depression; Zenyatta has become the same type of hero for today's fans. She clearly enjoys her role as superstar as she interacts with the crowd, strutting and two-stepping her way out onto the track, stopping every now and then to look around and pose for her adoring fans. Add to that the generosity of her owners, Jerry and Ann Moss, in sharing her with the people, and the result is a lovely ray of hope at a time when it most needed in horseracing.

Santa Anita paddock Breeders Cup 2009Racing fans flood the paddock to see Zenyatta on her way to the Classic

Girl Power! Zenyatta, Goldikova Beat the Boys at Breeders' Cup

Goldikova Breeders Cup 2009Goldikova, Santa Anita paddock, Breeders' Cup 2009

Although the majority of the filly and mare races were contested on Friday, Day One of the 2009 Breeders' Cup World Championship, Saturday was clearly ladies' day at Santa Anita.

In a historic repeat victory, 4-year-old filly Goldikova won the $2 million Breeders' Cup Mile over 10 male rivals. Ridden by Olivier Peslier for French trainer Freddie Head and owners Wertheimer and Frere, Goldikova rallied strongly to a half-length win over Courageous Cat.

Zenyatta Breeders Cup 2009Zenyatta, winner of the 2009 Breeders' Cup Classic

In the marquee race, the $5 million Breeders' Cup Classic, history was made when Zenyatta prevailed in a much anticipated contest against some of the best male runners in the world. Pink and white "Zenyatta" signs flashed throughout the saddling paddock and stands, and were later waved from car windows by exuberant fans leaving the track at the end of the day.

You Go Girls!

Complete Breeders' Cup 2009 Race Results

Zenyatta signSeasoned Handicapper Jimmy "The Hat" (far left) alongside a racing fan of a younger generation.

Breeders' Cup Marathon
1 - #9 Man of Iron (Murtagh) 14.80, 7.20, 4.40
2 - #4 Cloudy's Knight (Homeister Jr.) 7.40, 4.60
3 - #6 Mastery (GB) (Dettori) 2.40
4 - #10 Gangbuster
5 - #2 Muhannak (IRE)
6 - #5 Father Time (GB)
7 - #8 Eldaafer
8 - #3 Nite Light
9 - #1 Black Astor
10 - #7 Sir Dave

Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf
1 - #10 Tapitsfly (Albarado) 21.60, 8.60, 6.00
2 - #4 Rose Catherine (Castellano) 6.80, 5.80
3 - #7 House of Grace (Luzzi) 5.00
4 - #9 Hatheer
5 - #6 Jungle Tale
6 - #5 La Nez
7 - #1 Potosina
8 - #8 Lillie Langtry (IRE)
9 - #3 Smart Seattle
10 - #12 Lisa's Kitten
11 - #2 Elusive Galaxy (IRE)
12 - #11 Junia Tepzia (IRE)
(Scratched: Dad's Crazy, In the Slips)

Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies
1 - #8 She Be Wild (Leparoux) 16.80, 9.00, 5.00
2 - #4 Beautician (Albarado) 9.40, 6.00
3 - #3 Blind Luck (T. Baze) 3.00
4 - #12 Biofuel
5 - #11 Always a Princess
6 - #10 Negligee
7 - #1 Zilva
8 - #6 Connie and Michael
9 - #2 Ms Vanenzza
10 - #5 Bickersons
11 - #7 Devil May Care
12 - #9 Champagne d'Oro

Breeders' Cup Filly and Mare Turf
1 - #6 Midday (GB) (Queally) 6.60, 4.80, 3.00
2 - #5 Pure Clan (G. Gomez) 7.80, 4.00
3 - #2 Forever Together (Leparoux) 2.40
4 - #1 Visit
5 - #4 Magical Fantasy
6 - #8 Maram
7 - #3 Rutherienne
8 - #7 Dynaforce

Conduit Breeders Cup 2009Conduit and Sir Michael Stoute, Breeders' Cup 2009

Breeders' Cup Filly and Mare Sprint
1 - #7 Informed Decision (Leparoux) 8.80, 3.00, 2.80
2 - #9 Ventura (G. Gomez) 2.60, 2.20
3 - #1 Free Flying Soul (Smith) 7.40
4 - #2 Sara Louise
5 - #4 Only Green (IRE)
6 - #5 Silver Swallow
7 - #6 Evita Argentina
8 - #8 Seventh Street
9 - #3 Game Face

Breeders' Cup Ladies' Classic
1 - #2 Life Is Sweet (G. Gomez) 18.20, 8.00, 5.00
2 - #3 Mushka (Desormeaux) 12.80, 6.40
3 - #7 Music Note (Maragh) 3.20
4 - #5 Proviso (GB)
5 - #8 Rainbow View
6 - #6 Cocoa Beach (CHI)
7 - #4 Lethal Heat
8 - #1 Careless Jewel

Bob Baffert Breeders Cup 2009Bob Baffert in the paddock, Breeders' Cup 2009

Breeders' Cup Juvenile Turf
1 - #4 Pounced (Dettori) 6.80, 4.80, 3.20
2 - #7 Bridgetown (Landry) 6.60, 4.20
3 - #11 Interactif (Desormeaux) 3.20
4 - #6 Awesome Act
5 - #12 Buzzword (GB)
6 - #13 Dean's Kitten
7 - #5 Gallant Gent
8 - #2 Viscount Nelson
9 - #10 Becky's Kitten
10 - #8 King Ledley
11 - #1 Zip Quik
12 - #3 Codoy
(Scratched: Kera's Kitten, Summer Movie)

Breeders' Cup Turf Sprint
1 - #3 California Flag (Talamo) 8.80, 5.60, 3.80
2 - #7 Gotta Have Her (T. Baze) 8.80, 5.60
3 - #6 Cannonball (Dominguez) 4.80
4 - #14 Delta Storm
5 - #10 Canadian Ballet
6 - #2 Silver Timber
7 - #1 Noble Court
8 - #11 El Gato Malo
9 - #5 Get Funky
10 - #8 Square Eddie
11 - #9 Diamondrella (GB)
12 - #4 Lord Shanakill
13 - #13 Desert Code
14 - #12 Strike the Deal
(Scratched: Tenga Cat, Cherokee Heaven)

Breeders' Cup Sprint
1 - #6 Dancing in Silks (Rosario) 52.60, 19.20, 12.00
2 - #4 Crown of Thorns (Bejarano) 13.20, 8.60
3 - #2 Cost of Freedom (T. Baze) 9.20
4 - #5 Gayego
5 - #1 Zensational
6 - #3 Fatal Bullet
7 - #9 Fleeting Spirit (IRE)
8 - #8 Capt. Candyman Can
9 - #7 Join in the Dance

Breeders' Cup Juvenile
1 - #7 Vale of York (IRE) (Ajtebi) 63.20, 24.40, 12.40
2 - #13 Lookin At Lucky (G. Gomez) 4.40, 3.00
3 - #4 Noble's Promise (Martinez) 4.60
4 - #2 Piscitelli
5 - #9 Aikenite
6 - #3 Beethoven (IRE)
7 - #11 Radiohead (GB)
8 - #12 William's Kitten
9 - #8 Eskendereva
10 - #1 Alfred Nobel (IRE)
11 - #6 Pulsion
12 - #10 Aspire
13 - #5 D'Funnybone

Red RocksRed Rocks (IRE) in the paddock, Breeders' Cup 2009

Breeders' Cup Mile
1 - #11 Goldikova (IRE) (Peslier) 4.80, 4.00, 2.60
2 - #6 Courageous Cat (G. Gomez) 12.80, 8.00
3 - #10 Justenuffhumor (A. Garcia) 8.00
4 - #1 Court Vision
5 - #4 Delegator (GB)
6 - #5 Karelian
7 - #7 Ferneley (IRE)
8 - #2 Whatsthescript (IRE)
9 - #9 Gladiatorus
10 - #3 Cowboy Cal
11 - #8 Zacinto (GB)

Breeders' Cup Dirt Mile
1 - #2 Furthest Land (Leparoux) 44.60, 18.40, 9.60
2 - #10 Ready's Echo (Borel) 18.20, 9.40
3 - #3 Midshipman (G. Gomez) 4.20
4 - #1 Mastercraftsman (IRE)
5 - #6 Mambo Meister
6 - #5 Neko Bay
7 - #8 Mr. Sidney
8 - #9 Chocolate Candy
9 - #4 Bullsbay
10 - #7 Pyro

Breeders' Cup Turf
1 - #2 Conduit (IRE) (R. Moore) 3.80, 3.00, 2.20
2 - #6 Presious Passion (Trujillo) 5.00, 3.80
3 - #5 Dar Re Mi (GB) (Dettori) 3.00
4 - #7 Spanish Moon
5 - #3 Red Rocks (IRE)
6 - #8 Monzante
7 - #1 Telling
(Scratched: Allegre)

Spanish MoonSpanish Moon in the paddock, Breeders' Cup 2009

Breeders' Cup Classic
1 - #4 Zenyatta (Smith) 7.60, 5.60, 3.80
2 - #7 Gio Ponti (Dominguez) 9.20, 6.60
3 - #5 Twice Over (GB) (Queally) 7.00
4 - #3 Summer Bird
5 - #2 Colonel John
6 - #6 Richard's Kid
7 - #13 Awesome Gem
8 - #11 Regal Ransom
9 - #1 Mine That Bird
10 - #10 Rip Van Winkle (IRE)
11 - #8 Einstein (BRZ)
12 - #9 Girolamo
(Scratched: Quality Road)

Friday, November 6, 2009

Breeders' Cup 2009 Day One And Tweeters Cup

Laffit Pincay and Art WilsonLaffit Pincay Jr. and Art Wilson of the Los Angeles Times

Breeders' Cup 2009 Day One is in the record books, and what a day it was! Attendance showed a considerable increase over the corresponding day last year -- also at Oak Tree, which hosted the event for a second consecutive year -- with 37,651 on track, compared to 31,257 last year. Mutuel handle was $7.1 million on track, up 4%, and total handle was $48.4 million, up 1% from last year.

Trainer John Shirreffs saddled the Ladies' Classic winner for the second straight year with Life Is Sweet; in last year's running he saddled Zenyatta, who runs in the $5 million Classic against males tomorrow.

The highlight of my day was the inaugural Tweeters Cup, an event that brought together Twitter users, bloggers and social networking fans of horseracing, marking the first time a "tweet-up" has been held onsite during a Breeders' Cup Championship event. It was a fabulous social gathering for horseracing fans who are active on Twitter, who were treated to various presentations throughout the day on horse racing content.

Tweeters Frank Corigliano, Kevin Stafford (NTRA) and Gene Kershner (NTRA)

In a "Betting the Breeders' Cup Handicapping" session, Joe Drape of the New York Times, Ed DeRosa of the Thoroughbred Times and Tom Quigley of Horseplayer Magazine were featured speakers. Participants also heard Hall of Fame jockey Laffit Pincay Jr. discuss his all-time favorites of racing and picks for Breeders' Cup with Art Wilson of the Los Angeles Times.

Julie Stewart, Tweeters CupJulie Stewart, Breeders' Cup Tweet Up 2009

The best part of it all for this blogger/twitterer was the opportunity to meet and greet some of the people behind the Twitter handles I'm so familiar with. It was super to meet up with fellow tweeters Joe Drape, Gene Kershner and Kevin Stafford of the NTRA blogs, Jonathan Pollinger from Cheltenham, Chris Hernandez , Julie Stewart, and Sally Cruikshank.

Jason Howarth and Janna BrowningJason Howarth and Jenna Browning of Conover Tuttle Pace

Well done everyone! And many, many thanks go to the extraordinary on-site event organizers, Jason Howarth and Jenna Browning of Conover Tuttle Pace, whose warmth, enthusiasm and energy made the day a success. This is just the type of event horseracing needs to encourage the tech-savvy fans in the trenches to do what they do best to promote our great sport. Together we can spread the word about the greatest game!

Zenyatta, Einstein, Mine That Bird and more Prepare for Breeders' Cup 2009

Santa Anita's track closed for training at 7:30 this morning, but there were plenty of Breeders' Cup horses out, some for a last morning jaunt before the big races this afternoon. Among those I spotted were Zenyatta and Einstein, who will face each other in the Classic tomorrow, and Aspire, who also runs tomorrow in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile.

Aspire preps for Breeders' CupAspire on the track at Santa Anita, 11-2-09

Zap! of the Week: 2009 Breeders' Cup Contenders

Zap of the Week

Larry Zap provides a look at some of the key players participating in Breeders' Cup 2009 at Santa Anita. All very nicely narrated by Zap. Also includes some very cool cameos by track announcer Frank Mirahmadi and Mine That Bird's connections. Enjoy!

Goldikova and Trainer Freddie Head at Santa Anita

Goldikova (IRE) made an appearance on the track at Santa Anita Thursday morning for French trainer Freddie Head. She is the defending champ and my top pick for Saturday's $2 million Breeders' Cup Mile.

Breeders' Cup Action at Santa Anita Thursday Morning

A record number of onlookers crowded Clockers' Corner, Santa Anita this morning to get a glimpse of the 2009 Breeders' Cup contenders as they took advantage of the cool morning to stretch their legs out on the track. Here's a sampling of some of the activity! The video includes clips of Noble's Promise, Colonel John, Mr. Sidney, Kera's Kitten, Richard's Kid, D'Funnybone, Lookin at Lucky, Biofuel, Evita Argentina, Todd Pletcher and more.

Tapitsfly Schools for Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf

Tapitsfly, a two-year-old grey filly by Tapit, schooled in the Santa Anita paddock Thursday morning for trainer Dale Romans in preparation for Friday's Breeders' Cup World Championship. She has drawn post position 10 in the $1 million Juvenile Fillies Turf. Tapitsfly was a wire-to-wire winner of the P.G. Johnson Stakes at Saratoga.

TapitsflyTapitsfly schooling for the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Karelian Schools at Santa Anita for Breeders' Cup Mile

Karelian, a 7-year-old gelding by Bertrando, looked marvelous schooling in the Santa Anita paddock for trainer G.R. Arnold II. Karelian has drawn post position 5 in the $2 million Breeders' Cup Mile on Saturday.

Keeneland Track Announcer Kurt Becker at Santa Anita for Breeders' Cup 2009

Kurt Becker, the "Voice of Keeneland," is the only race-caller Keeneland has employed since first installing a public-address system in 1997.

I caught up with him at Santa Anita Wednesday morning for a quick interview. Becker is here for Breeders' Cup week as part of the Horse Racing Radio Network (HRRN) on-air team.

Kurt Becker track announcerKurt Becker, "The Voice of Keeneland"

HRRN is hosting the Breeders' Cup Countdown live from Clockers' Corner each morning during Breeders' Cup week, featuring interviews with race participants, turf writers, handicappers and other industry professionals. Free worldwide live streaming is being provided on the HRRN and Breeders' Cup websites.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Evita Argentina Prepares for Breeders' Cup 2009

Evita Argentina, a lovely chestnut daughter of Candy Ride, was out on the main track at Santa Anita early this morning. The winner of the A Gleam Handicap and San Vicente Stakes this year, Evita Argentina is heading for the $1 million Filly & Mare Sprint on Friday. She is trained by John Sadler for Halo Farms and Three Sisters Thoroughbreds.

Evita Argentina

Wednesday Morning Breeders' Cup Action at Santa Anita

To be at Clockers' Corner, Santa Anita, in the mornings leading up to the Breeders' Cup World Championship races is the ultimate experience for a horse racing fan. There the best racehorses in the world come out onto the track for their morning exercise -- one great equine athlete after another in a seemingly endless parade. Easily identified by their purple and white Breeders' Cup saddle cloths inscribed with their names, racing's superstars are followed almost frantically by eager photographers and film crews.

Breeders Cup Horses 2009
People watching is just as exciting, as the world's leading riders and trainers rub elbows with the throngs of race fans. Clockers' Corner is the perfect spot to gather, providing an unparalleled view of the horses with a backdrop of the San Gabriel Mountains. Visitors can also enjoy unequaled morning fare -- from coffee and donuts (freshly made in the Santa Anita kitchen) to delicious full breakfasts (my favorite is the breakfast burrito!). Enjoy a glimpse of the early morning action from Clockers' Corner!

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Breeders' Cup 2009 Official Trophy Unveiled

Breeders' Cup Trophy 2009
At today's media event for the 2009 Breeders' Cup post position draw, Breeders' Cup and Steuben Glass unveiled a new official trophy featuring the Breeders' Cup Ecroche Horse.

Steuben Glass is the premier art glass manufacturer in the United States. Since 1903, Steuben Glass has been made by hand at the Corning, New York factory. Its unique glass is made from an outstanding optical formula. Steuben's state-of the-art melting ensures glass is exceptionally pure. Each piece of Steuben Glass is hand made using a variety of age-old techniques that only a few extraordinary artisans in the world are able to master.

The new trophy is really quite exquisite and one that any owner, trainer or jockey would no doubt be thrilled to receive.

Breeders' Cup 2009 Post Position Draw Well Attended

Cameras were clicking and flashing, and film crews were jockeying for position, as a throng of owners, trainers, riders and racing media gathered at this afternoon's post position draw for the 14 Breeders' Cup World Thoroughbred Championship races.

John ShirreffsJohn Shirreffs, Breeders' Cup post position draw 2009

Following the ceremonies, racing journalists descended on the connections of some of the top horses, including trainers Bob Baffert and John Shirreffs.

John John "Mutton Chops" McCririck, Breeders' Cup post position draw 2009

I was not the least bit surprised to see renowned handicapper and general character, John "Mutton Chops" McCririck joining the reporters interviewing Baffert. McCririck was loudly extolling the virtues of the Pro-Ride surface both in Europe and here at Santa Anita.

Baffert has some of my favorites entered, including Always a Princess in the Juvenile Fillies, Zensational in the Sprint, and Lookin at Lucky in the Juvenile.

Bob Baffert Breeders Cup drawBob Baffert speaks to the press, Breeders' Cup post position draw 2009

Shirreffs was covered up by eager racing writers trying to hear a few words about his superstar filly, Zenyatta, who drew post position 4 in the Classic. He was overheard to say that Zenyatta will run in the Classic in her own way -- making her usual run. It looks like there will be some pace in the race to help her along.

Breeders' Cup 2009 Post Position Draw

baffert, sherriffs, jerry moss, chip woolleyBreeders' Cup Post Position Draw, 2009


BC Marathon
1 Black Astor, Alex Solis, 12-1
2 Muhannak (IRE), Ryan Moore, 12-1
3 Nite Light, John Velazquez, 4-1
4 Cloudy's Knight, R. Homeister, 8-1
5 Father Time (GB), Eddie Ahern, 3-1
6 Mastery (GB), L. Dettori, 9/5
7 Sir Dave, Joel Rosario, 20-1
8 Eldaafer, R. Bejarano, 30-1
9 Man of Iron, John Murtagh, 8-1
10 Gangbuster, Kent Desormeaux, 30-1

Juvenile Fillies Turf
1 Potosina, J. Velazquez, 20-1
2 Elusive Galaxy (IRE), R. Bejarano, 12-1
3 Smart Seattle, J. Rose, 8-1
4 Rose Catherine, J. Castellano, 8-1
5 La Nez, Mike Smith, 20-1
6 Jungle Tale, S. Bridgmohan, 15-1
7 House of Grace, Michael Luzzi, 4-1
8 Lillie Langtry, J. Murtagh, 3-1
9 Hatheer, Alan Garcia, 10-1
10 Tapitsfly, Robby Albarado, 8-1
11 Junia Tepzia (IRE), K. Fallon, 8-1
12 Lisa's Kitten, J. Leparoux, 12-1

Also Eligible
13 Dad's Crazy, G. Gomez
14 In the Slips, G. Gomez

Juvenile Fillies
1 Zilva, Jeremy Rose, 30-1
2 Ms Vanenzza, Joseph Rocco, 30-1
3 Blind Luck, T. Baze, 3-1
4 Beautician, R. Albarado, 6-1
5 Bickersons, Joel Rosario, 20-1
6 Connie and Michael, K. Desormeaux, 4-1
7 Devil May Care, J. Velazquez, 8-1
8 She Be Wild, J. Leparoux, 8-1
9 Champagne d'Oro, Martin Garcia, 50-1
10 Negligee, Rajiv Maragh, 6-1
11 Always a Princess, G. Gomez, 6-1
12 Biofuel, E. Da Silva, 15-1

Filly & Mare Sprint
1 Free Flying Soul, Mike Smith, 50-1
2 Sara Louise, L. Dettori, 9/2
3 Game Face, E. Prado, 10-1
4 Only Green (IRE), O. Peslier, 20-1
5 Silver Swallow, Alex Solis, 30-1
6 Evita Argentina, J. Rosario, 20-1
7 Informed Decision, J. Leparoux, 5/2
8 Seventh Street, Rajiv Maragh, 4-1
9 Ventura, Garret Gomez, 8/5

Filly & Mare Turf
1 Visit (GB), J. Velazquez, 10-1
2 Forever Together, J. Leparoux, 5/2
3 Rutherienne, Alan Garcia, 8-1
4 Magical Fantasy, Alex Solis, 3-1
5 Pure Clan, G. Gomez, 5-1
6 Midday (GB), T. Queally, 4-1
7 Dynaforce, K. Desormeaux, 8-1
8 Maram, J. Lezcano, 15-1

Ladies' Classic
1 Careless Jewel, Robert Landry, 2-1
2 Life Is Sweet, Garret Gomez, 8-1
3 Mushka, K. Desormeaux, 12-1
4 Lethal Heat, Alex Solis, 20-1
5 Proviso (GB), J. Velazquez, 8-1
6 Cocoa Beach (CHI), R. Migliore, 8-1
7 Music Note, R. Maragh, 9/5
8 Rainbow View, J. Leparoux, 6-1


Juvenile Turf
1 Zip Quik, Mike Smith, 50-1
2 Viscount Nelson, John Murtagh, 6-1
3 Codoy, G. Gomez, 15-1
4 Pounced, L. Dettori, 9/2
5 Gallant Gent, J. Rosario, 30-1
6 Awesome Act, Ryan Moore, 20-1
7 Bridgetown, R. Landry, 8-1
8 King Ledley, R. Bejarano, 20-1
9 Kera's Kitten, R. Maragh, 12-1
10 Becky's Kitten, J. Leparoux, 12-1
11 Interactif, K. Desormeaux, 4-1
12 Buzzword (GB), Ahmed Ajtebi, 6-1

Also Eligible:
13 Dean's Kitten, R. Dominguez
14 Summer Movie, M. Baze

Turf Sprint
1 Noble Court, J. Rosario, 8-1
2 Silver Timber, J. Leparoux, 8-1
3 California Flag, J. Talamo, 7/2
4 Lord Shanakill, Jim Crowley, 8-1
5 Get Funky, R. Bejarano, 20-1
6 Cannonball, R. Dominguez, 8-1
7 Gotta Have Her, T. Baze, 15-1
8 Square Eddie, L. Dettori, 20-1
9 Diamondrella (GB), R. Maragh, 4-1
10 Canadian Ballet, A. Garcia, 20-1
11 El Gato Malo, David Flores, 30-1
12 Strike the Deal, Kieren Fallon, 15-1
13 Desert Code, R. Migliore, 20-1
14 Delta Storm, G. Gomez, 10-1

Also Eligible:
15 Tenga Cat, M. Smith
16 Cherokee Heaven, B. Blanc

1 Zensational, V. Espinoza, 7/5
2 Cost of Freedom, T. Baze, 20-1
3 Fatal Bullet, E. Da Silva, 9/2
4 Crown of Thorns, R. Bejarano, 12-1
5 Gayego, G. Gomez, 5/2
6 Dancing in Silks, J. Rosario, 12-1
7 Join in the Dance, J. Velazquez, 30-1
8 Capt. Candyman Can, J. Castellano, 15-1
9 Fleeting Spirit (IRE), L. Dettori, 8-1

1 Alfred Nobel (IRE), J. Murtagh, 20-1
2 Piscitelli, K. Desormeaux, 50-1
3 Beethoven (IRE), R. Moore, 20-1
4 Noble's Promise, Willie Martinez, 8-1
5 D'Funnybone, E. Prado, 5/2
6 Pulsion, Mike Smith, 20-1
7 Vale of York (IRE), A. Ajtebi, 20-1
8 Eskendereya, J. Castellano, 10-1
9 Aikenite, Alan Garcia, 8-1
10 Aspire, J. Leparoux, 30-1
11 Radiohead (GB), Martin Dwyer, 15-1
12 William's Kitten, R. Dominguez, 30-1
13 Lookin At Lucky, G. Gomez, 8/5

BC Mile
1 Court Vision, R. Albarado, 12-1
2 Whatsthescript (IRE), K. Desormeaux, 15-1
3 Cowboy Cal, J. Velazquez, 6-1
4 Delegator (GB), L. Dettori, 3-1
5 Karelian, R. Maragh, 20-1
6 Courageous Cat, G. Gomez, 20-1
7 Ferneley (IRE), R. Bejarano, 20-1
8 Zacinto (GB), Ryan Moore, 8-1
9 Gladiatorus, Ahmed Ajtebi, 20-1
10 Justenuffhumor, A. Garcia, 10-1
11 Goldikova (IRE), O. Peslier, 8/5

Dirt Mile
1 Mastercraftsman (IRE), John Murtagh, 6/5
2 Furthest Land, J. Leparoux, 20-1
3 Midshipman, G. Gomez, 6-1
4 Bullsbay, J. Rose, 3-1
5 Neko Bay, Mike Smith, 20-1
6 Mambo Meister, M. Cruz, 30-1
7 Pyro, J. Velazquez, 10-1
8 Mr. Sidney, K. Desormeaux, 12-1
9 Chocolate Candy, J. Rosario, 15-1
10 Ready's Echo, Calvin Borel, 20-1

BC Turf
1 Telling, J. Castellano, 20-1
2 Conduit (IRE), Ryan Moore, 7/5
3 Red Rocks (IRE), J. Leparoux, 20-1
4 Allegre, J. Velazquez, 50-1
5 Dar Re Mi (GB), L. Dettori, 3-1
6 Presious Passion, Elvis Trujillo, 4-1
7 Spanish Moon, K. Fallon, 5/2
8 Monzante, R. Bejarano, 30-1

BC Classic
1 Mine That Bird, Calvin Borel, 12-1
2 Colonel John, G. Gomez, 12-1
3 Summer Bird, K. Desormeaux, 9/2
4 Zenyatta, Mike Smith, 5/2
5 Twice Over (GB), T. Queally, 20-1
6 Richard's Kid, Alex Solis, 12-1
7 Gio Ponti, R. Dominguez, 12-1
8 Einstein (BRZ), J. Leparoux, 12-1
9 Girolamo, Alan Garcia, 20-1
10 Rip Van Winkle (IRE), J. Murtagh, 7/2
11 Regal Ransom, R. Migliore, 20-1
12 Quality Road, J. Velazquez, 12-1
13 Awesome Gem, David Flores, 30-1

Monday, November 2, 2009

Mine That Bird Works at Santa Anita for Trainer Chip Woolley

Kentucky Derby winner Mine That Bird worked 5 furlongs in 1:01.4 at Santa Anita for trainer Chip Woolley this morning in preparation for Saturday's Breeders' Cup Classic.

Mine That Bird and Joe TalamoMine That Bird and Joe Talamo prepare for Breeders' Cup

News and camera crews from around the world have descended on Santa Anita, and the excitement at Clockers' Corner in the morning is palpable. Following Mine That Bird's work, Woolley very graciously spoke at length to a group of press writers.

Chip WoolleyTrainer Chip Woolley speaks to the press, Santa Anita 11-2-09

"This horse shows up every time, so we expect him to be right there," said Woolley, who also indicated that the Classic would be Mine That Bird's last race of the year. "He's had a long, gruelling year and done a lot of travelling," Woolley said.

Always A Princess Works for Trainer Bob Baffert

Always A Princess put in a bullet work Sunday morning at Santa Anita in preparation for the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies on Friday.

Always A PrincessAlways A Princess, Santa Anita, 11-1-09

Bob Baffert with Arnold and Ellen ZetcherBob Baffert with owners Arnold and Ellen Zetcher

Owners Arnold and Ellen Zetcher were on hand to watch the work with trainer Bob Baffert as Always A Princess went 5 furlongs in :58.4 with Joey Steiner up.

Track Announcers Frank Mirahmadi and Frank Becker at Clockers' Corner

East meets West at Santa Anita in these days leading up to the 2009 Breeders' Cup World Thoroughbred Championship. It is definitely an event that brings together racing people from all across the globe. And nowhere is it more apparent than at Clockers' Corner in the mornings, where trainers, riders, racing journalists and people from all segments of the racing industry are busy renewing old acquaintances and catching up on the news.

Frank Mirahmadi and Kurt BeckerRace callers Frank Mirahmadi and Kurt Becker

Today I caught a photo of race caller Frank Mirahmadi (announcer for the California Fairs) and Keeneland track announcer, Kurt Becker. Both are taking part in live broadcasts from Clockers' Corner all week.

Maram Works at Santa Anita

Maram, winner of last year's Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf, worked at Santa Anita this morning in preparation for her start in Friday's Breeders' Cup Filly and Mare Turf.

MaramMaram prepares for Breeders' Cup

Trained by Chad Brown, Maram earned a spot in Breeders' Cup history last year by capturing the first running of the Juvenile Fillies Turf for a first-time Breeders' Cup trainer, first-time BC jockey (Jose Lezcano) and first-time BC owner (Karen Woods and Saud bin Khaled).

Brown was an assistant to trainer bobby Frankel for five years, striking out on his own in 2007.

Breeders' Cup Turf Workers at Santa Anita

By the time the turf workers made an appearance at Santa Anita this morning, the sun had been beating down for three hours and temperatures soared into the 80's at 9:00 a.m. There was still a good crowd at Clockers' Corner, however, to watch Courageous Cat work 5 furlongs in 1:01 and Allegre work the same distance in 1:01.6.

Courageous Cat, trained by Bill Mott, is heading for the Breeders' Cup Mile on Saturday. Allegre was prepping for the Breeders' Cup Turf for trainer Brian Koriner.