Monday, October 31, 2011

Happy Halloween from Clockers' Corner Santa Anita

Rosie Ybarra the zombie

Things are looking pretty spooky at Clockers’ Corner these chilly mornings. Thanks to server Rosie Ybarra – the well-known maven of Clockers’ Corner who serves up yummy concoctions to trainers, riders, owners and race fans every morning – there is no shortage of Halloween spirit at the iconic Santa Anita breakfast spot.

Ybarra traditionally decorates her food service window and much of the surrounding area to celebrate the holiday. Her enthusiasm is infectious, and jockeys and trainers often join in the fun with their own spooky costumes. Enjoy the photos!

Animated pirate statue and a skeleton reading the Racing Form

Bob Baffert having fun with the pirate

Is that a giant rat?

Friday, October 28, 2011

Prominent California horse owner Mace Siegel dies at 86

Mace Siegel, a prominent owner and breeder of Thoroughbreds for more than 47 years, died of heart failure at his home in Beverly Hills on Wednesday at the age of 86. A founding member of the Thoroughbred Owners of California (TOC), Siegel, a New Jersey native, campaigned horses in California with his wife, Jan, and daughter Samantha for three decades. He was predeceased by his wife in 2002.

The Siegels met on a blind date at Aqueduct racetrack in New York in 1962 and were married two months and five days later. Jan Siegel, who became interested in horse racing while a student at the University of Kentucky, was a singer with big bands in her youth and her favorite song was “I Love You Samantha.” Their daughter was named for the tune.

“Mace Siegel was a giant in our industry and along with his wife Jan and daughter, Samantha, ran a first class operation,” said Santa Anita President George Haines. “Their blue and lime-green silks were synonymous with success and their horses always came first. Mace’s compassion, leadership and enthusiasm for horse racing will be sorely missed. On behalf of all of us here at Santa Anita, I’d like to extend our deepest sympathy to Samantha and the entire Siegel family. He loved Santa Anita and we loved him.”

The Siegels bought their first horse in 1964 and won their first stakes race in 1976, with Wininreno, who took the Julian Cole Handicap at Calder Race Course in Florida. They brought their stable to California on a full-time basis in the mid 1980s.

The family had great success with modestly priced yearlings beginning in the late 1980s. The horses were selected at public auctions primarily by trainer Brian Mayberry and his wife, Jeanne.

Their Jay Em Ess Stable first gained national prominence in 1989, when three of their horses, all trained by Mayberry, won $100,000 stakes races on the Breeders’ Cup undercard at Gulfstream Park.

The highlight of their ownership career came in 2004, when their Declan’s Moon finished the year by winning the Grade I Hollywood Futurity and was then named Eclipse Award Champion 2-year-old male.

A list of their other Grade I winners includes Boys At Toscanova, Hedonist, I Ain’t Bluffing, I Believe In You, Miss Iron Smoke, Rail Trip, Stormy But Valid and Urbane.

Mayberry trained for the Siegels from 1977 through 1995 and their other trainers included John Tammaro, John Russell, Ron Ellis, Bruce Headley, Anthony Dutrow, Richard Dutrow Jr., Paul McGee and Peter Miller.

A major developer of retail shopping malls, Mace Siegel formed Macerich Company of Santa Monica, which develops, owns and manages regional shopping malls. He acquired his first mall in 1972 and Macerich eventually became the nation’s third largest owner of regional malls.

Funeral services for Mace Siegel are pending.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Legendary Dan Issel presents trophy at Santa Anita

The legendary Dan Issel, retired Hall of Fame professional basketball player and coach, was on hand at Santa Anita Sunday to present the stakes trophy to Mr. and Mrs. Warren Williamson after their colt Irish Art won the Uniformity Stakes.

In a combined ABA and NBA career, Issel accumulated over 27,000 points. At the time of his retirement the only professional basketball players to have scored more points than him were Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Wilt Chamberlain and Julius Erving. Issel currently ranks eighth on the all time combined ABA/NBA scoring list.

Santa Anita’s Mike Willman interviewed Issel, who also posed next to winning jockey Joel Rosario – making quite a picture of contrasting heights!

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Zap of the Week

Some rare Larry Zap footage of Weemissfrankie in her stall at Del Mar -- with her buddy Pickles, the goat! Narrated by Larry Zap. Enjoy!

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

Friday, October 14, 2011

Sunrise over the track

Good morning from Santa Anita!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Eurorears heading for Breeders' Cup Sprint

Eurorears and Martin Garcia at Santa Anita Oct. 10

Euroears breezed four furlongs in :48.4 under jockey Martin Garcia on Santa Anita's main track Monday in preparation for the Breeders' Cup Sprint on Nov. 5 at Churchill Downs.

Trainer Bob Baffert said he was happy with the way Eurorears went. Judging by the way he came trotting home, shown in this short video clip, the horse looks pretty happy with himself.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Well Monied preps for Spinster

 Garrett Gomez works Well Monied at Santa Anita, 9/29/11

Well Monied is on her way to Kentucky for the Grade 1 Juddmonte Spinster Stakes on Sunday, Oct. 9 at Keeneland. She prepped for the Spinster with a six-furlong work over Santa Anita's main track on Thursday morning, Sept. 29, with jockey Garrett Gomez up.

The 5-year-old Maria's Mon mare, trained by Howard Zucker for C.T. Grether, Inc., returned from a four-month rest to finish 7th in the Grade 2 Palomar Handicap at a mile and one-sixteenth on the turf at Del Mar on Sept. 5 - a race in which she was closing strongly in the stretch.

The Spinster, at a mile and one-eighth on the Polytrack, is one of North America's most important weight-for-age races held exclusively for fillies and mares. It is also a Breeders' Cup "Win and You're In" race for the Lady's Classic division.

Good luck to Well Monied and her California connections!

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Weemissfrankie headlines Oak Leaf today at Santa Anita

Sunrise over Santa Anita Sunday morning

Weemissfrankie, who won the Grade I Del Mar Debutante on Sept. 3, is the likely favorite in today's Oak Leaf Stakes at Santa Anita. The daughter of Sunriver trained by Peter Eurton is unbeaten in two starts.

Weemissfrankie is owned by a partnership that includes skateboarding star Rob Dyrdek, who hosts "Ridiculousness," "Rob and Big," and "Rob Dyrdek's Fantasy Factory" on MTV. Dyrdek, who was out at Santa Anita to see his other horse, Mega Heat, win the 8th race, is expected to be at Santa Anita again today.

Here's the field for the Oak Leaf, which goes as the eighth race: Silent Saga, Victor Espinoza, 9-2; Self Preservation, Patrick Valenzuela, 4-1; Killer Graces, Joe Talamo, 15-1; Candrea, Martin Garcia, 4-1; My Gi Gi, Chantal Sutherland, 15-1; Wild Truffles, Alonso Quinonez, 30-1; Regal Betty, Joel Rosario, 20-1; Weemissfrankie, Rafael Bejarano, 5-2; Dreamcaster, Martin Pedroza, 8-1; and Charm the Maker, Garrett Gomez, 8-1.