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EDDIE'S RUN FRUITLESS
95 Beyer for San Rafael
THE PAMPLEMOUSSE (mans Grapefruit) led all the way and shrugged off a labouring SQUARE EDDIE to win the SAN RAFAEL at Santa Anita yesterday, putting Canadian-bred Eddie back a few steps on his road to the Kentucky Derby.
Time to think QUEEN'S PLATE perhaps? (Hope he's made eligible by th deadline, first week in FEBRUARY)
Anyway, The Pamplemousse went fast on the lead and just kept going, wild stuff.
He's a cute grey fellow with a so-so pedigre - he's by sprinter Kafwain out of Comfort Zone by Rubiano - a strong 7 furlong pedigree and perhaps weak for 10 furlongs.
KAFWAIN stands for $6,500 in kentucky at Hurstland Farm and he is by Cherokee Run.
'Eddie' stalked in 3rd, made a move on the turn but then could not go on but he held 2nd place and since he was beaten 2 lengths, his Beyer Figure was about the same as he ran last year in the 89-90 range.
DEEVEETEE, the Ontario bred DONERAILE COURT filly that was in the Grade 2 Santa Ynez on the card, was 5th.
EXCERPT BILL DWYRE COLUMN
LOS ANGELES TIMES
January 18, 2009
Horse racing is like a book that can't be judged by its cover.
Saturday was a glorious day at Santa Anita, the kind that used to attract crowds of 30,000 in the heydays of the 1970s and '80s, before racing started to encourage fans to stay away by offering betting everywhere, including their living rooms.
The mountains glimmered in the warm afternoon sun.
"I called a friend in Kentucky and he said the temperature was 1 degree," said trainer Bob Baffert. "Look at this."
Spectators lounged along the rail. A dad lifted his daughter onto his shoulders so she could pet a stable pony's nose. Before the horses went to the races, they paraded in the paddock around a statue of Seabiscuit that commemorates a horse who once enjoyed Tiger Woods-like status.
Even better, a star may have been born.
This was San Rafael Stakes Day, the first mini-step of many that will lead to the biggest race of all, the Kentucky Derby. Now, the name The Pamplemousse will move well to the front of the discussion as to who might be leading the pack May 2 at Churchill Downs.
The Pamplemousse led the mile San Rafael virtually from wire to wire. Trained by Julio Canani, ridden by Alex Solis, and first identified as a prospect and purchased by Solis' son, Alex II, The Pamplemousse started as the second choice behind Square Eddie and looked strong the entire mile. Challenged down the stretch by Doug O'Neill's Square Eddie and John Shirreff's Ryehill Dreamer, The Pamplemousse merely kicked into another gear.
"He was just cruising, almost like he was walking," said jockey Solis. "When the other horses came up to him, he just took off. I didn't even ask him. It's been awhile since I had a horse like this. It gave me goose bumps."
Perhaps the last one to do that for Solis was Brother Derek, who ran well in the 2006 Kentucky Derby and was alongside Barbaro in the Preakness when Barbaro broke down. Solis yanked him around, avoiding injury but taking much of the run out of the horse, and Brother Derek did little of note after that.
The Pamplemousse is owned in part by Ann Winner and Carol Bienstock of Encino; Solis II, of Pasadena, and brothers Bill and Jeff Strauss of Del Mar. The Strauss brothers also own a restaurant near the race track in Del Mar, named The Pamplemousse.
Jeff Strauss told the story.
"I was working in France in a restaurant," he said, "and the chef asked me to bring him a pamplemousse. I had no idea what that was, and finally, another guy handed me a grapefruit and told me to give him that. It became my favorite French word."
It could also become a favorite word of horse players on the first Saturday of May.
"It's almost like the biggest jinx, just to think that," Bill Strauss said. "But in the back of your mind, there's now that little kernel of thought . . . "
So, as the sun went down and the 10,487 in attendance filtered out, it almost seemed idyllic.
But life in racing is far from it.
The synthetic tracks of Southern California remain controversial, especially after five horses had to be euthanized in the first weeks of this Santa Anita meeting. That brought trainers' meetings, newspaper stories and an Internet buzzing with the discontent of horse people.
Some weren't even pointing to the horses' safety, but rather the handicapping difficulties they present. Hall of Fame trainer D. Wayne Lucas fanned the flames when he was quoted by USA Today as saying, "The synthetic track is a nightmare. You know the hotline they have . . . if you have a gambling problem, you call it? Well, synthetics will take care of that. . . . They'll cure the gamblers."
Future Hall of Famer Baffert, whose Pioneerof the Nile is also a Derby prospect, was less than bubbly Saturday when asked about synthetics.
BEAR NOW LOSES SEASON DEBUT
ASMUSSEN WINS 6 ON CARD
Canadian champion BEAR NOW was the 3rd Soveriegn Award winner to come back racing in 2009 and all three have lost. Following Marchfield and Ginger Brew, BEAR NOW was simply 2ndbest to ROLLING SEA in the Truly Bound Stakes yesterday in her first race since being sold for $950,000 to Town and Country Farms (by Danny Dion's Bear Stables).
Read more in this EXCERPT from TIMES-PICAYUNE
Asmussen ties his Fair Grounds record with six victories Saturday
by Bob Fortus, The Times-Picayune
Saturday January 17, 2009, 6:34 PM
With his wife and three boys in town and fast horses in his entries, trainer Steve Asmussen equaled his Fair Grounds record by winning six races on the Saturday card.
According to Fair Grounds records, some of which were lost in the 1993 fire, Asmussen became the first trainer to win six races on a Fair Grounds cards when he saddled six winners Dec. 22, 2007. In tying the record Saturday, he ran 11 horses and had at least one starter in seven races. In two races, Asmussen trainees ran 1-2.
"It was super,'' Asmussen said. "Julie and the boys came in. We had a great day, had the right horses in. I don't think any of them were a surprise, and they ran well.''
Shaun Bridgmohan rode four winners Saturday for Asmussen, and Robby Albarado rode the other two.
Rolling Sea won the Truly Bound Handicap for Asmussen and Bridgmohan. She swept around rivals on the final turn and outkicked favorite Bear Now in the stretch to score a 5 Â½-length victory in the race for older fillies and mares. Bear Now, who had been sold for $950,000 at a Kentucky sale in November, hadn't raced since finishing eighth in the Breeders' Cup Ladies Classic.
"Not much you can say,'' said trainer Al Stall Jr., who was running Bear Now for the first time. "(Asmussen and Bridgmohan) are on fire.''
HARLEM ROCKER SICK
Top Canadian-bred HARLEM ROCKER, the Prince of Wales and Withers Stakes winner, came up ill this week and will miss the Donn Handicap,according to Daily Racing Form.
The Macho Uno grey colt will now be pointed to the March 14 Gulfstream Park Handicap.
QUEEN OF ALL CATS, bred in Ontario and owned by Marko Mesic, won a race for $10,000 claiming at Penn National yesterday by 1/2 a length. The D'Wildcat-Queen of Sky, Sky Classic filly rallied 4 wide to win the non-winners of 2 lifetime.
PEPPERS PRIDE RETIRES UNBEATEN
DAILY RACING FORM EXCERPT...
Peppers Pride retires unbeaten
By Mary Rampellini
Peppers Pride, the New Mexico-based mare who owns the longest winning streak in modern North American history, has been retired, her trainer, Joel Marr, said on Thursday. She will be sent to Richland Hills Farm in Midway, Ky., in the next two or three weeks, where she will be boarded. Joe Allen, who bred and owns Peppers Pride, said stallion plans for her are being finalized and that her first foal would be born in Kentucky.
Peppers Pride retires undefeated in 19 career starts.
DAILY RACING FORM EXCERPT...
CHRB to study track safety
By Steve Andersen
ARCADIA, Calif. - The California Horse Racing Board has launched a study on racetrack safety as part of a broader effort to reduce injuries, the board announced.
The study will be conducted in conjunction with other studies and could take as long as six months to complete, according to chairman John Harris.
During the study, the board will inspect all racing surfaces, maintenance techniques, and review injuries; utilize the Jockey Club database for reporting equine injuries; request information from private veterinarians; conduct biomechanical testing on how hooves strike racing surfaces; review information from horseshoe inspectors; and review studies on horse fatalities.
READ THE REST...