Horses to Watch Mar. 21 – by Rod Young Turfdom

RIVER ECHO (March 17): Four year old gelding is a new horse since transferring into the Peter Miller barn from back East. After winning the first allowance condition in his last start, he tried the second condition on Friday and was best even though finishing second. Off at 7/2 in a strong field, he sat third in the early running with a rail trip just off the speed. Arroyo had a ton of horse turning for home but he had nowhere to run until a brief opening at the sixteenth pole. He burst through but it was too late as a perfect tripper from the outside got the jump on him. He now has two wins and a close second since joining the Miller barn and he wins this condition next out. BOTTLE SERVICE (March 18): Three year old gelding for Mike Machowsky was all over the place in Saturday’s

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News and Notes Mar. 21 – by Rod Young Turfdom

With the weather now good at Santa Anita, favorites have been dominating the scene, and such was the case this past week with no c/o in the pick six other than the single ticket jack pot, which now stands at over $346,000 going into Thursday’s card. In fact favorites are at 36.55% overall for the winter meet with dirt races leading the way at 38.46%. The number drops to 30.53% on the grass. Odds on favorites are winning at 62.03%, but odds on favorites in the money is at 94.94% (75 of 79). That’s a pretty good number for the bridge jumpers and there have been a number of them at the meet. They ran three stakes over the weekend and favorites won all three. The only graded stakes was the Grade 1 Santa Margarita at 9 furlongs on the main track and Baffert’s Vale Dori kept right on rolling

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Horses to Watch Mar. 14 – by Rod Young Turfdom

ILLUMINANT (March 10): Five year old mare for Mike McCarthy, who had been away from the races for 10 months, came roaring back in the Wishing Well stakes at six and a half down the hill on Friday. Off as the 6/5 choice, she broke well with the field, laid in 4th down the hill just 3 lengths off the pace, easily went to the lead on her own at the top of the lane, then opened up two and glided home to win by a length and a half at the wire over a fairly strong field. She galloped out strong and her connections are pointing for the Jenny Wiley stakes at Keeneland in April, a Grade 1 where she was third last year. Based on this performance, she will have a fighting chance in that race, especially if Tepin doesn’t show up. Plus she will be a price

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News and Notes Mar. 14 – by Rod Young Turfdom

With rain dominating the scene for weeks on end, clear skies and warm temps is what it’s all about at Santa Anita Park and it will stay that way this week as well. It was a perfect day on Saturday for the Big Cap and they drew almost 30,000 fans for a very good 11 race card. Both the main track and the turf course played fair the entire week. Racing resumes this Thursday with their normal four day race week and there is a c/o in the Super High Five of $18,623 and also in the single ticket pick six jackpot of $255,341. Of the four graded stakes on Saturday, two were won by favorites and two were won by long shots, both difficult to find. First on the card was the Grade 2 San Felipe for Derby hopefuls at a mile and a sixteenth on the main track.

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Horses to Watch Mar. 7 – by Rod Young Turfdom

NINE POINT NINE (March 3): Four year old filly for Vladimir Cerin tried the second allowance condition on the grass Friday at a mile and a quarter for older fillies/mares. Off at 8/1 in just a six horse field, she went awfully quick early with fractions of 22.68 and 46.20 for the half mile while opening up 8 lengths down the back side. That was way too fast for this distance and she came back to the field at the top of the lane, but just when you thought she would quit, she found another gear and held on gamely through the lane to be beaten just a length at the wire. This race should set her up nicely at a shorter distance by putting some wind in those lungs. She’s sharp enough right now to knock out this condition and she is worth following. MISTER BRIGHTSIDE (March 4): Five

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News and Notes Mar. 7 – by Rod Young Turfdom

The State of California has begged for rain for six straight years and the gods haven’t listened, until 2017, and now they are having a tough time of shutting off the faucet. Santa Anita Park almost escaped this past week without incident from the skies, but just one hour before post time of the last race Sunday, the mile turf race was moved to the main track due to afternoon rain. Races 2 and 6 remained on the grass but the riders complained after race six that the course was just too slippery, so it had to be switched resulting in two late scratches and more importantly, “all” the runners in the finale were declared winners resulting in very low payoffs for the late pick four and the pick six. Management really didn’t want to make the change, but in this sport, it has to be safety first, for both

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Horses to Watch Feb 28 – by Rod Young Turfdom

PASCHALITSA (February 24): It was just a $16,000 claimer, non winners of three, on Friday, but this 4 year old filly for Eddie Truman was pretty impressive just the same while going down in defeat. Off at 5/1 in a six horse field over a surface that was very dull, she and the 6/5 favorite went quick early in this one mile race and opened up 10 on the field by the half mile pole while ding donging on the lead. They came back to the field at the head of the lane but while the favorite backed out of it, this filly battled back on the rail and was coming back on at the wire. She got beat a neck and galloped out well past the wire. She can go short or long and if they keep her at this condition, she’s a soon winner. BAR SCENE (February 24):

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News and Notes Feb 28 – by Rod Young Turfdom

Just 3 days of racing this past week at the Great Race Place and yes, rain was still a factor. Rain fell early Sunday morning and resulted in two downhill races being switched to the main track and half the field was scratched in each race. The other two days were fast and firm and the forecast is for good weather this week, for a change. Early speed was quite good the entire week on the main track while the turf course continues to play fair, regardless of where the inner rails are placed. Racing resumes this Thursday with their regular 4 day week and the lone c/o in the exotic pools is the single ticket jackpot for the pick six which stands at $46,643. They ran two stakes over the weekend, both were for Cal breds on the turf, and Turfdom had the winner on top in both of

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Horses to Watch Feb. 21 – by Rod Young Turfdom

DENMAN’S CALL (February 18): There was no doubt who the best horse was in Saturday’s third, a first condition allowance sprint on the main track. Off as the 3/2 choice in a field of 8, “Denman” completely blew the start and was instantly six lengths behind the last horse. He was 12 back by the half mile pole, then put in a quick turn of foot down the lane racing on the worst part of the track, and was beaten just a length for all of it. This Kentucky bred for Doug O’Neill was graded stakes placed as a sophomore, and knocking off this first allowance condition should just be a formality. He’s a soon winner. WEST COAST (February 18): It’s extremely difficult to break your maiden going two turns in your first race, but this 3 year old colt for Baffert gave a good account of himself in his

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News and Notes Feb. 21 – by Rod Young Turfdom

Rain continues to play havoc with this winter meet at Santa Anita Park. For the third time this meet they cancelled a full day of racing (this past Friday), this time almost a full day before the storm arrived. They received 3 inches of rain at the Arcadia oval, which cancelled turf racing on both Saturday and Sunday once they resumed racing. Surprisingly, the main track was back to fast by the third race on Saturday and the times were quick due to the hard, tight seal. They did race on the turf Monday over a surface rated as “good”. Management has decided to add two days to the schedule later on in the meet, both Thursdays, April 20 and June 1 to make up for the dark days. This has been one of the wettest winters in California history and we’re still in February. Without having turf racing, field

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