Kentucky Oaks 2020 Blog: Santa Ynez Recap + Silverbulletday Preview

The Kentucky Oaks 2020 points race series has a new leader. Thee-time grade one winner Bast began the new year in style with a solid victory in the Santa Ynez Stakes (G2) on Jan. 5. The next points race is the $150,000 Silverbulletday Stakes (race 12) at Fair Grounds on Saturday, Jan. 18. Likely favorite Finite has captured her last three starts including the Golden Rod (G2) under the Twin Spires to end her juvenile campaign. She is strictly the one to beat for Steve Asmussen. Her main rival appears to be Portrait for trainer Brad Cox. She ran off the screen in her extended sprint maiden win at Ellis Park, and was last seen finishing 3rd in the Pocahontas (G2). His Glory has the speed to succeed for Tom Amoss, and Tempers Rising looks like the best closer in the field. Kentucky Oaks 2020 Points Race Recaps Santa Ynez

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Santa Anita Horses To Watch Jan 14

LAVENDER (January 10): Four year old filly for Matt Chew, who hadn’t started in 15 months, made her U.S. debut in Friday’s opener, a sprint dash on the lawn at five and a half for older runners, which were maidens. Off at 5/2 in a field of six, she broke well under Valdivia and laid 4th down the back side about four lengths off the pace. She left the rail at the top of the stretch and angled out in the middle of the course, then showed a quick turn of foot late and won going away by two at the wire. It was a strong ride by the rider who was winning his first race since he returned to this circuit, having been gone at least 10 years. Lavender ran second twice in large fields at 7/8 in Ireland, so there is no reason she can’t get at least

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Santa Anita News and Notes Jan 14

• Week three at Santa Anita Park concluded on Sunday without any mishaps. The main track continues to play fair and there was no precipitation during the week. The turf course is playing fair for the route races, but at five and a half on the turf, the late runners have all the best of it, as the first 13 races at that distance were all won from off the pace. The times are normal on the turf but the main track is still running on the slow side, and that’s just the way they want it, to keep racing as safe as possible. Racing returns this Friday with a four day week and will include Monday, Martin Luther King Day. The single ticket jackpot of the pick six has grown to $432,042. • There were two graded stakes on Saturday and one ungraded stakes on Sunday, and they all

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Santa Anita Park Report (Jan. 1-5)

Santa Anita Recap for Wednesday (1-1-20) Fast main track and firm turf course. Three front running winners on dirt (6f, 8f, 6f). The winning turf course running styles were a stalker sitting in 2nd at one mile, a pace prompter at one mile, an outside stalker sitting in 3rd at one mile, a stalker at 5.5 panels, and a stalker from the inside post at a mile and an eighth (rail at 10 feet). Tiago Pereira booted home a pair. Richard Baltas saddled three turf route winners. Peter Miller saddled two winners.      The Rainbow 6 pool was $191,479, and multiple winning tickets paid $6,819.48 each. There will be a jackpot carryover of $161,456 when live racing resumes on Friday, Jan. 3. Joe Hernandez Stakes (G2) Recap (1-1-20) – Winner: Texas Wedge ($6.20) Bay Musik was sent to the lead from the outside post, and surface switcher Captain Scotty chased him intently. Texas Wedge stalked from post 4 and

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Santa Anita Horses To Watch Jan 7

CALIFORNIA STREET (January 1): Six year old gelding for Paddy Gallagher was making just his 11th career start and first around two turns since March of 2018. Off at 3/1 in a six horse field at a flat mile on the main for the second allowance condition, 4 and up, he broke running under Prat. Then the rider wisely took a hold of him and let him drift back to last, about 7 lengths off the pace. He moved up on his own at the ¼ pole, stayed on the fence, couldn’t find a seam at the rail, checked momentarily, and then swung out for some clear racing room. His bid fell just a head short at the wire as the favorite cruised wire to wire. Van Dyke on the winner actually out rode Prat in this race as he closed the hole on “California” at the 1/8 pole when

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Santa Anita News and Notes Jan 7

•    The Great Race Place completed week two of their winter meet under fair skies and temps in the high sixties. The main track has played fair this past week but the times continue to be on the slow side. Overall, the track is as safe as any dirt track can be. The turf course has also played fair with an equal amount of winners on the pace as well as from off the pace. The sprint distance of five and a half on the turf has favored off the pace runners. Racing returns this Friday with just a three day week and the single ticket jackpot of the pick six has climbed all the way up to $292,520. On Sunday there were five horses alive in the final race to be the single ticket winner, but it wasn’t meant to be.•    There were four significant stakes races this past

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Santa Anita Park Weekly Report (Dec. 28-29)

Santa Anita Recap for Saturday (12-28-19) Fast main track and good turf course. Two front running winners on dirt (6f, 8.5f). The winning turf course running styles were a front runner at one mile, a stalker at one mile, a midpack stalker at a mile and a quarter, a midpack stalker at a mile and an eighth, and a closer at one mile.  Four stakes wins for Mike Smith (two G1’s). Riding triple for Joel Rosario (pair of G2 wins).    The Rainbow 6 pool was $329,338, and multiple winning tickets paid $226.78 each. There will be a jackpot carryover of $75,392 when live racing resumes on Sunday, Dec. 29.  Lady of Shamrock Stakes Recap (12-28-19) – Winner: Brill ($9.00) Pace was the key to victory in this race. Surface switcher Brill was able to get out there and control the tempo, and it was game over. She dictated terms under Mike Smith and was never seriously threatened. The

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Santa Anita Horses To Watch Dec. 31

DEVIL MADE ME DOIT (December 28): Two year old colt for Doug O’Neill made his debut in Saturday’s opener and couldn’t have been more impressive. Bet down from a M/L of 4/1 to the post time favorite at 3/2, he broke running under Gutierrez and set all of the fractions in 22.42 and 45.22. He turned for home with a one length lead and when the rider asked him, he opened up, all under a hand ride. He went on to win by 9 and was geared down the final 50 yards. The final time was 1:10.29 on a very dull racing surface. He is bred for turf and distance so this son of Daredevil could be any kind. Up the ladder. BRILL (December 28): Three year old filly for Don Chatlos, who hadn’t been to the post in six months and had never tried the turf in 7 starts,

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Santa Anita News and Notes Dec. 31

• The Stronach Group, who own Santa Anita Park along with a number of other race tracks in this country, made a few poor decisions in 2019. But to their credit, they have also made a lot of good decisions in trying to save the sport we all dearly love, and one of them was to delay the opening of the Great Race Place to Dec. 28 due to inclement weather. I have been going to Santa Anita for opening day since 1967 and this past Saturday was as good as it gets. The track put on 11 races, 7 of them stakes, the weather was perfect, there were no breakdowns as both the turf course and the main track looked spectacular, the San Gabriel mountains in the background looked majestic, and 35,045 fans came to have a good time. And a good time was had by all. Two stars

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Santa Anita News and Notes Opening week

• Santa Anita Park opens their gates this Saturday, the weekend after Christmas, for their 83rd Winter/Spring season, but this year will be very different than all the others. Racing will not be allowed this season on days that the track is deemed to be unsafe due to inclement weather. Rain is forecast this week on Tuesday/Wednesday, but not much is expected and Thursday should be clear and sunny. A three panel group has been assigned to determine if the track is considered safe and that panel is made up of the track superintendent, Dennis Moore, who was not on board last winter, a member of the Jockey’s Guild, and a safety steward assigned by the California Horse Racing Board. Of these three, Moore is the key figure. He is highly respected by all and was shown the door last year over a contract dispute, as the track was trying

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