01/15/2010 11:58PM

Westward Ho


BEVERLY HILLS -- Got out here a couple of days early for Monday night's Eclipse Awards, and as long as I'm in the neighborhood I''m making my way out to Santa Anita tomorrow, when they're running the G3 San Rafael, G2 Santa Ynez and G2 San Fernando. I'll be doing a seminar with handicapper Jerry Antonucci near the paddock at 11 a.m. and "signing" some dvd's at the Champions! gift shop from noon to 1, assuming I can figure out how to sign something that's a)got a black cover and b)is shrink-wrapped in plastic.

The trip out west from New York today was uneventful. Airport security seems no different in the wake of the Christmas Day Underpants Incident, and they didn't notice or confiscate the two Bic lighters in my carry-on. The supposedly 18-minute drive from LAX to the Beverly Wilshire (site of Monday's dinner) took more like 78 minutes, but that's what you get for landing in LA at 5 p.m. on a Friday.


The only hitch came at the hotel, where I checked in, went up to the room, opened the door and sensed I was not alone. Just as I was noticing a clearly lived-in room, a boy of about 12 stuck his head out from around a corner and let out something between a yelp and a scream, understandably: If you think I look a little scary under normal circumstances, you should see me after 10 hours on the road and a few days without shaving. I tried to reassure the tyke that the front desk had made a mistake, but I'm not sure he was convinced. In any case, happy ending: When I went back to the front desk they were so mortified by what had happened that they insisted on upgrading me to a suite with a little smoking balcony for the four nights I'll be here. Sweet.

Anyway, if you're out at Santa Anita tomorrow, say hello, and if anyone has any brilliant insights on the SA card I'm about to start working on, feel free to post them.