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Field sizes remain strong at Santa Rosa
Despite a barn area that has been only 60 percent full and trainers awaiting the opening of other meets, field sizes at Santa Rosa have held up well.
Entering the final week of racing at Santa Rosa, most of the mules, Arabians, Quarter Horses, and cheaper horses are waiting for the Humboldt County Fair meet at Ferndale, which opens Friday. Some other horses will pass the final week at Santa Rosa in favor of the Aug. 25 return of racing at Golden Gate Fields.
However, entries are decent for the first three days of this week, and Sunday’s Cavonnier drew 16 nominations.
Wednesday’s card is unique, both for the fairs and Northern California. The eight-race card, which has 61 entries, is an all-Thoroughbred card that contains no maiden races, a mid-week rarity in Northern California. Thursday offers a five-horse Arabian field and 51 Thoroughbred entries in the remaining seven races. Friday is another eight-race all-Thoroughbred card, with 62 entries.
While racing continues this week at Santa Rosa, the fair has completed its run. Richard Lewis, the fair’s director of racing, the fair board, and California Authority of Racing Fairs have developed a plan to keep fans coming to the track.
Free parking and free admission will be offered each day. Trips for two to Las Vegas will be awarded each day, with a cruise to Ensenada, Mexico, offered Sunday. There are $1 beer and hot dogs each day from the time the gates open until the start of the second race. Other food specials will be offered throughout the day.
And, as the Russell Baze countdown to 11,000 victories continues, the track is holding a special promotion for fans to pick the day and race that the world’s winningest jockey reaches the milestone. Winning fans will receive a winner’s circle photo autographed by Baze.
With three wins Sunday, Baze is five from the 11,000 mark. He will not race at Santa Rosa on Wednesday as he accompanies undefeated Northern California sprinter Goggles McCoy to Del Mar for the Real Good Deal Stakes. Baze has three other mounts at Del Mar.
Baze has six mounts Thursday – Sunday Seeker in the second, Waltzing Swan in the fourth, Winfield in the fifth, Dark Matter in the sixth, Bettingonthetruth in the seventh, and Old Ed in the eighth.
He has seven mounts Friday – Piano Kitty in the first, the perhaps aptly named Victoriously in the second, Fade to Gold in the third, Piper’s Friend in the fourth, Tribal Teen in the sixth, Midnight Margarita in the seventh, and Anita Cocktail in the eighth.
Moudez wins after three years off
There are layoffs, and then there’s Moudez, who won his third straight race in Sunday’s Joseph Grace at Santa Rosa. It was his second straight stakes victory, following his win in Keeneland’s Forerunner on April 19, 2007.
Moudez was last, trailing the leader by four lengths at the eighth pole and won the 1 1/16-mile race by 1 1/4 lengths, running the final sixteenth-mile in five seconds and change.
It was a pleasant day all around for trainer Steve Miyadi, who received the 6-year-old horse this spring.
Miyadi said he doesn’t know the reason for the long layoff.
A check of Moudez’s workout record shows he went to the sidelines after his Forerunner victory and had five works in 2008 and then nothing until arriving in Miyadi’s barn. His first work for Miyadi on June 5 was his first work since March 26, 2008.
Miyadi was concerned about how Moudez would break, but he got out of the gate fine and was actually in a stalking position until jockey Michael Martinez eased him back to last when the field hit the backstretch.
“I never broke him from the gate but took him to the gate a lot,” Miyadi said. “If they stand well in the gate, they usually break.”
Miyadi was surprised to see Moudez sitting fourth, only two lengths behind Restless Youth after the opening quarter, until he saw the time of 25.17. Miyadi liked Martinez’s decision to drop back to last.
“I told him if he was last the whole way around don’t be shocked,” he said.
His only concern was that Restless Youth had an easy lead and was slowing the pace down.
“He did great, considering they weren’t going that fast,” Miyadi said of Moudez’s explosive move in the lane.
Prior to the race, Miyadi said that a graded stakes win, preferably a Grade 1, was the ultimate goal, since it would make Moudez a stallion prospect. He won’t make a plan for Moudez’s next race until he has time to check him out this week but said he hopes it will be sooner than “three years and three months.”
Perfect Curls explores options
Cliff Delima said Perfect Curls, an easy winner in Saturday’s Wine Country Debutante, “came back fine.” He believes the 2-year-old Perfect Mandate filly will handle two turns and is considering the 1 1/16-mile Rosie the Riveter on Labor Day at Golden Gate Fields. But the Generous Portion, a six-furlong race for Cal-breds at Del Mar on Sept. 1 whose $100,000 purse is double the Rosie the Riveter purse, also is a possibility.
Just as he did Sunday with Moudez, Martinez gave Perfect Curls a perfect ride. He broke on top and had enough horse to take the lead, especially with Rockin Heather breaking a bit slowly.
But he eased Perfect Curls back a bit down the backstretch and had dead aim on pacesetting Rockin Heather the whole way before pulling clear in the stretch.
Perfect Curls, a $9,500 yearling purchase at the Pleasanton sale last September, has now won 3 of 4 career starts, including two stakes, and has won $107,700. She is owned by Roy Guinnane, who races under the ownership name G C C I.
“We were there to buy horses and looked at her when she came into the ring,” Delima said. “Roy asked what I thought, and I said I didn’t see anything wrong.”
Delima didn’t realize what a bargain he had, until the filly began training this year.
“I told my wife and Roy that I thought he had a pretty nice filly,” said Delima, who is having the most fun with a runner since eight-time stakes winner El Dorado Shooter retired in 2005.
Full sisters run 1-2-3
Full sisters finished one-two-three in Sunday’s 440-yard mule allowance race. It was no surprise that 7-year-old Bar JF Hot Ticket (by Sterling Sweet Water out of Holdalltickets) won the race or that 5-year-old Bar JF Red Ticket ran second. And based on the wagering, it also was no surprise that the 4-year-old Bar Jf Lottoticket ran third in her first meeting with her two older sisters.
The three were 15 1/4, 12, and five lengths in front of the fourth-place mule Bar JF Bold Thunder, who also was sired by Sterling Sweet Water.
◗ A scheduled stewards’ hearing Saturday into a California Horse Racing Board complaint against jockey silks custodian Anthony Baze and owner William Wilbur was rescheduled for Aug. 26 at Golden Gate Fields after one of the licensees requested extra time to get an attorney. The complaint involves a horse partially owned by Wilbur in which a jockey wore the wrong silks in a July 15 race at Sacramento.