09/16/2011 1:57PM

Santa Anita: California Flag takes aim at Morvich


California Flag, 7-years-old, may have lost a step since winning the Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint in 2009 at Santa Anita, but the gelding is rounding back into form and trainer Brian Koriner looks forward to giving California Flag a chance to win the Grade 3 Morvich for a third time on Oct. 10.

“He’ll be back on his favorite course, and this will tell us [his ability level],” Koriner said.

California Flag tailed off last fall and was given an eight-month break before returning July 3. He finished last, but improved Sept. 7 at Del Mar with a better-than-looked fifth place finish on Polytrack. California Flag has won 9 races and more than $1.1 million from 23 starts.

◗ The popular pick-five wager, with a 14 percent takeout rate, will be offered this fall at the Santa Anita Autumn Meet (Sept. 30 through Oct. 29). The 50-cent bet, no consolations, will be offered on races 1-5, with 50-cent pick fours on races 2-5, and the final four races. The pick six (last six races), rolling pick threes, and daily doubles also will be offered.

◗ Santa Anita plans football-theme promotions each weekend of the meet. Thoroughbreds members can receive a Santa Anita football jersey by scanning membership cards Oct. 2 or Oct. 9, and scanning again Oct. 15. According to the track, the top-quality jersey is one of Santa Anita’s best-ever Thoroughbred giveaways. Thoroughbreds membership is free to fans 18 or older.

◗ Santa Anita’s “Fourth and Four” contest is open to fans every Sunday. Fans can win $500 for picking the winner of the last four races and four afternoon NFL games. Contest cards are available in Sirona’s Bar, and must be turned by 1 p.m. Those who select the most winners of the final four races and four selected NFL games will win or share $500.

* In addition to four Grade 1 races Oct. 1, Santa Anita will host its fourth Gourmet Food Truck Festival. Approximately 70 vendors are expected, including prominent food trucks such as the Grilled Cheese Truck, the Lobsta Truck, Ragin Cajun, Shrimp Pimp, White Rabbit, Nom Nom, and many more. The Food Truck Festival is free with paid admission.