03/27/2012 1:57PM

Santa Anita: Drysdale can have big finish

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Benoit & Associates
Bourbon Bay (left) with Joel Rosario riding, wins the San Luis Rey for trainer Neil Drysdale.

ARCADIA, Calif. - One cold, wet afternoon has revived trainer Neil Drysdale's season.
Sunday, Drysdale swept the two turf stakes at Santa Anita with the veteran Bourbon Bay in the Grade 2 San Luis Rey Stakes and Vamo a Galupiar in the Grade 2 Santa Ana Stakes. They represent the first two graded stakes winners for the barn this year.

"We had a slow start," he said.

The stable may have a big finish to the winter-spring meeting.

Both Bourbon Bay and Vamo a Galupiar are probable starters for $150,000 races in April. Bourbon Bay is a candidate for the Grade 2 San Juan Capistrano Handicap over about 1 3/4 miles on April 22. Owned by David and Jill Heerensperger, the 6-year-old Bourbon Bay won the 2010 San Juan Capistrano.

Vamo a Galupiar beat maidens in her debut in Chile in April 2010. By the end of that year, she was a multiple group stakes winner in that country. The Santa Ana Stakes over 1 1/8 miles on turf was her first graded stakes win in the United States. Owned by Robert Evans, Vamo a Galupiar won the Santa Ana during a strong rainstorm.

Vamo a Galupiar will make her next start in the Grade 2 Santa Barbara Handicap over 1 1/4 miles on turf on April 21, a distance that Drysdale says will be within her range. "She was really going away at the end," he said of the Santa Ana. "I don't think the distance will be a problem."

Oaks field looking compact

Saturday's $300,000 Santa Anita Oaks is not expected to have a large field.

Led by Eden's Moon and Reneesgotzip, the first two finishers of the Grade 1 Las Virgenes Stakes on March 3, the Grade 1 Santa Anita Oaks is the last major stakes on dirt for the 3-year-old filly division at the meeting.

The race drew just nine nominations, with Willa B Awesome, the winner of the Grade 3 Santa Ysabel Stakes in January another expected starter. Willa B Awesome was fourth in the Las Virgenes Stakes.


Rider milestones approaching

Jockeys Mike Smith and Joe Talamo are nearing career milestones.

Through Sunday, Hall of Famer Smith, 46, had won 4,997 races. Technically, he can reach 5,000 at Santa Anita on Thursday, with three mounts on the eight-race program. More than likely, he will do so in coming days.

Talamo, 22, has won 995 races and has seven chances to add to that total on Thursday. He rides every race but the fourth.