01/10/2012 4:21PM

Santa Anita: Mounts open up with Gomez out


ARCADIA, Calif. – With Jockey Garrett Gomez out of action with a foot injury, several choice stakes mounts at Santa Anita came open this holiday weekend, most notably Jeranimo, whom Gomez was scheduled to ride on Monday in the Grade 2, $150,000 San Gabriel Stakes for older turf horses.

Gomez was aboard Jeranimo for his last start, an impressive victory in the Grade 2 Citation Handicap at Hollywood Park on Nov. 26. Jeranimo is expected to be a heavy favorite in the San Gabriel. As of Tuesday, his trainer, Michael Pender, had not named a replacement.

Gomez also was scheduled to ride Balladry on Saturday in the Grade 2, $150,000 San Fernando Stakes for 4-year-olds. Gomez picked up that mount because Rafael Bejarano, who had ridden Balladry in his last five starts, opted to ride Prayer for Relief in the San Fernando.

“I’m working on Plan B. Actually, Garrett was my Plan B,” Eoin Harty, who trains Balladry, said Tuesday morning. “I’m not exactly sure where I stand. The first few choices I would have had are taken. Sometimes you just have to take a wait-and-see approach.”

The San Gabriel and San Fernando, as well as the Grade 2, $150,000 Santa Ynez Stakes on Sunday for 3-year-old filly sprinters, all are coming up fairly light on prospective runners.

Jeranimo’s main rival in the San Gabriel would be The Usual Q.T. if he makes his comeback in that spot, but trainer Jim Cassidy was not sure if going 1 1/8 miles first time out since May was prudent.

“I’m not sure what I’m going to do,” Cassidy said. “It’s a long way to go off such a long layoff.”

Jeranimo was first, and The Usual Q.T. third, the last time the San Gabriel was run, in December 2010.

In addition to Balladry and Prayer for Relief, the San Fernando, at 1 1/16 miles on the main track, is expected to attract Irish Art and Tapizar. Thirtyfirststreet, who was nominated to the race, was entered in Thursday’s sixth race, an optional claimer.

Another nominee, Uncle Sam, dropped dead during a workout last weekend at Hollywood Park, trainer Bob Baffert said. Uncle Sam was the second horse owned by Kaleem Shah, and trained by Baffert, to die of an apparent aortic rupture in recent weeks, the other being Irrefutable, who died after running in the Underwood Stakes at Hollywood Park in November.

Uncle Sam, 4, won twice in 10 starts. He was second in the Pomona Derby, and third in the Swaps Stakes, last year.

The Santa Ynez, at 6 1/2 furlongs, is headed by the unbeaten fillies Reneesgotzip and Rowdy Gal. Others expected to run are Candrea, Made to Love Her, and Painted Woman.