04/15/2010 12:00AM

Santa Anita roundup



Clifford Sise Jr. clicked twice Thursday, including a win aboard Warren's Gus in one of the first two-furlong races of the meet for 2-year-olds. A son of Doc Gus, Warren's Gus bounced right out of the gate, surged to the lead, and not only won clear (1 1/4 lengths) but did something else you almost never see in such a short race - he won geared down. His time of 21.62 seconds was only marginally faster than what Leon Ayala did for trainer Oscar Garcia did 20 minutes later, but again, Warren's Gus really wasn't asked to run the final 50 yards.

The win was so impressive that Sise Jr. said he is already thinking big - he has mentioned Churchill's Kentucky Juvenile at five furlongs on Kentucky Oaks Day, April 30, as a possible next step.

The wealth was spread fairly evenly, but Rafael Bejarano goes into the final week with an insurmountable lead over Joel Rosario, 89-66.

John Sadler seems assured of another training title, and to show you the strength he's had this meet, he got shut out this week but still seems in no danger of losing the training title with 40 wins. Bob Baffert clicked twice last week to get to 31 for the meet.


For his part of the rough riding that occurred in on April 3, Victor Espinoza was handed a three-day suspension, to be served April 11, 14, and 15. Espinoza was aboard Who's Up, who while tiring came in and pinched off Lookin At Lucky, forcing that horse to check sharply. The stewards ruled Espinoza altered course without sufficient clearance. Gomez, who was aboard Lookin At Lucky, escaped suspension but was fined $750 for an altercation he had with Espinoza after the race.

She's Funomenal, a very fast filly and stakes winner at Hollywood Park in the fall, cracked a sesamoid in a workout March 14 and has been retired.

"She was shipped to Kentucky and bred to Awesome Again, but it's too early to know yet if she's in foal," said Bob Ike, part-owner of Summit Racing. She's Funomenal won 2 of 4 starts (with 1 second), including the Ifyoucouldseemenow Stakes at the Hollywood Park Fall Meet, earning more than $60,000.


Wednesday, April 7: The first 2-year-old two-furlong races of the meet began, and the card also saw a $139,664 pick-six carryover. No bias in terms of path or style for either surface. With favorites winning 5 of the 6 pick-six races there obviously was no carryover and the payoff was meager as well ($1,111).

Thursday, April 5 - Sunday, April 11: No bias in terms of path or style for either surface.


Self Made made it two straight when he won an optional claimer April 1 and is expected to make his stakes debut in the $200,000 Snow Chief Stakes at Hollywood Park on April 24, according to trainer John Sadler.

Sadler said Self Made is ready for that next step after he closed from last in a field of six to win.

Self Made's career was postponed last year, when he suffered a leg injury. Sadler said he thought the colt had promise, but he simply had to wait.

Kinsale King has been sent back to California following his win in the $2 million Group 1 Golden Shaheen in Dubai on March 27, and trainer Carl O'Callaghan is planning another international trip - to England for the Group 1 Golden Jubilee Stakes at Royal Ascot on June 19. Kinsale King's involvement in that race hinges on how well he recovers from his grueling Dubai effort.

O'Callaghan, who won the biggest race of his career in the Shaheen, said Kinsale King will not start again until the Group 1 Golden Jubilee, which is run over a straight six furlongs on turf.

O'Callaghan said he may take the gelding to Maryland to train at Fair Hill Training Center later this spring to utilize long gallops on grass.

Compari and Ventana, winners of the first weekend of this month, have their next targets. Compari, who is 6 for 7, will go into the deepest end of the pool as he points for the Grade 1 Shoemaker Mile at Hollywood May 31. Ventana will go out of town. He's pointing for the Grade 2 Churchill Downs Handicap at seven furlongs on the Kentucky Derby undercard May 1.

Grade 2 winner Well Monied came back firing to win an allowance race impressively April 4 and that, according to trainer Howard Zucker, sets her up for a shot at Hollywood's Grade 1 Gamely at 1 1/8 miles on the turf May 29.

Misremembered, the winner of the Santa Anita Handicap last month, may not start again until June, trainer Bob Baffert said.

In late March, Baffert pulled Misremembered from consideration for the Oaklawn Handicap, which was run April 3, saying that recent races had taken a toll on the horse. Wednesday, Baffert said the Grade 1 Stephen Foster Handicap at Churchill Downs on June 12 or the Grade 1 Hollywood Gold Cup at Hollywood Park on July 10 could be possible comeback spots.


A couple of titles will be on the line closing weekend.

Saturday's Grade 3 San Simeon will crown the "king of the hill." Mr Gruff continues to streak for Ron Ellis but faces the toughest task of his career - up-and-comer Red Sun is slated to give that race a try, as is Grade 1 winner Ever a Friend, who has been brilliant on the downhill turf course in the past.

Tuscan Evening is the queen among the middle-distance turf female set and looks to expand her reign to longer distances. After easily winning at 1 1/8 miles here last month, she will try another furlong in Saturday's Grade 2 Santa Barbara. The way she won the Santa Ana gives every credence to the notion she can handle this longer assignment.


There may be a new queen of the hill. Gotta Have Her has surely held that crown, winning four of her first five hillside sprints, the lone loss being a rallying second against top males in down the hill but could do no better than third as Unzip Me continued her roll.

Unzip Me, trained by Marty Jones, dueled and gamely led all the way to win the Irish O'Brien down the hill March 20, giving her three straight wins. In the Las Cienegas she stuck with her strength - her speed. Under Joe Talamo, she popped the gate, had a clear early lead, blew the race wide open going across the main track crossing, and had no trouble keeping the closers at bay. She is 3 for 4 on the hill and has also won on Hollywood's turf course and on Del Mar's main track, so she is by no means a one-trick pony.


Hidden Blessing

Trainer: Janet Armstrong

Last race: April 7, 1st

Finish: 2nd by 1/2

Could be he's ready to peak. After a couple of decent tries on this hillside course earlier in the meet, he loomed but fizzled badly late in a turf route here March 17. He has since posted a bullet 45.80-second work April 1 and returned to the hillside course and sprinting here, nearly posting the big upset. He bounced out of the gate, dogged pacesetter Greenwich Park, took over from that rival in midstretch, but couldn't quite fend off winner When We Met. Still, this marked a big step forward. The shorter sprint distances on the Hollywood Park grass could be more to his liking.


Trainer: Janet Armstrong

Last race: April 9, 6th

Finish: 2nd by 1/2

Another runner from the Armstrong barn who may be ready to peak. The 4-year-old gelding was freshened for a couple of months this winter and came back with a respectable fourth down the hill for $40,000 on March 18. Armstrong dropped him another notch and moved him back to synthetic, and it nearly resulted in a 7-1 upset. Under Martin Pedroza, he dogged the pace and came through between horses to challenge for the lead late only to get nailed by the strong late run of Dave's Pacemaker. Still, this was a nice step forward and may mean he's ready to do some damage at Hollywood Park - the site of his lone win.