02/04/2010 12:00AM

Santa Anita roundup



*Rafael Bejarano rode five winners on the Jan. 30 Sunshine Millions card for horses bred in California or Florida. Bejarano ended the week with 29 wins, four clear of Victor Espinoza (25). It was the second five-bagger for Bejarano on big days for statebreds; he also won five races April 25 at Hollywood Park on the California Gold Rush card.

* With a quarter-mile to run in race 4 on Jan. 31, Garrett Gomez and My Aunt Fanny were buried. They were stuck at the back of the field in a mile turf race for $32,000 claiming fillies and mares, and after a slow six furlongs in 1:12.70, they were stuck. But Gomez and My Aunt Fanny sliced through heavy traffic, angled outside late, and were up on the wire with an amazing rally. My Aunt Fanny ($18) was the eighth turf win of the meet for Gomez, but his first turf winner that was not favored. The winning payoffs on Gomez's seven previous turf wins ranged from $2.80 to $5.40.

* Bold Chieftain, age 7, may have lost a step, but he still has a nose for the wire. He gutted out the richest win of his career Jan. 30 in the , winning the 1 1/8-mile race by a neck with a 92 Beyer Speed Figure. It was his 14th win from 34 starts. Bold Chieftain has earned $1,406,411, and all he wants to do is beat you.

* The rally-wide win by Miss Anime ($41.20) in race 8 on Jan. 28 was the "Jackpot of the Week." She was dropping to a new low class level ($12,500 claiming, nonwinners of two) for underrated trainer Leonard Powell and jockey Flavien Prat. Miss Anime was not impossible to find based on the class drop, quality of the field, and a sharp trainer.

* The "Most Likely Repeater" award goes to Red Sun, a crushing $3.40 winner of a first-level allowance Jan. 30 down the hill. Despite a disrupted training schedule due to rain and no works in two weeks, Red Sun won by 3 1/2 lengths and looks like a future Cal-bred stakes winner for trainer Carla Gaines and owner Harris Farms. Bejarano rode the winner, who is eligible to a second-level allowance.


* The Usual Q.T. was even-money in the $500,000 Sunshine Millions Classic, his return to synthetic after winning six straight on grass. The main-track experiment did not work for The Usual Q.T., who finished last of nine with an alibi. He bled "four on a scale of five," trainer Jim Cassidy said. The Usual Q.T. was expected to rate off the pace, but the scratch of front-runner Compari muddled the pace scenario. The Usual Q.T. was rank early, got unexpected pace pressure early from Acclamation, and Cassidy said, "I knew I was in trouble at the three-eighths. The stress of the whole thing, him being rank, I can understand why he bled." The Usual Q.T. will be freshened and return to grass.

* Alex Solis is not hot on the main track. Solis entered the week tied for ninth overall in the standings with eight wins, including seven on turf. But on the main track, Solis entered the week 1 for 48, with 8 seconds and 5 thirds.

* A day after winning five, Bejarano showed Jan. 31 he is not infallible. His misjudged ride led to the defeat of race 2 odds-on favorite Good Measure in a maiden race at 1 1/16 miles on Pro-Ride. Despite favorable position outside his only pace rival, Bejarano gunned Good Measure from the gate. The result was a severe pace battle. Good Measure and longshot Wells Furgo went head and head in 45.39 seconds and 1:10.09 (fastest fractions of the meet at the distance). Good Measure somehow held second. It was the worst ride of the week, by one of the best riders on the circuit.

* Jockey Brice Blanc is having a run of tough luck. He entered the week 2 for 43 overall and had misfortune in the $500,000 Sunshine Millions Classic. Blanc rode Jeranimo, who was stalled and steadied in heavy traffic at the eighth pole. Jeranimo missed by 1 1/4 lengths and could have made it close with a clean run.


When his top 4-year-old filly, Gabby's Golden Gal, finished off the board in her comeback Dec. 26 in the , trainer Bob Baffert initially thought the racing surface got her beat, and he looked forward to running her on conventional dirt. But she continued to work well on synthetic, so Baffert changed his mind and entered in the Santa Monica.

"That's why we were just baffled after the La Brea," Baffert said. "I told [owner-breeder Arnold Zetcher], 'You know what? I guess I didn't have her as tight as I thought I did.' Maybe I was too easy on her, but it's demanding to run on this surface off a layoff."

Second start back, Gabby's Golden Gal scored a $25.20 upset in the , improving her Beyer 11 points, to 95. It was the first Grade 1 for jockey Martin Garcia.

Proviso, hammered to 2-1 favoritism, finished second with a perfect trip. Free Flying Soul set or pressed the easy fractions but came up short the final furlong after her work schedule was disrupted by rain. Evita Argentina, a deep closer, was foiled by the slow fractions (23.58 and 46.61) and finished seventh. Free Flying Soul and Evita Argentina are eligible to rebound.


Santa Anita Derby

1. Lookin At Lucky, 2. Blind Luck, 3. Tiz Chrome, 4. Make Music for Me, 5. American Lion, 6. Caracortado, 7. Setsuko, 8. Alphie's Bet, 9. Kettle River, 10. Interactif.

A super runner-up finish by Setsuko in a nine-furlong turf allowance Jan. 27 boosts the Richard Mandella-trained son of Pleasantly Perfect onto the list. With five route races under his belt and a conspicuous pattern of improvement, he is arguably the most seasoned 3-year-old in California.

The question for Setsuko is, is he good enough? He is expected to face Alphie's Bet and Kettle River on Feb. 27 in the Grade 3 Sham at 1 1/8 miles.

Conveyance, who won the at one mile and is 3 for 3, drops off the list. He is likely to ship out of town for a dirt race.

The Derby-trail tempo picks up Saturday in the Grade 2 Robert B. Lewis Stakes at 1 1/16 miles. As of midweek, likely starters included American Lion, a Grade 3 sprint winner; Caracortado, an unbeaten horse moving to graded company; and Macias, a turf stakes winner whom Baffert said "really gets over this track." Baffert's Tiz Chrome also is being considered for the Lewis, with options open to ship out.

Top-ranked Lookin At Lucky did not work through the recent patch of rain. After two workouts in mid-January, Baffert said the colt was getting ready "too soon" and backed off. The 2009 champion 2-year-old, Lookin At Lucky "can be ready in three weeks," Baffert said. Current plans are for Lookin At Lucky to race twice before the Kentucky Derby. If he stays local, the Grade 2 San Felipe Stakes on March 13 and the Santa Anita Derby on April 3 are the likely spots.

Blind Luck, a filly that is more likely to stay in her division rather than face colts, returns Saturday against a small field in the Grade 1 Las Virgenes. Her main rivals are expected to include Evening Jewel and Crisp.

Santa Anita Handicap

1. Misremembered, 2. Neko Bay, 3. Zenyatta, 4. Mast Track, 5. High Court Drama, 6. Richard's Kid, 7. Life Is Sweet, 8. Spurrier, 9. Nownownow, 10. Palladio.

Two Grade 2's at 1 1/8 miles will provide much-needed definition to the March 6 Big Cap. Saturday in the Strub Stakes for 4-year-olds, Misremembered is expected to start favored. Sunday in the San Antonio, Mast Track and Richard's Kid are the top names. Sunshine Millions winner Bold Chieftain will not run in the Big Cap, according to trainer Bill Morey, but Florida-based runner-up Palladio could return to California.



Trainer: Bruce Jackson

Last race: Jan. 28, 5th

Finish: 4th by 4 1/2

A 4-year-old maiden making his first start since December 2008, this son of In Excess can win soon after a super comeback at a mile on grass. He broke slowly, raced wide start to finish, and then galloped out in front of the field. The longer the race, the better will be his chances. He looms a short price next time in two-turn race for Cal-bred maidens.

Jet Blue Girl

Trainer: Peter Eurton

Last race: Jan. 29, 7th

Finish: 5th by 4

A 3-year-old filly, she had no shot in N1X turf allowance due to bad luck. She saved ground, got stuck behind horses into the lane, was blocked, waited, and finished on her own in an inconclusive effort. Her runner-up finish one back in a minor stakes suggests she deserves another chance in an overnight stakes or first-level allowance.


Trainer: Don Warren

Last race: Jan. 30, 2nd

Finish: 3rd by a 1 1/4

A lightly raced California-bred making his second start following a layoff, this Vronsky colt might have been best in a first-level statebred allowance at a mile on turf. He was buried behind horses from the five-sixteenths to the eighth pole, and then finished evenly along the inside. He handles either surface and fits in next N1X for statebreds.

Gilded Gem

Trainer: Bob Baffert

Last race: Jan. 31, 8th

Finish: 5th by 4

The Grade 1 Santa Monica seemed like a reach for an unbeaten filly making her third career start, but she actually ran super. Positioned three wide in the rear flight while the front-runners crawled on the lead, she rallied wide into the slow pace, then finished steadily in heavy traffic. Improving daughter of Smarty Jones should be a short price in N2X.