03/11/2010 1:00AM

Santa Anita roundup

Email

WHO'S HOT

* It was not pretty, but apprentice jockey Tyler Kaplan accomplished something March 4 that few 16-year-olds would dream about. He won with the first mount of his career, Soldier Betty in race 4.

Kaplan, from Norco, Calif., has been working horses at Santa Anita since mid-December. It was trainer Vladimir Cerin who gave the kid his first shot, with Soldier Betty in a two-turn main-track claimer. Kaplan had a rail trip that got ugly on the far turn, where he had to steady and was shuffled back.

By the time the field reached the quarter pole, Kaplan and Soldier Betty were shuffled all the way to fifth. But he swung her to the outside, and she found renewed energy and wore them down while lugging in. It is fair to say that Kaplan has work to do before becoming a serious member of the colony. By the same token, it also is fair to say, congratulations, young man.

Kaplan graduated from high school at age 14, according to Santa Anita, and has bigger dreams.

"My three goals were to win a race at Santa Anita, become a successful jockey, and win the Kentucky Derby," he said.

Kaplan's mom, dad, and sister attended the races.

* A couple of Tiznows hit top form on the main track last week, which could be a good omen for American Lion on Saturday in the San Felipe. Bob Baffert trains Ellafitz, a 3-year-old Tiznow filly who wired two-turn allowance fillies March 4 at $17.20. Although she earned a mere 79 Beyer Speed Figure, her front-running style may be more effective on conventional dirt. Baffert already shipped Conveyance and Freedom Star from Pro-Ride to dirt, and both won stakes.

Tiz a Knight is a Tiznow 3-year-old colt and a half-brother to Strub winner Jeranimo. Ron Ellis trains Tiz a Knight, who stretched out and scored at $59.60 on March 5. The second-time starter did not run fast, but he ran gamely. And who knows if the 71 Beyer on Pro-Ride means anything.

* A longshot first-time starter trained by outstanding longshot trainer Mark Tsagalakis scored at $106.80 in the last race March 5. Dubai You X Y Z earned "Jackpot of the Week" winner.

* Saxophone, first off the claim by Julio Canani, dusted $12,500 claimers March 7, winning by more than four lengths with a career-best 92 Beyer. One of those he left in his wake was Sidepocket Lou, the March 6 "Most Likely Repeater." Saxophone, a

6-year-old pro who wins races and is in good hands, inherits the "Most Likely Repeater" Award.

WHO'S NOT

* It was easy to be a fan of jockey Chantal Sutherland when she won with 14 of her first 89 mounts this winter, firmly in the top 10. But the last couple of weeks have not been kind to her. Sutherland entered the week on a 37-race losing streak; her last win was Feb. 21. It's weird, because she can ride even if she is not the colony's strongest finisher.

* Only 23,829 attended Santa Anita Handicap Day on March 6, the second-lowest Big Cap crowd in history. Chalk it up to the threat of rain and the lack of a marquee horse. It was too bad, because the overall race card was good, with five stakes.

* Go ahead and knock Blind Luck. The 1-2 favorite in the Santa Anita Oaks, she only mustered third, beaten two necks. The legitimate alibi was a slow pace. Bettors who liked her before the Oaks must give Blind Luck another chance on dirt next out in the Fantasy Stakes at Oaklawn Park. Meanwhile, skeptics wonder if Blind Luck is another in a line of fillies who did not develop at age 3. Only a year ago, it was Stardom Bound. Oaks runner-up All Due Respect also is headed to Oaklawn.

* Trainer Steve Knapp is having a bad meet. He entered the week 1 for 50. To make matters worse, his only winner - El Nadia, a $107 upsetter, has been sold and transferred to the Jerry Hollendorfer stable.

PARIMUTUEL CORNER

There were two winning tickets on the double-carryover pick six March 5, they paid $552,544. The winners were purchased on an $810 ticket at Barona Casino near San Diego and on a $432 ticket at a Nevada hub, according to Santa Anita officials.

DIVISION RANKINGS

Santa Anita Derby

1. Caracortado, 2. Dave in Dixie, 3. Make Music for Me, 4. Alphie's Bet, 5. Setsuko, 6. Sidney's Candy, 7. American Lion, 8. Thomas Baines, 9. The Program, 10. Kettle River

Lookin At Lucky began the meet No. 1, but it is unlikely he will start April 3 in the Santa Anita Derby. He was to ship Tuesday to Oaklawn and run Saturday in the Rebel Stakes, leaving unanswered questions behind. The champion juvenile colt, Lookin At Lucky had winter setbacks, and Bob Baffert trained him with caution this winter on Pro-Ride. Win or lose Saturday at Oaklawn, Lookin At Lucky is not expected to run in the Santa Anita Derby, even if he returns to Santa Anita to train.

Nextdoorneighbor is off the list, and it turns out he was always ranked too high off a maiden win in his third career start. He finished nowhere in the Sham.

"The dream is over," said his trainer, Mike Machowsky. However, Machowsky still trains No. 1-ranked Caracortado, who runs Saturday in the San Felipe.

The big Sham win by Alphie's Bet shoots him to No. 3 and flatters Caracortado. They ran one-two Dec. 26 in a statebred stakes at 1 1/16 miles. Alphie's Bet and Pasadena Stakes winner Make Music for Me gave trainer Alexis Barba double stakes wins by Derby colts. Barba is likely to split the two, with Make Music for Me the more likely Santa Anita Derby starter. He moves to No. 3, and Alphie's Bet goes to No. 4.

Handicap division (final)

1. Misremembered, 2. Neko Bay, 3. Dakota Phone, 4. Jeranimo, 5. Rail Trip, 6. Chocolate Candy, 7. Bold Chieftain, 8. Mast Track, 9. Rendezvous,

10. Acclamation

Misremembered was ranked first, or near first, since opening day. And though he lost twice early in the meet, he validated his reputation winning the Big Cap. No. 4-ranked Neko Bay finished second, and No. 5-ranked Dakota Phone finished third. The $1 trifecta paid $606.50.

Bob Baffert bred and trains Misremembered; his wife, Jill, owns the Candy Ride colt in partnership with George Jacobs. Misremembered will go on the road, and if Baffert is right, he will be a better horse on conventional dirt.

The local handicap division is left with Neko Bay, a 7-year-old with 14 career starts, and the comebacking Rail Trip. Winner of the 2009 Hollywood Gold Cup, Rail Trip is training for another assault on the spring-summer stakes - Mervyn LeRoy, Californian, and Hollywood Gold Cup. Chocolate Candy is lurking in the wings.

QUOTABLE NOTABLES

"She was never comfortable in there. She was between horses much of the time and we got too far back." - Jockey Joel Rosario, sixth on the mare St Trinians in the Big Cap.

"He wanted to get out. It might have been an indication that he didn't like the surface. . . . I was in trouble from the three-quarter pole. I could feel that he wasn't traveling the way he normally travels. By the time we started to make a run, he was like Jell-O under me." - Jockey Garrett Gomez, 11th on turf horse Loup Breton in the Big Cap.

"Billy told me, 'You've got to get her to relax if you can. Anything you do could set her off.' " - Jockey Mike Smith, who rode the Bill Mott-trained mare Proviso to an upset win over males in the Grade 1 Kilroe Mile.

HORSES TO WATCH

Naughty Mariana

Trainer: Hector Palma

Last race: March 6, 2nd< br />Finish: 3rd by 1

Bet to favoritism while facing winners, this lightly raced filly was eliminated at the break. A front-running maiden winner in her previous start, she was slow from the gate, raced in heavy traffic, was always surrounded, yet still put in a belated late rally for third. She can make amends with a clean start in a similar maiden-40 starter.

Binky's Sister

Trainer: Jim Kasparoff

Last race: March 6, 3rd

Finish: 10th by 9 1/2

A first-time starter, she got minimal betting action at 14-1 but may have more ability than shown. Bumped at the break and away dead last, she merely went through the motions thereafter in an inconclusive debut. She is worth a longshot look in a maiden-32.

She's Here Now

Trainer: Bruce Headley

Last race: March 7, 6th

Finish: 4th by 4 1/4

This maiden filly by Touch Gold ran super, despite much trouble. She stood in the starting gate for several minutes during a fracas that led to three late scratches, ducked inward after breaking from post 1, put in a strong wide rally, and finished on her own. She may have been best and should win a maiden race next time with a better post.

Gallant Son

Trainer: Frank Lucarelli

Last race: March 7, 7th

Finish: 2nd by 1/2

A good 4-year-old on turf and dirt, he had never so much as hit the board on synthetic until this good runner-up finish in an off-turf stakes. Now that he is back in top form, he deserves a big look when he returns on his preferred surfaces, either turf or dirt. He fits with all but the very best and could be a big price if he jumps back into a graded stakes.