10/17/2011 12:26PM

Santa Anita: Up In Time will point to Matriarch


ARCADIA, Calif. – Up In Time is likely to face older fillies and mares for the first time in a stakes in the $250,000 Matriarch Stakes at Hollywood Park on Nov. 25, following her victory in Sunday’s $100,000 Harold Ramser Stakes at Santa Anita.

Trainer Simon Callaghan had mentioned the Grade 1 Matriarch Stakes over a mile on turf as a possibility if Up In Time ran to expectations in the Grade 3 Ramser, the 3-year-old filly’s second stakes win of the year. She won the Grade 2 San Clemente Handicap in July; both of her stakes wins have been over a mile on turf.

In the Ramser, Up In Time rallied from fifth to take the lead in the final furlong under jockey Martin Garcia.

“We thought she’d take a lot of beating,” he said. “A mile is her optimum distance.”

In between stakes wins, Up In Time finished seventh in the Grade 1 Del Mar Oaks over 1 1/8 miles, a distance that Callaghan said is too far.

“She didn’t get the trip in the Del Mar Oaks,” Callaghan said.

Reflecting on the Matriarch, Callaghan said, “I think we will [try it] now.”

Owned by Anthony Ramsden and Three Chimneys Racing, Up In Time has won 4 of 10 starts and $198,576.

The Matriarch Stakes often draws a strong field. Summer Soiree, the winner of the Del Mar Oaks, but only fifth in the Grade 1 Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup at Keeneland on Saturday, is a possibility.

By Noverre, Up In Time won a maiden race at Newmarket, England, in September 2010, and has won 3 times in 7 starts for Callaghan this year. Her first win in the United States came in a six-furlong allowance race on turf at Hollywood Park in May.

Zazu targets BC Ladies’ Classic

Zazu, the winner of the Grade 1 Lady’s Secret Stakes in her last start, at Santa Anita on Oct. 1, worked a half-mile in 46.40 seconds on Sunday.

“She had really good energy,” trainer John Sadler said.

A 3-year-old, Zazu will make her next start in the Breeders’ Cup Ladies’ Classic at Churchill Downs on Nov. 4. “We can’t wait for it to hurry up and get here,” Sadler said.

Sadler said that Zazu will have two longer workouts before leaving for Churchill Downs.

Owned by Jerry and Ann Moss, who won the 2008 BC Ladies’ Classic at Santa Anita with Zenyatta, Zazu has won three stakes this year – including the Grade 1 Las Virgenes Stakes here in February and the Grade 2 Hollywood Oaks at Hollywood Park in June.

Juniper Pass slow to heal from bone bruise

Juniper Pass, the winner of the Grade 2 San Juan Capistrano Handicap in April, remains out of training pending further evaluation of a leg injury that forced him out of training during the summer.

Trainer Ray Bell said there was concern about the condition of one of Juniper Pass’s cannon bones and that further X-rays will be taken later this year. Juniper Pass was diagnosed with a bruised bone at the bottom of the cannon bone after a fifth-place finish in the Grade 2 Arlington Handicap in July.

Bell said on Sunday the latest assessment of Juniper Pass’s recovery is promising.

“It looks good but not good enough to put him back in training,” he said. “It’s healing slowly. The whole idea is to get him back. We may have to wait to the end of Santa Anita.”

The Santa Anita winter-spring meeting will run its traditional dates from Dec. 26 to mid-April.

Owned by Robert and Betty Irvin, Juniper Pass, 4, has won 4 of 13 starts and $288,655.

Vergara changes roles

Octavio Vergara switched careers over the weekend.

He rode his last race as a jockey on Friday, finishing fourth in the fourth race on Powerofvoodoo. Vergara, 54, rode for 40 years, first in his native Chile and then in the United States.

Saturday, Vergara began his new position as an exercise rider for Barry Abrams, who trains Powerofvoodoo. Over the weekend, Vergara said he was looking forward to his new job, not wanting to stray too from the sport.

“It’s what I want to do,” Vergara said. “I’ve wanted to ride since I was seven years old. Barry’s been good to me. I can stay in shape.”

Vergara rode in the Kentucky Derby once, finishing seventh behind Swale on the 78-1 shot Fight Over in 1984. This year, Vergara had one victory from 12 mounts. In his career, he won 1,071 races in the United States. His final stakes win came in Grade 2 Fall Highweight Handicap at Aqueduct in 2000 aboard Kashatreya.

Friday night, he launched his retirement from competitive riding with a celebratory meal with his family, no longer needing to worry about weight.

“I had a steak with French fries and my wife said, ‘I’ve been married to you for 30 years and I’ve never seen you enjoy your food so much as you do right now.’ ”