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Updated on 09/18/2011 2:46AM
Solis, Brother Derek rivals for first time
ARCADIA, Calif. - When jockey Alex Solis's best 3-year-olds both entered Tuesday's seven-furlong, Grade 1 Malibu Stakes at Santa Anita, he had to choose one or the other - Brother Derek or Arson Squad.
"It was a tough decision, because they are two really good horses," Solis said. "I didn't want to lose either of them."
Solis has been aboard for all 13 of Brother Derek's starts, winning six races and more than $1.5 million; he has been aboard for seven of Arson Squad's eight starts, winning four races and $372,450.
Solis chose Arson Squad, trained by Bruce Headley, and though Solis said he is confident Arson Squad has an edge on Brother Derek in a sprint, that was not the only determining factor.
"It was more a case of we gave Bruce a call because we thought Brother Derek was going to run on grass [in the Hollywood Derby]," Solis said.
Brother Derek scratched from the Nov. 26 Hollywood Derby with colic. By then, Solis already had committed to Arson Squad for the Malibu. Garrett Gomez will ride Brother Derek.
In the short term, Solis said, going with Arson Squad probably was a good move.
"Arson Squad is more suited for the Malibu," he said. "He has speed to be in front or be close, and he can come from way back, too. That's why he's so suited for this race, because you can do anything with him."
A tough loss for Frankel
The holiday season took a decided turn for the worse for trainer Bobby Frankel, whose emotions were raw Saturday morning at Hollywood Park. Frankel was grieving the death of the filly Phantom Rose, a high-class import who had to be euthanized Friday following a freak accident on the training track at Hollywood Park on Thursday morning.
Phantom Rose, 3, was a regally bred daughter of Danzig out of Honest Lady, the 2000 Breeders' Cup Sprint runner-up. She was scheduled to run next Saturday at Santa Anita in the Grade 1, $250,000 La Brea Stakes, in which she would have been one of the top contenders.
"This is probably the worst I've ever felt," Frankel said as his eyes, already reddened, started to water. "What made it worse was being around her all day [Friday]. She wanted to live. She wanted somebody to help her. But when they did the surgery on her, there was nothing they could do.
"She was so kind. Those kind don't come around too often."
Frankel said Phantom Rose severely injured the area near a stifle when she careened into a metal rail. Phantom Rose is a granddaughter of Toussaud, whose offspring are notorious for being talented yet skittish.
Bordonaro targets Sunshine Millions
Bordonaro, who struggled with the Churchill Downs track when he finished finished fourth in the Breeders' Cup Sprint, is back in steady training at Santa Anita and aiming for his 2007 debut in the $300,000 Sunshine Millions Sprint on Jan. 27.
It was still dark Saturday morning at 4:45 when Bordonaro, trained by Bill Spawr, worked a half-mile in 48.40 seconds under exercise rider Chris Alpin.
"He relaxes and just goes out and does his job," Alpin said.
Bordonaro won 3 of 5 in 2006 and was made eligible to the Breeders' Cup program, which means he is eligible for the 2007 running of the Breeders' Cup Sprint at Monmouth. Overall, Bordonaro has won 9 of 13 and earned $750,794. He won the Sunshine Millions Sprint in 2006 at Gulstream; the race will be run on Bordonaro's home track this year.
Surf Cat eyes February return
Surf Cat, who was sidelined after winning three Grade 2 races early this year, will return to training in February, according to his trainer, Bruce Headley. A 4-year-old, Surf Cat won the San Carlos and Potrero Grande during the Santa Anita winter meet and the Mervyn LeRoy at Hollywood Park in May. He has been out of action since May 13.
"He pulled up a little sore, that's all," said Headley. "There were no fractures or anything."
Surf Cat has won 7 of 11 and earned $562,420.
Jauregui starting up new career
Veteran jockey Luis Jauregui is about to embark on a new career, one he hopes will lead to him being a steward. Jauregui recently passed the California Horse Racing Board's stewards' test. He was scheduled to work in the racing office in the morning, and as a patrol and placing judge in the afternoon, beginning with the second day of the meet Thursday.
Before that, though, Jauregui was hoping to ride for the final time on Tuesday's opening-day card at Santa Anita. He was not named on any horses, but was hoping to pick something up.
"It's going to be sad," Jauregui said of retiring from race riding. "I know it is. I love riding. Even when I ran last, I loved riding horses. I did it the blue-collar way, nickel and diming it."
Jauregui, 37, rode sparingly in Southern California, where he has been based year-round in recent years, but he was a highly regarded rider for morning workouts with top trainers. He had his best years in the Pacific Northwest, at Longacres and Emerald Downs, where he used to ride in the summers. His biggest win came in 2005 in Santa Anita's San Gorgonio Handicap on Fencelineneighbor. He said he is eager to begin his new career.
"I'm excited," Jauregui said. "What I learned from riding I can put to use as a steward. I think there should be at least one former rider in every booth."
Gomez donates to Winners Foundation
Jockey Garrett Gomez, who two years ago returned to riding after being sidelined for more than two years with substance-abuse problems, will present a check for $10,000 to the Winners Foundation on opening day.
The Winners Foundation helps racetrack personnel with drug and emotional problems. Gomez is the nation's leading rider this year in purse earnings and leads the nation's riders in Grade 1 victories with 12.
* Santa Anita has added a pick four wager on the first four races each day. There is still a second pick four on the final four races, too.
* Tiago, a half-brother to 2005 Kentucky Derby winner Giacomo, makes his debut in Tuesday's third race for trainer John Shirreffs. Tiago, 2, by Pleasant Tap, is out of the mare Set Them Free, who produced Giacomo.
* The documentary "Santa Anita: The Lost Years," which details the two years that Santa Anita was shuttered while serving as a relocation camp for Japanese Americans during World War II, will air Wednesday at 3 p.m. Pacific time on HRTV, with a re-broadcast at 9 p.m. HRTV is Channel 404 on Dish Network.
* Beginning Tuesday, Santa Anita will have a fixed camera that will stream live video of morning workouts over its web site, . The camera is fixed on the homestretch.
* Ivan Puhich, the agent for jockey Tyler Baze, celebrated his 81st birthday on Friday.
- additional reporting by Jay Privman