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SANTA ANITA : Bettors Need a Wake-Up Call to Keep up With 22-Race Card


There will be no shortage of betting opportunities for horse racing fans today.

Besides the seven Breeders' Cup races from Churchill Downs, Oak Tree at Santa Anita will offer seven live races and eight simulcast races from Bay Meadows.

Before the Breeders' Cup begins at 10:20 a.m., there will be two live races, with first post at 9:15 a.m. After the Breeders' Cup Classic, at about 2:05, there will be five more live races.

D'hallevant, who was denied a spot in the Breeders' Cup Sprint, is the 2-1 favorite in the day's feature, the $75,000 Morvich Handicap at about 6 1/2 furlongs on the turf.

With most of the big-name riders at Churchill Downs today, Aaron Gryder, who began his career in California and has become successful in the Midwest, returns to ride D'hallevant for trainer Ron McAnally. Gryder has three other mounts on the program.

A 4-year-old Ogygian colt, D'hallevant is more accomplished on the main track, but scored his only victory in seven starts on the turf at the distance of the Morvich. He has a victory and a second in three tries on the course.

Didyme, fresh from an easy victory over lesser competition, is the 5-2 second choice, and Winning Combo, who upset Breeders' Cup Mile contender Megan's Interco in an allowance race on Oct. 9, is 3-1. Chris Antley will ride Winning Combo for trainer Craig Lewis, who claimed the gelding for $80,000 for owner Rubin Brown on June 3.

The rest of the field, from the rail out, includes Geographe, who upset $80,000 claimers at 11-1 in his last start; Rotsaluck, Mr Impose and Portoferraio.


Surprises have been the rule rather than the exception during the last 10 years in the $400,000 Yellow Ribbon Stakes, which will be run for the 18th time Sunday at Santa Anita.

Only twice since 1985--Estrapade that year and Kostroma in 1991--has the favorite won the Grade I race, which goes at 1 1/4 miles on the turf. Possibly Perfect paid $35.20 when she won last year and other upsets have been provided by Plenty Of Grace, $114 in 1990; Delighter, $15.20 in 1988, and Carotene, $47.60 in 1987.

A field of 11 fillies and mares was entered Friday morning for this year's Yellow Ribbon and a case can be made for several of them.

Trainer Bobby Frankel, who won with Possibly Perfect, will send out an entry Sunday, both horses making their first starts in California.

Yenda, who has won two of five races, was a distant third behind Breeders' Cup Turf starters in the Turf Classic at Belmont Park last month. Corey Nakatani will ride her. Wandesta, who is shipping in from France, will be ridden by Pat Day.

Trainer Charlie Whittingham, who has won the Yellow Ribbon three times, will also have two representatives. Aube Indienne, who upset Corrazona in the Las Palmas, will be ridden by Kent Desormeaux and La Frontera, an improving 3-year-old filly, will have Eddie Delahoussaye aboard. Whittingham's most recent victory in the race was with Estrapade in 1985.

Corrazona will try to bounce back after her disappointing effort in the Las Palmas. The other entrants are Freckling Shadows, Wende, Zoonaqua, Fondly Remembered, Chesa Plana and Magical Maiden, who returns a week after a successful turf debut in the Louis R. Rowan Handicap.


Viva El Capitan, a fan favorite who won 10 of his 12 starts at Santa Anita, has been retired and trainer Bob Baffert has given the 5-year-old gelding to jockey David Flores.

A winner of 13 his 21 starts, Viva El Capitan finished second as the favorite in Sunday's seventh race and, according to Baffert, took a bad step after passing the wire.

"He suffered a little injury in his (left front) sesamoid," said Baffert. "He did it when he switched leads past the wire. He's always had little aches and pains, but he just took a bad step."

Flores, who rode the gelding to many of his victories, will keep him at agent Tony Matos' farm.

"He'll be a pleasure-riding horse for my two girls (Cinthya and Natalya)," Flores said. "He's very special to me. You have to take care of horses like that because he's given us so much."

Horse Racing Notes

Fu Man Slew chipped a knee in the California Cup Sprint and his future is doubtful. . . . Sandpit, who is scheduled to make his next start in the Japan Cup on Nov. 27, worked seven furlongs in 1:25 3/5 Friday morning. The Oak Tree Invitational winner will be shipped to Japan Nov. 15 or 16. . . . Funeral services were held Friday for Beth Stepp, the wife of trainer Bill Stepp. She died of cancer on Tuesday at 46.

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