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SANTA ANITA

Antley Makes Right Choice With Antespend

February 19, 1996|BILL CHRISTINE | TIMES STAFF WRITER

Chris Antley could have ridden Antespend or Raw Gold in Sunday's $156,900 Las Virgenes Stakes, and for a while last week, it looked like the Santa Anita stewards might intervene.

"It never came to that," trainer Ron McAnally said. "I always thought that we had the call, and I told Antley's agent [Harry Hacek] to make the choice. There were other top jockeys available.

"He made the right choice."

Indeed. By sticking with Antespend, Antley remained undefeated in three tries with McAnally's 3-year-old filly. They gave the 9-10 favorite, Cara Rafaela, the chance to catch them through the stretch, but she wasn't up to the challenge and Antespend scored a 2 1/2-length victory.

The 7-2 Raw Gold, who was ridden by Alex Solis after winning two in a row under Antley, battled Antespend for the lead before finishing last in the six- horse field.

"I committed to this filly over Raw Gold because Ron McAnally was much more sure he was going to run," Antley said. "David Hofmans [Raw Gold's trainer] was uncertain about this race or another one down the hill."

Antespend, running one mile in 1:36 2/5, paid $7.80 as the second betting choice and earned $96,900 for her owner and breeder, Jack Kent Cooke. Antespend, whose career began in Kentucky with trainer Daniel (Speedy) Smithwick is three for three with McAnally.

Horse Racing Notes

The Santa Anita stewards announced Sunday that jockey David Flores will be suspended for 60 days, through April 18, after testing positive for cocaine. Flores signed himself into a drug rehabilitation program at the start of the meet, but had ridden sparingly since returning to action. For the season, he has won three races from 62 mounts. A condition of the suspension is that he complete a residential recovery program before he can ride again. . . . Trainer Ron McAnally's Northern Spur, last year's champion male grass horse, is the 7-5 morning-line favorite in today's San Luis Obispo Handicap. At 2-1 is Windsharp, a 5-year- old mare who gets an 11-pound break in the weights. . . . Dr. Caton, who continues to get a lot of play in the Nevada future books for the Kentucky Derby even though he's still a maiden, has been scratched from today's sixth race. Lukas said that Dr. Caton isn't running because his owners, Bob and Beverly Lewis, are running another colt, Tamarillo, in the race. . . . There was a moving moment during the walking-ring presentation of the 1996 George Woolf Memorial Award. After Gary Stevens made his acceptance speech, several previous winners of the award were introduced to the crowd, and Gordon Glisson, winner of the first award, in 1950, pushed himself to his feet from his wheelchair to acknowledge the applause. . . . Jockeys Matt Garcia and Alex Solis escaped injury in a two-horse spill in the 10th race.

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