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Jones Receives Early Retirement Gift


A victory in a graded stakes race sure beats a gold watch as a retirement gift.

Three days before he begins his retirement, trainer Gary Jones watched his Auriette roll to an impressive victory in the $310,900 Santa Barbara Handicap Saturday at Santa Anita.

After showing flashes of brilliance last year, Auriette has come back a better filly in 1996. Proving her four-length victory over softer allowance foes was no fluke, she dominated the Bobby Frankel-trained duo of Angel In My Heart and the troubled Wandesta.

Close to a walking pace (24 1/5, 49 and 1:14 for six furlongs), the 4-year-old daughter of Caerleon took over from the overmatched Tabled With Saros with about a half-mile to run, then drew away to win by 3 1/2 lengths.

Confidently ridden by Kent Desormeaux, the 3-1 third choice in the field of five completed the 1 1/4 miles on turf in 2:02.

"I'm really excited for my son [Marty, who along with Rafael Becerra will take over the Jones' horses at Hollywood Park] that he gets to train a horse like her," Jones said. "She's a good filly. She could be any kind of filly, she could be another Kostroma [a multiple-stakes winner].

"Good people own her [Rick Barnes and Prestonwood Farm] and that always makes me feel real happy. Rick Barnes and I went to school together and I talked him into buying her. There's a lot of good things to look forward to down the road with her."

A bleeding problem that affected Auriette in 1995 is under control. What makes her future bright is that she has already shown she likes the Hollywood Park turf course.

"We took a big gamble," Jones said. "She had never been 1 1/4 miles before and she was coming [out of a much easier race]. But, she won so easy and she came out of the race so well. . . . and I was really greedy trying to get some shipping money before I got out of here."

Angel In My Heart, the 2-1 second choice, finished two lengths ahead of 4-5 favorite Wandesta.


Casinos in Nevada will not be receiving Hollywood Park's signal when the meeting begins Friday night unless an agreement is reached between the parties.

Negotiations have reached an impasse between Hollywood Park and the casinos. Currently, the outlets in Nevada pay 3.5% of their handle to Santa Anita for rights to the signal and Hollywood Park is seeking an increase to 4%.

According to track officials, the average takeout at Nevada race books on races in Southern California is 19% and they retain 15.5% after paying 3.5% to the host track. On a handle of $500,000, this amounts to $78,000. The host track receives $15,000, which is split with the horsemen, after paying the California license fee and breeders' awards.

"The rate is the issue," Eual Wyatt, Jr., Hollywood Park's general manager told Daily Racing Form. "We've taken the position that 3.5% is not an equitable fee. We think our request is more than reasonable. It can't be business as usual."

Horse Racing Notes

Chris McCarron said Saturday he will ride Santa Anita Derby winner Cavonnier in the Kentucky Derby on May 4 rather than Blue Grass Stakes runner-up Louis Quatorze. . . . Santa Anita will offer simulcast wagering on the $175,000 Lexington Stakes from Keeneland today. Among the 3-year-olds in the field for the 1 1/16-mile race are Afleetaffair, Prince Of Thieves, Roar and Budroyale. . . . Heavily favored My Flag ran down Cara Rafaela to win the $540,750 Ashland by three lengths Saturday at Keeneland. Jerry Bailey rode the winner.

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