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Longshot Gives McCarron a Split in Santa Anita Stakes

Horse racing: On closing day, he gets 16th stakes win with Starrer but fades with Malabar Gold.

April 17, 2001|BOB MIESZERSKI | TIMES STAFF WRITER

Jockey Chris McCarron won a stakes race on Santa Anita's closing day program Monday, but not the one a lot of people expected.

Starrer, a 13-1 shot and a maiden who lost her first four starts, slipped through an opening along the rail around the turn, then held off Skywriting in the final sixteenth to win the $85,900 Santa Paula Stakes.

This provided McCarron with his meet-high 16th stakes win and was the 6,997th victory of his career.

Surprisingly, he didn't add to the total later in the afternoon.

Malabar Gold, the 2-5 favorite in the $133,625 San Simeon Handicap on the strength of three consecutive turf wins, faded to fourth after setting the pace. The son of Unbridled, purchased for $600,000 by owner B. Wayne Hughes last summer, has now failed in all three of his attempts in graded stakes races. Before the San Simeon, which is a Grade III, he had been last in the 1999 Hollywood Futurity and fourth in last year's San Vicente.

Lake William, a 9-1 shot who finished two lengths behind Malabar Gold on March 22, got the job done Monday, overtaking the favorite in the final furlong and going on to beat 8-1 shot Macward by a half-length in 1:12 1/5 for the about 6 1/2 furlongs on turf.

Owned by Jerry and Ann Moss and trained by Richard Mandella, Lake William ended a lengthy losing streak in his third start of 2001. The 5-year-old Salt Lake horse had begun his career with three victories, but the most recent had come on Dec. 26, 1999.

"I think it took him a long time to appreciate my training," Mandella joked after the San Simeon. "We gave him a long rest because he went sour on us last year.

"He's moved up in his races so many times and then hung, so I asked [jockey] Victor [Espinoza] to try one thing and that was, 'Don't ask him until the last minute, until you cross the dirt.' Victor did that and the horse gave us a good three-sixteenths of a mile run."

*

Trained by Dave Hofmans for owner George Krikorian, Starrer completed the 6 1/2 furlongs in the Santa Paula in 1:16 2/5. Warren's Whistle, the even-money favorite, finished a much-troubled third, a little more than two lengths behind the winner.

"Chris had ridden her in her last race [March 18] and he knew her," assistant trainer Michelle Jensen said. "There was a lot of speed in there, and he just knew what to do."

*

Tiznow, who bounced back from an upset loss in the Strub Stakes with a decisive victory in the Santa Anita Handicap, was named horse of the meet and top older horse in voting done by media who regularly covered Santa Anita.

Point Given, who established himself as the one to beat in the Kentucky Derby, was a unanimous choice as the top 3-year-old.

Other unanimous winners were Golden Ballet (3-year-old filly) and Kona Gold (sprinter).

Also winning were: Lazy Slusan (older filly/mare), Bienamado (grass horse), Astra (grass filly/mare), Salty Pearl (claimer), Bob Baffert (trainer), Laffit Pincay, Jr. (jockey), Ricardo Jaime (apprentice jockey), Irish O'Brien Stakes (race) and Pincay winning the riding title at age 54 (achievement).

*

In earning his first title at Santa Anita since the 1988-89 meet, Pincay finished with 73 wins, 10 more than Tyler Baze.

Among trainers, Baffert was a runaway winner with 44 victories, 19 more than Bill Spawr. It was the fifth consecutive title at Santa Anita for Baffert, who was one of four trainers with five stakes wins at the meet, along with Bobby Frankel, Craig Dollase and Mandella.

*

Santa Anita's daily average on-track attendance was down 3.7% from the previous year, and the average daily handle declined 3.2% in figures released at the conclusion of Monday's races.

The track experienced more rain than it had during the 1999-2000 season, which probably contributed to the declines.

"We're very satisfied with our numbers, particularly in light of the weather," said Brant Latta, Santa Anita's general manager. "More than 16 inches of rain, or twice the usual amount, fell in Southern California this year and March and April were also unseasonably cool.

"If we would have had good weather on Santa Anita Derby Day [April 7], we would have been virtually even with last year in attendance and handle."

Notes

Racing resumes on Friday, when Hollywood Park begins its 66-day spring-summer season. First post time is 7:15 p.m. . . . Jockeys Eddie Delahoussaye and Victor Espinoza both won twice on Monday. . . . Trainer Leonard Duncan, who hadn't won a race in the first 82 days of the meet with more than 40 starters, had a pair of victories on the final day. He won the fourth with Re Vote and the finale with Thunder Valley.

(BEGIN TEXT OF INFOBOX / INFOGRAPHIC)

Hollywood Park

Facts

* Dates--Friday-July 16

(66 days)

* Post times--7:15 p.m. Friday; 1:10 p.m. Wednesdays, Thursdays and Mondays (May 14 and July 16); 1 p.m. Saturdays, Sundays and holidays; 3:30 p.m. Fridays except opening night.

* Significant races--$250,000 Gamely Breeders' Cup Handicap (May 26); $350,000 Shoemaker Breeders' Cup Mile (May 28); $250,000 Milady Breeders' Cup Handicap (June 3); $500,000 Californian (June 10); $350,000 Charlie Whittingham Memorial Handicap (June 10); $250,000 Beverly Hills Handicap (June 24); $300,000 Vanity Handicap (June 30); $750,000 Hollywood Gold Cup (July 1); $500,000 Swaps Stakes (July 15); $250,000 Sunset Handicap (July 15).

* Leading jockey (2000)--Victor Espinoza (62 wins)

* Leading trainer (2000)--Bobby Frankel (23 wins)

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