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John Shirreffs

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April 19, 2013 | Bill Dwyre
John Shirreffs should not depart the Southern California thoroughbred racing scene without a salute. So cup your right hand to your forehead and read on. There will be no brass bands playing when Shirreffs leaves. That's partly because it will be early Monday morning, when racing bustles and everybody else sleeps. Moving vans will pull up to Barn 55 South and load boxes of racing equipment accumulated over three decades at Hollywood Park. That done, the quiet man in the baseball cap will head to LAX and fly east.
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SPORTS
March 5, 2014 | Bill Dwyre
Jockey Aaron Gryder's life is not just a story. It's an odyssey. When he climbs aboard Blingo on Saturday in the Grade I Santa Anita Handicap, the most prestigious race for older thoroughbreds west of the Mississippi, he will be an afterthought. Gryder doesn't mind that. He understands. This Big Cap, after all, has three of the best horses in the world. All three could have easily skipped this one and headed for Dubai and the March 29 Dubai World Cup, with a $10-million purse that makes it the richest in the world.
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NEWS
March 9, 2012 | By Eric Sondheimer
It's a baby colt for Zenyatta. The most anticipated birth of the year in horse racing occurred Thursday night around 10:10 p.m. in Lexington, Ky., when 2010 Horse of the Year Zenyatta gave birth to a 130-pound colt. It was the first foal for the 8-year-old Zenyatta. Zenyatta's owners, Ann and Jerry Moss, were present. According to Zenyatta.com , the colt is a dark bay with a white star and “polka dots on his feet,” just like Zenyatta. The father is Bernardini, who won the 2006 Preakness Stakes.
SPORTS
April 19, 2013 | Bill Dwyre
John Shirreffs should not depart the Southern California thoroughbred racing scene without a salute. So cup your right hand to your forehead and read on. There will be no brass bands playing when Shirreffs leaves. That's partly because it will be early Monday morning, when racing bustles and everybody else sleeps. Moving vans will pull up to Barn 55 South and load boxes of racing equipment accumulated over three decades at Hollywood Park. That done, the quiet man in the baseball cap will head to LAX and fly east.
SPORTS
January 17, 2013 | By Eric Sondheimer
There was a stirring of excitement in the paddock at Santa Anita on Thursday before the seventh race, an allowance optional claiming race for fillies and mares 4-year-olds and up. Call it the Zenyatta effect. Zenyatta's half-sister, Eblouissante, was set to run in her second race, a 1 1/16-mile test on the dirt, and fans of the 2010 Horse of the Year wanted to see her half-sister up close. Eblouissante didn't disappoint, improving her race record to 2-0 after 1 3/4-length triumph over second-place Pink Blossom under jockey Corey Nakatani.
SPORTS
March 5, 2014 | Bill Dwyre
Jockey Aaron Gryder's life is not just a story. It's an odyssey. When he climbs aboard Blingo on Saturday in the Grade I Santa Anita Handicap, the most prestigious race for older thoroughbreds west of the Mississippi, he will be an afterthought. Gryder doesn't mind that. He understands. This Big Cap, after all, has three of the best horses in the world. All three could have easily skipped this one and headed for Dubai and the March 29 Dubai World Cup, with a $10-million purse that makes it the richest in the world.
SPORTS
May 1, 2010 | Bill Dwyre
Reporting from Louisville, Ky. — The horse race that thoroughbred fans want most was not wiped out at Churchill Downs on Friday. Jess Jackson, majority owner of 2009 Horse of the Year Rachel Alexandra, said that his 4-year-old mare was still coming back from a six-month layoff and her loss by a neck, in a thrilling stretch dual with Unrivaled Belle in the $418,800 La Troienne, the sixth race on Kentucky Oaks Day at Churchill Downs, was...
SPORTS
May 20, 2005 | Bill Christine, Times Staff Writer
When Dottie Ingordo went to Hollywood Park in June 2000 to interview John Shirreffs as a possible trainer for her clients, Jerry and Ann Moss, it struck her that it might be difficult. She didn't know what Shirreffs looked like. It worked out OK. A few days later, Shirreffs was given the job Shirreffs, who will be 60 on June 1, remembers their first date. "She was wearing -- what is it? -- a short pair of those culottes," Shirreffs said. "I never could resist a good set of legs."
SPORTS
October 10, 2009 | Bill Dwyre
Not to be lost in the scrum of a Saturday sports scene that will feature two baseball playoff games and the usual crowded schedule of college football is a huge racing day at Santa Anita. For this day, at least, the Great Race Place should live up to its name. Four of the races at the Oak Tree meeting will dole out a total of $1.1 million in purses and each of the four will qualify its winner for next month's Breeders' Cup, also at Santa Anita. And two of the current bigger names in the sport are scheduled to compete.
SPORTS
November 4, 2009 | Grahame L. Jones
With the stars of the show back in their barns, it was left to their trainers to provide the color at Tuesday afternoon's Breeders' Cup post-position draw at Santa Anita. The talk, naturally, was mostly about Saturday's $5-million Classic, especially after the connections of unbeaten mare Zenyatta decided to try their luck against the males. The winner of 13 in a row, Zenyatta was drawn in post position No. 4 and installed as the 5-2 favorite. On her inside will be Kentucky Derby winner and Preakness runner-up Mine That Bird, in the No. 1 hole.
SPORTS
March 30, 2013 | By Eric Sondheimer
In a sign of potential trouble for California horse racing, trainer John Shirreffs, who guided Zenyatta to prominence, has decided to move to Belmont Park in New York with a stable of horses at the end of April. "Belmont Park has been wonderful to me," Shirreffs said Saturday after his 3-year-old, Omega Star, won the $200,000 Echo Eddie Stakes at Santa Anita. Shirreffs has been based at Hollywood Park, which could be closing at the end of this year. Shirreffs said an assistant trainer will also be in charge of horses at Santa Anita.
SPORTS
January 17, 2013 | By Eric Sondheimer
There was a stirring of excitement in the paddock at Santa Anita on Thursday before the seventh race, an allowance optional claiming race for fillies and mares 4-year-olds and up. Call it the Zenyatta effect. Zenyatta's half-sister, Eblouissante, was set to run in her second race, a 1 1/16-mile test on the dirt, and fans of the 2010 Horse of the Year wanted to see her half-sister up close. Eblouissante didn't disappoint, improving her race record to 2-0 after 1 3/4-length triumph over second-place Pink Blossom under jockey Corey Nakatani.
NEWS
March 9, 2012 | By Eric Sondheimer
It's a baby colt for Zenyatta. The most anticipated birth of the year in horse racing occurred Thursday night around 10:10 p.m. in Lexington, Ky., when 2010 Horse of the Year Zenyatta gave birth to a 130-pound colt. It was the first foal for the 8-year-old Zenyatta. Zenyatta's owners, Ann and Jerry Moss, were present. According to Zenyatta.com , the colt is a dark bay with a white star and “polka dots on his feet,” just like Zenyatta. The father is Bernardini, who won the 2006 Preakness Stakes.
SPORTS
July 20, 2011 | Bill Dwyre
From Del Mar — There was a traffic jam at a horse race Wednesday. It took some people hours to get in. It was real Carmageddon, not some overdone media concoction. It was wonderful. Del Mar opened and they came. The attendance was 46,588. That was the largest crowd in Del Mar history, topping last year's opening day 45,309. There is a trend here, and racing traditionalists may not like it. But racing traditionalists will be building little new tradition the way their sport is going, with weekday crowds averaging around 2,500 at places such as Santa Anita and Hollywood Park, places that used to be magnets for sports fans.
SPORTS
July 19, 2011 | By Eric Sondheimer
Opening day at Del Mar has become horse racing's version of the Academy Awards, producing lots of glitz, glamour and most of all, big crowds. There were 45,309 at last year's opener, and Wednesday's first day of Del Mar's 37-day summer meeting figures to offer another party-like atmosphere that includes spectators wearing lots of colorful hats during a 10-race program. A capacity field of 10 is entered, with four also-eligibles, in the featured race, the $100,000 Oceanside Stakes for 3-year-olds going one mile on the turf.
SPORTS
November 5, 2010 | BILL DWYRE
There are 167 of the finest thoroughbred horses in the world who will compete as afterthoughts here the next two days. They are warmup acts to No. 168, a mare named Zenyatta. It is amazing to behold. Not only do other owners and trainers of horses entered in this year's Breeders' Cup, where $26 million in purses will be won, not resent her dominance of the scene. They welcome it. Renowned California trainer John Sadler, who has four entrants in this annual prestigious showcase of horse racing's finest, estimates he has seen the magical Zenyatta run in 15 of her 19 races -- all 19 victories, of course.
SPORTS
August 10, 2009 | BILL DWYRE
Despite all the oohs and aahs and superlatives that correctly followed yet another amazing race Sunday by the remarkable Zenyatta, jockey Mike Smith managed to capture best what had happened. Half an hour after the now 12-0 mare of trainer John Shirreffs and owners Jerry and Ann Moss had done a bullet-train charge down the stretch to win the $300,000 Clement L. Hirsch Stakes at Del Mar by a nose, Smith sat in front of reporters. He was told that Zenyatta had run her last quarter mile in 22.49 seconds and her last sixteenth in 5.2 seconds, reaching her top speed of the race of 40 miles per hour the moment she hit the wire.
SPORTS
October 2, 2010 | Eric Sondheimer
Racing fans swarmed around the paddock at Hollywood Park on Saturday showing off Zenyatta posters, paintings, buttons, hats and T-shirts in support of the unbeaten 6-year-old mare who was chasing perfection in her final racing appearance in Southern California. And like the entertainer she has become, Zenyatta created suspense and intrigue. At the eighth pole, Zenyatta was in third place, three lengths behind the leader Switch, a 3-year-old filly who looked on the verge of conquering the queen of thoroughbred racing.
SPORTS
November 5, 2010 | Bill Dwyre
The adjectives and adverbs are used up. It is time for Zenyatta to run. She has danced her way into our hearts. Now she can race her way into immortality. It will be cold and dark by 6:45 p.m. Saturday, Eastern time, when they load the legendary lady into the starting gate at the legendary racetrack with the twin spires. This is not the first Saturday in May, not the Kentucky Derby, which is Churchill Downs' brand. It will be November, under the lights, with a lot fewer mint juleps and females in fancy hats.
SPORTS
October 8, 2010 | Bill Dwyre
Like the sport itself, Friday morning at the John Shirreffs stable at Hollywood Park is a carnival ride of emotions. Barn 55 South is the home of Zenyatta, current superstar and the key adhesive holding much of horse racing together. To get there, you walk a quarter mile along Zenyatta Way. Fitting. The marvelous mare won her 19th race without a defeat last Saturday, and 25,837 people showed up to worship and yell their lungs out. Most days at Hollywood Park, even during a meeting carrying the prestige banner of the Oak Tree Racing Assn.
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