November 2, 2012 |
If Game On Dude is going to win the horse-of-the-year award, then Saturday's $5-million Breeders' Cup Classic at Santa Anita is an ideal setting to make a lasting impression. A year after leading in the stretch and being overtaken by the late charge of Drosselmeyer at Churchill Downs, Game On Dude will try again to win the Classic, but this time the 5-year-old son of Awesome Again has a home-track advantage. So far, Game On Dude is a perfect five for five at Santa Anita. "You want to win the Breeders' Cup, you have to bring your A game that day," Game On Dude's trainer Bob Baffert said.
September 29, 2012 |
Saturday at Santa Anita was a great day for Bob Baffert, for Baffert fans, and for fans of soap opera drama. Baffert, a long-proven masterful trainer of thoroughbreds, won three of the five Grade I races, each worth $250,000, that qualified the winner for an all-expenses-paid trip and entry into the Breeders' Cup. The other two? He didn't have an entry. For Baffert, that "all-expenses-paid" gimmick is more like a bonus. His owners still get the money, but the trip from Baffert's barn to the Santa Anita track, where the Breeders' Cup will be held this year and next, is a couple of hundred yards.
February 28, 2013 |
For the first time in its 76-year history, the Grade I Santa Anita Handicap will feature two past winners — last year's Ron The Greek and 2011 champion Game On Dude. "I'm confident my horse is going to run a big race," said Bob Baffert, who trains Game On Dude. That certainty about the 6/5 favorite for the $750,000 Big 'Cap on Saturday is rooted in Game On Dude's recent performances, a 1 1/4-length win in the $250,000 Native Diver Stakes on Dec. 1 and a more-impressive 6 1/2-length triumph Feb. 3 in the $196,000 San Antonio Stakes.
April 7, 2012 |
Generally, post-race celebrations in the Winner's Circle at Santa Anita are fairly sedate, with maybe a dozen or so people posing for a photo with the victorious horse. But that certainly wasn't the case after I'll Have Another edged 9-10 favorite Creative Cause by a nose in Saturday's Santa Anita Derby before a crowd of 33,166 to establish himself as the West Coast's top representative in the Kentucky Derby on May 5. There were hundreds of rowdy people crammed together in the Winner's Circle.
November 3, 2012 |
Game On Dude didn't quite have enough game. Mucho Macho Man had insufficient macho. And so Saturday's Breeders' Cup Classic, a Hollywood show taking place before 55,123 well-dressed and well-entertained people at a horse track long established in star-studded Los Angeles as the Great Race Place, got its best moment via a wonderful little old lady from Kansas. Janis Whitham's Fort Larned won the Classic, the $3 million that comes with that, and the affection of thousands of new race fans.
July 23, 2009 |
Del Mar held its annual opening day of thoroughbred horse racing Wednesday, and by the time it was over, track officials were wondering who walked under the ladder or crossed the path of a black cat. What was supposed to be a day of fun in the sun for the biggest crowd ever at Del Mar of 44,907, most of whom dressed and consumed as if it were a cocktail party, turned ugly quickly.
April 28, 2013 |
The jockey colony at Hollywood Park might want to break out a bottle of champagne to celebrate the absence of Rafael Bejarano next week when he leaves town to ride Midnight Lucky in the Kentucky Oaks and Overanalyze in the Kentucky Derby. That means somebody else will get a chance to ride a winner. The red-hot Bejarano won four races in four mounts Friday. Then, on California Gold Rush Day on Saturday, he won three of the four richest stakes, including the $300,000 Snow Chief Stakes aboard Surfcup for trainer Bob Baffert.
September 5, 2012 |
Jockey Rafael Bejarano saved the best for last on Wednesday's final day of the 37-day Del Mar meeting. He guided Rolling Fog to a 11/4-length triumph over Know More in the Grade I, $300,000 Del Mar Futurity, giving him a record 13 stakes victories, the most by any jockey in a Del Mar meeting. "Sweet. Oh, so sweet," Bejarano said. He also won the jockey title. It was the 11th Futurity win for Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert, whose father and mentor, Bill Baffert Sr., died Monday at his home in Nogales, Ariz.
May 14, 2010 |
Neil Drysdale spent four years working for Hall of Fame trainer Charles Whittingham, who was known for producing lots of outstanding turf horses. Now Drysdale is on a hot streak with marathon grass runners, and he unveils his latest promising import in Saturday's Grade II $150,000 Jim Murray Memorial Handicap at 1 1/2 miles on the turf at Hollywood Park. There's an early 11 a.m. first post, and the Jim Murray will be run as the eighth race on an 11-race card. Scintillo, a 5-year-old English-bred son of Fantastic Light, makes his American debut under jockey Rafael Bejarano in a race named after the Pulitzer Prize-winning sports columnist for the Los Angeles Times.
April 23, 2009 |
You get the feeling that Peruvian jockey Rafael Bejarano hasn't fully grasped the part he is about to play in the Hirsch-Stute family day at the Kentucky Derby. Bejarano, a 26-year-old on a merry-go-round of success, knows he will ride Papa Clem for owner Bo Hirsch and trainer Gary Stute on May 2. He knows the big race that takes place in front of the Twin Spires at Churchill Downs on the first Saturday of May is a moment of history to be grabbed and clung to.