March 5, 2006 |
A former $50,000 claimer won the $1-million Santa Anita Handicap on Saturday. In doing so, Lava Man, trained by Doug O'Neill and ridden by Corey Nakatani, took his career earnings over the $2-million mark. As investments go, the 5-year-old gelding is proving to be a good ride. "It really is a dream come true," said co-owner Steve Kenly, who claimed the horse at Del Mar in 2004 for what, in racing terms, amounts to little more than loose change. "From a claimer to the Big 'Cap. It's amazing."
March 4, 2006 |
Dan Hendricks will have to wait another year to saddle his first starter in the $1-million Santa Anita Handicap. The trainer was going to run Top This And That in the Grade I, which will be run for the 69th time today, but a foot problem discovered Wednesday morning kept Hendricks from entering the 4-year-old gray gelding, who had finished second at 18-1 in the Strub Stakes on Feb. 4. Still, Big 'Cap Day will be very important to Hendricks.
March 3, 2006 |
A mainstay on the local circuit for more than 30 years, trainer Mike Mitchell has had starters in the Breeders' Cup, the Arlington Million and the Hollywood Gold Cup. Saturday, however, the Bakersfield-born Mitchell will have his first runner in his home state's most historic race, the $1-million Santa Anita Handicap. Texcess, a California-bred gelding who has been in Mitchell's barn slightly more than a month, is among nine entries scheduled to run 1 1/4 miles in the 69th Big 'Cap.
March 2, 2006 |
The last time the Kentucky Derby winner returned to win the Santa Anita Handicap was 1988, when Alysheba beat 1986 Derby winner Ferdinand. Giacomo will try to join that exclusive club Saturday when he and eight others compete in the $1-million Big 'Cap, which will be run for the 69th time. Other Derby winners who completed the parlay in the Santa Anita Handicap are Spectacular Bid, Affirmed and Lucky Debonair. At this point, Giacomo can't be compared to any of these greats.
March 6, 2005 |
Saint Liam had come from Florida with the reputation, a supposed training advantage and much of the crowd's money behind him. "There were a lot of naysayers," Ernie Moody was saying about his horse, Rock Hard Ten. "That he was a one-turn horse, that he couldn't get a mile and a quarter." If Rock Hard Ten was underestimated, so were his trainer and jockey, even though they're old hands at getting a horse to the winner's circle in the Santa Anita Handicap.
March 5, 2005 |
A visitor to David Bernstein's barn at Santa Anita handed the trainer a yellowed, tattered copy of the Daily Racing Form's chart of the 1994 Santa Anita Handicap. Bernstein held the newspaper clipping in his hand. Many a horseman in Bernstein's position might have wadded it up and fired it into the nearest wastebasket. "Yes, this is it," Bernstein said, squinting to look at the chart. "I get asked about this a lot. But there's nothing you can do about it now, is there?"