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HRN Original Blog:
Toasting with Andrew Champagne

Holiday Weekend Provides Great Racing at Santa Anita

Hear the Ghost - Benoit Photo (615x400)


The upcoming holiday weekend features three days of top-class racing at Santa Anita Park. The locale known as “The Great Race Place” will host a pair of graded stakes races for older horses, followed by a special Monday card on Martin Luther King Day.

Saturday's slate is headlined by the Grade 2 Strub, a perennial prep race for the Grade I Santa Anita Handicap. The race has been won by legends Round Table, Spectacular Bid, and Alysheba, as well as more contemporary stars like Silver Charm and Medaglia d'Oro. However, this year's main Strub subplot consists of several talented contenders with major question marks.

Hear the Ghost may be favored, but he hung a bit behind stablemate Blueskiesnrainbows last out at Betfair Hollywood Park in his first start off a long layoff. Meanwhile, Shakin It Up and Zeewat ran 1-3 in the Malibu Stakes earlier this meet, but that was a one-turn sprint. And what do we make of Govenor Charlie, who will make his first start since a disappointing run in the Preakness behind Oxbow where he took some money at 9-1?

Sunday's feature is the Grade 2 La Cañada for fillies and mares. The two headliners in that race figure to be Broken Sword and Fiftyshadesofhay, who ran 1-2 in the Bayakoa last month in Inglewood. Broken Sword won that race by more than four lengths, but the daughter of Broken Vow may not be as comfortable on conventional dirt.

Fiftyshadesofhay, on the other hand, has won three graded stakes races on dirt, with two second-place finishes in similar company as well. The Bob Baffert trainee has banked nearly $800,000 in 13 career starts, and she'll get three pounds from Broken Sword Sunday afternoon.

Like several other tracks around the country, Santa Anita will run a Monday program to celebrate Martin Luther King Day. The festivities will also include $1 hot dogs and drinks, and the day's first post time is scheduled for 12:30 p.m. Pacific time.


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Older Comments about Holiday Weekend Provides Great Racing at Santa Anita...

BHP, for myself at least I handicap it as a dirt surface and lose nothing in doing so as compared to other synthetic surfaces where I just don't bother as I do poorly. The exception to that would be Tapeta which I have no trouble with. That brings up something I've wondered about for a long time. The old synthetic at Santa Anita played just like turf as history shows both by race shape and horses who did well there. I'm curious why they never gave Zenyatta a chance on the turf.
About Broken Sword, just in looking at her record, there was a long gap between her first two starts, so maybe there was a very good reason to bring her back "slowly" with the result that she kicked ass at BHP, in the Bayakoa, which I don't know how many times I read post by others saying how it plays closest to dirt of the synthetic tracks. So much for the ducking. You can go to the source to find out about any decisions, but why should they be explained? Or just make stuff up. Another thing is, she runs quite nicely on turf, so I would call her versatile.
in the Strub and Gulsary in Megahertz Stakes
Hear The Ghost and Rookie Sensation
She ran huge over a bull ring at .50 cents to the dollar. Do not understand your point. If she was that good on the dirt,why mess around on the turf. Granted you will say there were no races. But in October of last year they had her running Allowance turf at GG. I repeat,if she were that good,then Boo to Hollendorfer for ducking the dirt at Santa Anita.
How did Broken Sword run in her only dirt start?
How did Broken Sword run in her only dirt start?
Yes, #5 is Ghost, but of course he's bigger all over now.
Katie, unless I'm mistaken, that's Hear the Ghost, who beat Flashback (also pictured above) in the G2 San Felipe last year.
Who is the # 5 horse in the above photo?

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Meet Andrew Champagne


A native of upstate New York and a graduate of Ithaca College, Andrew Champagne fell in love with horse racing at a very early age on summer trips to Saratoga. His turf writing credits include time spent as a sportswriter, weekly columnist, and handicapper at The Saratogian, a summer working for The Saratoga Special, and "field research" at OTB facilities in Saratoga Springs and his hometown of Kingston. He also spent two years in the athletic communications office at Siena College, and interned with NBC Olympics at the 2010 Winter Games in Vancouver.

Andrew moved to Pasadena, Calif., in October of 2013, and now serves as an Associate Producer in HRTV's Digital Media department and Horse Racing Nation's Southern California writer. Follow him on Twitter at @AndrewChampagne, and email him at andrewdchampagne@gmail.com.

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