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  • Capla Temptress (5-1) rolls home in the Natalma, while making her North American debut.Posted 3 days ago
  • Untamed Domain (3-1) kicks it in late to win the Summer Stakes at Woodbine.Posted 3 days ago
  • World Approval (2-1) shows he is much the best in the Grade 1 Woodbine Mile.Posted 4 days ago
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  • Uni (6-5) runs down La Coronel in the Grade 2 Sands Point.Posted 4 days ago
  • Johnny Bear (9-1) noses out Hawkbill in the Grade 1 Northern Dancer Turf.Posted 4 days ago
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  • The Tabulator (4-1) holds on in the Grade 3 Iroquois despite drifting out.Posted 4 days ago
  • Quidura (2-5) proves best in Grade 2 Canadian.Posted 4 days ago
  • Winx rolls late in the Colgate Optic White Stakes for her 20th straight victory!Posted 5 days ago

Conan O'Brien Leaves 'Em Laughing at Santa Anita

Conan O'Brien calls race at Santa Anita Park.
Photo: Santa Anita Park
In a performance that would have to be categorized as “Not yet ready for prime time,” late night funny man Conan O’Brien left ‘em laughing on Friday, as he put his oratorical stamp on Santa Anita’s second race, unwittingly cementing Trevor Denman’s status as Santa Anita’s race caller for generations to come.

A former writer for NBC’s Saturday Night Live, O’Brien currently hosts CONAN, which airs weeknights on TBS at 11 p.m.

“I actually called them all correctly getting into the gate, which I’m very proud of,” said O’Brien.  “Once the race started, there was some confusion…And, again, I have a complaint I would like to lodge against the Los Angeles Turf Club—which is, jockeys wearing similar colors.  If you’re going to have idiot celebrities come in and call a race, you can’t have two guys in all blue and two guys in all white, it’s not fair.

“That is my official complaint.  I’m also suing them.  It’s a class-action suit.”

Friday’s second race, run at a mile for 3-year-olds and up who were entered for a $12,500 claiming tag, was won by 8-1 longshot Knucklebuster, who bested five rivals to win by a half length under Agapito Delgadillo, who wore blue colors. 

“I memorized all the colors on the sides of the horses (numbered saddle cloths),” said O’Brien.  “Then, ten minutes before the race Trevor told me ‘No, that’s not how we do it.  We do it by their outfits (jockey silks).  So I had all these mnemonics set up for all of the horses and I had to completely forget everything.  It’s like being told seconds before the SAT that it will be in German.  So I was horrified…”

Denman, a South African native who has been at the Santa Anita microphone since the fall of 1983, oversaw O’Brien’s performance.  

“There’s one word to describe it—‘Unique,’” said Denman of O’Brien’s maiden voyage as a race caller.  “There will never be another one like this one, that’s for sure.  The whole world was listening and so, hey, let’s have some fun with it.  Conan seems like a fantastic guy and I really, really liked him.  He’s got no airs about him and he’s very funny.

“The bottom line is, we need to do things like this now and again.  We need to reach out to new people, to new audiences, and have fun.”

O’Brien’s “unique” Santa Anita safari will be featured soon on an upcoming episode of CONAN.

Trained by Jeff Bonde, Knucklebuster, who had a career record of one win from 10 starts coming into today, paid $18 to win.

Santa Anita will host the 30th running of the Breeders’ Cup World Championships on Nov. 1 & 2.

 

 

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