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Vagabond Shoes Returns in Arcadia

Vagabond Shoes is scheduled to make his first start since finishing an eventful fifth in the Breeders’ Cup Turf at Santa Anita last Nov. 2, when he runs in Saturday’s Grade II Arcadia Stakes for older horses at one mile on turf.

“He can run a mile,” trainer John Sadler said of the 7-year-old Irish-bred gelding, who was a head off the lead in the BC Turf after steadying earlier in the mile and a half race.

“He’s an older horse and he had a hard campaign last year,” Sadler added in explaining the brief absence. “We’ve got him fresh for this year.”

Owned by Hronis Racing, LLC, Vagabond Shoes was a Group 3 winner overseas and has the Grade II Del Mar Handicap as his lone U.S. victory in eight starts.

Probable for the Arcadia: No Jet Lag, Corey Nakatani; Procurement, no rider; Regally Ready, Mike Smith; Si Sage, Martin Garcia; Suggestive Boy, Joe Talamo; Tom’s Tribute, Gary Stevens; Vagabond Shoes, Victor Espinoza; Willyconker, no rider; and Winning Prize, Rafael Bejarano.

Regally Ready worked four furlongs Sunday in 48.80 for Steve Asmussen, while Tom’s Tribute went five furlongs for Jim Cassidy in 1:02.60.


PERIBAN GETS UP FROM THE FLOOR TO WIN FIRST STAKES

Story lines were plentiful on Sunshine Millions California Cup Day at Santa Anita Saturday, but perhaps none more heart-warming than that of 54-year-old trainer Jorge Periban, who saddled Susans Express to a $132.40 shocker in the $200,000 California Cup Oaks.

It was the first stakes win in the United States for the native of Mexico City, who has been training since 1983. He had reached a low point in the late nineties, earning his subsistence by picking up discarded mutuel tickets in hopes of finding valid ones.

His days in the doldrums were thoroughly documented by Daily Racing Form’s Brad Free in a column six years ago. Periban took a moment to reflect on those times yesterday.

“For nearly six years (1998 until 2003, during his life as a “stooper”), I had no work and I made my living picking tickets from the floor at Los Alamitos, Hollywood Park, Del Mar and Santa Anita,” Periban said. “The first ticket I found was worth $2,390. They were tough times. That was my toughest moment.”

While he no longer stoops to conquer, Periban works hard in a highly competitive field with optimism towards the future, thanks to horses like Susans Express.

“A few years ago, I had 35 horses, but now only seven,” Periban said. “But I have some people who are going to claim more for me. Only my wife and my kids know how hard I tried to make a living.”

Now, the whole world does.

With two winners and a second on his return to Santa Anita Saturday, Kent Desormeaux was understandably ebullient Sunday as he made the rounds between workouts.

“Yesterday was great,” the 43-year-old Hall of Fame rider said, but was non-committal when asked if he was ready to return to Southern California on a permanent basis.

“Let me mull around here this morning and see what the reactions are,” he said. “But I can’t lie. I drove from the airport and I felt like I never left. It was like déjà vu.”


BETTORS TAKE ‘NOTE’ OF WINNING ADVICE FROM JOCKEYS

Opinions expressed by jockeys in Santa Anita’s Stable Notes are sometimes more than merely rhetorical PR pyscho-babble.

Case in point: Statements from Mike Smith and Joe Talamo on their prospects aboard Scherzinger in yesterday’s Santa Monica Stakes and Weewinnin in the California Turf Classic.

Smith, who rode Scherzinger, on Friday said this, speaking of the filly’s last-place finish on turf two races back: “You can throw that race out completely . . . She came back after that and ran extremely well (winning on dirt Jan. 2) and she’s doing well. She deserves a chance and I think she’ll have a big one.”

Scherzinger won and paid $10.60.

This is how Talamo assessed his chances Thursday on Weewinnin: “He ran a great race last out. It was his first race in almost a year, so he probably needed the race. It should set him up well for this race. Even though it’s a mile and an eighth, I don’t see the distance being a problem.”

Weewinnin won and paid $44.80.

 

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