Santa Anita news: Santa Monica post 'compromised' Paradise Woods

Ed Golden, Santa Anita
February 19, 2019 03:31pm
Two-time Grade 1 winner Paradise Woods is none the worse for wear after finishing last in her first start for John Shirreffs in Saturday’s Santa Monica Stakes (G1) run on a good main track.

“She came out of the race really well,” the trainer said. “Obviously, the post (one) really compromised her.”

Shirreffs rendered no race for her next start.

Paradise Woods became a major Kentucky Oaks contender two years ago when she won the Santa Anita Oaks (G1). That fall she beat older fillies and mares in the Zenyatta Stakes (G1) and finished third in the Breeders' Cup Distaff at Del Mar.

She hit the board once in three starts at 4 and was away since July prior to the Santa Monica. Paradise Woods was transferred to Shirreffs' barn from Richard Mandella in December. 


Zaffinah has never failed to earn a check in 12 starts since coming from Europe early in 2017, and it’s likely she’ll earn her keep again in Saturday’s Buena Vista Stakes (G2) for older fillies and mares scheduled at one mile on turf.

To win, however, the Irish-bred mare trained by Jack Carava for Red Baron’s Barn LLC or Rancho Temescal LLC will have to conquer favored Vasilika, who defeated her by a length and a half last out in the Megahertz (G3) at a mile on a good turf course Jan. 21.

“She’s just a hard-trying mare and a mile seems to be her specialized distance,” Carava said of the chestnut mare who will be seeking her first stakes win in this country Saturday. “I had to run her down the hill a few times because races wouldn’t fill for her.

“She’s pretty consistent going a mile on turf. She’s doing all right even though we were a little sidetracked training because of the weather. I haven’t been able to do as much with her as I’d been hoping, although she doesn’t require a whole lot.”


Joe Talamo has ridden S Y Sky in each of her nine career races, winning five, with three seconds and one third. He will be back aboard in Sunday’s $100,000 Spring Fever Stakes and understandably is looking forward to the reunion.

“She’s never been out of the money, and even when she loses, she shows up and tries really hard,” Talamo enthused. “She’s fun to ride. She breaks really sharp and puts you in a good spot.

“She doesn’t need the lead, but she breaks so well she puts you right there, which is really good.” Owned and bred by longtime supporter of the California breeding program Nick Alexander, current president of the Thoroughbred Owners of California (TOC), S Y Sky has earnings of just under a half-million dollars at $457,320.

As for the gregarious Talamo, hard to believe he’s 29 now after coming west from his native Louisiana at the behest of the late Bobby Frankel.

Despite an infusion of young apprentice riders and world-class competition from journeymen like Joel Rosario and Flavien Prat, Talamo and his agent, Scotty McClellan, industriously strive to attain a position among the top 10 riders.

“We’re trying to do the best we can with the opportunities we have,” Talamo said, causing a chuckle when he added, “At 29, I’m no spring chicken.”

That, of course, is relative and very debatable.
FINISH LINES: This Friday, first post time will be 1 p.m. PT, and the following day, Saturday, it will be 12:25 p.m. . . . With four wins Sunday, Joel Rosario took a 37-35 lead over Flavien Prat in the jockeys’ race . . . Numbers are virtually similar across the board for favorites at the Winter Meet, with 33.11 percent winning overall (98 of 296), 32.84 percent on dirt (66 of 201) and 33.68 on turf (32 of 95) . . . Jockey Felipe Martinez has been suspended three days (Feb. 24, 28 and March 1) for careless riding on Annitasheaven in Saturday’s seventh race . . . As chronicled in an epic column by Bill Plaschke in Sunday’s LA Times, Santa Anita Hornblower Jay Cohen's joyful notes have been muted for the time being.  Please see the full story and video on his road to recovery here . . . The California Horse Racing Board holds its monthly meeting 9:30 a.m. Thursday at Santa Anita. The public is encouraged to attend. An audio-only webcast can be heard through a link on the CHRB website (webcast) . . . Santa Anita will be dark for live racing Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, presenting live action again on Friday, Feb. 22 at 1 p.m. The track will be open for simulcast wagering Thursday, Feb. 21, with free general admission and free parking. Admission gates open at 10 a.m.


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