Race of the Week 2017

Santa Anita news: Saturday's La Canada a step up for Resky Business

Santa Anita news: Saturday's La Canada a step up for Resky Business
Photo: Courtesy of Santa Anita Park

Resky Business makes her stakes debut in Saturday’s Grade II La Canada for fillies and mares, four and up at a mile on dirt, but if her form at the distance is considered, she could make her presence felt at attractive odds.

In three starts at a mile on dirt, the Kentucky-bred daughter of Eskendereya bred by Calumet Farm has won all three, one of them at Santa Anita, on Oct. 27, 2016.

“She likes a mile on the dirt so we’re taking our chance in the stakes now that she’s won the first allowance condition,” explained trainer William E. (Bill) Morey, a longtime fixture in the Bay Area with his late father, trainer Bill Morey Jr.

“I worked with him all through high school and college,” Morey said, “then went on my own 17 years ago in 2001. We have 14 horses here for this meet and 22 up north.”

The crew-cut Morey has made a subtle but impressive impact so far this meet, winning with three of his six starters, with one third. The 43-year-old trainer went on his own at age 26 and has won some 1,600 races since then.

“I guess you could say I’m a seasoned veteran now,” he said.

The field for the La Canada, race eight of nine: La Force, Drayden Van Dyke, 12-1; Majestic Heat, Mike Smith, 9-5; Mended, Ricardo Gonzalez, 4-1; Mopotism, Mario Gutierrez, 7-2; Union Strike, Corey Nakatani, 5-1; Resky Business, Evin Roman, 12-1; Shenandoah Queen, Flavien Prat, 10-1; and Sandy’s Surprise, Rafael Bejarano, 8-1.

INSTA IRMA SHARP FOR GRADE III MEGAHERTZ MONDAY

Insta Irma moves down two levels in grade when she runs in Monday’s Martin Luther King Jr. holiday feature, the Grade III Megahertz Stakes for fillies and mares, four and up, at one mile on turf.

The five-year-old Pioneerof the Nile mare rallied for third in the Grade I Matriarch at one mile last out on Del Mar’s grass course Nov. 26. All 15 of her career races have come on turf, where she has won four times, with three seconds and two thirds. “She’s doing awesome,” according to trainer Richard Baltas.

“It’s my race to lose,” he said, “let’s put it that way.”

MARATHON ASTRA STAKES SUITS SHAZARA

In what would be her 20th career start, Shazara is scheduled to make her stakes debut in Sunday’s $75,000 Astra Stakes for fillies and mares, four and up, at the uncommon North America distance of a mile and a half, albeit it on turf.

“She can run all day,” said Gary Sherlock, who trains the six-year-old El Corridor mare for Terry Lovingier and Tom Mansor. “That’s why I’m running her, because it’s a mile and a half. She’s had some bad trips and should have won a couple of those races. She got a good trip the other day and won.”

That was in an overnight race at a flat mile, getting up by a head under Tiago Pereira, who retains the mount in the Astra. A consistent sort who usually makes a late run, Shazara has a 2-3-4 record from 19 starts with earnings of $145,715.

The field for the Astra: Lucy De, Kent Desormeaux; Queen Blossom, Brice Blanc; La Manta Gris, Flavien Prat; Scandal, Mike Smith; How Unusual, Corey Nakatani; Plein Air, Tyler Baze; Sweet Connie, Drayden Van Dyke; Shazara, Tiago Pereira; Antonina, Rajiv Maragh; Estrechada, Stewart Elliott; and Evo Campo, Rafael Bejarano.

DIS SMART CAT ‘DOING WELL’ FOR KALOOKAN QUEEN

Drayden Van Dyke has never ridden Dis Smart Cat in a race, but he has worked her, and based on that, the Eclipse Award winner as the nation’s outstanding apprentice of 2014 feels she is up to the task in Sunday’s $75,000 Kalookan Queen Stakes for fillies and mares, four and up, at 6 ½ furlongs.

“She seems like she’s doing well,” said the 23-year-old Louisville native, fully recovered from a severely broken right arm and other injuries suffered in a riding mishap almost a year ago that sidelined him for six months.

“She had a little time off before her last race (Dec. 9, some six weeks from her prior start on Oct. 19 of last year), so she should benefit from that,” Van Dyke said of the five-year-old Square Eddie mare trained by Matt Chew.

Van Dyke, understandably, is happy to be riding in peak form and winning again. Through nine racing days, he has won six races, with two seconds and three thirds.

“I feel great,” he said. “My body feels good, the arm’s good, the horses are running good, so it’s all good.”

The field for the Kalookan Queen, race eight of nine: Mother of Dragons, Francisco Duran; Selcourt, Tyler Baze; Malibu Stacy, Flavien Prat; Cuddle Alert, Alonso Quinonez; Princess Karen, Kent Desormeaux; Reverse, Rafael Bejarano; Cuyathy, Austin Solis; Ashley’s Sassy, Stewart Elliott; and Dis Smart Cat, Drayden Van Dyke.

FINISH LINES: Proving once again that in horse racing you can never say never, owner/trainer Mick Ruis called an audible late yesterday and decided to run Grade I winner Union Strike in Saturday’s La Canada Stakes on dirt rather than make her grass debut in Monday’s Megahertz. “The La Canada came up easier,” Ruis said . . . With exercise rider Pepi Aragon aboard, Great Expectations worked five furlongs Fridaymorning in a bullet 58.80 for the $16 million Pegasus World Cup at Gulfstream Park Jan. 27. “I got him galloping out six furlongs in (one) 13 and change,” trainer Peter Eurtonsaid. It was the fastest of 64 drills at the distance, the average  

time of which was 1:01.80 . . . Happy New Year: Through Jan. 10, five of the top eight nationally ranked trainers in purse money won were based at Santa Anita. They are Jeff Mullins (first), $161,340; Bill Spawr (third), $142,065; Phil D’Amato (fourth), $133,770; Bob Baffert (fifth), $125,490; and Jerry Hollendorfer (eighth), $116,245 . . . Inside track dept., take one: All eight winners on Thursday’s card broke from post positions no further out than No. five, the last two, Lucky Student and Fair Regis, scoring from the No. One post. Congrats to trainer Robert Falcone Jr. and owner Drawing Away Stable on winning yesterday’s eighth with Fair Regis. Falcone, who notched his first-ever Santa Anita win, became the third trainer during the Winter Meet’s first nine days to benefit from Santa Anita’s Ship and Stay bonus program which, in addition to the winner’s share of the purse (in this case $12,000), rewards an additional 20 percent, or $2,400, 10 percent to the trainer and 10 percent to the owner . . . Jockey Edwin Mmmmaldonado has moved his tack to Oaklawn Ppppark in Arkansas, where it was 25 ddddegrees this morning . . . This Monday is Dollar Day at Santa Anita as one dollar beers and sodas will be offered. First post time is 12:30 p.m. and admission gates open at 10:30 a.m. Santa Anita will be dark for live racing next Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, but will return with live racing on Friday, Jan. 19, at 1 p.m. Admission gates open that day at 11 a.m. Santa Anita will offer simulcast wagering next Wednesday and Thursday, with free general admission and free parking . . . Trained by Doug O’Neill, Dialed to Go, 7-2 morning line chance in today’s eighth race is owned in part by Colorado State head basketball coach and Arcadia High alum Larry Eustachy . . . Tom Quigley’s guest handicappers Saturday and Sunday, respectively, will be The Voice of Santa Anita, Michael Wrona, and Joe Masinoof Masino Racing Stable, 11:20 a.m. in the East Paddock Gardens . . . Baseball fans’ exacta: Hall of Fame members Nap Lajoie and The Big Train in today’s seventh race. The Big Train is the nickname of Walter Johnson, who played his entire 21 years with the Washington Senators, from 1907 to 1927, winning 417 games, losing 279 and posting a 2.17 earned run average. Lajoie, nicknamed “The Frenchman,” won baseball’s Triple Crown in 1901, compiled a career batting average of .339, mainly with the Philadelphia Phillies and Philadelphia Athletics in a career spanning from 1896 to 1916.

 

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