Breeders' Cup, Horse racing, Santa Anita

Will Take Charge to face Mucho Macho Man in Big ‘Cap

From Ed Golden of the Santa Anita publicity department:

“We’re coming.”

With those words this morning from D. Wayne Lukas, the stage is set for one of the most eagerly anticipated rematches in recent memory, one between Mucho Macho Man and Will Take Charge in the Grade I, $750,000 Santa Anita Handicap on March 8.

The two handicap stars finished a scant nose apart in the $5 million Breeders’ Cup Classic at Santa Anita last Nov. 2. The Lukas-trained Will Take Charge, Eclipse Award winner as outstanding 3-year-old of 2013, was second in the Grade I Donn Handicap at Gulfstream Park in his 2014 debut on Feb. 9.

With two-time Santa Anita Handicap winner and defending champion Game On Dude waiting in the wings for the mile and a quarter Big ‘Cap, story lines abound for the 77th edition of the historic race, which has been won by turf legends such as Seabiscuit, Noor, Round Table, Ack Ack, Affirmed, Spectacular Bid, John Henry, Best Pal and Lava Man, among many others.

Mucho Macho Man, 14-length winner of the Sunshine Millions Classic at Gulfstream Park on Jan. 18, committed to Santa Anita’s signature race on Saturday when trainer Kathy Ritvo and Finn Green, Racing Manager for owners Dean and Patti Reeves, announced they would be coming to Santa Anita for the Big ‘Cap.

Pending flight arrangements, Lukas said he hoped to ship Will Take Charge to California on “March 3 or 4.” Mucho Macho Man is scheduled to work Saturday in Florida and ship to California the following day, Sunday, Feb. 23.

Meanwhile, the countdown is on to March 8.

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Horse racing, Santa Anita

Santa Anita picks for Thursday, Oct. 31

FIRST RACE: 1. Psalm Sixteen, 2. Miz Wounded Knee, 3. Totally Blonde. LONG SHOT: Pure Blush.

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SECOND RACE: 1. Appearance, 2. Hot Bride, 3. Frandontjudge. LONG SHOT: Susans Express.

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THIRD RACE: 1. Sinfully, 2. Square Dancer, 3. Under Review. LONG SHOT: Know More.

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FOURTH RACE: 1. Hold Everything, 2. Kristo, 3. Cautious Giant. LONG SHOT: Juliet’s Tizzy.

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FIFTH RACE: 1. Koast, 2. Carbonite, 3. Relentless Heat. LONG SHOT: Mr. Bossy Pants.

Jockey Joel Rosario, the former Southern California riding champ, returns this week to ride during Breeders’ Cup week and he has a few live mounts on the card. Agent Ron Anderson doesn’t put him on horses that don’t have a chance. Koast, a 4-year-old colt, turned in a disappointing effort in his return to the downhill turf course last time by finishing eighth. He had two lifetime wins in five tries on the course and looking to rebound here. He has a good work since that race plus Rosario and trainer John Sadler hit at 24% at Santa Anita.

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SIXTH RACE: 1. Rail Trip, 2. Drill, 3. Rousing Sermon. LONG SHOT: Majestic City.

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SEVENTH RACE: 1. Another Flashback, 2. Horsesanddivorces, 3. Cotton’s Point. LONG SHOT: Chimi Dee.

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EIGHTH RACE: 1. SOPHIE’S SECRET (best bet), 2. Frannie’sspirittoo, 3. Glad’s Gals. LONG SHOT: Bright Town

Eastern-based jockey Luis Saez also comes in for Breeders’ Cup week and Sadler wastes no time putting the journeyman on this 3-year-old filly Sophie’s Secret. Saez knows how to get speed out of a horse and Sadler adds blinkers so it appears the filly will be pushed from the gate. She has been favored in six of her eight career races, but with a good work in tow maybe this is her day, finally.

Sunday’s top choice winners: 2 (Segway $6.80, first race; Be Proud $6, second; Global View $6.60, sixth)

Sunday’s second choice winners: 0

Sunday’s third choice winners: 4 (Tappingintherain $5.60, third; Horizontalyspeakin $6.20, fourth; Tiz the Truth $3.80; Harbaugh $5.80, ninth)

Sunday’s long show winners: 0

Jeff_Nahill on Twitter

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Breeders' Cup, Horse racing, Santa Anita

Draw kind to Breeders’ Cup favorites

The racing gods were kind to the favorites who were given their post positions for this week’s biggest Breeders’ Cup races —- the Classic and Distaff —- at Arcadia’s Santa Anita Park.

The same couldn’t be said for some of the other races on Friday and Saturday.

Game On Dude, a perfect 5-for-5 in 2013, drew the No. 9 spot on Monday for Saturday’s $5 million Breeders’ Cup Classic and was installed as the 8-5 morning-line favorite. Defending Classic champion Fort Larned (6-1) drew the No. 7 post. The Classic is one of nine BC races on Saturday.

“You really need racing luck,” said Bob Baffert, Game On Dude’s trainer. “I like his outside post (No. 9). We didn’t want to be buried inside.”

Friday’s five races are headed by the $2 million Distaff, which features a small but star-studded field of six females. Hall of Fame jockey Gary Stevens called the draw for that 1 1/8-mile race “irrelevant” on Twitter.

Stevens will come out of the No. 5 hole with the 3-year-old filly Beholder (5-2) while favorites Royal Delta (8-5 and the two-time defending champ) and Princess of Sylmar (9-5), another 3-year-old filly, drew No. 4 and No. 6, respectively.

As for the rest of the races, the biggest loser might be the 2-year-old filly My Conquestadory (9-2), who drew the outside post in a field of 14 going 1 mile on Santa Anita’s turf course in Friday’s Juvenile Fillies Turf. Trainer Mark Casse said the draw was so bad for his undefeated filly that he might consider scratching.

“I haven’t been feeling well, and I can’t tell you that made my stomach feel any better,” said Casse. “I’ve been on the phone with Ernie (Semersky, owner of Conquest Stables) and we may not even run, but we’ll see.”

Trainer Doug O’Neill didn’t have any luck with the No. 12 draw for speedy Goldencents (4-1) in Friday’s Dirt Mile plus another speed horse, and morning-line favorite Verrazano (3-1), drew No. 10.

“(The 12 post for Goldencents) is the one post I wasn’t thrilled about, but as I thought about it, I think it will work out,” said O’Neill, who also has the favorite in Saturday’s Sprint with Private Zone (3-1), which drew No. 7.

Defending Turf Sprint champion Mizdirection (4-1), owned in part by radio talk show host Jim Rome, drew an advantageous No. 12 for Saturday’s race on Santa Anita’s famed downhill grass course.

@Jeff_Nahill on Twitter

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Horse racing, Santa Anita

Mucho Macho Man tops BC work list at Santa Anita

From Ed Golden of the Santa Anita publicity department:

Awesome Again Stakes winner Mucho Macho Man had his penultimate workout Saturday morning prior to the $5 million Breeders’ Cup Classic at Santa Anita on Nov. 2, going five furlongs in 1:02.20.

“Mucho’s” fractional times were 26 1/5 and 40 4/5, with a gallop-out clocking of 1:15 for six furlongs. “He went very well,” trainer Kathy Ritvo said. “He had a great work today and he’ll have one more before the Classic.”

Also working for the Classic was Travers runner-up Moreno, who went five furlongs in company for trainer Eric Guillot in 1:00.60. Workmate Distort This was given 1:01.40. Joe Talamo, who rides Moreno in the Classic, was aboard for the work.

“He went really well,” Guillot said. “He galloped out seven-eighths in (one) 26 and four.”

Caracortado (Turf Sprint) worked six furlongs on the main track in 1:12.20.

“He went real nice and he looks great right now,” trainer Mike Machowsky said of the California-bred gelding. “He finished strong and galloped out good.”

Silver Max (Mile), who upset reigning Horse of the Year Wise Dan in the Shadwell Mile, worked four furlongs for Dale Romans in 46.80, while Authenticity (Distaff) went four furlongs for Todd Pletcher in 47 flat, along with workmate We Miss Artie, who was given the identical clocking.

Also working for Romans was defending Turf winner Little Mike, who went five furlongs on the main track in 1:01. His splits were 23 4/5, 36 2/5, 49 flat and 1:01 flat, with a gallop-out time of 1:15 for six furlongs.

“She’ll have one more breeze (before the Distaff),” said Pletcher assistant Mike McCarthy, who has been at Santa Anita with Authenticity since she ran second to Beholder in the Zenyatta Stakes on Sept. 28.

“It was partly a matter of economics in keeping her here,” McCarthy said. “There was little point in shipping her back to New York after the Zenyatta and then coming back to Santa Anita for the Distaff.”

FrontRunner runner-up Dance With Fate (Juvenile) worked six furlongs for Peter Eurton in 1:12.80.

At Hollywood Park Friday, Rodeo Drive Stakes winner Tiz Flirtatious worked five furlongs on Cushion Track in a minute flat, breezing. “Very nice,” said trainer Marty Jones, who has her ticketed for the $2 million Filly & Mare Turf on Nov. 2.

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