Horse racing, Santa Anita

Santa Anita picks for Wednesday, Jan. 1 (updated)

First, Happy New Year.

Second, jockey Tyler Baze returns to the saddle after a suspension for substance abuse. Let’s hope he has his act together in his personal life and on the track.

Lots of scratches early.

FIRST RACE: 1. Rebelution (SCRATCHED), 2. Sunland Vintage, 3. Glad’s Gals. LONG SHOT: Lethal Miss.

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SECOND RACE: 1. Govenor Charlie (SCRATCHED), 2. Little Jerry, 3. Fury Kapcori. LONG SHOT: Safety Belt.

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THIRD RACE: 1. Joe Carl, 2. Go to the Pulpit, 3. Cook Inlet. LONG SHOT: Romeo Royale.

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FOURTH RACE: 1. Right on Schedule, 2. Tommy’s Kid, 3. Atticus Scouts. LONG SHOT: Robertino.

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FIFTH RACE: 1. Setsuko, 2. Say Ow, 3. Ever Rider. LONG SHOT: Scorpion Warrior.

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SIXTH RACE: 1. Perfecta, 2. Smart N Dreamy, 3. Boller Bomb. LONG SHOT: Ricspretentiousgal.

Interesting jockey switch here on PERFECTA, a daughter of Pleasantly Perfect. Joe Talamo has ridden three of the last four times, not necessarily with great success, so trainer Richard Mandella goes to the red hot Gary Stevens. They are a 40% proposition the last year so why try to fight it.

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SEVENTH RACE: 1. Betty Bing Bing, 2. Very Thankful, 3. Glorious Rebecca. LONG SHOT: Exclusive Girl.

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EIGHTH RACE: 1. Rever de Vous, 2. Full Ransom, 3. Sushi Empire. LONG SHOT: Saintly Joan.

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NINTH RACE: 1. Apache Ambush, 2. Second Proposal, 3. Goyan. LONG SHOT: Grand Humor.

@Jeff_Nahill on Twitter

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Horse racing, Santa Anita

Santa Anita picks for Friday, December 27

I almost made the prediction on the opening day picks that there would be a Pick 6 carryover going into this Friday card because of the great stakes races, but I didn’t, and there is.

There won’t be a carryover into Saturday. There just are enough quality races or horses running so tread lightly and wait for Saturday and Sunday.

FIRST RACE: 1. For the People, 2. The Mothership, 3. I’m No Patsy. LONG SHOT: Winninginfashion.

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SECOND RACE: 1. Pretzel Logic, 2. Chila Ali (SCRATCHED), 3. Tribal Rain. LONG SHOT: Citizen Jane.

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THIRD RACE: 1. Cool Samurai (best bet), 2. The Admiral, 3. Icy Ride. LONG SHOT: Rough Passage.

The 2-year-old gelding COOL SAMURAI might have won his debut at Belmont had it not gotten checked in the stretch. Makes first start on West Coast for trainer John Shirreffs and Hall of Fame jockey Mike Smith will take this one two turns for the first time.

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FOURTH RACE: 1. Dunmore East, 2. Macias, 3. Truelee Scrappin. LONG SHOT: Anabaa Premium.

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FIFTH RACE: 1. Van Dien Avenue, 2. Velvet Mesquite, 3. Sae John’s Spirit. LONG SHOT: Hot and Pleasing.

VAN DIEN AVENUE, a 3-year-old filly, actually broke her maiden at Del Mar, but she was disqualified from the purse money so she has been running against winners. Hall of Fame jockey Gary Stevens rides for trainer Neil French and when a big time rider shows up for a small time trainer look out.

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SIXTH RACE: 1. Street Icon, 2. Chitu, 3. Beach Hut. LONG SHOT: Benny Time.

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SEVENTH RACE: 1. Kathleen Rose, 2. Mangita, 3. Krazypapaya. LONG SHOT: Warren’s Rosebud.

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EIGHTH RACE: 1. Anythingtogeteven, 2. Cactus Shines, 3. Reps and Warrants. LONG SHOT: Bluegrass Fox Trot.

@Jeff_Nahill on Twitter

Thursday’s top choice winners: 1 (Five Palms $5, fourth race)

Thursday’s second choice winners: 2 (Battled $3.40, second; Buckingham Bull $4.60, third)

Thursday’s third choice winners: 2 (Crusher $4.60, first; Gervinho $9, seventh)

Thursday’s long shot winners: 1 (Toomuchinformation $15, ninth)

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Hollywood Park, Horse racing

Hollywood Park selections for Saturday, Nov. 16

FIRST RACE: 1. Silver Hustler, 2. Rock and Glory,  3. Changethechannel. LONG SHOT: Irish Presence.

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SECOND RACE: 1. Common Confusion, 2. Maximinus, 3. Dream Totem. LONG SHOT: Midnight Mayhem.

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THIRD RACE: 1. Georgia, 2. Arethusa, 3. Pleasant Mix. LONG SHOT: Be Proud.

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FOURTH RACE: 1. Enterprising (best bet), 2. I’ll Wrap It Up, 3. Life’s Journey. LONG SHOT: Go Black Tie.

ENTERPRISING, a son of Elusive Quality, was given a race last time in his debut by jockey Gary Stevens and trainer Tom Proctor. Now the 2-year-old gets two turns on the turf, something he should enjoy. Look for an improved effort.

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FIFTH RACE: 1. Coco de Carchy, 2. Puff Pastry, 3. Classic Journey. LONG SHOT: Make More Money.

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SIXTH RACE: 1. Lilly’s Perfect, 2. Perfecta, 3. Distant Image. LONG SHOT: Tebowing.

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SEVENTH RACE: 1. Pimpernal, 2. Big Medicine Man, 3. Three Point Luke. LONG SHOT: Fulmerized.

PIMPERNAL has been working out with Streaming, who was an easy winner for trainer Bob Baffert in her debut on Friday.

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EIGHTH RACE: 1. J K’s Mischief, 2. Our Pure Creation, 3. Golden Production. LONG SHOT: Lucky Student.

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NINTH RACE: 1. Magic Number, 2. Soul Searcher, 3. Red Red Door. LONG SHOT: Silver Gun Girl.

It isn’t often that apprentice jockey Gonzalo Nicolas is a key to a rcae, but he just might be in this $20,000 maiden claimer. Nicolas jumps off two other horses to keep the mount on MAGIC NUMBER, a daughter of Hat Trick. The filly finished a strong second at this level and distance (7 furlongs) one back and could be the one to beat.

@Jeff_Nahill on Twitter

Friday’s top choice winners: 2 (Boyett $12.40, third race; Streaming $3.00, sixth)

Friday’s second choice winners: 3 (San Onofre $2.60, first; Infosec $3.40, fourth; Sandys Diamond $5.60, eighth)

Friday’s third choice winners: 1 (Flashy Dame $8.20, fifth)

Friday’s long shot winners: 1 (Lethal Miss $17.20, second)

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Breeders' Cup, Horse racing, Santa Anita

Breeders’ Cup comes all the way back

ARCADIA

Comebacks were the order of the day during Breeders’ Cup 30 at Santa Anita Park Saturday.

Three defending champions returned to the winner’s circle: Groupie Doll ($8) in the Filly & Mare Sprint, Jim Rome’s Mizdirection ($7.40) in the Turf Sprint and Wise Dan ($3.60) in the Mile.

But the biggest comeback of all was saved for the marquee race on the card, the $5 million Classic as Mucho Macho Man ($10) returned to make up for last year’s runner-up finish to Fort Larned —- who finished fourth Saturday —- with 50-year-old jockey Gary Stevens, who returned to riding this year after a seven-year absence from the saddle, and trainer Kathy Ritvo, who had a heart transplant five years ago.

Mucho Macho Man had to survive a thrilling, three-horse driving finish as the 5-year-old beat 3-year-old Will Take Charge by a nose in 2 minutes, 00.72 seconds and it was another head back to European Declaration of War.

”The race was a mile‑and‑a‑quarter, and not a mile‑and‑a‑quarter and a stride, so it was perfect,” Stevens said. “Had I known it was that close, I probably wouldn’t have celebrated. But we’re not wrong very often. He had his head down. He was fully stretched out, and just a tremendous training job by Kathy and a tremendous effort from a great, great horse.”

Ritvo was just hoping her horse had made her the first woman to train a Classic winner.

“When I saw Gary shake his stick, I was confident,” she said.

On the other end, trainer D. Wayne Lukas had to suffer the heartbreak of a close loss.

“The first time by, I said no (Will Take Charge) lost,” Lukas said. “The second time, I thought he won it. The third time they ran it by, I said, ‘No, he was second. ‘ ”

Stevens said it was the culmination of his career to win his first BC Classic.

“This was a tremendous experience to win this race at my age,” Stevens said. “I never expected to be in this situation. This is the ultimate feeling. It’s the icing on the cake of my career.”

With happiness of the Classic, also came some sadness from trainer Bob Baffert’s camp, which had an up- and-down day.

Game On Dude, the betting favorite for a second straight year in the Classic, finished a disappointing ninth after contesting the pace early and faltering on the turn for home.

“When I saw (Game On Dude) going real fast on the backstretch, I knew I was going to be in trouble,” Baffert said. “Then when Mike (Smith, jockey) asked him, there was nothing there.”

Earlier on the program,  Baffert won two races, but his day got off to a bad start when prized 2-year-old filly Secret Compass broke down on the turn for home with a fractured leg in the Juvenile Fillies and had to be euthanized. Jockey John Velazquez was injured in the incident, taken to the hospital, where he underwent emergency surgery to have his spleen removed.

Baffert won the Juvenile with New Year’s Day ($23) and Sprint with Secret Circle ($7), but it was still a melancholy afternoon.

“When you lose a horse like that, it just takes all the wind out of our sails,” Baffert said. “These horses are so close to us … For it to happen, we’re all still in shock. Just the win (in the Juvenile) is exciting, but you still, in the back of my mind, I’m thinking about that filly.”

Ria Antonia ($66.60) won the ill-fated Juvenile Fillies when original winner She’s a Tiger, ridden by Stevens, was disqualified for bumping her in the stretch.

The Europeans again dominated on the turf, save for Wise Dan’s win, as Dank ($5) took the Filly & Mare Turf and Magician ($27) won the Turf over fellow Euro The Fugue.

@Jeff_Nahill on Twitter

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