Ima Happy Cat Goes Wire-to-Wire

AUBURN, Wash. (May 27, 2019) — Ima Happy Cat went wire-to-wire in the Monday feature $50,000 Hastings Stakes at Emerald Downs.

Ima Happy Cat is by Smiling Tiger, out of the Wekiva Springs mare Infernal McGoon, was bred by Dale Mahlum, is owned by Sue & Tim Spooner and trained by Dan Markle.

She now has five wins in 14 starts, earnings of $168,696 and stopped the timer in 1:08.73 scoring by a length.

Grecian Fire Makes the Grade in All American

By Mary LaRue
Albany, CA (May 27, 2019)-Jerry Hollendorfer had two of the top choices in the $100,000 All American Stakes (G3) when the field went to post May 27 at Golden Gate Fields, giving the Hall of Fame trainer a prime chance to win the stakes for the ninth time.

While the favored Choo Choo finished fifth, third-choice Grecian Fire did not let Hollendorfer down, as the son of Unusual Heat earned his first graded victory in the one-mile test over the all-weather course.

With longshot Many Roses shooting to the lead early on, Grecian Fire and jockey William Antongeorgi III settled just off the pace in fourth as fractions clicked off in :23.43 and :47.48 through a half-mile. As the field came off the turn for home Gabo’s Macondo, who had raced in second, took the lead briefly, but Grecian Fire sprinted clear in the stretch and finished the distance in 1:36.49.

The winner returned $10.60, $5.60, and $3.40 across the board, while Builder got within 1 1/4 lengths for second and paid $7.80 and $4.80. Touched by Autism finished third, returning $5.60 to show.

Grecian Fire finished fifth most recently in the San Francisco Mile (G3T), a race that like the All American he has contested twice. Last year, the 5-year-old gelding tested graded stakes waters, finishing seventh in the San Francisco Mile and then third in the All American.

This year’s All American victory brings Grecian Fire’s record to 5-2-4 from 23 starts and brings his earnings to $286,702.

A homebred for KMN Racing, Grecian Fire is the second foal out of the stakes-placed Kitten’s Joy mare Maddie’s Odyssey, who also produced this weekend’s Summertime Oaks (G2) runner-up Sneaking Out.

Clubhouse Ride Juvenile Cruises to Five Length Win

From: CTBA.com
SHELBYVILLE, Ind. (May 22, 2019) – The Northern California Yearling Sale of 2018 was represented by its first winner on Tuesday when Megan Marie was a 5 ¼-length winner of a maiden special weight race for 2-year-old fillies at Indiana Grand Race Course.

The California-bred daughter of Clubhouse Ride is out of the All Thee Power mare Summer Lite, was bred by Victoria Polzin, is owned by Jonathan Nance, Barbara Eakin, Steve Smith and Bart Sherman and is trained by Nance.

The $4,000 purchase at the Northern California Yearling Sale ran the five furlongs in 1:00.12 and went off at odds of 17-1 in the field of seven. It was her second lifetime start.

Baja Sur Sets Record In $50,000 Auburn Stakes

by Emeralddowns.com
AUBURN, Wash. (May 19, 2019) – State champion as a 2-year-old, Baja Sur showed Sunday that he might be the dominant 3-year-old at Emerald Downs in 2019.

Returning from a 10-month break, Baja Sur stormed to a five-length victory over Runningwscissors in the $50,000 Auburn Stakes for 3-year-old colts or geldings.

The winning time—a sterling 1:07.98—broke the stakes record and is the fastest six-furlong clocking of the meet. Blaine Wright is the winning trainer for owners John and Janene Maryanski and Gerald and Gail Schneider.

Ridden by Franklin Ceballos at 119 lbs, Baja Sur paid $3.80, $2.40 and $2.20.

A Washington-bred gelding by Smiling Tiger-Premo Copy, Baja Sur is now undefeated and virtually untested—winning his three career starts by a combined 20 ¾ lengths. In his two starts at age 2, Baja Sur broke his maiden by 5 ¼ lengths before rolling by 10 ½ lengths in the King County Express.

Sunday’s victory, worth $25,300, boosted Baja Sur’s earnings to $59,950.

Baja Sur broke alertly and took command early, setting fractions of :21.90 for the quarter-mile and :44.50 for the half. Shaking off Fuzzy Dolphin into the lane, Baja Sur opened a three-length advantage past mid-stretch, running five furlongs in a blistering :56.13, and widened his lead to the wire.

Barring something unforeseen, Baja Sur figures to be a prohibitive favorite when 3-year-olds reconvene for the $50,000 Coca-Colas Stakes at 6 ½ furlongs on Sunday, June 16.

VETERAN COMEDIAN TIM CONWAY DEPARTS AS BELOVED FIGURE AT SANTA ANITA PARK

by Santa Anita Publicity
ARCADIA, Calif. (May 15, 2019)–When news of comedian Tim Conway’s passing at the age of 85 became known Tuesday morning, fond memories of the comedic giant were rekindled among the many people in the racing industry whose lives he touched, perhaps none more so than the hundreds of jockeys with whom he interacted and advocated for.

In a Winner’s Circle appearance on the occasion of Santa Anita’s Tim Conway Stakes, for 2-year-olds at six furlongs on Oct. 6, 2012, Conway, who was alongside his son, Tim Jr. and retired Hall of Fame jockey Eddie Delahoussaye, deadpanned, “They (jockeys) used to give me a lot of tips. None of them ever won. Amazing.”

On the serious side, Conway and his wife Charlene were tireless in their efforts to raise money for disabled riders through the Don MacBeth Memorial Jockey Fund, which was co-founded by their close friend, Hall of Fame jockey Chris McCarron, in 1987 and assisted more than 2,000 jockeys over a 25-year run.

“He was as classy a gentleman as he was funny,” said McCarron by telephone from Midway, Kentucky on Tuesday. “He was generous with heart, spirit, generous with his time and he was just a class act through and through. He could not have been more generous, especially with his time.”

When asked why he thought Conway was able to connect so well with jockeys, McCarron responded, “Well, first and foremost, he had the utmost respect for riders. He understood what’s involved. You know, he tried galloping horses for a little while when he was very young in Cleveland, so for the rest of his life, he had the utmost respect for riders and trainers and owners…He had a deep love and respect for the industry as well.

“When he was on tour with Harvey Korman, Tim used to tell his tour manager to book them in cities where they had races going on, so he could go to the races when he wasn’t on stage. That’s how much he loved the sport.”

World famous as a result of legendary television roles on “McHale’s Navy” in the early 1960s, “The Carol Burnett Show” throughout the 1970s and various big screen appearances, Conway won six Emmy Awards and one Golden Globe trophy and was also widely acclaimed for playing the character of a hapless jockey named Lyle Dorf. Conway was hilariously funny as “Dorf” in appearances on The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson and in many other television and film opportunities, including a comedic sketch during the 1987 Breeders’ Cup telecast on NBC from Hollywood Park.

McCarron recounted a real-life mishap with Conway that provided a window into his comedic depth as well as his genuinely self-deprecating humor.

“Tim and Charlene were at my house for Christmas, 1986,” said McCarron. “I was recuperating from a broken leg that I suffered at Oak Tree, right before the Breeders’ Cup. My wife Judy, had purchased an Equicizer from Frankie Lovato and it was in my living room. My book shelves were loaded with trophies and Tim got on the Equicizer and he says, ‘McCarron, if I was a jockey, all these trophies would be mine.’

“So, he got on, leaned forward and pushed on the horse’s neck and the neck snapped back and hit him right in the nose and actually broke his nose. He couldn’t stop laughing, even though he was bleeding right away. Charlene took him to the Encino Hospital…Tony DeFranco (a close mutual friend) and Tim’s daughter Kelly took a video camera into the emergency room, which was against the rules, but Tim talked the doctor into letting them do it. So Tony sets it up like he’s reporter and a jockey has been injured and they’re on-scene to find out his condition. The doc starts examining Tim and he asked him, ‘So tell me. What time did this incident happen?’

“Tim goes, ‘Let’s see. It was the third race. That would’ve been about 1:30.’ Even though he was in serious pain, he couldn’t keep from laughing and he couldn’t keep us from laughing…That’s the kind of guy he was. He was a wonderful human being and I feel a terrible sense of loss for Charlene and all the kids.”

And, the same can be said of all those who knew the legendary Tim Conway here at Santa Anita and throughout the racing world.

Tim Conway is survived by his wife, Charlene, and seven children, including Tim Conway, Jr., who hosts “The Tim Conway Jr. Show” weeknights from 6 to 10 p.m. on KFI AM 640 in Los Angeles.

Kitty Boom Boom takes Campanile

by Chuck Dybdal
ALBANY, Calif.–Kitty Boom Boom (Tizbud) sat just off the pace of 124-1 Tip Top Gal, put her away when she wanted and cruised home to a four-length victory in the $101,550 Campanile Stakes for 3-year-old Cal-bred fillies at one mile on the turf.

Campanile winner Kitty Boom Boom stalked as the race had faster fractions than the Silky Sullivan.

“When I saw who she was tracking, I just thought, [Tip Top Gal is] not going to pull this off,'” said Kitty Boom Boom’s owner and breeder, Pamela C. Ziebarth.

There was drama before the race as 3-2 favorite Lakerball acted up walking onto the track and for most of the post parade, forcing jockey Alonso Quinonez off her twice.

Kitty Boom Boom, who ran second to older in her previous start on April 13, left no drama in the Campanile with her strong stretch run. Hollywood Hills rallied for second, beating Apache Princess by a half-length, with Dr Wysong a nose farther back in fourth. The winning time was 1:36.81.

Kitty Boom Boom, trained by Richard Baltas, earned $60,000 for her second victory in four starts and now has earned $111,000.

Irish Heatwave wins Silky Sullivan

by Chuck Dybdal
ALBANY, Calif. – A tight three-way photo and a dominating performance brought an end to the eight-stakes Gold Rush Weekend at Golden Gate Fields on Sunday.

Irish Heatwave (Unusual Heat) dueled head-and-head with Listing to deep stretch and then held off the late runs of Our Silver Oak and Lieutenant Dan in winning the $101,500 Silky Sullivan for Cal-bred 3-year-olds at one mile on the turf.

Listing flashed good speed after breaking from the outside post in the Silky Sullivan. Irish Heatwave, who broke from the No. 3 post, stayed right with his rival while saving ground throughout. The winner never got a breather as he stuck his nose in front of Listing at the quarter pole, and the two continued to race in tandem into the stretch.

When Listing, who finished fourth, only one-half length behind the winner, hung a bit in the stretch, Lieutenant Dan and Our Silver Oak were right there to challenge. Our Silver Oak appeared to have his nose in front just before the wire, but Irish Heatwave had his nose first on the wire, winning the race in 1:36.60.

“I couldn’t call it,” said winning jockey Irving Orozco. “Lucky I had a game horse.”

Juan Hernandez was confident he’d outfinished Lieutenant Dan but said he couldn’t see Orozco and Irish Heatwave.

Irish Heatwave earned $60,000 for his first stakes win and third victory in eight starts. He has earnings of $160,292 for Calumet Farm. Keith Desormeaux is the trainer.

THE HUNTED RALLIES TO WIN $100,000 CRYSTAL WATER STAKES BY ONE LENGTH UNDER PEREIRA

Benoit Photo

ARCADIA, Calif. (April 27, 2019)–A newcomer to stakes company, The Hunted got a perfect stalking trip under Tiago Pereira and accelerated powerfully turning for home to take Saturday’s $100,000 Crystal Water Stakes by one length. Trained by Richard Baltas, the 4-year-old California-bred gelding by Unusual Heat got a flat mile on turf in 1:35.07.

Named for the winner of both the 1977 Santa Anita Handicap and Hollywood Gold Cup, the Crystal Water, for 3-year-olds and up, is part of the lucrative Golden State Series, sponsored by the CTBA, and is for California-bred or sired runners.

Ridden for the first time by Pereira, The Hunted, who broke from the far outside, saved ground while a close fourth into the Club House turn and was fourth, about 2 ½ lengths off of pacesetter Tule Fog heading into the far turn. Approaching the quarter pole, Pereira stepped on the gas and The Hunted wheeled three-deep turning for home en route to an impressive win.

“I worked him the other day and he worked really good,” said Pereira. “I’ve never ridden him in a race, but I looked at his last two races and it looked like he was running against good horses. Today, the pace seemed good for him and he was comfortable. When I pushed him out at the quarter pole, he took off.”

Most recently third as the 3-2 favorite in a one mile turf open allowance race here on April 6, The Hunted, who is out of the Jade Hunter mare Lethal Hunter, was off at 5-2 in a field of seven and paid $7.00, $4.80 and $3.00.

Bred in California by CHRB commissioner Madeline Auerbach and owned by Madeline Auerbach, LLC, Ciaglia Racing, LLC and Little Red Feather Racing, The Hunted bagged his third win from 10 career starts and with the winner’s share of $60,000, increased his earnings to $155,829.

“The horse has been training good,” said Baltas. “He was a little unlucky, he was too far back last time. This is stakes company, against Cal-breds…It was a good race and a great ride. I’m very happy for all the connections. He was nice and relaxed down the backside.”

Ridden by Brice Blanc, Tule Fog was courageous in defeat, as he made all the early running and prevailed by a neck over favored Brandothebartender for the place. Off at 7-1, Tule Fog paid $5.60 and $3.80.

Ridden by Joe Talamo, Brandothebartender was fifth heading into the far turn and didn’t have any apparent excuses, as he finished third by a half length over Hardboot. Off at 2-1, “Brando” paid $2.40 to show.

Fractions on the race were 23.49, 47.67, 1:11.51 and 1:23.45.

Lakerville Filly Shares Top OBS Work Time

Ocala, FL (April 24, 2019)-Takes a Village, a Lakerville filly, hip 1168 at the upcoming 2019 Spring Ocala Breeders Sales worked a 9 4/5 to share the fastest time with seven others including juveniles by Medaglia d’ Oro, Malibu Moon and Shackelford.

The January 31st filly is out of the High Brite broodmare Don’t Despair and she was bred by Harris Farms. She is a half sibling to five winners, led by $112,000 winner Desperate Measure.

Takes a Village was a $15,500 yearling purchase by Springdale Farm at the 2018 August sale at Pleasanton and she went through the ring at OBS on Friday April 26 with a final hammer price of $190,000.

Spiced Perfection Prevails in Madison Stakes

Mark Mahan Photo

By Frank Angst
A trip from her Southern California base paid dividends April 6 for Spiced Perfection as she prevailed in a stretch duel to win the $300,000 Madison Stakes (G1) by a neck over a game Amy’s Challenge at Keeneland.

Spiced Perfection also won the La Brea Stakes (G1) Dec. 26 at Santa Anita Park, which, like the Madison, was contested at seven furlongs. Winning trainer Peter Miller is thrilled with the 4-year-old Smiling Tiger filly, who races for Pantofel Stable, Wachtel Stable, and Peter Deutsch and entered off a close runner-up finish in the Barbara Fritchie Stakes (G3) Feb. 16 at Laurel Park.

“To win for these owners with this filly, it means a lot to me—and to win here at Keeneland,” Miller said. “(It was a) great ride by Javier, and I’m happy for the whole team. She ran great, she deserved it. She’s got a huge heart. She’s not a big filly. She’s not impressive to look at, but she’s impressive to watch run.

“We’re going to leave her here in Kentucky and give her a couple of easy weeks. Hopefully, we can run her in the Humana Distaff (G1) at Churchill Downs on Derby weekend.”

Spiced Perfection and jockey Javier Castellano tracked Amy’s Challenge as the latter worked her way toward the rail after starting from post 4. Those two cruised through a quarter-mile in :22.56 before opening on their other seven rivals through a half-mile in :45.53. It proved a two-horse race, with Spiced Perfection seizing the lead in midstretch and holding off a re-rally attempt by Amy’s Challenge and jockey Alex Canchari.

Spiced Perfection completed the seven-furlong test in 1:23.49 on a fast track.

It marked a third straight day for Castellano with at least one stakes win at Keeneland. He took the opening day Palisades Turf Sprint Stakes aboard Bulletin and the April 5 Kentucky Utilities Transylvania Stakes (G3T) on Avie’s Flatter. He also won three of the first six races Saturday at Keeneland.

“When this filly passed (Amy’s Challenge), she thought, ‘OK, I’m done.’ I had to ride her a little hard to keep the rhythm,” Castellano said. “I liked the way she did it. Very professional. Wonderful filly.”

Spiced Perfection returned $11 to win, $4.60 to place, and $3.20 to show. Amy’s Challenge paid $4 and $3.20 for the minor awards. Late Night Pow Wow earned her first grade 1 placing by finishing third, paying $2.80 to show.

Champion female sprinter and favorite Shamrock Rose never threatened the top two and finished fifth.

Cathedral Reader broke down near the quarter pole. Kentucky Horse Racing Commission chief veterinarian Bruce Howard said the filly was euthanized following the catastrophic injury to her right front leg.

Bred in California by Premier Thoroughbreds out of the Pleasantly Perfect mare Perfect Feat, Spiced Perfection was purchased by Michael Faber’s Dare to Dream Stables from Checkmate Thoroughbreds’ consignment to the 2017 Barretts March 2-Year-Olds in Training Sale. Before the Barbara Fritchie, she was sold privately to her current owners.