- YAKTEEN STARS DISPLAY ‘SPECTACULAR’ WORKS
- FRENCH CONNECTION READY FOR ROYAL HEROINE
- FESTIVE SPRING CARNIVAL SET THROUGH APRIL 17
- POPULAR RUNHAPPY 5K RUN RETURNS SATURDAY
MESSIER, ADARE MANOR IN ‘PERFECT’ BREEZES
Messier and Adare Manor, winners of their last races by a combined margin of 28 lengths, each worked yesterday for this Saturday’s Grade I Runhappy Santa Anita Derby and Grade II Santa Anita Oaks, and Tim Yakteen was beyond delighted.
Messier and Adare manor both breezed five furlongs, the former in 1:00.60 and latter in 1:00.20.
“Messier was spectacular, as was the filly,” the trainer said. “We’re right on point. Messier went at 6:30 with Drayden Van Dyke aboard and Adare Manor went at 7:45 with my exercise rider, Baltazar Contreras.
“The works were just what I was looking for and were perfectly executed.”
Messier, named for hockey great Mark Messier, winner of six Stanley Cups, won the Grade III Robert B. Lewis Stakes on Feb. 6 by 15 lengths. The son of Empire Maker has been favored in each of his five races, four times at odds-on, and will vie for favoritism with Forbidden Kingdom in the Santa Anita Derby.
Adare Manor, a daughter of Uncle Mo, won her last two races by a combined margin of 25 lengths, including a 13-length romp in the Grade III Las Virgenes Stakes on Feb. 6.
John Velazquez will ride Adare Manor in the Oaks and Messier in the Santa Anita Derby.
The $750,000 Santa Anita Derby at 1 1/8 miles will be run for the 85th time. It offers the winner 100 qualifying points to the Kentucky Derby, 40 to the runner-up, 20 to the third-place finisher and 10 to the fourth.
There will be early first post time April 9 of 12 noon.
FRENCH-BRED SHOULD BE CLOSER IN ROYAL HEROINE
With improved racing luck, the French Connection hopes to make its presence felt in this Saturday’s Grade II Royal Heroine Stakes, always a salty contest that deserves to be considered for Grade I status.
Leonard Powell is a 45-year-old Frenchman with an extensive background in horsemanship attained growing up on his family’s 200-acre Normandy stud farm.
No surprise he is quietly enjoying a solid Santa Anita meet.
With 11 wins from 41 starts (27 percent), including a $37 upset by Xmas Surprise in Saturday’s ninth race, Powell expects French-bred Avenue de France to be much closer early on in the one-mile Royal Heroine than she was in the Grade II Buena Vista on March 5.
Ninth by 18 lengths at the half-mile marker in the Buena Vista, the five-year-old mare made up almost 15 lengths but fell short by 3 ½ lengths at odds a dime short of 30-1.
‘She’s doing very well, she had a very nice work a couple of days ago (four furlongs in 48.80 on Friday),” Powell assessed. “Last time she was a bit too far back. She closed, but too late. She had too much to do.
“I hope this time she’s a bit closer to the lead. I still want her at the back of the field but not as far back as last time.
“She has a good quarter of a mile turn of foot, and that’s an asset. She made up about 12 lengths on the field last time but she couldn’t make it all.”
FESTIVE SPRING CARNIVAL RUNS THROUGH APRIL 17
While the Grade I Runhappy Santa Anita Derby will be the centerpiece of a seven-stakes racing bonanza this Saturday, five of them graded, attending fans can avail themselves of a myriad of other activities at Santa Anita’s annual Spring Carnival all weekends that continues through April 17.
It includes a Winner’s Circle BBQ Championship today, a Ferris Wheel, Zipper, Train Ride and much more, namely carnival games and snacks, and the San Gabriel Valley’s largest Easter Egg Hunt on April 17.
For additional Spring Carnival information, please visit santaanita.com or call 626 574-RACE.
RUNHAPPY 5K RUN RESUMES THIS SATURDAY
Santa Anita’s popular Runhappy Santa Anita Derby Day 5K Run & Walk returns this Saturday, April 9, following a two-year absence due to COVID-19 restrictions.
Runners and walkers from five to 90 will begin their 5K journey from Santa Anita’s South Lot B, which adjoins the Westfield Santa Anita M all and proceed west to Gate 8 and turn north onto Baldwin Ave.
From there, they will turn left into the LA County Arboretum prior to retuning to Baldwin Ave, from where they will proceed east into Santa Anita’s Gate 7 and onto the backside of the track en route to an Infield finish on the inner training track.
Accordingly, Baldwin Ave. will be closed to vehicular traffic between the 210 Freeway and Huntingdon Drive from 7:45 a.m. to 9:45 a.m.
“We’re thrilled that the Runhappy Santa Anita Derby Day 5K Walk & Run is back,” said Pete Siberell, Santa Anita’s Director of Community Services and Special Projects. “For thousands of people, this has been a Derby Day tradition since 1994.
“We also want to thank the City of Arcadia, which is providing police and fire staffing to help ensure the safety of everyone involved.”
To register, fans should visit www.derbyday5k.com. Participants can also register in person until April 6 at Run With Us at 235 N. Lake Ave. in Pasadena or at the Promenade at Westfield Santa Anita on Friday, April 8 from 4 to 6:30 p.m.
There will also be Race Day registration available in Santa Anita’s South Lot B April 9 from 6:30 a.m.to 7:45 a.m. For additional information, visit santaanita.com or call 626 574-RACE.
FINISH LINES: Phil D’Amato, who shares the training lead with Doug O’Neill at 31 wins, had an extremely busy morning, working 22 horses, 14 on the training track as is his wont. In all, there were 170 recorded workouts, including a five-furlong move in 1:01 by trainer Val Brinkerhoff’s millionaire seven-year-old gelding Restrainedvengence, scheduled to make his 2022 debut in this Sunday’s inaugural John Shear Mile . . . Trainer Peter Eurton will be host Tom Quigley’s guest today at 11:50 a.m. in the XBTV Studios . . . Belated congrats to handicapping contest winner and fledgling owner Dylan Donnelly, as his Kant Beat the Rock gave him his first-ever win in Friday’s fifth race. Trained by Mike Puype, Kant Beat the Rock paid $11.00 to win… Santa Anita will be dark for live racing Monday through Thursday. Live racing resumes 1 p.m. Friday, April 8.
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