- ‘PARADISE’ NOT LOST, RETURNS FOR SHIRREFFS
- FIRSTS ALL AROUND AT SANTA ANITA SATURDAY
- SINGLE TICKET JACKPOT IS STILL UP FOR GRABS
PARADISE WOODS DEBUTS FOR SHIRREFFS IN SANTA MONICA
Multiple Grade I winner Paradise Woods is scheduled to make her first start under the direction of trainer John Shirreffs in this Saturday’s Grade II Santa Monica Stakes for older fillies and mares at seven furlongs.
It would mark the first race in seven months for the five-year-old daughter of Union Rags formerly trained by Richard Mandella.
“She’s been breezing very nicely,” Shirreffs said, alluding to two of her most recent drills being the fastest of the day at the distance of six furlongs, a 1:11.60 move from the gate on Jan. 26 followed by a 1:10.80 recorded on Friday.
“I’m just hoping for good weather,” added Shirreffs, who has had Paradise Woods in his care since December. Joel Rosario, who has expressed keen satisfaction working her, rides her for the first time competitively.
Flavien Prat, who had ridden Paradise Woods in all of her previous 11 races, will be at Laurel Park Saturday to ride Spiced Perfection for Peter Miller in the Barbara Fritchie Stakes.
“Getting a horse like Paradise Woods certainly picks your head up a little bit,” Shirreffs said, laughing. “It puts a little bounce in your step. At the barn she’s very well behaved, but like a lot of good race horses, when they see the track, they take it up a notch.”
As the trainer of super mare Zenyatta, John Shirreffs would know.
Working on a fast main track Sunday for possible Santa Monica starts were a trio of Bob Baffert runners–Dream Tree, Emboldened and Marley’s Freedom. The latter two went five furlongs in company and were clocked in identical bullet times of 58.80. Dream Tree, working solo, also received a bullet for a six furlong move in 1:11.60.
FIRSTS ALL AROUND AT SANTA ANITA SATURDAY
Multi-cultural firsts were the order of the day Saturday at Santa Anita. Posting their first victories at The Great Race Place were jockeys Andrea Atzeni, Jean Diaz Jr. and Shane Foley.
The 27-year-old Atzeni, a native of the Mediterranean island Sardinia, won the Grade III Thunder Road Stakes for trainer Simon Callaghan on True Valour at a $25 win payoff; 18-year-old apprentice Diaz from Puerto Rico took the sixth race aboard Hero For Hire ($26) trained by Jeff Bonde; and the 30-year-old Foley, a native of Ireland, posted a $34.40 upset with John Sadler trainee Platinum Warrior in the Grade III San Marcos Stakes.
“It felt so good to win here, especially this soon,” said Diaz, whose father, 41-year-old Puerto Rican riding great Juan, and mother, Amarilis, were on hand to see Jean record his landmark triumph on only his third mount here.
“They both took the redeye back to Puerto Rico last night,” said Jean (pronounced John). “My father rides in six races at Hipodromo Camarero Race Track there today.”
Saturday was a first for Callaghan as well. In addition to True Valour, the native of England who turns 39 on March 7, also saddled odds-on favorite Bellafina to win the Grade II Las Virgenes Stakes. “That’s the first time I won two stakes on the same day,” Callaghan said.
SANTA ANITA’S 20 CENT SINGLE TICKET JACKPOT REMAINS UNSOLVED
With just one exception, double digit payoffs were the order of the day Saturday in Santa Anita’s popular 20 cent Single Ticket Pick Six Jackpot, with the result being there were two consolation tickets with six winners, each worth $56,382.
As has been the case now for three consecutive days, there were three “live” horses in the 11th and final race, but all three, #8 Lucky Lately (8-1), #1 Lucky Stepper (33-1) and #4 Tip Top Gal (64-1) fell far short, finishing fourth, ninth and 12th, respectively.
With $211,098 in “new” money wagered, Saturday’s total Jackpot pool was $275,617, which has helped to create a Rainbow Pick Six carryover into Sunday of $112,846.50.
Approximate post time for race four, the beginning of the Rainbow Six, is 2:02 p.m. PT.