AX MAN TO RETURN IN GRADE III PALOS VERDES
CHILEAN-BRED MAKES U.S. DEBUT IN MEGAHERTZ
CENTENO WINS FIRST STAKES ON BRICKYARD RIDE
JOHN SHEAR CELEBRATES 100TH BIRTHDAY TODAY
REFRESHED AX MAN COMES BACK IN PALOS VERDES
Ax Man, who has not raced since last July when he was fourth of five behind stablemate Maximum Security in the Grade II San Diego Handicap at 1 1/16 miles, returns this Saturday in the Grade III Palos Verdes Stakes for four-year-olds and up at six furlongs.
He also is nominated to next Sunday’s $70,000 Clockers’ Corner Stakes at six furlongs on turf. He was fourth in that race last year.
A six-year-old gelded son of the Candy Ride stallion Misremembered, Ax Man has been firing bullets for his return, among them a five-furlong drill in 57.80 on Jan. 2 and another at that distance of 58.80 yesterday.
Misremembered, trained by Bob Baffert for his wife, Jill, and George Jacobs, won the Santa Anita Handicap in 2010.
“Ax Man lost interest, so I backed off and freshened him up,” Baffert said in explaining the absence of more than five months.
Owned by long-time Baffert clients Patti and Hal Earnhardt III, Ax Man, who was bred in Kentucky by Hal, has six wins from 14 career starts with earnings of $297,917.
BROOKE MAKES U.S. DEBUT IN MONDAY’S MEGAHERTZ
Brooke, a Chilean-bred mare who was a monster in her native country, gong off as the odds-on favorite in six of her seven races, winning five, makes her United States debut in Monday’s Martin Luther King Jr. holiday feature, the Grade III Megahertz Stakes.
“She’s been training very forwardly,” said Simon Callaghan, who conditions the five-year-old chestnut for the Don Alberto Stable. “I’ve had her for three or four months. The owners thought she would like the firm turf in California, which is why they sent her here.
“Hopefully she can add to her resume.”
Brooke will once again be ridden by jockey Jeremy Laprida, who has been aboard in each of her eight career starts, including her most recent, a ninth-place finish in a field of 17 on a heavy turf course at one mile in Argentina’s Group 2 Longines Cup last March 20.
“He’s ridden her in Chile and the owners wanted him for her first race here,” Callaghan said of Laprida, who has ridden in the U.S. at Parx in Bensalem, Pa., 19 miles northeast of Philadelphia.
Megahertz was a diminutive chestnut mare bred in England who gained popularity with racing fans thanks her small size and big stretch runs against top company.
Trained by the late Bobby Frankel for owner Michael Bello, Megahertz was a multiple graded stakes winner on turf compiling a 14-6-5 record from 34 starts, earning $2,261,594.
The Megahertz is for fillies and mares four and up at one mile on turf. It is race seven of nine with a 12:30 p.m. first post time.
Brooke, Jeremy Laprida, 4-1;
$2,000 supplemental nominee Colonial Creed, Flavien Prat, 7-2;
$2,000 supplemental nominee Lucky Peridot, Abel Cedillo, 8-1;
Mucho Unusual, Joel Rosario, 9-5;
Hippodamia’s Girl, Juan Hernandez, 8-1;
Sedamar, Umberto Rispoli, 5-2.
APPRENTICE CENTENO CAPTURES FIRST STAKES VICTORY
Alexis Centeno, a 22-year-old apprentice rider from Puerto Rico, won his first stakes race Saturday piloting Brickyard Ride to a front-running victory in the $150,000 Don Valpredo California Cup Sprint.
“First, I want to thank God and (trainer) Craig Lewis who has helped me a lot, and my agent,” Centeno said immediately after the victory. “I’m happy . . . Brickyard Ride is so special for me. I won two races in a row with him. I love this horse.”
Centeno is represented by 22-year-old agent Erick “Goldy” Arroyo. They have been together since last June.
“He works hard and he’s a humble kid,” Arroyo said of Centeno, who attended Puerto Rico’s celebrated jockey school, Escuela Vocacional Hipica, which has produced riding greats Angel Cordero Jr., Eddie Belmonte, John Velazquez and the Ortiz brothers, Irad Jr. and Jose, among others.
Arroyo was studying business at Pasadena City College before taking a respite to work as an agent. His long-range goal is to become a teacher.
As to how he got the nickname of Goldy, Arroyo explains, “When I was born my father thought my forehead shined like gold, and said, “That’s it. From now on, you’re Goldy.”
FINISH LINES: Santa Anita today congratulates loyal and dedicated Paddock Captain John Shear on the occasion of his 100th birthday with the sixth race named in his honor. Shear has been unable to attend Santa Anita since last March, when furloughed because of the COVID-19 pandemic. “I enjoy watching on television but nothing compares to being at Santa Anita,” said Shear, a native of England who has been employed at Santa Anita since 1961. The four-foot, 11-inch former exercise rider gained national attention nine years ago when at the age of 91 he heroically threw himself between an on-rushing loose horse and a five-year-old girl who was standing with her father outside of Santa Anita’s Seabiscuit walking ring . . . Trainer/breeder Kristin Mulhall‘s “Miracle Horse” Catemaco worked five furlongs at Santa Anita this morning in 1:02.60. It was one of 148 recorded workouts including 14 on the training track . . .Agent George Bradvica is now handling the business of 10-pound apprentice Emily Ellingwood and journeyman Brice Blanc…First post time on Monday is 12:30 p.m.