Data Link, victorious in Friday’s Grade II Citation Handicap, came out of the race “great,” according to Jennnifer Patterson, Shug McGaughey’s assistant trainer. The 4-year-old War Front colt is scheduled to ship Monday to Payson Park in Florida to begin a brief vacation.
Trainer Mike Pender, second and fourth, respectively, with Ultimate Eagle and Jeranimo indicated both came back in good order. Ultimate Eagle will be pointed for either the San Pasqual or San Antonio during the upcoming Santa Anita Winter/Spring meet.
Travesura, who went gate-to-wire to win the Miesque at 11-1 Saturday, was reported “perfect’’ Sunday morning by trainer Jeff Mullins.
Larry Benavidez was ecstatic at the runner-up effort by Pussycat Lips in The Miesque. Benavidez, longtime assistant trainer to John Sadler, said Pussycat Lips was “feeling great” after the race, as was Rising Legend, who came from the clouds to finish second in the Generous Stakes earlier in the afternoon
“Both horses lost, but we left here feeling like winners,” said Benavidez.
The disappointment in the Miesque was Premier Steps, who finished sixth as the 9-10 favorite. “She came back OK,” said George Abreu, assistant to Chad Brown. “She ate up everything and there’s nothing wrong with her. She got bumped at the start and that pretty much was everything.”
Den’s Legacy, who won the Generous with a rail skimming ride under Garrett Gomez, came back “real good,” according to Mike Harlow, assistant to Bob Baffert.
TWIN SISTER ON HAND FOR BRANICK’S FIRST RIDE
If you thought you were seeing double Saturday afternoon, it’s possible you were.
With her identical twin sister Amanda looking on, Cassandra Branick rode her first professional race, finishing fifth aboard Patriotic Lion in Betfair Hollywood Park’s sixth race. The 20-year-old from New Jersey has been in California one year and has been working horses for Patrick Biancone, Patriotic Lion’s trainer.
Amanda, who still lives in New Jersey, flew out to share the moment with Cassandra. The two have a brother, a Navy Lieutenant stationed in San Diego. He couldn’t attend, but would have enjoyed rooting for a horse named Patriotic Lion.
GAME ON DUDE TO RETURN IN SATURDAY’S NATIVE DIVER
Game On Dude, winner of the Grade II Californian and Grade I Hollywood Gold Cup during the Spring/Summer meet, heads an expected field of six or seven in the $250,000, Grade III Native Diver Stakes – Presented by the Oak Tree Racing Association. The Native Diver will be run for the 34th time Saturday, Dec. 1.
A nine-time winner of almost $3 million, Game On Dude was a disappointing seventh in the Breeders’ Cup Classic Nov. 3. Bob Baffert attributed the defeat to a poor start and loss of early position.
The 5-year-old gelded son of Awesome Again will have a new rider Saturday in Hall of Famer Mike Smith.
Richard’s Kid, a multiple Grade I stakes winner, figures to be Game On Dude’s primary opponent. The 7-year-old chased Game On Dude in the Hollywood Gold Cup, Pacific Classic and Awesome Again Stakes, but finished in front of him in the Breeders’ Cup Classic despite losing the whip inside the eighth pole.
Trainer Doug O’Neill is looking forward to their next encounter.
“He’s definitely running,” said O’Neill, who took over from Baffert during Del Mar when Richard’s Kid was sold privately. “He’s doing super. I can’t wait for Saturday.”
Others scheduled to run in the Native Diver are Nonios (trainer Hall of Famer Jerry Hollendorfer), winner of the Grade III Affirmed Handicap on Cushion Track in June, defending champion Kettle Corn (Sadler), Make Music for Me (Alexis Barba), earner of more than $520,000, Fly Lexis Fly (Neil Drysdale), a double Group I winner in Peru, and possibly Groovin’ Solo (Myung Kwon Cho).
Trainer John Shirreffs had considered running Grade II Mervyn LeRoy Handicap winner Morning Line, but the 5-year-old will skip the race.
CLOSING STRIDES —Jockey Martin Pedroza, who was unseated from Sparkle Joel in Saturday’s 10th race, came out of the incident unscathed. According to his agent, Rich Silverstein, Pedroza worked horses Sunday morning at Santa Anita Sunday morning…..Trainers Curtis Harvey and Angel Rodriguez each earned their first win at Betfair Hollywood Park Thanksgiving Day. Harvey won the fifth with Beau Royale ($6.80) and Rodriguez took the sixth with Private Affair ($6.60)….Betfair Hollywood Park and Los Alamitos kick off a new wager Sunday. The “405 Double” is a $2 minimum wager that couples the final race at Hollywood Park and the first race at Los Alamitos. The bet will be offered every Sunday throughout the remainder of the Autumn meet, which concludes Dec. 16…….Betfair Hollywood will offer wagering Saturday, Dec. 1 on a $100,000-guaranteed Pick 7, part of the opening day program at Gulfstream Park. The 10-cent minimum bet, which will have a mandatory payout, will feature races in the $850,000 Claiming Crown, which is being run for the first time at Gulfstream in 2012….There are 25 contestants remaining in the Show Me the Money Contest. Seventeen of the 19 people eliminated Saturday had chosen Premier Steps, who finished sixth in the Miesque.
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