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Las Vegas, NV - Happy New Year everyone! While the rest of the world seemingly took a few days off over the holidays, the world of horse racing kept on truckin'! There were no less than six graded stakes races that were contested over the last week with most of the action taking place at Santa Anita where there were five stakes races run. Let's break down all the action and take a glimpse into the horses that ended 2012 in style.
Silentio, a lightly-raced son of Japanese-bred stallion Silent Name, registered victory in his stakes debut Dec. 26 in the Grade 2 $150,000 Sir Beaufort on the turf at Santa Anita Park on opening day of the winter meet. Battle Force finished second while British bred Press Baron came up to finish a very good third. The order of finish was completed by Midnight Crooner, Conspiracy, Smart Ellis, and Fit to Rule.
At Santa Anita on December 26, it was 8-1 Jimmy Creed that rebounded from a disappointing Breeders' Cup Sprint and posted a 3/4 length win in the strong field of eight. Private Zone, ridden by Martin Pedroza, was a game second after setting a swift pace, with Breeders' Cup Turf Sprint runner-up Unbridled's Note and Corey Nakatani coming on late to get third over grade I winner Drill. Breeders' Cup Sprint runner-up The Lumber Guy, a surprisingly strong 4-5 favorite in a strong 61st renewal of the Malibu, pushed the recent Panama import Private Zone into the stretch before weakening to finish seventh under John Velazquez as the 123-pound highweight.
In the Grade 1 La Brea Stakes at Santa Anita on December 26 Gary and Mary West's Book Review outlasted the tough field to claim her first victory under new trainer Bob Baffert at 9-2 odds. 7-1 Rennesgotzip finished second ahead of favorite My Miss Aurelia who is favored to win the Eclipse Award this year. Candrea, Nechez Dawn, Creditcardroulette, and Mamma Kimbo completed the order of finish.
In the Grade 3, 6 1/2 furlong Daytona Stakes at Santa Anita on December 29 8-5 favorite Comma to the Top came out on top by 1 3/4 lengths over a fast wet track. 14-1 shot Clubhouse Ride came up for second while Ain't No Other whom Comma to the Top dueled with throughout the majority of the race slipped to third. Seven of the 12 entries were scratched in this race - Capital Account was fourth and Wilkinson finished fifth. Great Mills, Byrama, Starspangled Heat, Circa'sgoldengear, Guest Star, Red Sun, and Tale of a Champion scratched.
English-bred 5-2 second choice Qaraaba displayed a powerful turn of foot when closing from last to capture the Dec. 30 Grade 3 Robert J. Frankel Stakes at Santa Anita Park for her second straight win on North American soil. 7-5 favorite Tiz Flirtatious finished 1 1/4 length back in second while 6-1 More Chocolate finished third.
Second choice 8-5 stud El Aguila's Indiano turned the tables on 7-5 favorite Action Andy avenging a loss to Action Andy December 8 in the Pelican Stakes with a strong outside rally to take the $100,000 Grade 3 Mr. Prospector Stakes at Gulfstream Park Dec. 29. 17-1 shot Off the Jak rallied for a very good third in the race. Bull Dozer and Dreaming of Neno completed the order of finish. Partyallnightlong was a scratch.
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