SADLER SEEKS RECORD THREE-PEAT AS HIGH WEIGHTED GIFT BOX DEFENDS CROWN IN SATURDAY’S GRADE I, $600,000 SANTA ANITA HANDICAP

first_imgSADLER SEEKS RECORD THREE-PEAT AS HIGH WEIGHTED GIFT BOX DEFENDS CROWN IN SATURDAY’S GRADE I, $600,000 SANTA ANITA HANDICAP‘GRANDDADDY’ OF THEM ALL ATTRACTS 8 OLDER HORSES & WILL BE RUN FOR 83RD TIME AT CLASSIC MILE AND ONE QUARTER; FIRST POST FOR 12 RACES IS AT 11:30 A.M.ARCADIA, Calif. (March 4, 2020)–One of eight trainers dating back to 1940 to have saddled consecutive winners of the storied Santa Anita Handicap, John Sadler will seek an unprecedented three-peat this Saturday at The Great Race Place as his high weighted Gift Box defends his title in the 83rd running of the Grade I, $600,000 classic for older horses at a mile and one quarter.First run in 1935, the Big ‘Cap, America’s longest continually run “hundred grander,” has attracted an outstanding field of eight, including C R K Stable’s talented Midcourt, who has been assigned 123 pounds, three less than Gift Box.Kiaran McLaughlin’s up and coming Endorsed, Sadler’s Combatant, Bill Mott’s Florida-based Hofburg, the Richard Baltas-trained Two Thirty Five and others make this year’s Big ‘Cap a compelling affair.In addition to Sadler, those trainers that have won two consecutive Big ‘Caps are as follows:  “Silent” Tom Smith (Kayak II, 1939 & Seabicuit, 1940), Ron McAnally (John Henry 1981 & 82), Charlie Whittingham (Lord At War 1985 & Greinton 1986), Richard Mandella (Siphon, 1996 & Malek 1997), Bobby Frankel (Milwaukee Brew 2002 & 03), Doug O’Neill (Lava Man 2006 & 07) and Bob Baffert (Game On Dude 2013 & 14).GIFT BOXOwner:  Hronis Racing, LLCTrainer:  John SadlerOriginally trained by Chad Brown and purchased privately prior to winning the December, 2018 Grade II San Antonio Stakes in his first start for Sadler, this 7-year-old colt by Twirling Candy outdueled Bob Baffert’s McKinzie to take last year’s Big ‘Cap by a nose under regular rider Joel Rosario. Idle since running fourth as the 2-1 favorite in the Grade II Stephen Foster at Churchill Downs June 15, Gift Box unleashed a monstrous effort in winning the San Antonio for a second time on Dec. 28, winning by 3 ¾ lengths while earning a Big ‘Cap-best last out Beyer Speed figure of 107.  A winner of three out of his five starts for Sadler, Gift Box, who took the San Antonio in gate to wire fashion, will attempt to join John Henry (1981-82), Milwaukee Brew (2002-03), Lava Man (2006-07) and Game On Dude (2013-14) as the fifth two-time winner of the Santa Anita Handicap.MIDCOURTOwner:  C R K Stable, LLCTrainer:  John ShirreffsA true training challenge by any accounting, Midcourt’s fortunes began a steep ascent following a near 16-month freshening, which spanned from Oct. 28, 2017 until Feb. 24, 2019, an interlude which  included the momentous decision to geld the now 5-year-old son of Midnight Lute. A handful both in the mornings and afternoons, Midcourt, who had been beaten a combined 27 ½ lengths in his first two starts, comes off the best race of his career, a 3 ½ length, gate to wire score in the Grade II San Pasqual Stakes on Feb. 1, which brought his record since the ultimate equipment change to five wins from seven starts.  Although well fancied at 2-1 versus Gift Box in the Dec. 28 San Antonio at 1 1/8 miles, Midcourt broke slowly and never threatened while beaten 7 ½ lengths.  With a 102 Beyer in hand following his triumph in the mile and one sixteenth San Pasqual, he’ll need to break running under regular rider Victor Espinoza if he’s to turn the tables on Gift Box in his first try at a mile and one quarter Saturday.ENDORSEDOwner:  Godolphin, LLCTrainer:  Kiaran McLaughlinLightly raced, this 4-year-old homebred colt by Medaglia d’Oro would appear to have tremendous upside, as he comes off an impressive two length allowance score going a mile and one sixteenth at Gulfstream Park on Jan. 11–his first start since running a creditable fourth in the Grade I Travers at Saratoga on Aug. 24. A first-out maiden winner going six furlongs on an off track at Saratoga Aug. 18, Endorsed, who won his most recent race in stylish off the pace fashion, has three wins from six starts and would appear to rate a huge chance on Saturday.COMBATANTOwner:  Hronis Racing, LLCTrainer:  John SadlerConditioned by Steve Asmussen through his first 22 starts, this 5-year-old ridgling by Scat Daddy closed much ground in his first start for Sadler, a third place finish behind Midcourt in the Grade II San Pasqual on Feb. 1. Although he would appear to be best suited at middle distances, Sadler has excelled in recent years with acquisitions of this kind and Combatant can be expected to step forward off of his San Pasqual run.  A winner of a one turn mile allowance two starts back on Nov. 8 at Churchill Downs, Combatant, who with three wins from 23 starts, is in search of his first stakes win, would be flattered by a fast early pace in the Big ‘Cap.HOFBURGOwner:  Juddmonte Farms, Inc.Trainer:  William MottFavored in two out of his last three starts, this Florida-based homebred 5-year-old horse by Tapit appeared to have a rough trip when seventh at 7-2 in his most recent race, the Grade III, 1 1/16 miles Mineshaft Stakes at Fairgrounds in New Orleans.  Seventh, beaten 8 ¾ lengths by eventual Triple Crown winner Justify in his only try at a mile and one quarter, the 2018 Kentucky Derby, Hofburg skipped the Preakness and was third, beaten 3 ½ lengths in the Belmont, which would suggest distance shouldn’t be a problem on Saturday. A winner of three out of his 10 starts, Hofburg, who calls Payson Park home, will be seeking his first graded stakes win in the Big ‘Cap.TWO THIRTY FIVEOwner:  Richard Baltas, Tom Mansor, Tammi Nielson & Kim RasmussenTrainer:  Richard BaltasOn the improve for Baltas at age six, this gelding by Stay Thirsty has been competitive facing Midcourt in his last three starts, most recently finishing second, beaten 3 ½ lengths by Midcourt in the San Pasqual Feb. 1 at odds of 22-1. Third, beaten seven lengths two starts back in the 1 1/8 miles Native Diver Stakes at Del Mar Nov. 23, he was second, beaten a neck by Midcourt three races back in the one mile Comma to the Top here on Oct. 27.  Well beaten in his lone try at a mile and quarter, Two Thirty Five, who is 21-5-4-5 and a reformed claimer, is in with a puncher’s chance from a hot barn.THE GRADE I SANTA ANITA HANDICAP IN POST POSITION ORDER WITH JOCKEYS & WEIGHTSRace 10 of 12  Approximate post time 4 p.m. PTMultiplier–Tyler Gaffalione–113Two Thirty Five–Ruben Fuentes–118Brown Storm–Hector Berrios–114Gift Box–Joel Rosario–126Midcourt–Victor Espinoza–123Combatant–Umberto Rispoli–116Hofburg–Flavien Prat–115Endorsed–Drayden Van Dyke–115Special early first post time for a 12-race card on Saturday is at 11:30 a.m., with admission gates opening at 9:30 a.m.  For additional information, please visit santaanita.com or call (626) 574-RACE.last_img read more

Crystal Cup returning bigger and better

first_imgRegistration opened Wednesday, December 12, and only the first 60 teams to register will secure a spot in the tournament. The cost to register is $125 per team and can be completed online, or dropped off at the North Peace Leisure Pool desk. Registration closes on January 31, 2013 at 10 p.m.For more information on the tournament, including rules and how to sign up, visit the Crystal Cup’s brand new website.Evans adds that as it is the second year of the tournament, organizers are entering this year’s event much more prepared than last year.”Absolutely, I think its going to run significantly smoother. I think worst case scenarios from every angle happened last year, especially from Mother Nature, who threw us for a complete loop Saturday. We are going to be quite a bit more prepared for snow removal equipment. As well we’re building a burm surrounding the entire area with snow fencing, so hopefully that will deter some of the snow drifts coming off the lake.”Recently, Crystal Cup organizers were denied funding from the City of Fort St. John for the tournament’s new website. As a result, organizers are seeking extra sponsors this year, which can provide sponsorship through a variety of ways, either monetary, or with equipment.Advertisement The tournament won’t see too many changes to the actual game play, however this year, helmets will be mandatory for all players to avoid any possible injuries.Along with the eight tournament rinks, a ninth, full size skating rink is being added this year so players and public can play games of shinny throughout the day, keeping their skills sharp and bodies warm in between games.The Charlie Lake site, located on the south banks fifteen minutes north of Fort St. John, will also include a children’s rink, food vendors, as well as a “beverage” garden.New to the tournament this year is a website, outlining tournament information, how and where to register, how to become a sponsor, news and updates and various other attractions.Advertisement Both the Crystal Cup and High on Ice have moved dates this year, to coincide with B.C.’s new Family Day holiday.Neil Evans, CEO and creator, says this year’s tournament is expected to be bigger and better than last year’s inaugural event.”This year what we’ve done with the Crystal Cup, just from the popularity from last year, we’ve decided to double it in size and go to 60 teams. We are also going to incorporate a social event this year into the mix, which is going to be happening Friday night for Crystal Cup members and their buddies. Basically what that will do is allow everyone to have an ice breaker, while also allowing the committee to go over rules and regulations and a bit more about the tournament.”- Advertisement -The social event is being held at the Lido Theatre on Friday February 8, and Evans says organizers are attempting to bring in a comedian, as well as a keynote speaker, possibly an NHL Alumni, to help make the event a bit more special for everyone involved.Evans adds the expansion of teams also comes from increased interest from teams outside of town to participate. He says following last year’s tournament, organizers were flooded with interest calls from teams from various B.C. communities, Alberta and even as far as Minnesota.The tournament even gained enough notoriety to be included in the latest edition of Pond Hockey-opoly.Advertisementcenter_img The Crystal Cup board has put together sponsorship packages, which are available through the website.last_img read more

Preparations for troika talks in Paris gather pace

first_imgDeputy Prime Minister Evangelos Venizelos met with PASOK officials as the party decided who would represent it at the upcoming talks between Greece and the troika in Paris, a meeting for which the government is preparing intensively.The Socialists will send Christos Protopappas and Kyriakos Pierakakis to Paris on September 3, when Finance Minister Gikas Hardouvelis will lead the Greek delegation. Prime Minister Antonis Samaras’s adviser Stavros Papastavrou will also be part of the entourage heading to the French capital.Mr Samaras is yet to return from his short break in the Peloponnese as he has been suffering from back pain. However, it is he and Mr Venizelos who will have the final say later this month on Greece’s negotiating strategy for the meeting with the troika representatives. Mr Samaras and his aides are hoping that the Greek side will be able to return from Paris with positive results that the prime minister will then be able to stress in his speech at the Thessaloniki International Fair a few days later.Meanwhile, it was confirmed that civil servants would not lose their jobs or suffer wage reductions if they perform poorly in upcoming public sector evaluations. The relevant amendment was published in the Government Gazette.Source: Ekathimerini Facebook Twitter: @NeosKosmos Instagramlast_img read more