Santa Anita
notes – March 23

Ed Golden
Santa Anita Park


ARCADIA, Calif. – Don’t expect Majestic Harbor to unleash any Azeri-type moves when he runs in next Saturday’s Grade III Tokyo City Cup for older horses at 1½ miles on the main track.

The 6-year-old Rockport Harbor horse trained by Sean McCarthy for the Gallant Stable is consistent enough, showing a 4-6-3 record from 20 starts, with earnings of $271,764. But classify him as a grinder.

He’s not the flashy type, according to McCarthy, who feels a mile and a half on dirt suits Majestic Harbor’s running style.

“We like the idea of that distance for this horse, because he really is kind of one-paced,” said McCarthy, who saddled Majestic Harbor to a runner-up finish behind front-running Blueskiesnrainbows in the Grade II San Pasqual Stakes at 1 1/16 miles on Jan. 11 and a fourth to victorious Blingo in the Grade II San Antonio on Feb. 8 at a mile and an eighth.

“He’s the type of horse who can click 12’s off all day long,” McCarthy said, referring to 12-second eighths of a mile. “He’s not a horse with a quick finishing kick. The distance should suit him well.”

Victory in the Tokyo City Cup would mark the first stakes triumph for Majestic Harbor.

Probable for the race: Blueskiesnrainbows, Corey Nakatani; Ever Rider, Victor Espinoza; Majestic Harbor, Tyler Baze; Segway, Gary Stevens; and Tiz Dynamic, no rider.

Majestic Harbor worked five furlongs on the main track Sunday in 1:00.20; Tiz Dynamic went the same distance in 1:01; while Blueskiesnrainbows worked seven furlongs in 1:28.80.

In conjunction with the Tokyo City Cup, Santa Anita will present Japan Family Day next Saturday, featuring the Ramen Yokocho Festival in the infield. First post time is 12:30 p.m.


If he had his druthers, Dennis Moore might take a job like Vanna White’s. No responsibility. No flak.

As it is, Moore endures the slings and arrows and brickbats from horsemen and bettors alike, be they justified or not.

That goes with the territory when you’re a track superintendent, responsible for the care and condition of the racing surface. But Moore benefits from an ego guarded with elephantine thickness to fend off criticism.

Negative judgments be damned, his focus has but one major objective: safety of horse and rider.

“So far, so good,” said Moore in a rare moment, catching a breather at Clockers’ Corner, when asked how he and his crack crew were faring at Santa Anita and other area tracks under their auspices. “Everything’s been all right. We’re evaluating everything and seeing how it goes, and so far, it’s pretty good.”

Moore, 64, came on board at Santa Anita some 15 months ago. He has built and maintained track surfaces worldwide for the past four decades, across North America and in Canada, Dubai, England and Germany.

“I worked with the people at Los Alamitos on the design there and oversaw the expansion of the main track,” said Moore, referring to the ongoing program to accommodate the overflow of horses due to the closing of Hollywood Park last December. “Everybody so far seems happy with Los Alamitos. I also go down to San Luis Rey Downs and they’re doing a good job there.

“Right now, everybody seems pretty happy with everything. Let’s hope it stays that way.”

FINISH LINES: Winner of last year’s Grade II San Luis Rey Stakes, Bright Thought is nominated to next Sunday’s $75,000 Santana Mile on dirt but likely will pass the race in favor of the $75,000 Thunder Road Stakes at one mile on grass April 6, trainer Jorge Gutierrez said. A 5-year-old Kentucky-bred son of Hat Trick, Bright Thought’s last start came in the Grade II Citation Handicap at Hollywood Park on Nov. 29 . . . Trainer Mike Mitchell has Matriarch winner and Buena Vista runner-up Egg Drop ticketed for the Grade I Jenny Wiley at 1 1/16 miles on turf at Keeneland April 12 . . . While Rafael Bejarano has distanced himself from runner-up Joe Talamo in Santa Anita’s race for leading rider, 72-44, through 54 racing days there was a three-way tie for third at 33 wins each among Victor Espinoza, Tyler Baze and Mike Smith. The latter won with three of his five mounts Saturday, while Baze recorded his first graded stakes triumph of the meet aboard front-running 10-1 shot Fire With Fire in the Grade II San Luis Rey Stakes for Neil Drysdale and owner David Heerensperger . . . Battling a “bug,” according to his agent, Mike Ciani, jockey Irving Orozco took off his five scheduled mounts today . . . Jorge Periban Jr., son of trainer Jorge Periban, lost his fight in the Golden Gloves Novice Division championship round last night at Lincoln Park in East Los Angeles. He finished the tournament with a 3-1 record and could resume his amateur career next month.