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Eddie D Preview: Racing Returns To Famed Downhill Turf Course
Credit: Benoit Photo

Eddie D Preview: Racing Returns To Famed Downhill Turf Course

ARCADIA, CA – The long wait is over. Idle since March 31, 2019, Santa Anita’s legendary Camino Real Hillside Turf Course will play host to an outstanding opening day field of nine 3-year-olds and up competing at about 6 1/2 furlongs in Friday’s $200,000 Eddie D Stakes (G2).

The Eddie D is 1 of 4 stakes on opening day of Santa Anita’s 16-day Autumn Meet, which concludes October 31. Also on the card: the $300,000 American Pharoah Stakes (G1), the $200,000 Chandelier Stakes (G2), and the $100,000 Speakeasy Stakes.

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One of the most popular races among fans and horsemen since December, 1953, the Camino Real hillside is a European-style course with a panoramic start on Santa Anita’s northern perimeter, right by Colorado Place, an iconic stretch of roadway that was a part of America’s original Route 66.

Once the horses are underway, they will negotiate a slight right-hand turn followed by a run “down the dip,” as Joe Hernandez, the original Voice of Santa Anita, used to describe horses as they ran down an undulating swale before emerging from behind a stand of trees en route to the 1/4-pole. From there, the field will cross the main track and then reunite with the “course proper” for what is often a thrilling stretch run.

Trainer Steve Asmussen’s Midwest invader Snapper Sinclair and Phil D’Amato’s locally based Gregorian Chant head what appears to be a very deep and diverse lineup. 

Snapper Sinclair, a 6-year-old full horse by City Zip, comes off a 3/4-length victory in a one-turn restricted stakes going a mile and 70 yards on turf at Kentucky Downs September 8. Owned by Bloom Racing Stables, LLC, Snapper Sinclair, who ran fourth in the 2019 Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile (G1) at Santa Anita, will be shipping in from his Churchill Downs base and be trying the Santa Anita turf for the first time in his fifth start of the year.

Primarily campaigned at 1 mile on turf and dirt, Snapper Sinclair was a 7-furlong turf stakes winner in his third career start on September 6, 2017 at Churchill and he has not sprinted on turf or dirt since October 17, 2018 at Keeneland. With 2 wins from 4 starts this year, he’s now banked $1,793,340 from an overall mark of 33-7-8-4.

Originally pegged as a long-fused turf runner, D’Amato’s Gregorian Chant found a new lease on life sprinting out of Santa Anita’s newly-constructed turf chute this past winter. A winner of 3 consecutive 6-furlong turf stakes including the San Simeon (G3) 4 starts back on March 13, Gregorian Chant, a 5-year-old English-bred gelding, was too close to the early pace in Belmont Park’s Jaipur Stakes (G1) on June 5, finishing seventh, beaten 4 1/4 lengths at 5/1 odds going 6 furlongs over a turf that was listed as good.

In his most recent start, Gregorian Chant finished third, beaten 2 1/2 lengths in Del Mar’s 5-furlong turf Green Flash Handicap August 22, a race that appeared a bit short for his late running style. Owned by Slam Dunk Racing, Old Bones Racing Stable, LLC and Michael Nentwig, Gregorian Chant will be trying Santa Anita’s hillside turf for the first time with high expectations.

D’Amato will also be represented by the talented multiple stakes-winning mare Charmaine’s Mia, the lone distaffer in the field. A 3-time graded stakes winner at 6 furlongs and 1 mile (twice) over the Santa Anita lawn, she too will be trying the hillside course for the first time. Owned by Agave Racing Stable, Medallion Racing, and Rockin Robin Racing Stables, Charmaine’s Mia, who had been campaigned primarily at Woodbine Racecourse in Toronto, joined D’Amato’s stable late last year.

Idle since finishing sixth in the Yellow Ribbon Handicap (G2) at a mile and 1/16 at Del Mar August 7, Charmaine’s Mia, a 5-year-old Kentucky-bred mare by The Factor, has not sprinted since winning her first start for D’Amato 5 starts back in the Las Cienegas Stakes (G3) at 6 furlongs on turf here on Jan. 9.

Although a bit long in tooth at age 7, trainer Mark Glatt’s Law Abidin Citizen, idle since a close fourth on dirt in the Bing Crosby Stakes (G1) July 31 at Del Mar, is fresh, dangerous, and has the distinction of having won the last race down the hill—the San Simeon Stakes (G3) on March 31, 2019.

A winner of 4 of 8 starts over the hillside turf, this Twirling Candy gelding will be making his fourth start of the year as Glatt eyes the Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint (G1) in November. Owned by Dan Agnew, Gerry Schneider, and John Xitco, Law Abidin Citizen rates a huge chance on Friday.

Glen Hill Farm homebred Caribou Club, another 7-year-old gelding, has won 2 of his 3 starts down the hill, including his most recent, the Joe Hernandez Stakes (G3) on January 1, 2019 when conditioned by Tom Proctor. Idle since a close fourth in an ungraded stakes at 1 1/16 miles on turf July 17 at Gulfstream Park, Caribou Club will be making his fourth start of the year and his first for trainer Michael McCarthy. Caribou Club will be reunited for the first since 2017 with Drayden Van Dyke, who at that time guided him to a pair of wins from 4 starts.

Mesut, Chaos Theory, Lieutenant Dan, and Whisper Not complete the lineup.

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