(Arabian Knight / Coady Photography & Courtesy of Oaklawn Park)

From the Santa Anita Media Team:


There will be no GI Santa Anita Derby or Kentucky Derby for top 3-year-old Arabian Knight. In a Twitter message posted late Saturday, owner Amr Zedan said trainer Tim Yakteen “wasn’t happy” with Arabian Knight’s last work on Thursday at Santa Anita and he’ll receive “more time to develop.

“We feel it’s in Arabian Knight’s best interest not to rush…We know he’s a superior talent and our plan is to point him toward a summer and fall campaign,” Zedan said.

A $2.3 million auction purchase as a 2-year-old, Arabian Knight served notice in his debut Nov. 5 when romping by 7 ¼ lengths against maidens at Keeneland on the Breeders’ Cup undercard. Given the rest of the year off, Arabian Knight made his sophomore bow in the Grade III Southwest at Oaklawn Park on Jan. 28 and was an easy 5 ½ length winner over a sloppy and sealed track.

The Uncle Mo colt returned with a work at Santa Anita 16 days following the Southwest, which was followed by 18-day gap before he worked again on March 4. Then last Thursday, five days after that second drill, Arabian Knight worked six furlongs in 1:13.60.

In this weekend’s Kentucky Derby Future Wager, Arabian Knight was the second choice on the morning line behind only last year’s champion 2-year-old Forte.

The 1 1/8-mile Runhappy Santa Anita Derby is on April 8.


Saturday’s Grade II San Carlos winner Spirit of Makena and eastern invader A Mo Reay, who took down the Grade I Beholder Mile three races later, were both doing well Sunday.

Two-time Eclipse Award-winning trainer Brad Cox said by phone that A Mo Reay “came out of the race in good order and will ship to Kentucky on Tuesday” for a potential start at next month’s Keeneland meet. A Mo Reay prevailed by a head in the Beholder Mile over odds-on favorite Fun to Dream to earn her third consecutive stakes win. The 4-year-old Uncle Mo filly previously won a pair of added-money events at Oaklawn Park including the Grade III Bayakoa Feb. 4. A Mo Reay won the Beholder Mile in a final time of 1:36.25, which returned a 96 Beyer Speed Figure

Spirit of Makena continued his ascent in the sprint division with a smart 1 ½-length tally in the San Carlos going seven furlongs. Trained by George Papaprodromou, Spirit of Makena settled just behind the pacesetting favorite Forbidden Kingdom before rallying to win in a final time of 1:22.06. The effort earned a 94 Beyer Speed Figure.

“All good, doing great,” Papaprodromou said Sunday morning.

Spirit of Makena now has three wins in four starts for owner-breeder Bruce Chandler. The 5-year-old Ghostzapper colt won his debut at Del Mar in August and added a first-level allowance win here when making his seasonal bow Feb. 11.

Papaprodomou said it was too early to say when and where Spirit of Makena could resurface.

“I’m not sure where we’ll go, but we’ll see how he’s doing the next few days and I’ll talk to the owner and we’ll go from there.”

Santa Anita next major sprint stakes on dirt is the Grade III Kona Gold going 6 ½ furlongs on April 22.


Last Monday, Nashoba’s Key was inducted into the California Thoroughbred Breeders’ Association Hall of Fame for a brilliant 10-race career that spanned just 14 months starting in January 2007.

Carla Gaines, who trained Nashoba’s Key for owner-breeder Warren B. Williamson, was on hand for the ceremony. She reminisced on the life and times of Nashoba’s Key earlier this week.

“This means a lot,” Gaines said of the induction. “She was just a consummate, tenacious racehorse. She so deserves this.”

Nashoba’s Key didn’t debut until January of her 4-year-old season. She would win her first seven starts, all in Southern California, including the Grade I Yellow Ribbon, Grade I Vanity Handicap, Grade II Clement L. Hirsch and Grade II Milady Handicap. The streak was finally snapped in the 2007 Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf at a rainy Monmouth Park when she finished fourth, beaten about two lengths by Lahudood.

“I gave Joe Talamo specific instructions, don’t get down inside or you’re going to hit a bog you can’t get out of,” Gaines recalled. “I said if she loses the race because she’s wide, no one is going to blame you because I’m telling you.

“Well, those jockeys put them right down on the rail. She finally got out and came flying to be beaten just a length or two.”

Gaines added Nashoba’s Key was “as tough as they come.” She noted the daughter of Silver Hawk had a penchant for trying to savage her competition if she wasn’t happy where she was at during a race.

“There were a couple of times where she’d be boxed in and she’d reach over and try to bite the other horse so she could get out,” Gaines said. “She was something. Truly amazing.”

Nashoba’s Key would add another Grade I win in the 2008 Santa Margarita the following March. Unfortunately, that would be her final start. Nashoba’s Key’s life would be cut short two months later when she broke her left hock in a stall accident at Hollywood Park and had to be euthanized.

“She left us too soon,” Gaines said as tears welled. “She was very aggressive, and we were freshening her up. I don’t know what set her off, but she went into a kicking frenzy and shattered her hind leg in the stall.”

Gaines recalled it was a particularly devastating time personally. Nashoba’s Key’s tragic accident occurred less than a week after the death of Gaines’s older brother.

“It was one of the worse weeks of my life,” Gaines said. “My older brother died suddenly so I went back home and was an emotional disaster. When I returned to Santa Anita, all I wanted to do was see her. I had my keys in my hand ready to go down to Hollywood Park when they called me and said they had to put her down. That was my first day back after my brother’s death. It was like losing two family members, if that doesn’t sound too coarse.”

Nashoba’s Key finished with a record of 8-1-0 in 10 starts and earnings of $1,252,090. She was inducted into the CTBA Hall of Fame during an awards ceremony last Monday at Le Meridien Hotel near Santa Anita. Also inducted into the CTBA Hall of Fame was Joe Harper, the longtime top executive at Del Mar.

“They did a great job, it was a lot of fun,” Gaines said of the ceremony.


Sunday’s Coast-to-Coast Pick 5 is an all-turf affair beginning at 1:07 p.m. The Coast-to-Coast Pick 5, which combines races from Santa Anita and Gulfstream Park, is a $1 minimum wager with a player-friendly 15 percent takeout.

Sunday’s sequence consists of the eighth and 10th races from Gulfstream Park, the third and fifth races from Santa Anita, plus the featured Grade III Santa Ana at Santa Anita which serves as the anchor leg. Field size averages just over 10 starters per race before scratches.

Saturday’s Coast-to-Coast Pick 5 returned $350.20 to 352 winning tickets.

FINISH LINES: With five of today’s nine races carded on the turf, horsemen and punters alike were happy to learn early this morning that all turf races will be run over a course listed as good and will be run at their assigned distances…The main track re-opened for workouts Sunday after being limited to joggers the previous day because of rain…Next Saturday, the first 1,000 fans to visit the East Paddock Gardens will receive a Santa Anita Jockey Colony Print. Jockeys will also be signing the print from 11:15 a.m. to 12:15 p.m…There is a $68,164 Rainbow 6 carryover entering Sunday’s card…Entering Sunday, favorites have won at 33.71 percent clip at the Classic Meet.