From the Santa Anita Media Team:


Andrew Lerner is batting .500 since taking over the training of Queen Bee to You, winning three of six races, all stakes, and the 30-year-old California native hopes to improve on that mark Saturday when he sends out the six-year-old California-bred mare in the Grade II, $200,000 La Canada Stakes for fillies and mares, four and up, at 1 1/16 miles.

“She’s been really good for us; we won three stakes with her,” Lerner said, reluctant to assume full credit for her success. “There were good guys taking care of her and we just pretty much took over where he (former trainer Mike Pender) left off.

“She’s got so much speed and we’ve tried to help her by harnessing it, and I think it’s shown in some of her races. We’re training her to be more tactical, but if no one wants to go with her in the La Canada, we can be a little closer.

“If someone wants to go, we’ll sit back.”

Queen Bee to You’s stakes victories have come in the restricted Bertrando and the Grade II Bayakoa at Los Alamitos, and the restricted Betty Grable at Del Mar.

A daughter of the Gilded Time stallion Old Topper, Queen Bee to You will be making her 33rd start in the La Canada. She has won seven times, with 11 seconds and five thirds, good for $538,770 in earnings. Gilded Time won the 1992 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile and an Eclipse Award as outstanding two-year-old male when trained by Darrell Vienna.

Old Topper was a stakes winner conditioned by the late Noble Threewitt, who died at 99 on Sept. 17, 2010. His best horse was Correlation, who captured the Florida Derby and the Wood Memorial in 1954.

Early probables for the La Canada are HorologistFlavien PratMessage, no rider;  Queen Bee to YouRuben Fuentes; probable favorite Spiced Perfection, no rider; and ZushaTiago Periera.

(Omaha Beach saddle towel for 2019 KY Derby / Photo by Gene McLean)


Richard Mandella will take a redeye to Florida Tuesday to supervise training up close and personal for recent Grade I Runhappy Malibu Stakes winner Omaha Beach, who will be retired to stud after he runs in the Grade I, $3 million Pegasus World Cup Invitational at Gulfstream Park on Jan. 25.

The son of War Front currently is bedded down with trainer Mark Hennig at Gulfstream, with Mandella foreman Jose Vera minding the store until the Hall of Fame trainer’s arrival.

“Omaha Beach went to the track today, will gallop Wednesday, and might work Thursday or Friday,” Mandella said at Santa Anita Saturday morning.

Owned by Fox Hill Farms, Inc., Omaha Beach won the Malibu by 2 ¾ lengths on Dec. 28, earning $180,000 while boosting his career bankroll to $1,651,800.

FINISH LINESGeorge Herman Ruth never got out of the batter’s box when finishing  eighth of nine in his debut race Friday, but the three-year-old gray Grazen colt owned and bred by Nick Alexander did have an excuse, leaving the gate in tardy fashion. First he dwelt, then he hopped. “He showed a lot of speed on the farm,” said Alexander, who names many of his horses for former Major League baseball greats. He has no problem getting approval. “If the player is dead,” he said, “you don’t need an OK.” George Herman Ruth, for those who don’t know a walk from a balk, was the real name of Babe Ruth, the New York Yankee legend whose home run heroics in the team’s home town of the Bronx and in other Big League cities saved the game after the World Series Black Sox Scandal of 1919. The colt’s dam, naturally enough, is Shesabronxbomber. Another of Ruth’s nicknames was The Bronx Bomber . . . First post for an eight race program Sunday is 12:30 p.m.