DREAM TREE, ESCAPE CLAUSE, MARLEY’S FREEDOM & PARADISE WOODS HEADLINE STAR-STUDDED GRADE II, $200,000 SANTA MONICA STAKES ON SATURDAY

first_imgDREAM TREE, ESCAPE CLAUSE, MARLEY’S FREEDOM & PARADISE WOODS HEADLINE STAR-STUDDED GRADE II, $200,000 SANTA MONICA STAKES ON SATURDAY ARCADIA, Calif. (Feb. 13, 2019)–In what shapes up as a truly star-studded affair, Dream Tree, Escape Clause, Marley’s Freedom and Paradise Woods headline a field of seven older fillies and mares in Saturday’s Grade II, $200,000 Santa Monica Stakes at seven furlongs.Although she flopped as the 3-5 favorite in the opening day Grade I La Brea at the same distance, Bob Baffert’s previously undefeated Dream Tree merits top billing as she’s joined by stablemate Marley’s Freedom, who’s been idle since winning a Grade III, one turn mile stakes at Aqueduct Dec. 1.Quite possibly the hardest trying Thoroughbred in training, owner/trainer Don Schnell’s Manitoba Canadian-bred Escape Clause, fresh off a romping victory going 1 1/16 miles in the Grade III  La Canada Stakes here Jan. 12, will cut back in distance as she bids for her 20th win from 29 career starts.Paradise Woods, brilliant at three but winless in her last five starts, has been idle since July and will be making her first start for trainer John Shirreffs.Throw in last year’s Santa Monica winner, Selcourt, and this year’s renewal indeed has the look of something very special.DREAM TREEOwner:  Phoenix Thoroughbred III                                   TTrainer:  Bob BaffertUnbeaten in her first five starts, three of them graded, including the Grade I Starlet at Los Alamitos in December, 2017, this 4-year-old Uncle Mo filly was simply off of her game in the Grade I La Brea, a race in which she broke a bit slow, was attentive to the pace for a half mile and caved readily to finish last by 25 ½ lengths.  With five works to her credit since the La Brea, including a bullet six furlongs in 1:11.60 this past Sunday, look for Dream Tree to bounce back with an “A” performance with Mike Smith up.ESCAPE CLAUSEOwner:  Don SchnellTrainer:  Don SchnellOne of the best “feel good” stories in American Racing, she comes off a dominating 5 ½ length win in the Grade II La Canada and cuts back to a distance at which she’s a perfect two for two.  A winner of eight in a row last year, starting in Winnipeg, Manitoba on June 8 through Oct. 21 at Centennial Downs, near Calgary, Alberta, this Manitoba-bred has performed with unquestioned distinction in four Southern California starts, which have produced two wins, the first via disqualification in the restricted Kathryn Crosby Stakes at Del Mar Nov. 9 and in the La Canada here at Santa Anita.  Returned by Schnell to her base at Turf Paradise in Phoenix following the La Canada win, she’s had two recorded works heading into the Santa Monica, her most recent a half mile in 47 flat, second fastest of 46, on Feb. 9.  A 5-year-old Manitoba-bred by the Unbridled’s Song stallion Going Commando, Escape Clause is 28-19-3-3 overall with earnings of $423,500.MARLEY’S FREEDOMCicero Farms, LLCTrainer:  Bob BaffertA neck winner of the Grade III Go For Wand Handicap going a one turn mile at Aqueduct Dec. 1, this 5-year-old Blame mare was off as the 3-5 favorite and has been favored in her last six starts, winning five of them.  With Mike Smith apparently opting to ride Dream Tree, Drayden Van Dyke, who has won with three out of his four tries with her, gets the Santa Monica call.  An easy 3 ¼ length winner of the Grade I, seven furlong Ballerina Stakes at Saratoga three starts back on Aug. 25, Marley’s freedom is a four-time graded stakes winner and is the leading money earner in the field with $815,935.PARADISE WOODSOwner:  Pam & Martin Wygod & Steven SarkowskyTrainer:  John ShirreffsA winner of both the Grade I Santa Anita Oaks and the Grade I Zenyatta Stakes at age three, this 5-year-old mare by Union Rags has been idle since well beaten going 1 1/16 miles on turf in the restricted Osunitas Stakes at Del Mar on July 20–her fifth consecutive defeat since taking the Zenyatta in September, 2017.  A big question mark by any reckoning, she banked $773,890 with Richard Mandella, but will be making her first start for John Shirreffs, who’s been pleased with the way she’s trained up to the Santa Monica.  With an overall mark of 11-3-2-2 and three consecutive six furlong drills to her credit, including a bullet 1:10.80 drill here on Feb. 8, Paradise Woods appears ready as she’ll be ridden for the first time by Joel Rosario.SELCOURTOwner:  Medallion Racing & Keith AbrahamsTrainer:  John SadlerA galloping 4 ½ length winner of last year’s Santa Monica, this lightly raced 5-year-old Tiz Wonderful mare was then idle prior to running 12th in the Grade I Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Sprint Nov. 3 at Churchill Downs.  With her next assignment coming as the 1-5 favorite in the ungraded Kalookan Queen Stakes going 6 ½ furlongs here on Jan. 13, she bobbled at the break, dueled for the lead and ended up second, beaten 2 ¼ lengths under regular rider Tyler Baze.  With Baze opting to stick with Escape Clause, Selcourt will be handled for the first time by Joe Talamo on Saturday.  Bred in Kentucky by Abrahams,  Selcourt is 8-4-2-1 and has earnings of $299,160.THE GRADE II SANTA MONICA WITH JOCKEYS & WEIGHTS IN POST POSITION ORDERRace 9 of 10 Approximate post time 4 p.m. PT Paradise Woods–Joel Rosario–120Selcourt–Joe Talamo–120Marley’s Freedom–Drayden Van Dyke–124Dream Tree–Mike Smith–124Mopotism–Mario Gutierrez–120Escape Clause–Tyler Baze–122Amuse–Rafael Bejarano–120First post time for a 10-race card on Saturday is at 12 noon.  For additional information, please visit santaanita.com or call (626) 574-RACE.last_img read more

Lockdown duffle bag

first_img Lockdown duffle bag Ryan Bader is moving up in weight for the Bellator Heavyweight Grand Prix. While he still has to go through both King Mo and Matt Mitrione to reach the finals, the UFC vet and current Bellator light heavyweight champ is keeping an eye on the other side of the bracket.The semi-final round on that other bracket has just been set, as Fedor Emelianenko knocked out Frank Mir this past weekend. His next opponent will be Chael Sonnen, and the two awkwardly faced off for the first time after the bout. “Yeah, it was pretty funny. Fedor just kinda shut him down,” Bader told Submission Radio about the face off. “Chael did one of his corny poems or whatever he does there and Fedor really wasn’t having it. So, Chael’s gonna do that and I think it’s good if he can get people watching. And that’s an intriguing match-up.”Related: Tweet of the Day: The greatest heavyweight ever… and FedorThe UFC veteran broke down the upcoming contest, and said that it will be much closer than what most people think. He may be a former middleweight going up against the consensus greatest heavyweight of all time, but Bader thinks everyone is underestimating Sonnen here.“Chael can definitely go out there and beat him. It’s one of those fights that’s a toss-up,” he said. “Fedor can go out there and look good and knock him out, or Chael can take him down and dominate him in that wrestling department.“I think it’s a toss-up, ‘cause people always underestimate Chael. He’ll talk a lot and do all that, but he does have the tools to win,” Bader explained. “Look back to his fights with guys like Shogun, where he does have a good guillotine also and he can take people down. He has decent striking where he can keep you at distance like he did with Rampage, and then pick his shots where he can take you down. “He doesn’t necessarily have to take you down and pass and try to submit you, he’s gonna take you down, he’s gonna just be on top of you, he’s got that good control. He doesn’t have to do much damage,” he said. “You know, it’s a three-round fight also. You gotta take that into account. So, he can take him down and hold him down for three rounds and win the fight and move onto the finals.”That being said, Bader is rooting for Fedor to advance.“For me, selfishly I would want to fight Fedor in the finals, and so to see him go out there and win (against Mir), I like seeing that,” he said. “For me, the perfect ending to the grand prix would be going out there, beating Fedor, not only for the heavyweight belt, but doing it in a grand prix style tournament. So, I was glad to see him win and I gotta do my part.”As Bader mentioned, for all that to come together, he has to defeat Muhammed Lawal on May 12, then do the same against the much larger heavyweight in Mitrione on the following round. Greatest Highlights of Anderson Silva’s Career King Ryan Longsleeve Shirt Which is More Dangerous – MMA or Football? Timeline of Israel Adesanya’s Rapid Rise to UFC Contender White: McGregor didn’t like my comments about Masvidal being ‘too big’ for him Apparel Accessories Latest From Our Partners Standard Ranked Rashguard Gloves UFC 240: Fights to make Good Night Tee Bloody Elbow Latest From MMA Warehouse Sale Conor lashes out at Herb Dean, says Khabib was ‘riddled in panic’ during bus attack ProMax 440 BJJ GI More From White on Nunes-Cris rematch: ‘That’s the fight I want to make’ Brock Lesnar’s WWE Future After UFC Retirement Top Contenders for Fight of the Year Nightmare Matchup for UFC’s Biggest Stars Robert Whittaker hails ‘Wonderboy’ the best ‘outside fighter’ in MMA Standard BJJ Gi Gordon Ryan Competition Kit More: UFC on ESPN: Covington vs. Lawler fight cardlast_img read more