Well-Regarded Procrastination Returns Sunday

February 19, 2023

Procrastination (inside) battles Vegas Magic in the Sorrento but has to settle for second. (Benoit Photo)

• Mandella’s Geaux Rocket Ride On Track For San Felipe
• Parnelli Eyes The Santa Anita Handicap After Stiff Work
• Coast-To-Coast Pick 5 Is Set For Sunday
• Special Presidents’ Day Card Scheduled For Monday

Santa Anita Stable Notes by Victor Ryan

ARCADIA, Calif—Eclipse Thoroughbred Partners Procrastination, sidelined since running second as the favorite in the Grade II Sorrento Aug. 13 at Del Mar, makes her return to the races on Sunday in a first-level allowance going six furlongs on the main track.

Procrastination kicked off her career with heightened expectations last summer for trainer Michael McCarthy. By Not This Time, she was made the 8-5 favorite for her debut going five furlongs at Los Alamitos and promptly aired by eight lengths. Then in the six-furlong Sorrento, Procrastination was bet down to 3-5. She set the pace under Ricardo Gonzalez while racing on the inside, but in the final sixteenth was overhauled by long shot Vegas Magic.

Procrastination is the 9-5 morning line favorite for her comeback despite facing two other fillies dropping out of more recent graded stakes tries. Listed as the 5-2 co-second choice is Blessed Touch, who was second in the Desi Arnaz at Del Mar and most recently fifth in the Grade I Starlet on Dec. 10 for Tim Yakteen. Also getting class relief is Fast and Shiny, who most recently was third in the Grade III Santa Ynez going seven furlongs on Jan. 8 for trainer Bob Baffert.
As for Procrastination, McCarthy said the six-month layoff was not the result of any specific injury, but simply “some of those 2-year-old issues that some horses have to deal with.

“She just didn’t seem as good coming out of the Sorrento as she was going in, so we decided to give her some time off,” McCarthy added.

For her comeback, Procrastination has had four half-mile works plus a five-furlong drill completed in 1:01.60 on Feb. 10.

“She is probably a work or two from being her best,” McCarthy said. “So, the timing isn’t ideal. But it’s one of those deals where an allowance race like this doesn’t fill with regularity so we needed to jump on it, otherwise it might be six weeks before we can run her.”

Carded as the seventh race, Procrastination will break from post three in a seven-horse field. Hall of Fame rider John Velazquez will be in the irons for the first time.

“It’s time to get her going,” McCarthy said.

Geaux Rocket Ride wins his debut at Santa Anita by 5 3/4 lengths Jan. 29, 2021. (Ernie Belmonte/Past The Wire)

Flashy Maiden Winner Geaux Rocket Ride On Track For San Felipe

Geaux Rocket Ride, a smashing 5 ¾ length winner going six furlongs in his Jan. 29 bow at Santa Anita, remains on track for the Grade II San Felipe on March 4 following a sharp work on Thursday.

By Candy Ride out of the Uncle Mo mare Beyond Grace, Geaux Rocket Ride drilled five furlongs in 1:00.40 over a main track listed as “fast.” It was his second work since his promising unveiling.

“He went good and is doing great,” Hall of Fame trainer Richard Mandella said. “We’re aiming for the San Felipe.”

Contested at 1 1/16 miles, the San Felipe serves as a lead-in to the Grade I Santa Anita Derby on April 8 and is also an official prep for the Kentucky Derby.

Geaux Rocket Ride was let go as the 6-1 fourth choice in a six-horse field for his debut. He broke alertly under Flavien Prat, led the field through fractions of 22.00 and 44.62 seconds for the opening half mile before extending his advantage through the stretch. Geaux Rocket Ride won in a final time of 1:09.52 and earned a 92 Beyer Speed Figure for the effort.

“It was impressive,” Mandella recently noted.

Geaux Rocket Ride was a $350,000 auction purchase at the 2021 Fasig-Tipton Kentucky July Yearling Sale. He is campaigned by Pin Oak Stud.  

Victor Espinoza tries to squeeze #3 Parnelli up between Hooper on the rail and leader Newgrange but wound up third by a head. (Ernie Belmonte/Past The Wire)

Parnelli Eyes The Santa Anita Handicap After Stiff Work

Parnelli, who ran a bang-up third in the Grade II San Pasqual on Jan. 28 after a couple misfires to close last year, is likely headed back to the Grade I Santa Anita Handicap on March 4, trainer John Shirreffs said Saturday.

On Friday, Parnelli had his second work since the San Pasqual when drilling seven furlongs in 1:27.40. Shirreffs said he was “very happy with the work” and the 1 ¼-mile Santa Anita Handicap was in play for the 5-year-old horse by Quality Road. Last year, Parnelli was sixth in the Big ‘Cap behind the Shirreffs-trained winner Express Train.

Parnelli ended last season with consecutive off-the-board finished in the Grade II San Diego Handicap and Grade III Native Diver, both at Del Mar. In the San Pasqual, Parnelli stalked the pace under Victor Espinoza and was just a half-length back of leader Hopper at the eighth pole before both those rivals were overtaken late by winner Newgrange. Parnelli finished a head behind Hopper for second with another length to Newgrange. Both Newgrange and Hopper are also ticketed for the Big ‘Cap.

Owned by C R K Stable, Parnelli has a record of 3-3-5 from 17 starts with earnings of $213,320.

Coast-To-Coast Pick 5 Returns Sunday

The $1 Coast-to-Coast Pick 5 featuring races from Santa Anita and Gulfstream Park returns Sunday. The sequence begins at 12:08 PT with the seventh race from Gulfstream Park, a 1 1/8-mile maiden special weight for 3-year-old fillies on turf. The wager continues with the opener from Santa Anita and includes the ninth race from Gulfstream and the third and fifth races from Santa Anita.

Average field size for the sequence is 8.8 starters per race. The Coast-To-Coast Pick 5 features a player-friendly 15 percent takeout rate. Last Sunday’s wager returned $3,524.60 for 53 winning tickets.

FINISH LINES

Santa Anita will offer a special Presidents’ Day card on Monday featuring $1 beer and sodas and $2 hot dogs for on-track patrons…

Santa Anita will conduct live racing on Friday, Feb. 24, which was originally scheduled to be a dark day. First post time will be at 12:30 p.m. The card has been added as a makeup for weather-related cancellations earlier in the Classic Meet…

Every Friday during the Classic Meet on-track patrons will receive free admission, free parking and drink specials that include $3 beers and $5 margaritas

The Corgi Winter Nationals, which were postponed last month due to rain, will be held at Santa Anita on Sunday

Trainer Mike Puype will beTom Quigley’s featured handicapping guest Sunday on the Santa Anita simulcast feed starting at 11:20…

Santa Anita staff and management extend condolences to the family of longtime Race Wire Operator, Linda Meents, who passed on Tuesday at age 75 at her home in Arizona following a lengthy illness.

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