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Gift Box impresses in California debut at Santa Anita – Daily News

Gift Box impresses in California debut at Santa Anita – Daily News
  • Horn blower Jay Cohen throughout horse racing at Santa Anita Park on Wednesday, December 26, 2018 in Arcadia, California. (Photograph by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/SCNG)

  • Jockey Joel Rosario driving Gift Box wins the San Antonio Stakes (Grade II) throughout horse racing at Santa Anita Park on Wednesday, December 26, 2018 in Arcadia, California. (Photograph by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/SCNG)

  • Jockey Mike Smith driving McKinzie wins the Malibu Stakes (Grade 1) race throughout horse racing at Santa Anita Park on Wednesday, December 26, 2018 in Arcadia, California. (Photograph by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/SCNG)

  • Jockey Mike Smith driving McKinzie wins the Malibu Stakes (Grade 1) race throughout horse racing at Santa Anita Park on Wednesday, December 26, 2018 in Arcadia, California. (Photograph by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/SCNG)

  • Jockey Mike Smith driving McKinzie wins the Malibu Stakes (Grade 1) race throughout horse racing at Santa Anita Park on Wednesday, December 26, 2018 in Arcadia, California. (Photograph by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/SCNG)

  • Jockey Mike Smith driving McKinzie wins the Malibu Stakes (Grade 1) race throughout horse racing at Santa Anita Park on Wednesday, December 26, 2018 in Arcadia, California. (Photograph by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/SCNG)

  • A fan holds his program and opening day scheduler throughout horse racing at Santa Anita Park on Wednesday, December 26, 2018 in Arcadia, California. (Photograph by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/SCNG)

  • Jockey Mike Smith driving McKinzie reacts after profitable the Malibu Stakes (Grade 1) race throughout horse racing at Santa Anita Park on Wednesday, December 26, 2018 in Arcadia, California. (Photograph by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/SCNG)

  • A Racing fan sits on a bench with give away plush horses surrounded by tickets throughout horse racing at Santa Anita Park on Wednesday, December 26, 2018 in Arcadia, California. (Photograph by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/SCNG)

  • Jockey Mike Smith driving McKinzie reacts after profitable the Malibu Stakes (Grade 1) race throughout horse racing at Santa Anita Park on Wednesday, December 26, 2018 in Arcadia, California. (Photograph by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/SCNG)

  • Ticket on the bottom throughout horse racing at Santa Anita Park on Wednesday, December 26, 2018 in Arcadia, California. (Photograph by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/SCNG)

  • Jockey Gary Stevens throughout horse racing at Santa Anita Park on Wednesday, December 26, 2018 in Arcadia, California. (Photograph by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/SCNG)

  • Jockey Flavien Prat ridding River Boyne wins the Mathis Brothers Mile (Grade II) throughout horse racing at Santa Anita Park on Wednesday, December 26, 2018 in Arcadia, California. (Photograph by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/SCNG)

  • A person walks previous a poster of Willie Shoemake throughout horse racing at Santa Anita Park on Wednesday, December 26, 2018 in Arcadia, California. (Photograph by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/SCNG)

  • Jockey Flavien Prat ridding River Boyne wins the Mathis Brothers Mile (Grade II) throughout horse racing at Santa Anita Park on Wednesday, December 26, 2018 in Arcadia, California. (Photograph by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/SCNG)

  • An outrider takes a break between races throughout horse racing at Santa Anita Park on Wednesday, December 26, 2018 in Arcadia, California. (Photograph by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/SCNG)

  • Horn blower Jay Cohen throughout horse racing at Santa Anita Park on Wednesday, December 26, 2018 in Arcadia, California. (Photograph by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/SCNG)

  • Jockey Joel Rosario driving Gift Box wins the San Antonio Stakes (Grade II) throughout horse racing at Santa Anita Park on Wednesday, December 26, 2018 in Arcadia, California. (Photograph by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/SCNG)

  • Followers look on throughout horse racing at Santa Anita Park on Wednesday, December 26, 2018 in Arcadia, California. (Photograph by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/SCNG)

  • Jockey Mike Smith driving McKinzie wins the Malibu Stakes (Grade 1) race throughout horse racing at Santa Anita Park on Wednesday, December 26, 2018 in Arcadia, California. (Photograph by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/SCNG)

  • Jockey Mike Smith driving McKinzie wins the Malibu Stakes (Grade 1) race throughout horse racing at Santa Anita Park on Wednesday, December 26, 2018 in Arcadia, California. (Photograph by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/SCNG)

  • Jockey Mike Smith driving McKinzie wins the Malibu Stakes (Grade 1) race throughout horse racing at Santa Anita Park on Wednesday, December 26, 2018 in Arcadia, California. (Photograph by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/SCNG)

  • Jockey Mike Smith driving McKinzie wins the Malibu Stakes (Grade 1) race throughout horse racing at Santa Anita Park on Wednesday, December 26, 2018 in Arcadia, California. (Photograph by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/SCNG)

  • A fan holds his program and opening day scheduler throughout horse racing at Santa Anita Park on Wednesday, December 26, 2018 in Arcadia, California. (Photograph by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/SCNG)

  • Jockey Mike Smith driving McKinzie reacts after profitable the Malibu Stakes (Grade 1) race throughout horse racing at Santa Anita Park on Wednesday, December 26, 2018 in Arcadia, California. (Photograph by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/SCNG)

  • A Racing fan sits on a bench with give away plush horses surrounded by tickets throughout horse racing at Santa Anita Park on Wednesday, December 26, 2018 in Arcadia, California. (Photograph by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/SCNG)

  • Jockey Mike Smith driving McKinzie reacts after profitable the Malibu Stakes (Grade 1) race throughout horse racing at Santa Anita Park on Wednesday, December 26, 2018 in Arcadia, California. (Photograph by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/SCNG)

  • Ticket on the bottom throughout horse racing at Santa Anita Park on Wednesday, December 26, 2018 in Arcadia, California. (Photograph by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/SCNG)

  • Jockey Gary Stevens throughout horse racing at Santa Anita Park on Wednesday, December 26, 2018 in Arcadia, California. (Photograph by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/SCNG)

  • Jockey Flavien Prat ridding River Boyne wins the Mathis Brothers Mile (Grade II) throughout horse racing at Santa Anita Park on Wednesday, December 26, 2018 in Arcadia, California. (Photograph by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/SCNG)

  • A person walks previous a poster of Willie Shoemake throughout horse racing at Santa Anita Park on Wednesday, December 26, 2018 in Arcadia, California. (Photograph by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/SCNG)

  • Jockey Flavien Prat ridding River Boyne wins the Mathis Brothers Mile (Grade II) throughout horse racing at Santa Anita Park on Wednesday, December 26, 2018 in Arcadia, California. (Photograph by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/SCNG)

  • An outrider takes a break between races throughout horse racing at Santa Anita Park on Wednesday, December 26, 2018 in Arcadia, California. (Photograph by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/SCNG)

Let’s type by way of a number of the leftovers from Wednesday’s profitable opening day at Santa Anita:

— Coach John Sadler and his principal shoppers, the Hronis brothers, might have one other runner on their arms after Gift Box outdueled Battle of Halfway and Dabster via the stretch to win the Grade II San Antonio Stakes by a half size with Joel Rosario aboard.

Gift Box, making his California debut in the 1 1/16-mile race for Three-year-olds and older, was forwardly positioned early on, took a half-length lead at the top of the stretch after which held off the 2 favorites from the Jerry Hollendorfer and Bob Baffert barns.

Gift Box, a 5-year-old son of Twirling Sweet, was beforehand beneath the care of coach Chad Brown earlier than Sadler picked him out of a September sale for Kosta and Pete Hronis so as to add to their assortment of gifted thoroughbreds that already included Horse of the Yr contender Speed up and Catalina Cruiser.

“I was expecting big things today because John told me he had a gift box for me for Christmas,” Kosta Hronis stated in the winner’s circle.

Gift Box completed fourth behind Arrogate, American Freedom and Gun Runner in the 2016 Travers Stakes after a third-place end in the Grade II Remsen Stakes at Aqueduct as a 2-year-old.

“Hopefully, this horse will be in the handicap division this year,” Sadler stated.

The $9 million Pegasus World Cup on Jan. 26 at Gulfstream Park is out as a result of the connections have already got a horse named Speed up for that one, however there’s a race with a handbag of $12 million shortly thereafter that the connections are eyeing.

“We’re not opposed to going to Dubai with him,” Sadler stated.

The 62-year-old coach has been watching Gift Box for some time.

“He’s close to my heart,” Sadler stated. “He’s from the first crop of Twirling Candy. He’s trained really well (for the San Antonio). He ran like he trained.”

— It’s means too early to guage whether or not Santa Anita’s new wagering proposition, horse racing roulette, will catch on, however right here’s what I don’t get: Why do individuals should criticize the wager?

In case you don’t prefer it, simply don’t play it. It’s that straightforward.

It’s just like the 20-cent Rainbow Decide Six. Some favor the normal Decide Six. I get that. However why rip into the Rainbow Decide Six? Don’t prefer it? Simply don’t guess it.

Right here’s how the roulette guess works in case you don’t already know: It’s a $2 minimal wager and horses are positioned into one among three teams — pink, black or inexperienced. Typically, the morning-line favourite can be a part of the pink group. The inexperienced group will probably be comprised primarily of longshots. Whichever group accommodates the race winner pays off.

Right here’s the factor about horse racing roulette: It’d allow novices to catch a winner once they ordinarily won’t if restricted to at least one horse. If novices go to the monitor, make a number of wagers, money some tickets and determine to return, that’s an excellent factor.

— I acquired a couple of messages relating to Santa Anita’s opening-day crowd of 41,373. One Twitter follower remarked, “No way the crowd was that big. Very light crowd compared to other years.”

Each sport has its means of figuring out crowd measurement. For example, MLB groups rely tickets bought in their remaining rely, no matter whether or not the purchaser truly attends the sport.

Up to now, Del Mar has counted live performance goers in their remaining tallies, even when they didn’t present up till the ultimate few races, or simply popped in for the music.

I do not know if there have been truly 41,373 followers at Santa Anita on Wednesday, however that’s the determine the monitor reported and that’s what the media goes with. In fact, we will all the time add, “in front of a reported on-track crowd of 41,373.”

— Despite the fact that they’re much less well-liked than the normal pocket-sized model, Santa Anita has determined to stay with the large packages for its winter meet. Monitor officers are hopeful that the larger packages, which embrace previous performances, will catch on and assist deal with.

Personally, I want the smaller packages. Once I present up at the monitor with the thought of creating a number of bets, I’ve already carried out my handicapping so I don’t want the previous performances in my program. Perhaps some followers do. Who is aware of?

What I do know is that Santa Anita isn’t afraid to attempt new issues, and for that I applaud Tim Ritvo, COO of Santa Anita’s mother or father firm, The Stronach Group. My guess is that if the larger packages haven’t caught on by the top of the present meet, Santa Anita will return to the smaller ones.

Comply with Artwork Wilson on Twitter at @Sham73