Weekend Racing at Santa Anita : One of Charlie’s Angels, Goodbye Halo, to Run
The next time PEB does a caricature of Charlie Whittingham for the Daily Racing Form, he might consider adding a halo.
The 74-year-old Hall of Fame trainer isn’t a candidate for sainthood, but two of the budding stars in his high-profile barn are offsprings of Halo, the 19-year-old stallion who stands at Arthur Hancock’s Stone Farm in Paris, Ky.
Halo has already sired one Kentucky Derby winner--Sunny’s Halo in 1983--and he has another hot prospect in Lively One, who is out of the broodmare Swinging Lizzie. Long-time Whittingham watchers can hardly remember the trainer being as optimistic about a young horse as he is about Lively One, who won the 1/16th-mile Santa Catalina Stakes at Santa Anita Feb. 10 with a bold stretch move in his last start.
Whittingham’s other Halo descendant is Goodbye Halo, who will try to defeat unbeaten Winning Colors and four additional rivals in today’s $100,000 Las Virgenes Stakes.
In a close vote, Goodbye Halo was out-pointed by Epitome for last year’s 2-year-old filly championship, even though she won three out of four starts and won more major races.
Goodbye Halo made her debut this year on Feb. 3 with a five-length win over Bolchina, another Las Virgenes starter, in the Santa Ynez Stakes. The trainers of two other runners in the Santa Ynez--Floral Magic and Raveneaux--think enough of Goodbye Halo that they have elected to run their fillies in today’s $50,000 Sorority at Golden Gate Fields instead of at Santa Anita.
Last year, Goodbye Halo won the Demoiselle by 10 lengths at Aqueduct and the Hollywood Starlet by 3 1/2 lengths, but what swayed the voters in favor of Epitome was her victory in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies at Hollywood Park.
Hancock bought Goodbye Halo privately from John Ballis a few days after the Demoiselle, and Whittingham replaced New York trainer Pancho Martin. Both Whittingham and Hancock agreed that there wasn’t enough time between races to run the filly in the Breeders’ Cup.
Hancock, who was one of the owners and breeders of Gato Del Sol, winner of the Kentucky Derby in 1982, is philosophical about Goodbye Halo not winning an Eclipse Award.
“It took some of the sting out that Goodbye Halo would lose to a horse bred and raced by John Bell,” Hancock said. “John is a good friend, and he’s been in the game a long time and has put a lot into the breeding industry.”
Hancock wouldn’t say how much he paid for Goodbye Halo, but he indicated that he hasn’t recovered his investment yet, and the win in the Santa Ynez boosted her earnings to just below the $500,000 mark.
John Adger, a Texas horseman like Ballis, who at one time owned part of the crack sprinter Groovy, knew Goodbye Halo was for sale after the Demoiselle and contacted Hancock. After several telephone conversations between Hancock and Ballis, the deal was made.
“I don’t usually buy horses after they’ve started racing,” Hancock said. “But having Halo at my farm obviously influenced me. It’s already been a good deal for Ballis, and I’ve still got a lot of money to recoup, but she looks like she could be a real good one.”
Ballis bought Goodbye Halo, whose dam is the Sir Ivor mare, Pound Foolish, for $47,000 as a yearling. Although Hancock boards Halo, he is not an investor in the breeding syndicate, which is headed by Tom Tatham, the managing partner in the group that won the 1986 Breeders’ Cup Classic with Skywalker.
Halo was originally syndicated for $1.2 million in 1974, when the record for a stallion was the $6 million that a group had paid for Secretariat the year before.
Halo might be staying in England instead of Kentucky now, but a breeding deal fell through when he was a 4-year-old. It was discovered that he was a cribber--a horse that chews on things in his stall and sucks air into his lungs--and the European deal didn’t materialize.
Halo returned to the track as a 5-year-old, which proved to be his best season. He won the United Nations Handicap in on the grass at Atlantic City under a 27-year-old jockey named Jorge Velasquez--the same Velasquez who has ridden Goodbye Halo in her last two wins and who has the mount again today.
Horse Racing Notes:
A field of 11 is set for Sunday’s $300,000 Santa Margarita Handicap. In order of post, the lineup includes Mausie, with Gary Stevens at 119 pounds; By Land by Sea, Fernando Toro, 118; Very Subtle, Chris McCarron, 120; Clabber Girl, Angel Cordero, 118; Timely Assertion, Rafael Meza, 116; Miss Alto, Eddie Delahoussaye, 118; Hollywood Glitter, Laffit Pincay, 118; Flying Julia, Frank Olivares, 114; Top Corsage, Jose Santos, 119; Riverbride, Bill Shoemaker, 114, and Rose’s Cantina, Jorge Velasquez, 112 . . . Olivares received a five-day suspension from the stewards. Although the suspension starts Sunday, Olivares will be allowed to ride in only the Santa Margarita, because it was designated before the meeting as one of the races that precludes suspensions. Olivares’ suspension stems from the interference that his horse caused in a race Thursday, resulting in Dave Patton being unseated from his horse.