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Sponge Found in Another Horse

TIMES STAFF WRITERS

A trainer at Hollywood Park found a sponge in a horse’s nose, about a week after three horses were discovered to have sponges in their noses at Santa Anita.

Trainer Pico Pedermo told the Daily Racing Form that he discovered a sponge in one of Yukon Charley’s nostrils a week after the horse ran third in a race on Oct. 4 at Santa Anita. Yukon Charley is stabled at Hollywood Park and was vanned to Santa Anita for the race.

Two horses were scratched from races at Santa Anita on Oct. 10 after sponges were found in their noses. Earlier that week, another horse came back from a workout with a sponge in her nose.

Horses can breathe only from their noses and a sponge would limit that ability. The California Horse Racing Board has been reluctant to comment specifically about the sponges. State veterinarians routinely examine horses on the day they race, and have been instructed to look for sponges. Another deterrent under consideration is installing video cameras in barn areas.

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A drop out of graded stakes company was all Roman Dancer needed to pick up his second win.

After chasing the unbeaten Came Home in the Hopeful, a Grade I at Saratoga last month, and Essence Of Dubai and Ibn Al Haitham in the Grade II Norfolk three weeks ago, the 2-year-old Polish Numbers colt dominated his rivals in the $77,900 Sunny Slope Stakes on Saturday at Santa Anita.

Also benefiting from a jockey change to Kent Desormeaux, who has been hot for the past week, the 9-5 favorite broke on top, was content to sit second while American System set the pace, then took charge with about an eighth of a mile to run to win by four lengths in 1:083/5 for the six furlongs.

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This was the fourth start for Roman Dancer, purchased for $150,000 earlier this year by trainer Chris Paasch for owners Rod and Lorraine Rodriguez.

“We thought we’d bring him back and sprint him again,” said Paasch. “The time kind of surprised me a little bit. ... Hopefully, this is our future Kona Gold here.”

American System, the 2-1 third choice, finished four lengths ahead of Cappuchino, then came Ecstatic, the 2-1 second choice, and Crooked Key.

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There is a Pick Six carryover of $156,242.70 for today at Santa Anita. Jockey Victor Espinoza was the riding star Saturday, winning three races--the fourth with Popular, the seventh with Toqueville and the ninth with Brass Support.


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