V Stands for Valenzuela, Valdivia and Victory

Times Staff Writer

The second Saturday of the winter-spring meet at Santa Anita wasn’t kind to jockeys whose last names didn’t begin with a V.

Riders Patrick Valenzuela and Jose Valdivia Jr. won seven of the nine races in Arcadia. Five of the victories, including both stakes, belonged to Valenzuela, who sits atop the standings with 16 wins through the first 10 days.

Four races after riding Itty Bitty Pretty to an easy 9-2 upset in the $109,200 Santa Ysabel Stakes, Valenzuela was all out to win with pacesetter and 5-2 favorite High Limit in the $150,000 San Pasqual Handicap.


In the first prep for the $1-million Santa Anita Handicap on March 4 and in his first start since Sept. 5 at Del Mar, High Limit held on to beat 3-1 third choice Buckland Manor by a nose.

The victory in 1:43.64 in the Grade II was the fourth in 10 starts for the 4-year-old Maria’s Mon colt but ended a six-race losing streak. He had been winless since going wire-to-wire in the Louisiana Derby March 12 at the Fair Grounds in New Orleans.

Well beaten in the 2005 Kentucky Derby and Preakness, High Limit is a bigger and probably better colt these days, according to Bobby Frankel, who trains him for owners Gary and Mary West.

“He’s been training well, and he looks better than last year,” said Frankel, who had three winners Saturday. “He’s grown a little bit and gained a lot of weight. He was a light little horse last year.

“I expected him to be in front, but I was a little concerned because I breezed him so close to the race [five furlongs in 59 3/5 on Wednesday at Hollywood Park]. He was a fresh horse, and you can make a mistake with a fresh horse and they’ll still run well.”

Spellbinder, an 8-1 longshot, was third and Turnbolt, who was making his first start around two turns, was fourth.



In her first start beyond 6 1/2 furlongs, Itty Bitty Pretty, the 9-2 second choice, rolled to a six-length victory over 2-5 favorite Sabatini in the Santa Ysabel.

This was the second win in six starts for the 3-year-old El Corredor filly, who is owned by STD Racing Stable and Jason Wood and trained by Doug O’Neill. She ran the 1 1/16 miles in the Grade III in 1:44.60.

Sweet Fourty, the 2-1 second choice on Jeff Tufts’ morning line, was scratched Saturday morning.


Jockey Shaun Bridgmohan won all three of the stakes at Gulfstream Park in Hallandale, Fla., with two of the victories coming for trainer Steve Asmussen.

The two combined with 14-1 longshot Doctor Decherd in the $125,000 Aventura and the $100,000 Mr. Prospector with 5-1 longshot Gaff.

Earlier in the day, Bridgmohan scored with On Thin Ice, a 5-1 longshot, for trainer Joe Orseno in the $100,000 Hal’s Hope.



Achilles Of Troy, the 3-1 third choice, dominated his nine rivals, winning the $74,880 Count Fleet Stakes at Aqueduct by 14 lengths.

This was the second win in a row for the 3-year-old gray son of Notebook. Alan Garcia rode the winner, who ran the mile and 70 yards in 1:39.61.