At Santa Anita in Arcadia, Calif., A D K Racing's Anthony's Cross will try and make it two in a row in the Gr. 1, $1 million Santa Anita Derby. The son of Indian Charlie-Screening, by Unbridled, bred by George Strawbridge, Jr., captured the Gr. 2 Robert B. Lewis at Santa Anita on February 12.
A Santa Anita Derby victory would have an even bigger impact for Anthony's Cross beyond gaining entry to the Kentucky Derby field. Should he win tomorrow, and then go on to capture the Preakness Stakes on May 21, he would earn a $5.5 million bonus. Dubbed the Preakness 5.5, and created last year by MI Developments (then-owners of the Maryland Jockey Club) the bonus will be awarded to any horse who can sweep a series of races and the Preakness, of which the Robert B. Lewis and Santa Anita Derby are part of.
Anthony's Cross (right), winning the Robert B. Lewis. Photo: EquiSport Photos/Alex Evers
Anthony's Cross was foaled at Bettina Jenney's Derry Meeting Farm in Cochranville, Pa., and was one of relatively few horses ever offered at auction by Strawbridge, who by and large keeps all his homebreds to race under his Augustin Stable banner. Consigned by Derry Meeting Farm, agent, to the 2009 Fasig-Tipton Saratoga August select yearling sale, the colt was purchased for $300,000 by Arianne DeKwiatkowski, the daughter of the late Henryk DeKwiatkowski, who owned the famed Calumet Farm in Lexington, Ky.
Screening, the dam of Anthony's Cross, was unraced, but hails from one of Strawbridge's blacktype-rich female families. Her dam, Recording (by Danzig), won the Sands Point Stakes (Gr. 3); she has produced graded stakes winner Smart Bid (by Smart Strike) for Strawbridge, and he recently captured the Mervin H. Muniz Jr. Memorial H. (Gr. 2) at Fair Grounds under the guidance of trainer H. Graham Motion. Recording is also the dam of French stakes winner Representing (by Rahy) and the stakes winner Deal Making (by Empire Maker), who won the Stanton Stakes at Delaware Park and was third in the Gr. 2 National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame Stakes.
The third dam of Anthony's Cross, Ratings, was also a graded stakes winner for Strawbridge, winning the Gr. 2 Diana Handicap and the Gr. 3 Sheepshead Bay Handicap, and placing in the Gr. 1 Flower Bowl Invitational. Strawbridge also bred his fourth dam, the T.V. Commercial mare T. V. Ad.
Screening's first foal, Fugitive Angel (by Alphabet Soup), has turned out to be quite a nice racehorse for Strawbridge and trainer Jonathan Sheppard. Last season, she won three times, all stakes: the Pin Oak Valley View Stakes at Keeneland (Gr. 3), and the restricted Malvern Rose and Russian Rhythm Stakes. Screening has a 2-year-old filly by Harlan's Holiday named Holiday Fashion, and a yearling filly by Posse.
Anthony's Cross has won twice from six starts, and earned $195,020. He's trained by Eoin Harty and will be ridden tomorrow by Joel Rosario, and is rated at 4-1 in the morning line.
Across the country, the $1 million Wood Memorial at Aqueduct in New York features Norman Asbjornson, a son of Real Quiet-Merryland Missy, by Citidancer, bred in the Keystone State by Thomas McClay, Harry Nye and Horseshoe Valley Equine. "Norman" broke his maiden at Penn National on December 8, and in his most recent start on March 5 was second in the Gr. 3 Gotham Stakes behind highly regarded Stay Thirsty.
Norman Asbjornson will face a stiff test in the Wood, however, as he faces the mighty Uncle Mo, last year's 2-year-old champion and considered the Derby favorite. "Norman" is trained by Chris Grove and will be ridden by Julian Pimentel, and is tabbed a 15-1 chance. Lifetime, from six starts, he's won twice and earned $117,200.