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Triumphant return of Calculator

Most folks won’t remember Calculator, the striking gray son of In Summation by Back to Basics, a mare out of the newly pensioned Alphabet Soup, but they will remember a certain horse he was twice runner-up to in 2014 – Triple Crown winner, American Pharoah.


Carrie Lynn Barker

When I first saw Calculator, I knew he had something special but he hadn’t run since January 2015, when he won the Sham Stakes. Any doubts about the talent of Calculator were dashed when, in an allowance race in the Seventh, he hit the wire just ahead of Fusaichi Samurai and Martin Garcia. Calculator’s jockey, Flavien Prat, ended this warm Saturday Feb. 13 with a trio of winners at Santa Anita Park.

The beautiful Calculator.

The beautiful Calculator.

Flavien Prat took the upset on Bolo in the big race of the day, the 30th running of the Arcadia Stakes. The heavy favorite was the eight-year-old, Obviously, piloted by Mike Smith, who got nipped at the wire by the quick closing Bolo. Second favorite, Om and jockey Gary Stevens, finished a well-beaten third. Om is well known for winning American Pharoah’s debut start, a race in which Calculator also finished ahead of the Champ, but Om just didn’t have it on this day.

Carrie2-13-16Calculator and Flavien Prat win the Seventh

Calculator and Flavien Prat win the Seventh.

Tara’s Tango and Martin Garcia fought a gutsy fight to win the Grade II Santa Maria, and Gary Stevens easily took the last race on Irish import, Lady Valeur, who dominated the field of eleven in a maiden special weight. Edwin Maldonado also clocked two wins on Moose Skowron in the 2nd and Atta Boy Pete in the 6th.



Someone had previously asked me what I look for when photographing a race horse, wondering if even the losers can be beautiful. The comment surprised me, so I took a moment out of my day to focus on the horses that would most likely finish in the back of the pack. The lovely chestnut Rangi ended up sixth in his start. However, the sun hitting his mane and highlighting the little hairs on his chin made him look as beautiful as the gray star of the day, Calculator.

Carrie2-13-16Bolo and Flavien Prat - winner of the Arcadia Stakes

Bolo and Flavien Prat – winner of the Arcadia Stakes.

This same person then attempted to give me a lesson on the aerodynamics of a horse’s rear end (I didn’t quite get what he was trying to convey), focusing on the soon-to-start Ziconic, son of Zenyatta. It’s uncertain when Ziconic will make his highly anticipated start but I’m curious to see if his predictions are correct and Ziconic can’t quite “get his hind legs under him.”

On another note, Presidents’ Day racing will tell if my favorite boy, Nyquist, has what it takes to keep his perfect record intact. Perhaps I can sneak out of work for a late lunch…?

Carrie2-13-16Lady Valeur and Gary Stevens take the Ninth

Lady Valeur and Gary Stevens take the Ninth.

— By Carrie Lynn Barker, who shares her thoughts, observations and photos of the horse-related activities from her near-weekly visits to Santa Anita Park on Saturdays during racing season (all photos by Carrie). Carrie is a photographer who lives in Monrovia with her screenwriter husband Brandon and is Chief Member Concierge at the Arcadia Chamber of Commerce. Carrie has written seven stories published as ebooks and has produced several films. She has also been Operation Manager of Barfly Staff Monitoring Services since 2010.

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