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California Crown Tops Autumn-Meet Stakes at Santa Anita

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California Crown Tops Autumn-Meet Stakes at Santa Anita


Santa Anita will host 22 stakes including the inaugural GI, $1 million California Crown during its 16-day Autumn Meet starting Friday, Sept. 27. The first-ever California Crown Day at Santa Anita, featuring five stakes worth $2.8 million in prize money, will be presented the following day on Saturday, Sept. 28.

The California Crown program, which was formally announced on March 1, is a new racing and entertainment concept inspired by the popular Pegasus World Cup Day at Gulfstream Park. California Crown Day is slated to bring together the adrenaline of world-class Thoroughbred racing with the excitement of live performances, interactive experiences, and cutting-edge technology. The hefty prize money offered on the stakes-laden card is being provided by 1/ST Racing. 

The event’s namesake race, the Grade I, $1 million California Crown, is for 3-year-olds and up at 1 1/8 miles on dirt. It replaces the Awesome Again on the Santa Anita stakes slate. In addition to its hefty purse, the California Crown also provides the winner with an automatic berth in the $7 million Breeders’ Cup Classic Nov. 2 at Del Mar.

California Crown Day will also include the GII, $750,000 California Crown Eddie D Stakes at about 6 ½ furlongs on the hillside turf course and GII, $750,000 California Crown John Henry Turf Championship at 1 ¼ miles on turf.

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Supporting the three California Crown races on Sept. 28 will be the GII, $200,000 City of Hope Mile and $100,000 Unzip Me Stakes presented by Thoroughbred Aftercare Alliance. The City of Hope Mile is an automatic qualifier for the $2 million Breeders’ Cup Mile Nov. 2 at Del Mar.

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Following the California Crown, the next day on Sunday, Sept. 29, Santa Anita will host both the GII, $200,000 Zenyatta Stakes for fillies and mares at 1 1/16 miles on dirt and GII, $200,000 Santa Anita Sprint Championship presented by Estrella Jalisco. Both races are key steppingstones to the Breeders’ Cup five weeks later.

World-class racing will again be the order of the day the following weekend on Oct. 5-6. On Saturday, Oct. 5, Santa Anita will host five stakes including three Breeders’ Cup “Win and You’re In” events. Among the Breeders’ Cup qualifiers is the newly renamed Oak Leaf Stakes presented by Oak Tree Racing Association, formerly the Chandelier Stakes.

The Oak Leaf, a Grade II event for 2-year-old fillies at 1 1/16 miles on dirt, was known as the Chandelier from 2012 to 2023. The race was originally known as the Oak Leaf Stakes starting in 1969 when contested at the Oak Tree meeting at Santa Anita in the fall.

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Joining the Oak Leaf on Oct. 5 are the GI, $300,000 American Pharoah Stakes for 2-year-olds at 1 1/16 miles, a qualifier for the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile; and GII, $200,000 Rodeo Drive for fillies and mares at 1 1/4 miles on turf, which awards the winner an automatic berth in the $2 million Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf.

On Sunday, Oct. 6, Santa Anita will host three stakes including a pair of Grade III’s at one mile turf, the Zuma Beach for 2-year-olds and Surfer Girl for 2-year-old fillies. Also, that day is the Tokyo City Cup at 1 ½ miles on dirt.

Closing weekend of the Autumn Meet will feature the GII Twilight Derby for 3-year-olds at 1 1/8 miles on turf on Saturday, Oct. 26 and the GIII Autumn Miss for 3-year-old fillies at one mile on turf on Oct. 27.

To view the complete Autumn Meet stakes schedule and for information on an opening weekend, please visit www.santaanita.com.

Los Alamitos to Run Two stakes During September Meet

A pair of stakes worth a guaranteed $175,000 will be run during the upcoming September Thoroughbred meet at Los Alamitos.

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The six-day season is scheduled to begin Friday, Sept. 13 and continue through Sunday, Sept. 22. Racing will be conducted Friday-Sunday both weeks (Sept. 13-15 and Sept. 20-22). Post time will be 1 p.m.

The first stakes race—the $75,000-guaranteed E.B. Johnston—will be run Saturday, Sept. 14. A one-mile race, the Johnston is restricted to 3-year-olds & up bred or sired in California.

A week later—Saturday, Sept. 21—fillies and mares—3-year-olds & up—will get together in the $100,000 Dark Mirage at one mile.

This press release has not been edited by BloodHorse. If there are any questions please contact the organization that produced the release.



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California Reports First Wildfire Death of the 2024 Season

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California Reports First Wildfire Death of the 2024 Season


SAN FRANCISCO — Wildfires fueled by strong winds and an extended heat wave have led to the first death in California of the 2024 season, while wind-whipped flames in Arizona have forced hundreds to flee from what tribal leaders are calling the “most serious” wildfire on their reservation in decades.

The fires were unfolding as authorities in Western states warned of the rising risk of wildfires amid this month’s protracted heat wave that has dried out the landscape, set temperature records and put lives at risk. In eastern California and Nevada, the parched conditions also prompted officials to increase staffing in order to better monitor “deteriorating conditions forecasted for this weekend,” the Humboldt–Toiyabe National Forest announced Friday.

California’s first death of the fire season was reported after Mendocino County officials said they found human remains in a home that burned in a fire that started Monday. The coroner’s office was working to identify the body, but it may be that of a 66-year-old woman whose family reported her missing.

There have been other wildfires deaths in the West this season, including three people who were killed in New Mexico’s Ruidoso blaze.

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In Arizona, more than 400 residents on the San Carlos Apache Reservation were told to leave after a wildfire spilled into the downtown area on Thursday and destroyed at least 13 homes, officials said.

No injuries or deaths have been reported. But the tribe’s chairman, Terry Rambler, called it the “most serious structural fire” on the reservation in decades.

Officials said arson was suspected in the fire, which had so far burned about 2 square miles (5.2 square kilometers) and remained at 0% containment as tribal leaders declared a state of emergency on the reservation.

“We have never experienced anything like this,” Rambler said Friday in a statement.

Patrick J. Victor began recording as the fire exploded around his home Thursday afternoon. His videos showed a dark sky over his neighborhood, wind whipping and carrying black smoke across the sky as his neighbor’s property went up in flames.

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“It looks like the fire pits of hell,” he said while walking through thick brush.

Victor, 39, said Friday that he kept praying for rain as walls of fire shot up and over the thick line of trees in his neighborhood. But the rain never came.

Although his family’s home was untouched, Victor said he was devastated for his community.

“Some of these houses are second- and third-generation homes,” he told The Associated Press.

Meanwhile, California’s top fire official said this week that so far this year, the state has responded to more than 3,500 wildfires that have scorched nearly 325 square miles (842 square kilometers) — five times the average burned through July 10 in each of the past five years.

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“We are not just in a fire season, but we are in a fire year,” Joe Tyler, director of the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, said. “Our winds and the recent heat wave have exacerbated the issue, consuming thousands of acres. So we need to be extra cautious.”

California crews working in scorching temperatures and single-digit humidity were battling numerous wildfires, including a stubborn 53-square-mile (137-square-kilometer) blaze that prompted evacuation orders for about 200 homes in the mountains of Santa Barbara County northwest of Los Angeles.

California’s fires began in earnest in early June, following back-to-back wet winters that pulled the state out of drought but spawned abundant grasses that have since dried out. A June blitz of lightning ignited some of the fires, a risk that may return with thunderstorms in the Sierra Nevada this weekend, forecasters said.

The deadly Mina Fire in Mendocino County, about 180 miles (290 kilometers) north of San Francisco, started Monday afternoon, likely from a burn pile on a property that had escaped and spread. The deceased 66-year-old woman was last seen on the property trying to protect her home with a garden hose, county officials said.

The fire had burned about 0.15 square miles (0.4 square kilometers) as of Friday and was 70% contained.

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Officials across the West — including in Oregon, Nevada and Washington state — have imposed burn bans and other restrictions to avoid sparks. Campfires, operating chainsaws and target shooting are prohibited in most areas.

Oregon Gov. Tina Kotek declared a state of emergency through September.

“Throughout the summer, it will inevitably get hotter and drier, presenting an even greater risk of catastrophic wildfires,” Kotek said in a statement. “The best way to limit wildfire impacts on our communities, natural areas, and first responders is to be aware of the conditions and prevent wildfires from starting.”

The declaration allows the state to deploy additional resources to communities in need.

A fire that started Thursday in eastern Oregon had burned more than 115 square miles (298 square kilometers) as of Friday and was threatening a few dozen homes in the Brogan area, officials said.

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In Hawaii, Haleakala National Park on Maui was closed as firefighters battled a blaze on the slopes of the mountain. Visitors in more than 150 vehicles that had gone up Wednesday for the famous sunset views were not able to descend until around 4 a.m. Thursday because the narrow roads were blocked by fire crews.

More than 78 million people around the U.S. remained under heat alerts Friday — a significant reduction from earlier in the week. But forecasters said that some relief from the heat was due by the weekend.

The U.S. heat wave came as the global temperature in June was a record warm for the 13th straight month and marked the 12th straight month that the world was 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7 degrees Fahrenheit) warmer than pre-industrial times, the European climate service Copernicus said. Most of this heat, trapped by human-caused climate change, is from long-term warming from greenhouse gases emitted by the burning of coal, oil and natural gas, scientists say.



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Famed California kidnapping hoaxer Sherri Papini breathes new life into schoolmate's 1998 disappearance

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Famed California kidnapping hoaxer Sherri Papini breathes new life into schoolmate's 1998 disappearance


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A California woman’s plan to fake her own kidnapping in 2016 has brought some renewed attention to the unsolved disappearance of 16-year-old Tera Smith, who vanished from a run nearly 26 years ago.

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While Sherri Papini’s hoax kidnapping inspired a Hulu documentary series, “The Perfect Wife,” which premiered earlier this year and made national headlines, there has been little attention focused on Tera’s 1998 missing person case even though Papini and Tera attended the same high school in the 1990s.

Papini graduated in 2001. Tera, who did not live beyond her sophomore year, would have graduated in 2000.

It’s become a point of frustration for Tera’s family, who believe the man who abducted and killed their daughter has been walking freely for more than two decades, possibly victimizing others.

CALIFORNIA MOM WHO FAKED KIDNAPPING ACTS LIKE HOAX ‘NEVER EXISTED’ AS ‘BLINDSIDED’ HUSBAND BREAKS SILENCE

Tera Smith’s sophomore yearbook photo. She would have graduated with the class of 2000. (Family handout)

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Sherri Papini's freshman yearbook photo

Sherri Papini’s freshman yearbook photo. She graduated with the Class of 2001. (Family handout)

“It’s really frustrating to me because of the severity of what she did. She lied. She got some money she shouldn’t have. That’s what she did,” Marilyn Smith, Tera’s mother, told Fox News Digital. “And [authorities] spent so much money, so many resources on that and took a really long time. … They suspected from the very beginning that it could be a hoax because of her history. But it took four or five years for them to tell her they knew she was lying.”

The Smith family even had Papini and her husband at the time over for dinner after she was “found.” Marilyn said Papini put on a very convincing show to make it seem like she had survived something traumatic.

SHERRI PAPINI, WHO FAKED HER OWN KIDNAPPING, RELEASED FROM PRISON

“It really felt like a slap in the face in hindsight for her to come over and put on a big act for us when we really did lose our daughter,” Marilyn said.

Keith Papini hoax Gone Girl Cedric McMillan Fake kidnapping

Sherri Papini, center, leaves the federal courthouse after federal Judge William Shubb sentenced her to 18 months in federal prison in Sacramento, Calif., Sept. 19, 2022. (Rich Pedroncelli/AP)

Despite the odd connection between the two cases — if one can call it a connection — the Smith family is grateful for the renewed attention two documentaries about the Papini case have brought to their daughter’s unsolved disappearance.

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“We do have hopes that there will be an arrest.”

— Marilyn Smith

“We do have hopes that there will be an arrest and that there will be a trial in the next couple of years. But we’ve been waiting 25 years,” Marilyn said.

On Aug. 22, 1998, Tera, who was grounded at the time, told her sister she was going out for a jog in the area near their rural Redding, California, home and would be back home in 20 minutes. But she never returned. The 16-year-old’s parents scoured the area that evening and in the days that followed, driving all the roads she may have been running on, but nothing turned up.

Tera Smith at age 16

On Aug. 22, 1998, Tera, who was grounded at the time, told her sister she was going out for a jog in the area around their rural Redding, Calif., home and would be back home in 20 minutes. She never returned. (Family handout)

To this day, while Tera is believed dead, her remains have never been found.

Her parents aren’t sure what evidence from their daughter’s case remains and what has been lost over the years. Authorities have shared little information with the family over the last two decades, but they haven’t given up hope. In fact, they believe their daughter knew and trusted the man who they believe abducted and killed her.

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CALIFORNIA WOMAN SUSPECTS RELATIVE WAS A SERIAL KILLER AFTER UNCOVERING FAMILY SECRETS: ‘IT SHOOK ME’

Tera was a spiritual teenager who kept volumes of written journals since she was a child. She felt a deep connection with the earth and had taken up taekwondo lessons just months before her disappearance.

Tera’s parents believe her instructor, a man named Troy Zink who was in his late 20s and married with children at the time, groomed their daughter, sexually assaulted her and eventually killed her based on what they have read in her journal entries and evidence that has been uncovered over the years.

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Tera Smith's high school yearbook in 1998

Tera was a spiritual teenager who kept volumes of written journals since she was a child.  (Family handout)

“We just immediately knew he was involved,” Marilyn said.

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Zink had apparently told police and the Smith family he saw Tera earlier that evening, when she arrived to his house and asked him to loan her money. When he told her he could not give her the money she wanted, she became upset and asked him for a ride home. He said he obliged, but when they began fighting in his truck, she demanded to be dropped off at the intersection of Oregon Trail and Old Alturas Road in Redding.

“There was a part of me that was wondering if she was pregnant. … We never really believed that Tera ran away — that she wanted to run away,” Marilyn said. She also believes Tera had told some of her friends she and Zink had a sexual relationship, and he did not want that information to become known to his family.

“[H]e had motive to silence her.”

— Marilyn Smith

“She was 16, and he was 29. So, he knew the law. And he knew that if that got out, if he went to jail … he could lose his wife and his little boy. So, he had motive to silence her,” Marilyn said.

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Zink, who could not be reached for comment, also claimed that at the time of Tera’s disappearance, he was in a remote location in the mountains praying. 

The intersection of Oregon Trail and Old Alturas Road in Redding.

Troy Zink told police Tera demanded to be dropped off at the intersection of Oregon Trail and Old Alturas Road in Redding. (Google Maps)

Smith’s family recently discovered that witnesses, however, saw Tera and Zink riding in the same truck the evening of Aug. 22. One witness even said he made eye contact with Tera through the passenger seat window as they drove past, and she mouthed, “Help me,” according to Marilyn.

“The police had a pretty good idea of where he took her along the Sacramento River. Between Keswick Dam and Shasta Dam was the area that was kind of focused on for the search. But then it just became a cold case,” Marilyn said.

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Zink was immediately considered a person of interest, but the only thing he was ever charged and convicted with related to Tera’s disappearance was possessing guns as a convicted felon. When police searched his property while looking into possible connections to Tera, they found guns he was not supposed to have. 

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He was sentenced to three years for the gun conviction in Shasta County, but nothing more came of the case.

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He also had previous convictions for spousal rape and for raping his high school girlfriend when she broke up with him.

“They didn’t connect the dots,” Marilyn said of police at the time. “[T]his guy that’s working on it now … is saying, ‘You know, it looks like to me, like with all this … circumstantial evidence, there’s enough to arrest this guy and to have a case, and they don’t want to do a body lost case.’ But, at some point, you have to come to grips with the fact that there’s maybe not a body, right? And so I think … it’ll be up to the DA if they decide if they have enough to arrest and prosecute.”





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Allstate requests 34% hike on insurance in California as state's insurance crisis escalates: report

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Allstate requests 34% hike on insurance in California as state's insurance crisis escalates: report


Allstate, one of California’s largest insurers, wants to raise its homeowners’ rates by an average of 34%, which could be the largest increase this year.

The rate hike would impact more than 350,000 policyholders if approved by the state’s Department of Insurance, according to the Los Angeles Times.

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Last year, the insurance giant filed for a 39.6% rate increase and, in January, successfully amended its request to 34.1%, the outlet said, citing the state’s Department of Insurance.

STATE FARMS SEEKING MASSIVE RATE HIKES IN CALIFORNIA AS STATE’S INSURANCE CRISIS ESCALATES

An image of the sign for Allstate Insurance as photographed on March 16, 2020, in Melville, New York. ((Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images))

A consumer advocacy group, Consumer Watchdog, is demanding that Allstate provides more data to homeowners on why the massive hike is necessary.

“Allstate is using secret algorithms to decide whether homeowners are at high risk of wildfire and how much they will pay. We’re pushing the company to explain that pricing and disclose to consumers exactly what is raising their premiums,” Carmen Balber, president of Consumer Watchdog, told the outlet.

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AllState insurance sign

A sign is shown on the entrance of an Allstate broker office on February 07, 2024, in Chicago, Illinois. Allstate Corp. today reported fourth-quarter earnings which exceeded Wall Street expectations. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images) (Scott Olson/Getty Images / Getty Images)

Allstate’s rate hike request would surpass State Farm’s request last month of a 30% hike.

HOME INSURANCE RATES HAVE SURGED NEARLY 40% SINCE 2019 – BUT THEY’RE RISING FASTEST IN THESE STATES

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State Farm, which is California’s largest home insurer, announced in March that it would not renew 72,000 property owner policies.

Their refusal of coverage joins Farmers and other local companies.

Ricardo Lara

California Insurance Commissioner Ricardo Lara is trying to enact a reform to California’s insurance regulations by the end of the year. (Don Bartletti / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images / Getty Images)

Many insurance firms have threatened to pull out of the Golden State unless California Insurance Commissioner Ricardo Lara implements a survival strategy for the industry.

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Lara has been working on ways to reform insurance policy in the wildfire-prone state and hopes to implement changes by the end of the year to lure insurers back.

Fox News Digital has reached out to the state’s insurance commissioner and Allstate for comment.



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