Beverly and her husband, Richard, graduated from the square dancing program in 2005.She likes the activity because, “it helps you physically and mentally.” The dancing provides low-stress aerobic exercise, which is good for any age, and having to work on remembering the different movements and working with others in a square is a good problem-solving exercise, Beverly said.Along with those benefits, “It does keep me out of trouble,” she said, offering a little smile, then adding, “I still get in a little trouble around here.”There are about 78 basic calls dancers learn, such as the do-si-do (or dosado), swing your partner, promenade and grand square, which are the more commonly known ones. And while it takes time to learn the basic moves, “All you have to do is pay attention,” to begin to understand and do them, Frechette said. “There’s no dancing ability needed.”Another appeal of square dancing, participants explained, is that unlike, say, ballroom dancing or tango lessons, you don’t need to bring a designated partner to take lessons or join in the dances. “I think people think you have to know how to dance,” said Bill Smith, Port Reading. “You don’t.”Or have the partner. There are women who regularly dance the man’s part, if there is a shortage of males on a given evening. All it takes is to have eight dancers to form the square, Frechette said.Yackel said she can dance both men’s and women’s parts. But that has its difficulties, she acknowledged. “The hardest thing to remember is to move right or to move left,” she confided.Smith, who started square dancing thanks to friends in Salt Lake City, Utah, who recommended it to him. “I went to a barn dance and enjoyed it and here I am.”Smith enjoys the exercise and said, “You get to meet different people you wouldn’t get to meet other wise.”The music ranged from some classic pop tunes, swing-era standards to even Jimmy Buffett. “Whatever the caller wants,” explained caller Gotta.Gotta, North Brunswick, has been square dance calling for 54 years. The caller’s role, she said, is to “create the dance pattern and communicate it to the dancers.”“If I stop calling everything stops,” Gotta said.“Not that it’s about power,” she kidded with a small wave of her hand.Gotta has been square dancing since she was 5, attending dances at the Metuchen YMCA. “A lot of us started dancing when we were young,” she noted. “So pretty much anyone can do it without tramping on their own feet.”Red Bank resident Phyllis Lamarche was “looking for an activity to do solo.” She wound up meeting Ted Inge, Freehold, when they both started taking classes as part of the SCAN (Social Community Activities Network) program conducted at Monmouth Mall, in Eatontown. Now “We’re dance partners, at the very least,” Lamarche said.And that was a good selling point for her. “The best part is all the friends you make,” she said.The Middletown Ramblers was founded in 1970 and decided, first jokingly, to take its name from the type of car owned by three of the original members, the American Motors Rambler.The group will be holding an open house, offering an introduction to square dancing, from 7 to 9:30 p.m. Friday, Sept. 23, at the Thompson Park Activity Barn, 805 Newman Springs Road/County Route 520, Lincroft. Story and photo by John BurtonMIDDLETOWN – Swinging your partner and do-si-do’s have had members of the Middletown Ramblers coming together for more than four decades, enjoying the shared wonderful company, the activity and of course the pleasure of square dancing.“It’s the best activity you can find for the body and the mind,” insisted Prudence Frechette. Frechette, an Eatontown resident who likes to be called Pru, has been square dancing for 35 years and really appreciates the physical activity and “the social part.” On top of that, Frechette said, what she likes is its way of leveling the playing field, its democratization on the dance floor. “When you’re on the square,” she said, “nobody knows who’s the street sweeper or the CEO.”Frechette was one of about 50-plus who squared off to the commands of caller Betsy Gotta last Friday evening at the township’s senior center, at Croydon Hall, 900 Leonardville Road, in the township’s Leonardo section, for the group’s regular dance.Beverly Yackel, a River Plaza resident and the Ramblers’ coordinator, said those attending the Friday night dance, were “plus” dancers, Yackel explained, who have reached a certain accomplishment level. Club members have reached “a higher level” of square dancing that comes when they complete the nearly year-long set of two programs conducted by the Monmouth County Park System at a cost of $50 per person for each set of 12 two-hour sessions. Lessons are held at the Henry Hudson Trail Activity Center, 945 Highway 36 and Avenue D, Leonardo. Classes for the next session begin on Sept. 27 and the first class is free.
Doug O’Neill7310111214%45%$469,152 SONGBIRD MAKES THREE-YEAR-OLD DEBUT SATURDAYThe countdown to the much-anticipated three-year-old debut of undefeated champion Songbird is underway in earnest.The Eclipse Award winner as the best two-year-old filly of 2015 drew post position six in a field of seven for Saturday’s Grade II, $300,000 Las Virgenes Stakes for three-year-old fillies at one mile, one of four graded stakes on an attractive and challenging nine-race card set to unfold in summer-like weather with temperatures in the 80s.“It seems like she drew a good post and we’re excited about getting her back to the races,” said Jerry Hollendorfer, who trains Songbird for the Fox Hill Farm of Rick Porter.“We got everything in with her training that we wanted; we were lucky with the weather in that regard.”The Las Virgenes: She’s a Warrior, Flavien Prat, 20-1; Land Over Sea, Mario Gutierrez, 8-1; Street Fancy, Victor Espinoza, 6-1; Jade Princess, Martin Garcia, 10-1; Decked Out, Kent Desormeaux, 20-1; Songbird, Mike Smith, 1-5; and Merirosvo, Drayden Van Dyke, 30-1. FLAMBOYANT NO LONGSHOT THIS TIME IN SAN MARCOSFlamboyant lit up the tote board when he got up by a neck at 46-1 under Brice Blanc in the Grade II San Gabriel Stakes on Jan. 2.The French-bred son of Peer Gynt will be a substantially shorter price when he runs in Saturday’s Grade II San Marcos Stakes for older horses at a mile-and-a-quarter on turf.Flamboyant worked six furlongs on the main track Jan. 29 in a bullet 1:13.20 with French-born Blanc aboard.“He’s a nice work horse,” Gallagher said of the five-year-old gelding. “He didn’t go too fast or too slow and he acts like he’ll go a mile and a quarter.”So Gallagher wouldn’t mind a French-bred horse winning for an Irish-bred trainer?“No,” he said. “Winning is all I want to do.”The field for the San Marcos: Gaga A, Mario Gutierrez, 10-1; Class Leader, Kent Desormeaux, 10-1; Chiropractor, Drayden Van Dyke, 4-1; Southern Freedom, Martin Garcia, 12-1; Power Foot, Tiago Pereira, 15-1; Ganesh, Flavien Prat, 15-1; Flamboyant, Brice Blanc, 4-1; Hay Dude, David C. Lopez, 5-2; Abbey Vale, Rafael Bejarano, 8-1; Quick Casablanca, Tyler Baze, 15-1; and Big Cazanova, Santiago Gonzalez, 15-1. CAT BURGLAR A SLEEPER IN SAN ANTONIO STAKESCat Burglar sneaks in to Saturday’s $500,000 San Antonio Stakes under the radar in quest of his first stakes win for owner Michael Lund Petersen and trainer Bob Baffert.The six-year-old son of Unbridled’s Song doesn’t have the glowing credentials of Santa Anita Derby winner Dortmund, who was not entered in the Grade II San Antonio for older horses at 1 1/8 miles, or even those of Hoppertunity, who was entered, but assuredly Cat Burglar is better than an empty stall.Dortmund and Hoppertunity are both trained by Baffert.The chestnut Cat’s Burglar won an overnight race under Rafael Bejarano on Jan. 8, his first start in nearly five months, and has knocked on the door in graded stakes. Twice he was third in the Grade III Pimlico Special and ran third in the Grade II Brooklyn at Belmont in 2014.“He’s got speed and I think he can go the distance,” Bejarano said. “He was beaten less than a length in the Brooklyn, and that was at a mile and a half. He should be all right, and he should move forward off his last race.”In 14 career starts, Cat Burglar has won four, with four seconds and three thirds, with earnings of $334,400.The field for the San Antonio, race seven: Cat Burglar, Rafael Bejarano, 4-1; Donworth, Mario Gutierrez, 6-1; Cyrus Alexander, Martin Garcia, 6-1; Hard Aces, Joe Talamo, 10-1; Hoppertunity, Flavien Prat, 3-1; Blingo, Alex Solis, 20-1; Imperative, Mike Smith, 5-2; and El Kabeir, Gary Stevens, 6-1. Victor Espinoza353829%37%$477,060 Richard Baltas4876315%33%$477,274 (Current Through Sunday, Jan. 31) Mike Smith4653611%30%$502,240 Kristin Mulhall2052125%40%$193,610 Mike Puype383728%32%$172,380 SANTA ANITA STATISTICS Abel Lezcano3131210%19%$133,870 JOCKEYS ANNUAL CHARITY GAME ON FEB. 11The 49th annual Santa Anita Jockeys vs. Holy Angels Elementary School Charity Basketball Game will be played a week from tonight on Thursday, Feb. 11, at La Salle High School in Pasadena, with proceeds to benefit Holy Angels athletic program, the Permanently Disabled Jockeys Fund (PDJF) and the Eye on Jacob Foundation.Sponsored by Thoroughbred owner J. Paul Reddam’s CashCall and Santa Anita Park, tip off is scheduled for 7:15 p.m., with admission doors opening at 6:15 p.m.Hall of Fame jockeys Kent Desormeaux, Laffit Pincay, Jr., Mike Smith, Alex Solis and Gary Stevens will all be available at center court for an autograph session at 6:30 p.m.With Pincay serving as honorary team captain, a number of active riders are expected to participate, including: Saul Arias, Tyler Baze, Rafael Bejarano, Brice Blanc, Desormeaux, Victor Espinoza, Martin Garcia, Santiago Gonzalez, Mario Gutierrez, Abel Lezcano, Kayla Stra, Chantal Sutherland, David Lopez, Edwin Maldonado, Gonzalo Nicolas, Martin Pedroza, Geena Lattanzio, Fernando Perez, Tiago Pereira, Flavien Prat, Iggy Puglisi, Alonso Quinonez, Joe Talamo, Drayden Van Dyke and perhaps others.TVG’s Kurt Hoover, who will be reporting live from Santa Anita on Thursday, will coach the jockeys for the 15th consecutive year.“We’ve got Desormeaux back,” said Hoover. “And as good as Drayden Van Dyke was last year, that’s all we need, believe me.”The PDJF helps assist permanently disabled jockeys nationwide, while the Eye on Jacob Foundation, named for Jacob Desormeaux, the 17-year-old son of Hall of Fame jockey Kent, benefits those suffering from Usher’s Syndrome. An extremely rare neurological disorder, Usher’s Syndrome causes progressive loss of hearing, imbalance, and eventual loss of sight in approximately 14,000 children in the United States.Tickets are $5 per person, and for every two tickets purchased, individuals receive one free admission ticket to The Great Race Place.La Salle High School is located at the southwest corner of Michillinda Ave. and Sierra Madre Blvd. in Pasadena, approximately four miles northwest of Santa Anita. Admission tickets and promotional tee shirts are on sale now at Champions! Gifts and Apparel in Santa Anita’s East Paddock Gardens, or through Holy Angels Elementary School in Arcadia. Brayan Pena2030015%15%$51,750 Philip D’Amato5512101122%60%$778,210 Steve Knapp1631219%38%$99,290 Agapito Delgadillo4065515%40%$160,412 Mario Gutierrez919161010%38%$520,624 J. Keith Desormeaux2351622%52%$147,390 Jeff Mullins1234025%58%$99,780 Drayden Van Dyke6577911%35%$429,824 Robertino Diodoro1334123%62%$96,340 Rafael Bejarano992122921%53%$1,073,120 Mark Glatt4155212%29%$257,270 Kent Desormeaux4278517%48%$607,800 Michael Machowsky1833317%50%$157,806 Peter Miller6193715%31%$332,790 Tyler Baze11712211410%40%$660,292 Karen Headley730043%43%$137,860 J. Eric Kruljac2132514%48%$78,560 Edwin Maldonado82137916%35%$523,110 William Spawr1965132%63%$154,442 Bob Baffert4587918%53%$500,740 Martin Pedroza4664213%26%$156,390 Gary Stevens3044313%37%$561,810 ALL SYSTEMS GO FOR CHAMP SONGBIRD SATURDAYCAT BURGLAR TIPTOES INTO SAN ANTONIO STAKESI WILL SCORE TACKLES MOR SPIRIT IN ROBERT LEWISFLAMBOYANT OUT TO PROVE HE’S THE REAL DEALSANTA ANITA RIDERS’ CHARITY GAME NEXT THURSDAY George Papaprodromou2032315%40%$82,630 Peter Eurton39611615%59%$371,360 John Sadler3555314%37%$230,770 Vladimir Cerin1661238%56%$154,690 Patrick Gallagher1742324%53%$267,768 Fernando Perez85951411%33%$468,056 Alex Solis1430321%43%$193,018 Jeff Bonde1952326%53%$121,360 David Lopez871781520%46%$525,326 Alonso Quinonez504738%28%$184,820 Steven Miyadi3057517%57%$178,744 Ron Ellis1831217%33%$91,810 Jack Carava1642125%44%$90,410 JockeyMts1st2nd3rdWin%ITM%Money Won Joseph Talamo10013131413%40%$625,054 Jerry Hollendorfer6556118%34%$344,966 Santiago Gonzalez11723161120%43%$916,248 SONGBIRD STABLEMATE I WILL SCORE IN LEWISI Will Score has two things in common with Songbird: he’s unbeaten and he’s trained by Jerry Hollendorfer.Other than that, the three-year-old son of Roman Ruler has much to prove to be mentioned in the same breath with the champion Songbird, but Hollendorfer is optimistic about the colt’s future.“We think he’s a horse with some promise, so we look for him to run a good race,” Hollendorfer said, speaking of Saturday’s Grade III Robert B. Lewis Stakes.I Will Score, who has won his only two starts, both sprints, will go two turns for the first time in the Lewis. He has two bullet works at Santa Anita since taking a first condition allowance here on Jan. 3.The field for the Lewis, which goes as race four: Let’s Meet in Rio, Kent Desormeaux, 6-1; I Will Score, Mike Smith, 5-2; Dressed in Hermes, Rafael Bejarano, 6-1; Laoban, Tyler Baze, 12-1; Mor Spirit, Gary Stevens, 8-5; Path of David, Joe Talamo, 8-1; and Uncle Lino, Fernando Perez, 5-1. Flavien Prat961671417%39%$798,088 FINISH LINES: Multiple graded stakes winner Om worked five furlongs on the main track Thursday in a minute flat under Gary Stevens for Dan Hendricks, who has his sights on the Grade II Arcadia Stakes at one mile on grass Feb. 13 . . . Three-time champion Beholder galloped on the main track Thursday for Richard Mandella . . . Trainer Carla Gaines reports that undefeated Cal-bred Smokey Image came out of his smashing 8 ½-lenghth triumph in the California Cup Derby in excellent shape and at this stage is being pointed to the Grade III, $400,000 San Felipe Stakes against open company on March 12 . . . Jockeys Santiago Gonzalez and Tiago Pereira have been suspended an additional day (Feb. 6) for riding in more than one designated race while under suspension . . . A reminder about previously made announcements that on Super Bowl Sunday, Santa Anita will not offer guaranteed pools. However, the lucrative guarantees will continue today and Friday, as the Late Pick 4 both days has guaranteed pools of $300,000. Saturday, the Late Pick 4 will be guaranteed at $500,000 and the Pick Six pool at $150,000 . . . DRF/NTRA National Handicapping champion Paul Matties, who won $800,000 and an Eclipse Award, will be Tom Quigley‘s guest Saturday, 11:20 a.m., in the East Paddock Gardens. There will be no seminar on Super Bowl Sunday. First post time Sunday is 11 a.m. TrainerSts1st2nd3rdWin%ITM%Money Won Martin Garcia5476813%39%$458,844 Kenneth Black830038%38%$230,250