PRAT ILL, TAKES OFF HIS OPENING DAY MOUNTS LITTLE BIRD MAKES U.S. DEBUT IN SUNDAY’S BLUE NORTHERLittle Bird, a two-year-old Irish-bred filly, makes her United States debut in Sunday’s $75,000 Blue Norther Stakes which drew a salty field of nine despite its relatively small purse.“She’s a filly with an attitude,” said trainer Richard Baltas. “I’ve had her for a month and a half, she’s had three works and seems to be getting better.“This is a two-year-old filly stakes and most of these horses just broke their maiden, and she’s already won two races (in England), but there are some really nice fillies in there that look like they have a ton of potential.”The Blue Norther, race eight of 10 with a first post time of 11:30 a.m.: Lighthouse, Drayden Van Dyke, 4-1; Guitty, Joel Rosario, 5-1; Parkour, Flavien Prat, 10-1; Madame Bourbon, Joe Talamo; Overjoyed, Mike Smith, 8-1; Laura’s Light, Abel Cedillo, 3-1; Blue Sky Baby, Tyler Baze, 12-1; Croughavouke, Umberto Rispoli, 7-2; and Little Bird, Geovanni Franco, 8-1.Supplementing Sunday’s program is the $75,000 Eddie Logan Stakes at a mile on turf for two-year-olds going as race six: Goliad, Flavien Prat, 3-1; Encoder, Joel Rosario, 8-1; The Stiff, Abel Cedillo, 20-1; Liar Liar, Drayden Van Dyke, 12-1; Royal Act, Rafael Bejarano, Hariboux, Umberto Rispoli, 8-1; Air Force Jet, Evin Roman, 12-1; Kanderel, Mike Smith, 6-1; and Smooth Like Strait, Geovanni Franco, 5-2.BRIGHT OUTLOOK PREVAILS FOR VICTOR ESPINOZA, WHO PICKS UP BELLAFINAVictor Espinoza, his smile and attitude bright as ever, is looking forward to Santa Anita’s Winter Meet that starts today.“My health and business are both good,” said the 47-year-old Hall of Fame member as his agent, Brian Beach, looked on. “I’m excited to be back again and looking forward to winning as many races as I can.“I’m focused on winning and I’ll go from there.”With Flavien Prat off of his opening day horses due to illness, Espinoza picked up a big mount in the Grade I La Brea today, as Simon Callaghan has named him to ride 9-5 morning line favorite Bellafina.FINISH LINES: Kentucky Derby-winning jockey Flavien Prat took off his scheduled six mounts today due to a stomach virus. “He texted me at four this morning saying he was throwing up and might not be able to ride, then contacted me later and confirmed that he wouldn’t,” said his agent, Derek Lawson. “He said he was sorry and apologized to the trainers who had booked him to ride. Hopefully, he’ll have a quick recovery.” . . . Santa Anita’s popular Dollar Day will be offered on New Year’s Day, Wednesday, Jan. 1. Fans can purchase hot dogs for $2 and soda and beer for a buck apiece . . . Today’s 20 cent Rainbow Pick 6 that starts in race six has a guaranteed single ticket jackpot of $500,000 . . . Santa Anita offers a live-money handicapping contest on select Saturdays and Sundays. Fans can sign up at the Main THOROUGHBREDS Center. For details, visit santaanita.com/contest . . . There were 221 recorded workouts at Santa Anita on a busy Saturday morning, including 22 on the training track . . . Agent Craig Stephen, who hit a home run with Santiago Gonzalez, is back in action representing 33-year-old Mexico City native Israel Ocampo. “He’s been working for John Sadler and he’s fit and hungry and wants back in,” Stephen said . . . Agent Ken Huth has taken the book of seven-pound apprentice Victor Flores, who has nine wins at Golden Gate Fields . . . Ron McAnally, who first came to Santa Anita in 1948, was back at Clockers’ Corner on a chilly Saturday morning, ensconced at his familiar table. “It’s been so many years, I can’t count ’em,” said the 87-year-old Hall of Fame trainer, best known for conditioning legendary two-time Horse of the Year John Henry. “I won a race at Del Mar this summer with a 70-1 shot named It’s Tiz Time owned by my wife, Debbie,” McAnally said proudly. “That shows I’ve still got it.” . . . FIRST POST TIME FOR A 10-RACE CARD ON SUNDAY IS AT 11:30 A.M.LATEST CONTENT FROM XBTV:FEATURES:XBTV Saturday: What to Watch for at Santa Anita Park on December 28th, 2019Richard Mandella Discusses Omaha Beach’s Final Work Ahead of the Grade I Malibu Stakes.John Sadler Discusses Gift Box’s Time Off and Expectations for the San Antonio.Bob Baffert Discusses a Trio of Three-Year-Olds Heading Into Grade 1 Starts on Opening Day.Peter Eurton Discusses Draft Pick’s Last Race Heading into the San Antonio.WORKOUTS:Storm the Court (Eurton) 12-22-19McKinzie (Baffert) 12-22-19Ashleyluvssugar (Outside) and Ekklesia (Eurton) 12-22-19Omaha Beach (Mandella) 12-22-19Bellafina (Callaghan) 12-20-19Gift Box (Sadler) 12-20-19Mother Mother (Outside) and Eddy Forever (Baffert) 12-20-19 LITTLE BIRD COULD FLY HIGH IN HER U.S. DEBUT VICTOR ESPINOZA HAPPY TO BE BACK IN ACTION
Octopuses are freaky and mysterious, and they’re notoriously difficult to study. But research on one particularly freaky species shows us just how much we have left to learn about cephalopods: The larger Pacific striped octopus displays mating and hunting behavior unlike any other, suggesting that the routines we think of as being “normal” for an octopus might just be the only ones we’ve observed.The octopus, which was first observed decades ago by Arcadio Rodaniche, has only recently become accessible for close study. In fact, it’s never been officially described as a new species, and has no scientific name. But scientists have been intrigued by — and skeptical of — the strange behaviors Rodaniche claimed to see in the wild.Several years ago, Richard Ross of the California Academy of Sciences came across some larger Pacific striped octopuses on the aquarium trade circuit. He’s been studying them ever since, and his findings were published Wednesday in the journal PLOS ONE.Ross has revealed some of the species’ weird behaviors before. Last year, National Geographic reported on the octopus’ strange mating ritual. Most female octopuses are quite aggressive towards males, and most observed mating has involved males performing the task of inserting sperm into the female as quickly (and with as little contact) as possible.The larger pacific striped octopus does something quite different: The males and females stay intertwined, beak-to-beak, as if kissing. Researchers observed pairs staying together for days, engaging in what looked to be very risky sex for the male — but they didn’t see the females get aggressive.“Octopuses have a reputation for being sexual cannibals,” study author Christine Huffard of the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute explained. It’s generally thought that females will strangle males if given the opportunity, and then eat them.But that sexual cannibalism — like most octopus behavior — hasn’t actually been observed more than a few times. Octopuses are solitary, hard to find creatures, and it’s difficult to observe them in the wild.“With this species, we’d see a male presenting himself to the female and going right up to her mouth,” Huffard said. “She’d often envelop him completely in her arms, which is what happens in the cannibalism we see. There’s this high level of what appears to be aggression, but it doesn’t lead to injury.”The fact that this rough intimacy can be part of non-lethal intercourse shows just how little we know about octopuses.Once the mating took place, researchers noticed something else: Instead of dropping a single brood of eggs in their lifetimes — which is thought to be common practice for octopuses — the females would continue to mate and lay eggs even as they produced hatchlings.The new study also describes the unusual feeding behavior of the species.Most octopuses are thought to tackle all of their prey the same way, using all eight arms to capture it. Some poke or prod inside tiny spaces with their tentacles, waiting for prey to swim out. The larger Pacific striped octopus does this for most prey, but it has a special — and rather ingenious — trick for snaring shrimp.The octopus creeps forward and reaches out, tapping the shrimp (on the shoulder, so to speak) with a single tentacle. The shrimp will swim backwards — its standard move to escape danger — and end up right where the hungry octopus wants it.“It has this very specific way of approaching a very specific kind of prey,” Huffard said. “It seems to know the difference and treat shrimp accordingly.”For now, this newly rediscovered species seems radically unique. But only a handful of the 300 or so known species of octopus have even been observed, so that could change.“Very few behavioral studies have been done,” Huffard said. “But where the logistics allow them, studies are showing us that octopus behaviors are far more complex than assumed.”© 2015, The Washington Post Facebook Comments Related posts:Climate change could leave sharks unable to hunt Expansion of monoculture farming could mean extinction for some tropical birds Costa Rica joins Ecuador in calling for more protection of endangered shark species Grab your binoculars: It’s Christmas Bird Count season in Costa Rica!