Thursday, November 20, 2008


HP Notes: Thursday, November 20, 2008


FRENCH INVADER ALBHARI TO RUN IN HOLLYWOOD DERBY

French-based Albhari is scheduled to be shipped to California next week and run in the $500,000 Hollywood Derby on Nov. 30, trainer Patrick Biancone said Thursday from Santa Anita after supplementing the 3-year-old gelding for $10,000.

“He’s coming Monday,” said Biancone of the horse purchased out of the Arqana Sale at Saint-Cloud Monday by Ed Gann of San Diego. “He just won a listed stake at Le Croise Laroche (Nov. 3 at 1 5/16 miles).”


Albhari, previously trained by Michel Delzangles for the Aga Khan, has recorded three firsts and one second in five starts. “The only race in which he was not first or second was on a right-handed track in Germany,” said Biancone.

Julien Leparoux has the call in the Grade I race at 1 ¼ miles on turf that is the co-feature with the $500,000 Matriarch on the concluding day of the three-day Turf Festival.

Biancone, who returned to training November 10 at Santa Anita following a one-year suspension, said he is regrouping slowly and had one other candidate for a stakes race here: Baroness Thatcher in the Bayakoa Handicap on Dec. 7.

Also supplemented to the Derby was Cowboy Cal, expected to be shipped west from New York Monday by trainer Todd Pletcher. Other stakes winners scheduled to ship west are Sailors Cap from New York Monday and Court Vision from Florida Tuesday.

They are expected to join Gio Ponti, who was shipped to Santa Anita on Nov. 4 by trainer Christophe Clement, and locally-based stakes winners Madeo, Muny and Dixie Chatter in the lineup.


COCOA BEACH TESTS TURF FOR MATRIARCH

Cocoa Beach, a graded stakes winner on three continents, worked four furlongs on turf in :46.20 breezing under exercise rider Robert Chapman Thursday for a return to grass in the $500,000 Matriarch on Nov. 30.

“Her first time on the turf in North America,” said Henry Spiller, assistant to Godolphin Racing trainer Saeed bin Suroor. “She galloped out in 58 and two. I was very happy with the way she handled everything.

“The cones were out quite wide, so it was a very good move,” added Spiller. “The rider said she felt as good on grass as she did on synthetic or dirt.”

Cocoa Beach, a 4-year-old Chilean-bred filly, has not raced on turf since breaking her maiden in her first start in Chile in 2007. She has gone on to win eight of 11 starts, winning major stakes on dirt in Chile, Dubai and New York to establish herself as one of the leading distaffers in the world. She finished second to unbeaten Zenyatta in the Breeders’ Cup Ladies Classic at Santa Anita in her last start Oct. 24.

Ramon Dominguez has the call back in the Grade I Matriarch for fillies and mares at one mile on turf.

Magical Fantasy, supplemented to the race for $10,000, worked six furlongs on turf in a bullet 1:13.20 under jockey Alex Solis to the satisfaction of trainer Paddy Gallagher. Criminologist, a graded stakes winner based in New York with trainer Shug McGaughey, was also supplemented.

Other probable starters include defending champion Precious Kitten, Visit, Black Mamba, Roshani, Rosinka, Passified and I Can See.


FORMAL DECREE WORKS FOR CITATION HANDICAP

Godolphin Racing’s Formal Decree, winner of the Knickerbocker Handicap at Belmont Park in his last start Oct. 25, worked five furlongs in 59.60 on Cushion Track Thursday for the $400,000 Citation Handicap on Nov. 28. The Grade I test is at 1 1/16 miles on turf.

“This is his second work since he shipped in a couple weeks ago,” said Henry Spiller, assistant to trainer Saeed bin Suroor. “I’m happy the way he has settled here and trained on the synthetic track.

“He’s lightly raced and is coming good now,” said Spiller, a 23-year-old native of Ireland who has worked with Godophin for five years. The German-bred 5-year-old gelding has won his last two starts in New York under veteran Jean-Luc Samyn, who will come in to ride.

“He went to Dubai two winters ago and won three in a row at the carnival,” said Spiller. “The following summer (2007), he fell in a race in France, and it may have affected his confidence. He came to the U.S. last fall, got a break, and we picked him up this spring.”

Lord Admiral, a 7-year-old veteran with experience in Europe, Dubai and the United States, worked six furlongs on turf in 1:15.20 under Alex Solis, who has the Citation call for Irish trainer Charles O’Brien.

Trainer John Sadler supplemented Becrux to the race for $8,000 to join Whatsthescript. Other probable starters include Hyperbaric, Rebellion Galantas, Shakis and Ferneley.


CONGOR BAY ARRIVES FOR PREVUE

Congor Bay, unbeaten in two starts at Woodbine, galloped on Cushion Track here Thursday after arriving in Barn 50 Wednesday for the $100,000-added Hollywood Prevue Stakes for 2-year-olds Sunday.

“He seemed to handle it pretty good,” said Ricky Griffith, assistant to trainer Mark Casse. “He was a little fired up this morning but he’s kind of dropped his head and relaxed a little.”

Congor Bay was accompanied by exercise rider Wayne Brown on a trip that originated with a van ride from Toronto to Keeneland and a flight from Kentucky to Ontario Airport, from where he was vanned here.

“The competition is hard to say, but he should handle seven furlongs,” said Griffith of the Grade III Prevue. “He’s flawless thus far.”

Congor Bay was also accompanied by Insurgence, a candidate for the $100,000-added Generous Stakes for 2-year-olds on turf Nov. 29.


WINCHESTER WORKS FOR TURF CUP

Winchester, originally a candidate for the Hollywood Derby, is now aiming for the $250,000 Grade I Hollywood Turf Cup December 6. “I talked to the boss yesterday, and he thought a mile and a half might suit him better,” said Tom Daly, assistant to Irish-based trainer Dermot Weld.

Winchester, winner of the Secretariat Stakes and seventh in the Breeders’ Cup Turf, worked six furlongs in 1:13.40 on turf here under Daly in company with Towzee. “He’s improving with each work,” said Daly after the colt’s third drill here.


ZENYATTA TO PARADE ON NOVEMBER 30

Unbeaten Zenyatta will be paraded on the track on November 30 during a program that includes the Hollywood Derby and Matriarch, $500,000 highlights of the Turf Festival.

The 4-year-old filly, stabled here year-round with trainer John Shirreffs, climaxed an unbeaten year and stretched her winning streak to nine with a victory in the Breeders’ Cup Ladies Classic at Santa Anita on Oct. 24.

Four of her victories have been here, including the Milady and Vanity handicaps last summer. Zenyatta, a Horse of the Year candidate, is owned by Jerry and Ann Moss.



FINISH LINES — Pretty Katherine and Kinesiology worked on turf for the $100,000-added Miesque Stakes for 2-year-old fillies Nov. 28, Pretty Katherine five furlongs in 1:02.80 and Kinesiology six furlongs in 1:15.60...National riding leader Garrett Gomez will be in New York on Nov. 29 to ride Arson Squad in the Cigar Mile at Aqueduct, according to agent Ron Anderson.


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