FRUMIOUS FIRES BULLET FOR CASHCALL FUTURITY

Northern California invader Frumious worked six furlongs in a bullet 1:11.80 Friday on Cushion Track under jockey Victor Espinoza for the $750,000 CashCall Futurity on Dec. 20.

Trainer Jeff Bonde shipped the colt from Golden Gate Fields on Sunday with groom Julio Rodriguez to the barn of trainer Craig Dollase, who supervised the drill.

“I talked to Craig and Victor, and they thought he went well,” said Bonde from Golden Gate. “He started easy and finished fast. They got him in 11 and 1 for the last eighth.”

Frumious, a California-bred son of Grindstone, has won his last three starts at Golden Gate, most recently going wire to wire at one mile on Nov. 13.

“We have been concentrating on this race for about a month,” said Bonde. “He has shown speed in all his races but I don’t think he has to be in front.”

Frumious was purchased at the Barretts January 2007 sale for $17,000 by George and Mary Clare Schmitt of Zephyr Cove, Nev. The Schmitts were co-owners of Sierra Sunset, another stakes-winning Cal-bred colt who won the 2007 California Cup Juvenile and 2008 Rebel Stakes for Bonde.

“He felt good,” said Espinoza after his first time on the colt. “He slowed it down at the beginning and picked it up at the end.”

Espinoza seeks his second straight victory in the race and third in five years. He won aboard longshot Into Mischief last year and unbeaten champion Declan’s Moon in 2004.

At Santa Anita, trainer Bob Baffert is readying Pioneerof the Nile for the Grade I test at 1 1/16 miles on Cushion Track.

“We’re figuring him out,” said Baffert of the Zayat Stable colt who finished fifth in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile for Bill Mott before being transferred to Baffert, a three-time winner of this race.

“He’s worked three times at Santa Anita and will work again this weekend,” said Baffert.


ALPHA KITTEN READY TO PURR IN $429,500 STARLET

Trainer John Sadler said Friday that he knows the instructions he will give jockey Mike Smith when he rides Alpha Kitten for the first time in the $429,500 Hollywood Starlet on Saturday.

“I’m going to tell Mike to ride her like he rides Stardom Bound,” said Sadler with a smile. “They’re both gray fillies.”

Sadler will not miss Stardom Bound, being readied at Santa Anita for a 2009 campaign, in the Grade I Starlet after sending out starters that ate her dust in her last three victories — the Del Mar Debutante, the Oak Leaf Stakes and the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies, all Grade I races.

The lightly raced Alpha Kitten avoided the Breeders’ Cup trail, breaking her maiden at first asking at six furlongs Aug. 30 at Del Mar and returning to finish second in the Anoakia Stakes at Santa Anita on Oct. 19 behind Mi Chiamano Mimi, who led all the way in a torrid 1:07.80 for six furlongs.

“She was a closing second,” said Sadler of the filly, who rallied to finish 1 ¼ lengths back. “Two or three jumps past the wire, she was in front.”

Alpha Kitten will try two turns for the first time in the 1 1/16-mile race on Cushion Track. “I think the extra distance will be good,” said Sadler of the Kentucky-bred filly by Tale of the Cat out of the Unbridled’s Song mare Alpha Mama.

Sadler pointed the filly to the Starlet since the Anoakia. “Her Ragozin numbers were so high in her second start we knew we had to give her some spacing between races,” said Sadler of the eight-week break between starts.

She worked five times at Santa Anita following the Anoakia before being shipped here Thursday.

Smith replaced regular rider Tyler Baze, who was sidelined several weeks after suffering broken ribs and a fractured shoulder in a spill here last Friday.

Alpha Kitten is a homebred owned by Jerry and Ann Moss, who won the 1993 Starlet with Sardula.

Trainer Bob Baffert shipped Toro Bonito here from Santa Anita today to join Wynning Ride, who was came across town Thursday.

Both fillies finished well in their last starts, Toro Bonito rallying from last in a field of five to finish second in the Sharp Cat Stakes at 1 1/16 miles, and Wynning Ride closing from ninth to finish fourth in the Moccasin Stakes at seven furlongs. “I think Wynning Ride will show more speed at a mile and a sixteenth,” said Baffert.

NAKATANI TAKES DAHLIA CALL ON BELLE ALLURE

Jockey Corey Nakatani, who returned to the saddle here today in the first race for the first time in more than two months, has taken a call to ride French import Belle Allure in the $150,000 Dahlia Handicap, closing-day feature Dec. 21, agent Vince De Gregory reported Friday.

Nakatani, who was sidelined with a broken collarbone suffered in a Santa Anita spill on opening day of the Oak Tree meet Sept. 24, was on several horses here this morning after working himself back into shape at Santa Anita the past two weeks.

Belle Allure, who finished eighth in the Grade I French Oaks, is scheduled to be flown to California next week. The Irish-bred daughter of Numerous won the Group III Prix Vanteaux at Longchamp in April.

Belle Allure, trained by Rupert Pritchard-Gordon, is one of two Dahlia candidates from Europe going to the barn of Ben Cecil at Santa Anita. The other is Don’t Forget Faith, trained by Clive Cox in England.

Other probable starters in the Grade II test for fillies and mares at 1 1/16 miles on turf include Valbenny (Alex Solis), Vacare (Jose Valdivia, Jr.), Green Lyons (Joel Rosario), Grace and Power (Victor Espinoza), Storybook (Mike Smith) and Lady Digby.

TRICK’S PIC RETIRED

Trick’s Pic, winner of the Grade III Tuzla Handicap at Santa Anita in January, has been retired for breeding, trainer Doug O’Neill announced Friday.

“She had a high suspensory issue,” explained O’Neill of the 5-year-old mare, who returned from an eight-month layoff with a last-place finish in a field of 13 in the Las Palmas Handicap at Santa Anita Oct. 24.

Trick’s Pic, owned and bred by the Joseph LaCombe Stable, won five of 22 starts and earned $260,288.