Trainer Julio Canani hopes the pace is fast for his stretch-running Blue Chagall as the veteran conditioner seeks a record-equaling fourth victory in the $250,000 Grade I Shoemaker Mile on the turf Monday at Hollywood Park.
“Blue Chagall worked Monday and is doing great,” said Canani Thursday. “There is a lot of speed in the race, and that should help.”
Blue Chagall, a French-bred 5-year-old gelding named for a famous French artist, will be ridden by French-born Brice Blanc. He won the Group III Prix des Chenes at Longchamp in 2007 and the Lure Stakes at one mile at Santa Anita in October.
Canani seeks to tie trainer Jim Nazworthy, who won the race four times from 1959-66 when it was called the Premiere Handicap. The Peruvian-born Canani has been the dominant trainer in the Shoemaker during the last decade. In addition to victories by Silic in 1999 and 2000 and Ladies Din in 2002, Canani has also finished second with Special Ring in 2003, Charmo in 2006 and Hyperbaric last year—a head behind winner Thorn Song—and third with Tsigane in 2004 and Hyperbaric in 2008.
Expected to join Blue Chagall in the Shoemaker are Inglewood Handicap winner Gallant Son (Mike Smith), Arcadia Handicap winner Compari (Joel Rosario), San Simeon Handicap winner Mr Gruff (Joe Talamo), Eddie Read Handicap winner Global Hunter (Omar Berrio), Tangled Tango (Victor Espinoza) and Kentucky invader Karelian (Rajiv Maragh).
Karelian stood in a corner stall in Barn 70 North Thursday and attacked a bale of hay as aggressively as groom Claudio Cortez hopes he will go after his Shoemaker rivals.
“He flew from Kentucky to Texas to here yesterday and got in around 3 p.m.,” said Cortez of the horse who had been based at Keeneland. “He shipped good and walked this morning. He’s perfect, 100 per cent. I don’t think he’s going to lose.”
Cortez has been the groom of the 8-year-old gelding for most of his six-year career on the track and is used to traveling. Karelian, victorious in 10 of 21 starts, has started at 11 different tracks. He has won at seven of them.
Karelian, a Kentucky-bred son of Bertrando, is trained by Rusty Arnold for owner-breeder Green Lantern Stables. He won the Grade I Makers Mark Mile at Keeneland in his last start on April 9.
John Harris, co-owner and co-breeder of California-bred Compari, was on hand to see the 4-year-old gelding work four furlongs in 47.80 seconds on Cushion Track for trainer Marty Jones in quest of his seventh straight victory.
Trainer Craig Dollase said that Monterey Jazz would be forced to skip the Shoemaker because of an unspecified injury.
Anne Sinchak, exercise rider and assistant for trainer Jonathan Sheppard, took Forever Together to the training track on a drizzly Thursday morning to unlimber for the $250,000 Grade I Gamely Stakes Saturday after arriving Wednesday.
“She’s a very classy mare and well-traveled,” said Sinchak of the 6-year-old gray/roan mare, stabled in Barn 53 South following a Fed Ex flight from Newark to LAX.
Traveling is nothing new to Forever Together, who has won nine of 21 starts while traveling to 10 tracks—winning at seven of them—and earning $2,842,639 for Augustin Stable.
In addition to visits to Santa Anita the last two years for Breeders’ Cup races, the 2008 female grass champion has also traveled to Keeneland, Woodbine, Saratoga, Belmont, Arlington, Gulfstream, Calder, Ocala and Delaware.
Forever Together drew post three in a field of eight in the Gamely and will be ridden for the first time by Rajiv Maragh, replacing the injured Julien Leparoux.
Forever Together will carry co-highweight of 123 pounds, the same as Tuscan Evening and Well Monied, under the allowance conditions of the stake.
The Gamely, the first Grade I of the meet, is for fillies and mares at 1 1/8 miles on the turf course and will be run as the ninth of 10 races.
Trainer Jamie Lloyd nominated two fillies to the $150,000 Honeymoon Handicap Monday, and although neither will start, he still has two probable starters to cheer for in the Grade II test for 3-year-old fillies at 1 1/8 miles on turf.
Lloyd explained Thursday that his two nominees—Glass of Red and Riviera Chic—would seek easier spots but that he will still be happy if either Andina or In the Slips wins.
“I bought both Andina and In the Slips and hope that one of them wins,” said the former bloodstock agent who purchased the pair in England after they started racing in 2009. “Both have been unlucky and should be helped by a mile and an eighth.’’
Andina, an Irish-bred chestnut by Singspiel, was a closing second in both the Providencia and Senorita Stakes in her last two starts. Joe Talamo will ride her back for trainer Ben Cecil and owner Arnold Zetcher.
In the Slips was a closing second in the Miesque Stakes here in November in her United States debut. She came back to win the Blue Norther Stakes at Santa Anita and subsequently was a troubled fourth in the China Doll and third in the Providencia on the Arcadia grass. The Kentucky-bred daughter of More Than Ready will be ridden by Rafael Bejarano for owner Michael House.
Andina and In the Slips are expected to be joined in the Honeymoon by Senorita winner Cozi Rosie (Mike Smith), Providencia winner City to City (Joel Rosario), Ashland Stakes winner and Kentucky Oaks runner-up Evening Jewel (Victor Espinoza), Triple Cream (Tyler Baze) and Florida import Dreamed to Dream (Brice Blanc).
Kinsale King, who has trained here the past two months since winning the Group I Golden Shaheen Stakes in Dubai March 27, is ready for his next challenge in England.
“He will work here Monday, ship to New York Tuesday, work on the Belmont turf June 6 and ship to England June 7,” said trainer Carl O’Callaghan of the 5-year-old gelding.
Kinsale King, unbeaten in his last four starts since O’Callaghan took over his training, will seek to become a graded or group winner on three continents. He won the Grade III Vernon Underwood Stakes here and the Grade II Palos Verdes Handicap at Santa Anita last winter before his trip to Dubai.
“Grass should be no problem,” said O’Callaghan of the horse’s first scheduled start on turf in the Golden Jubilee Stakes at six furlongs at Royal Ascot on June 19.
Belleofthebridle, a filly coming off an impressive maiden victory in her first start, will probably be favored against colts in the $60,000-added Willard Proctor Memorial Stakes for 2-year-olds at 5 ½ furlongs on Monday.
Joel Rosario has the call on the Kentucky-bred daughter of Yes It’s True, a 5 ¾-length winner in 51.40 seconds for 4 ½ furlongs on April 21. Walther Solis, who trains the filly, also plans to start Tappin Tough, a Tapit colt who broke his maiden May 1 at the same distance in 53 flat for jockey Christian Santiago Reyes.
Other probable starters include maiden winners Edgewick Road (Tyler Baze) and Gab Power (Felipe Valdez) and maiden J P’s Gusto (Joe Talamo).
FINISH LINES—Defending Hollywood Gold Cup winner Rail Trip worked five furlongs in 1:00 Thursday before the watchful eyes of trainer Ron Ellis and co-owner Samantha Siegel for his next probable start in the $150,000 Californian Stakes June 12…Jim Murray Handicap winner Acclamation, San Marcos Stakes winner Loup Breton and multiple stakes winner Battle of Hastings are prominent among 19 nominees for the $250,000 Grade I Charles Whittingham Memorial Handicap June 5…Stoneside, a nominee to the $100,000 Los Angeles Handicap June 5, worked five furlongs in 1:00.40 Thursday…Kentucky Oaks winner Blind Luck and Santa Anita Oaks winner Crisp head a list of 12 nominees to the $150,000 Grade II Hollywood Oaks June 6. Trainer Steve Specht said that California Oaks and Golden Poppy Stakes winner Antares World would be shipped south from Golden Gate for the Hollywood Oaks…Three local riders have calls in the June 5 Belmont Stakes: Martin Garcia on Game On Dude for Bob Baffert, Joel Rosario on Make Music for Me for Alexis Barba, and Mike Smith on the Bill Mott-trained *Drosselmeyer*…Happy birthday to CashCall Futurity and Preakness Stakes winner Lookin at Lucky, who celebrated his actual 3rd birthday today!
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