Trainer Ruben Cardenas hopes for the biggest score of his career when he sends out Chilean-bred Madera Castana in the $250,000 Gamely Stakes at Hollywood Park Monday. The first Grade I stake of the meet is for fillies and mares at 1 1/8 miles on turf.
Madera Castana, a Group I winner in her native Chile who joined the Cardenas stable here in March, rallied from far back to finish second in an allowance race on turf here May 8 in her United States debut.
“She should have won that race for fun,” said Cardenas Thursday from his stable office in Barn 54 North. “She was 20 lengths behind at the three-eighths pole and just got beat. There was no reason for her to be that far back. I would like to see her closer to the pace in the Gamely.”
Cardenas, a 51-year-old native of Mexico, seeks his first graded stakes victory in the Gamely. “I started with Wayne Lukas in the quarter horses in 1974,” said Cardenas, who worked under Lukas, Mary Lou Tuck, Lee Rossi and Robert Marshall before going on his own in 2000.
“I know how to take care of a good horse,” said Cardenas with a smile, pointing out that he was a foreman for Lukas when the stable included Winning Colors, Criminal Type, Open Mind and Tejano and the man behind the scenes for Marshall when he campaigned multiple stakes winner Full Moon Madness.
Cardenas hopes that Madera Castana one day will be mentioned in the same breath. “She came in March 16 with five horses from Chile,” said Cardenas. “I thought she was the best, just on looks. She has acclimatized pretty well since she got here.”
Madera Castana, a 4-year-old filly, is one of 19 horses that Cardenas trains for Green Grass Stable. He has high hopes for several others. “I’m going to train Ashtar up to the Hollywood Gold Cup (July 9),” said of the 4-year-old Chilean-bred colt, a Group I winner with six wins in 14 starts. “Private Affair just got in this week from Peru and acts like a good one,” added Cardenas of the 4-year-old filly. “She ran second against colts in a Group I in Argentina.”
Jockey Patrick Valenzuela will ride Madera Castana for the first time in a Gamely lineup also expected to include Cozy Rosie (Mike Smith), Dubawi Heights (Joel Rosario), Éclair de Lune (Chantal Sutherland), Malibu Pier (Brice Blanc), Restless Soul (Joe Talamo), Turning Top (Garrett Gomez) and Canadian invader Miss Keller (Victor Espinoza). Celtic Princess and Lilly Fa Pootz head a short list of possible starters.
Restless Soul and Éclair de Lune each worked five furlongs on turf Thursday in 1:01.60 and 1:04, respectively.
Amazombie, a rising star among sprinters, and Cost of Freedom, the defending champion, will carry co-highweight of 122 pounds in the $100,000 Los Angeles Handicap, a Grade III test at six furlongs Monday.
Amazombie won the Potrero Grande and Tiznow stakes in his last two starts for trainer and co-owner Bill Spawr and will be ridden by Mike Smith.
Cost of Freedom seeks to join Native Diver as the only two-time winner of the Los Angeles Handicap. Tyler Baze will ride the 8-year-old gelding for trainer John Sadler.
The extremely competitive sprint will also include M One Rifle, who set a track record of 55.98 seconds for five furlongs and edged Cost of Freedom by one-half length in the Cool Frenchy Stakes May 7. Chantal Sutherland will ride for Bruce Headley under 118.
Other probable starters include Supreme Summit, Rafael Bejarano, 117; and Gato Go Win, Garrett Gomez, 115.
Trainer John Sadler confirmed Thursday that Sidney’s Candy would start in the $150,000 American Handicap Saturday under high weight of 123 pounds.
The 4-year-old colt drew post seven in a field of eight under Joel Rosario in the Grade II test at one mile on turf. The chestnut son of Candy Ride will try to duplicate the victory of his sire, who won the race under 120 in 2003 when it was run at 1 1/8 miles on grass.
The last horse to win the American under as heavy an impost was champion Tight Spot, who carried 123 in 1991.
PROCTOR DREAMS OF GREAT LADY M SCORE
Asked if he thought Broken Dreams could win the $70,000-added Great Lady M Stakes Sunday, trainer Tom Proctor replied, “Is Marty Jones running?”
When informed that the Jones-trained Unzip Me was not entered in the six-furlong turf stake for fillies and mares, Proctor said with a sigh of relief, “Maybe she will, if she’s fast enough.”
Unzip Me, a multiple stakes winner with 11 wins in 19 starts, has twiced foiled Proctor in bids for an initial stakes victory for Broken Dreams. The Glen Hill Farm homebred mare finished second in both the Monrovia and Clockers Corner Handicaps on the hillside turf course at Santa Anita.
Broken Dreams, a Florida-bred 5-year-old mare, has recorded three firsts and five seconds in 11 starts.
Las Cienegas Handicap winner Separate Forest blew out three furlongs in 37.80 on the main track for the Great Lady M., in which she drew the outside post in a field of five under high weight of 122.
Trainer Dean Pederson was making himself right at home in Barn 64 South in his first full-time meet here.
“Hopefully that was the way to get the ball rolling,” said Pederson of his first win at the meet with Logical Single, a 4-year-old filly who captured the $73,350 Fran’s Valentine Stakes for California-bred fillies and mares at one mile on turf Sunday.
Pederson, a Northern California transplant, said he had won one stake here previously. “It was also a Cal-bred stake, with a horse named Super Tuesday,” recalled Pederson. “She won a three-horse photo. (Alex) Solis rode her.”
“Committing here full time, it’s nice to get the first win of the meet,” added Pederson. “Hopefully, it won’t be the last.”
Logical Single is a Harris Farms homebred by Singletary. “Mr. (John) Harris is the main reason we made the move,” said Pederson. “He was a great client in Northern California and encouraged me to move south.”
FINISH LINES—Hall of Fame jockey Mike Smith made his first ride in England a winning one Thursday morning, capturing an allowance race at Folkestone on Gentlemans Code, a 2-year-old colt trained by Wesley Ward. Agent Brad Pegram said that Smith would fly back to California Friday and ride here Saturday…Frequent flyer Garrett Gomez will sandwich trips to New York to ride Cheetah for Christophe Clement in the Sheepshead Bay Stakes Saturday and Master of Hounds for Aidan O’Brien in the Belmont Stakes June 11 around a trip to Toronto June 5 for the Woodbine Oaks…Awesome Gem is scheduled to run in the Lone Star Handicap in Texas Monday before he defends honors in the Hollywood Gold Cup on July 9…Trainer Eric Kruljac said that multiple stakes-winning filly La Nez suffered a fractured hind cannon bone in a work Sunday, underwent successful surgery and is expected to make a full recovery…Trainer Cliff Sise said that Melair Stakes winner Miles Rules has returned to training after being forced to miss the Railbird Stakes because of a bout with colic…California Cup Classic winner Soul Candy worked seven furlongs on the main track in 1:27.40 for a possible start in the $150,000 Californian June 4…Jockey Garrett Gomez booked off his Thursday mounts because of illness, according to track stewards.
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