Rutherienne, third-place finisher in the Gamely Stakes last year, will be shipped west from New York to California Tuesday for another shot at the $250,000-added race at Hollywood Park on Saturday.
Trainer Christophe Clement announced the decision from Belmont Park Sunday after nominating both Rutherienne and Carribean Sunset to the Grade I test for fillies and mares at 1 1/8 miles on turf.
Rutherienne raced in third place as the third choice all the way last year, finishing behind winner Precious Kitten and Diamond Diva to give Clement his third show finisher with Gamely shippers. He also finished third with Voodoo Dancer in 2002 and Vacare in 2007.
Rutherienne, a 5-year-old mare owned and bred by Virginia Kraft Payson, has won nine of 18 starts and earned $961,555. She shipped to California in 2007 to win the Grade I Del Mar Oaks.
By Pulpit out of the Rahy mare Ruthian, Rutherienne finished second to champion Forever Together in her 2009 bow in the Jenny Wiley Stakes at Keeneland on April 11. She breezed four furlongs at Belmont Thursday in 49.80 seconds.
Diamond Diva is also expected to return in her second start of the year for trainer Jim Cassidy. Trainer Bobby Frankel, who won the Gamely for a record eighth time with Precious Kitten, is expected to try for number nine with two entrants, Visit and Toque de Queda. Other probable starters include Magical Fantasy, Black Mamba, Tuscan Evening, Foxysox and Bel Air Sizzle.
Magical Fantasy, winner of the Grade II Santa Barbara Handicap by a nose over Black Mamba in her last start, worked six furlongs in 1:13.60 on turf Sunday under jockey Alex Solis. “She went nice, evenly all the way,” said trainer Paddy Gallagher. “It’s a tough race, but she’s doing good.”
Modification, another nominee considered possible, worked four furlongs in :48.80 on Cushion Track for trainer Doug O’Neill.
Trainer Howie Zucker hopes Well Monied proves well named when she makes her probable stakes bow in the $150,000 Honeymoon Handicap here next Sunday. The Grade II test is for 3-year-old fillies at 1 1/8 miles on turf and serves as a major prep for the $700,000 American Oaks on July 5.
“She will have one more work here this week before I decide,” said Zucker Sunday from his Santa Anita base. Well Monied comes off a pair of impressive come-from-behind victories around two turns on turf.
“I thought her last race was spectacular,” said Zucker of a six-wide rally from 11th under Joel Rosario to win an allowance race at one mile by 1 ¾ lengths here May 2. “She had a lot of trouble. When he (Rosario) wheeled her out, I doubt that he thought he could win. Before you could blink, she was in front and galloping out.”
Zucker thinks the gray/roan filly owned by C.T. Grether, Inc., could be something special. “She’s by Maria’s Mon, the sire of Wait a While (2006 American Oaks and Eclipse Award winner),” said Zucker. “We’ve waited a while for something like her.”
Well Monied is expected to tangle with Senorita Stakes winner Mrs Kipling (David Flores), Golden Poppy Stakes winner Maid For Music (Mike Smith) and Providencia Stakes winner Acting Lady (Rafael Bejarano) in the Honeymoon.
Mrs Kipling, owned by celebrity chef Bobby Flay, worked seven furlongs on turf in a bullet 1:28 under exercise rider Derek Oldham Sunday for trainer Neil Drysdale.
Other Honeymoon nominees under consideration include Lexlenos, Candilejas, Chalula One, Dash Dot Dash, Daylumney, Century Park and Pride Dancer.
Trainer John Sadler shoots for a Grade I stakes double at Hollywood Park this week with Whatsthescript in the Shoemaker Mile Monday and Black Mamba in the Gamely Saturday. Both turf stakes are $250,000-added.
The pair originated from halfway around the globe — Whatsthescript from Ireland and Black Mamba from New Zealand — but their come-from-behind styles are similar.
Whatsthescript drew post two in a field of eight in the Shoemaker and will be ridden for the first time by Joel Rosario in his first start since November.
“He runs well fresh,” said Sadler of the 5-year-old horse. “He won the American off a layoff last year.”
Whatsthescript returned from a six-month layoff to win the Grade II American Handicap here last year as a 29-to-1 longshot and went on to capture the Grade II Del Mar Mile and finish third in the Breeders’ Cup Mile before finishing sixth as the favorite in the Citation Handicap here in November.
“He just needed a break after the Citation,” said Sadler. “He went to his owners, Tommy Town Thoroughbreds in Santa Ynez, for 60 to 90 days, before coming back here. Our plan is for him to be good in the second half of the year.”
Black Mamba, a 6-year-old mare, returned from a four-month layoff to finish second by a nose to Magical Fantasy in the Santa Barbara Handicap at Santa Anita in April.
Black Mamba finished second by a nose in the 2008 Santa Barbara as well and returned with back-to-back stakes victories here and at Del Mar, a pattern Sadler hopes she duplicates this year.
“The Hollywood turf plays a little better for a closer,” said Sadler, hoping her stretch kick will be more effective here. She is scheduled to work Monday.
FINISH LINES — Trainer John Shirreffs said both Zenyatta and Life Is Sweet, one-two finishers in the $150,000 Milady Handicap Saturday, returned in good shape and no plans had been formulated for their next starts. “I’m glad to get Zenyatta’s first start of the year behind me,” said Shirreffs after the 5-year-old champion mare’s tenth victory without defeat. “I have to talk with the racing manager to see what’s next.” Shirreffs is married to Dottie Ingordo-Shirreffs, racing manager for owners Jerry and Ann Moss …Two other Moss-owned stakes stars worked for Shirreffs Sunday on Cushion Track: Madeo, six furlongs in 1:15.20 for the Charles Whittingham Memorial Handicap June 6; and Tiago, four furlongs in 48.20…Wilshire Handicap winner Gorgeous Goose worked five furlongs in a bullet 1:00.40 on turf for trainer Mike Puype for the Redondo Beach Stakes June 6…Stakes winner Battle of Hastings worked five furlongs on grass in 1:01 for a possible start in the Cinema Handicap June 21.
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