Nine days after Rachel Alexandra became the first filly in 85 years to win the Preakness Stakes, Ventura seeks to become the first female in 58 years to win the $250,000-added Shoemaker Mile on the Hollywood Park turf May 25. The Shoemaker will be the first Grade 1 stake of the meet.
While Rachel Alexandra made her first start against males in the Preakness, Ventura has had plenty of experience running with the boys. The 5-year-old mare has started four times against the other gender with two firsts and two seconds.
Ventura broke her maiden against males in her second start in June, 2007, at Folkestone, England. In her final start in England, she beat males in the listed Hyde Stakes on Polytrack at Kempton in November, 2007.
Since joining the barn of Bobby Frankel in the United States, Ventura has finished second against males twice in Grade I turf races at one mile. She finished 1 ¼ lengths behind Rahy’s Attorney in the Woodbine Mile in Toronto in September and a nose behind Gio Ponti in the Kilroe Mile at Santa Anita in March.
Only two females have won the Shoemaker in its 65-year history: Happy Issue in 1946 and Special Touch in 1951.
Ventura, a Juddmonte Farms homebred by Chester House, will make her second start on the Hollywood Park lawn. She finished second by a nose to Diamond Diva in the CashCall Mile last July after pulling herself up with the lead just before the wire.
A model of consistency, Ventura has recorded eight firsts and seven seconds in 18 starts for earnings of $1,659,470. She won the Grade I Just A Game Handicap at Belmont and the Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Sprint at Santa Anita last year and the Grade I Santa Monica Handicap at Santa Anita in January. In her last start at Keeneland in April, Ventura finished second by a head in the Madison Stakes.
National earnings leader Garrett Gomez will ride the mare for Frankel. Other probable starters include: Hyperbaric (Victor Espinoza), Whatsthescript (Joel Rosario), U S Ranger (Rafael Bejarano) and the Richard Mandella-trained duo of Dixie Chatter (Tyler Baze) and Tiz West (Joseph Talamo).
U S Ranger, third-place finisher in the Inglewood Handicap, worked seven furlongs on turf in 1:29.60 Sunday for trainer Neil Drysdale.
LIFE IS SWEET FIRES BULLET FOR MILADY
Life Is Sweet, winner of her last three stakes at Santa Anita, worked six furlongs in a bullet 1:12.20 Sunday on Cushion Track for the $150,000 Milady Handicap Saturday.
The 4-year-old filly, a full sister to champion Sweet Catomine, worked under exercise rider Isabelle Bourez in company with Yankee Station for trainer John Shirreffs.
Shirreffs said he was happy with the way both Life Is Sweet and Zenyatta were coming up to their pending showdown in the Grade II Milady for fillies and mares at 1 1/16 miles on Cushion Track.
Zenyatta completed drills for defense of her Milady crown with a bullet six-furlong work in 1:12.60 breezing Friday. Champion female Zenyatta, unbeaten in nine starts, will make her first start since winning the Breeders’ Cup Ladies Classic at Santa Anita in October.
Zenyatta seeks to become the first Milady winner to repeat since champion Azeri in 2002 and 2003.
Mike Smith will be back aboard Zenyatta while Garrett Gomez retains the mount on Life Is Sweet.
Other probable starters among 10 other nominees include Allicansayis Wow (Joseph Talamo) and Champagne Eyes (Michael Baze).
Anabaa’s Creation, one of several listed possible pending weights and size of the field, worked five furlongs in a bullet :59.40 for trainer Julio Canani.
CARBONITE TO SHIP SOUTH FOR LAZ BARRERA STAKES
Carbonite, victorious in his first two starts at Golden Gate Fields this year, is scheduled to be shipped south for the $100,000 Lazaro Barrera Memorial Stakes, a Grade III test for 3-year-olds at seven furlongs on Cushion Track Sunday.
Carbonite will be ridden by Chad Schvaneveldt for trainer Dennis Patterson. The chestnut colt by Aldebaran is a Mercedes Stable homebred.
Carbonite will be one of two unbeaten Aldebaran colts seeking to stretch their winning streaks to three in the Laz Barrera. The other is Canonize, a facile winner here on May 3.
Jose Valdivia, Jr. will ride Canonize back for Jay Em Ess Stable. “He should love seven-eighths,” said trainer Ron Ellis.
Others expected to join Carbonite and Canonize include Backbackbackgone (Rafael Bejarano), Charlie’s Moment (Alex Solis), Leedstheway (Tyler Baze), Position A (Victor Espinoza) and Quindici Man (Joel Rosario).
Candy Lion, another nominee, worked four furlongs in :49.40 for trainer Jerry Hollendorfer.
MAGICAL FANTASY WORKS FOR GAMELY
Magical Fantasy worked five furlongs in :59.60 on turf Sunday for the $250,000-added Gamely Stakes, a Grade I test for fillies and mares at 1 1/8 miles on turf May 30.
Alex Solis will ride the 4-year-old filly, winner of the Grade II Santa Barbara Handicap in her last start and the Grade I Del Mar Oaks last year, for trainer Paddy Gallagher.
Other probable starters include Black Mamba, Diamond Diva, Bel Air Sizzle and Toque de Queda.
FINISH LINES — Trainer John Sadler joined elite company with his fourth victory in the Los Angeles Handicap Saturday with Red Arrow. Only the legendary Buster Millerick had won the six-furlong sprint four times previously. “Buster was a great old-timer and a beautiful horseman,” said Sadler, whose early career coincided with Millerick’s twilight years. Speed has been the key in all of Sadler’s victories. He pointed out that previous winners Rosie’s K.T., Olympic Prospect and Hombre Rapido were all front-runners. Red Arrow, who followed that script under Joseph Talamo, will be kept at the six-furlong distance, according to Sadler. He has another good sprinter, Get Funky, poised for his season bow in the $60,000-added El Segundo Stakes at five furlongs on turf Thursday. He is also pointing Noble Court to the seven-furlong Triple Bend Handicap July 5…Trainer Mark Glatt was elated with a course-record victory by Reba Is Tops in the Lawndale Stakes Friday night. “She’s hard-trying and talented but her desire takes her further than anything else,” said Glatt after the 5-year-old mare won the five-furlong turf race in 55.10 seconds under Joseph Talamo, lowering the standard of :55.61 set by Simply Because in 2006…Jockey David Flores will be at Lone Star Park on Memorial Day to ride Magnum in the $400,000 Lone Star Park Handicap for Darrell Vienna and Storm Military in the $200,000 Dallas Turf Cup for Bobby Frankel …Alex Solis will be at Golden Gate Fields Memorial Day to ride Awesome Gem in the $150,000 Berkeley Handicap. Awesome Gem worked six furlongs in 1:13.80 here Sunday for trainer Craig Dollase …Inglewood Handicap winner Madeo worked five furlongs in 1:01.20 for trainer John Shirreffs for the Charles Whittingham Memorial Handicap June 6…Senorita Stakes winner Mrs Kipling worked six furlongs on turf in 1:15.20 for the Honeymoon Handicap May 31 for trainer Neil Drysdale …Wilshire Handicap winner Gorgeous Goose worked four furlongs in :50.40 breezing on turf for trainer Mike Puype for the Redondo Beach Stakes June 6…Jockey Jesus Rios has left the colony to ride at Calder…Lite Stepper, a 3-year-old filly scheduled to make her debut in the sixth race Thursday, is a full sister to the retired Greg’s Gold, a Grade I stakes-winning millionaire. David Hofmans trains the homebred for Bill Boswell.
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