Trainer Peter Eurton stood outside the stall of Weemissfrankie in Barn 52 North at Hollywood Park Sunday morning and pronounced the 2-year-old filly ready for the $250,000-guaranteed Hollywood Starlet Saturday. The Grade I will be run at 1 1/16 miles on Cushion Track.
The chestnut filly stood quietly as acupuncturist Bob Banever treated her back while veteran assistant and groom Lupe Perez held her. A goat named Pickles, her traveling companion, stood outside.
Weemissfrankie, winner of the Grade I Del Mar Debutante and Oak Leaf Stakes at Santa Anita, seeks to become only the second filly to sweep the “triple crown” of 2-year-old filly stakes in Southern California. Excellent Meeting is the only horse to have accomplished that feat (1998).
“I loved the work,” said Eurton of Weemissfrankie’s final drill for the Starlet, five furlongs in 1:00.60 Saturday. “It was just enough. It was not over the top. She did it very easily.
“She didn’t blow at all after the work,” continued Eurton. “I didn’t want to overdo it with the race a week away. She looks good this morning.”
Eurton said the filly’s maturity is one of her assets. “She acts older than her age,” he said. “She’s pretty low-key, not overly spirited, very quiet. She may buck a little when you put a rider up.”
Eurton said that Weemissfrankie would gallop up to the race and be ridden again by Rafael Bejarano, seeking his third Starlet win in five years.
Weemissfrankie, third in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies in her last start, has won three of four outings and earned $535,800. The New York-bred daughter of Sunriver is owned by a partnership that named her in memory of long-time owner Frank Alesia, who died in February.
Other probable starters include Sharp Cat Stakes winner Charm the Maker (Garrett Gomez), Landaluce Stakes winner Killer Graces (Joe Talamo), Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies fourth-place finisher Self Preservation (Joel Rosario), Moccasin Stakes winner Made to Love Her and recent maiden winner Milania.
A list of possibles is headed by Lady Pecan, Evelyn’s Joy and Rowdy Gal.
BAFFERT TRIO ON TARGET FOR CASHCALL FUTURITY
Hall of Fame Trainer Bob Baffert said Sunday from his Santa Anita base that he is still considering a trio of candidates for a record sixth victory in the $750,000 CashCall Futurity, a Grade I test for 2-year-olds at 1 1/16 miles on Cushion Track December 17.
Baffert said that Real Quiet Stakes winner Liaison, Hollywood Prevue Stakes winner So Brilliant and recent maiden winner Sky Kingdom all remained in the picture for the Futurity, pending works next week. Martin Garcia, Rafael Bejarano and Garrett Gomez will probably ride the trio.
Baffert added that unbeaten Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Sprint winner Secret Circle would skip the Futurity following a six-furlong work in 1:12.40 on Cushion Track here Saturday. “He worked OK but doesn’t go as well on it as he does on dirt,” explained Baffert.
Other probable Futurity starters include the Jerry Hollendorfer-trained duo of Rousing Sermon (Joe Talamo) and Longview Drive, the Doug O’Neill- conditioned duo of Basmati (Corey Nakatani) and Handsome Mike, Maryland shipper Lucky Chappy and Empire Way.
Empire Way, victorious in one of two starts during the meet, worked five furlongs in 1:00.40 Sunday for trainer Mike Harrington.
UNBEATEN TIZ FLIRTATIOUS TO TRY CAT’S CRADLE
Trainer Marty Jones said Sunday that Tiz Flirtatious, a 3-year-old filly unbeaten in two starts, would make her stakes bow in the $80,000-added Cat’s Cradle Handicap December 11 after a five-furlong work in 1:02 Sunday.
“She’s a nice filly; we’re stepping up the competition level,” said Jones. Tiz Flirtatious, a daughter of Tizbud owned and bred by Pamela Ziebarth, rallied to win maiden and allowance sprints at Santa Anita in October. The Cat’s Cradle is for California-bred fillies and mares at 7 ½ furlongs.
Tiz Flirtatious was one of four Cat’s Cradle probables to work on the main track here Sunday. The others were Chokecherrymary and Downhill Diva, both five furlongs in 1:00.40; and Excellent News, four furlongs in 47.
Trainer Bob Baffert said that Excellent News would be joined by Salty Sarah, who worked six furlongs in a bullet 1:12.20 here Saturday. Going for a Spin, winner of the Warren’s Thoroughbred Stakes here in April, is also probable for trainer Jerry Hollendorfer.
Also nominated are California Nectar, Hello Sugar, Lady Railrider, Ruffled Feathers, Secret Cove, She Can Roar and Warren’s Flyer.
FINISH LINES—Trainers celebrated victories with their first Hollywood Park starters this week. Francesco Santella, a 33-year-old native of Italy who won with his first United States starter—Coal Region Kid in the third race Thursday—said he went out with Vegas Racing Team co-owners Angelo Molli, Pierluigi Federico and Francesco Mazzini at a restaurant they own in Rancho Palos Verdes to celebrate. Santella said he plans to visit his family in Italy for a holiday vacation from December 15-January 2 before returning to expand his stable in 2012. Michael Ewing, who underwent hip replacement surgery four days earlier, limped to the winner’s circle and threw away her crutches after June Cleaver won the nightcap Saturday to give the trainer her first California victory. “I told her to take it easy; I didn’t want to take her back to the hospital,” said assistant Sebastien Pain with a chuckle Sunday. Pain said he expected Ewing to be back this afternoon to see another starter and to return to full-time work next week. Ewing was a long-time assistant to trainer Bob Hess, Jr. “We had high expectations for June Cleaver,” said Pain of the 2-year-old filly after her auspicious debut versus maidens… Leslie Navarro, agent for jockey Daniel Sandoval, said the jockey suffered a fractured sternum in a spill aboard Red Mountain in the fourth race Thursday. “He’s still at (Centinela Hospital Medical Center),’’ said Navarro Sunday. “They’re checking him thoroughly to make sure there is no internal damage. If it is nothing else besides the crack in his sternum, he should be back in about a month.”… Larry Benavidez, assistant to trainer John Sadler, said that Kettle Corn came back in good shape from his first added-money victory in the $100,000 Grade III Native Diver Handicap Saturday. Sadler said the 4-year-old colt would be pointed to the $1 million Godolphin Mile next March in the United Arab Emirates.
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