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After appealing, Stevens still on for BC preps
ARCADIA, Calif. - Stung by a 20-day suspension he received earlier this week from Italian racing officials, jockey Gary Stevens has appealed the decision to an Italian court, enabling him to continue riding.
The suspension was levied in May, when Stevens refused to ride an unruly horse at Capannelle racecourse in Rome. Stevens appealed the decision but was informed earlier this week that the appeal was denied.
The suspension was to have begun Thursday and continue through Oct. 19. A suspension during that time would have prevented Stevens from riding the lucrative Breeders' Cup preps over the next two weekends and the California Cup program at Santa Anita on Oct. 16. Saturday, Stevens is booked to ride The Cliff's Edge in the $1 million Jockey Club Gold Cup at Belmont Park.
But Stevens, working with attorney Neil Papiano in California and an attorney in Italy, is being allowed to continue riding by California racing officials while he pursues the appeal.
"We did receive correspondence that Mr. Papiano, through the Italian attorney, that he is appealing that decision," said steward Tom Ward. "Based on that, we'll allow Gary to ride."
On May 30, Stevens refused to ride Sopran Foldan in the Group 3 Premio Tudini after the horse was unruly on the way to the start. Stevens said Sopran Foldan was bleeding from the mouth before the start. He asked that the horse be scratched, but was replaced by another rider. Sopran Foldan finished 14th of 16. Later that day, Stevens was informed of the suspension, which he immediately appealed.
Stevens rode in France from March to August, and made occasional trips to other countries for major stakes.
Belleski defends Maddy title
Belleski remained unbeaten on Santa Anita's hillside turf course with a hard-fought win in Wednesday's $100,000 Sen. Ken Maddy Handicap, the opening-day feature.
The victory gave Belleski her second straight win in the Grade 3 Maddy, her fourth win over the hillside turf course, and could lead to a start against males over the course in the $100,000 Morvich Handicap Aug. 30.
Unlike in 2003, when Belleski won the Maddy by two lengths, she was all out to win Wednesday's running. After tracking pacesetter Lady Sabrina down the hill, Belleski took the lead when the field crossed over the main track and dueled with Intercontinental in early stretch.
Racing on the outside of Intercontinental, Belleski pulled clear under Corey Nakatani to win by a half-length, running about 6 1/2 furlongs on turf in 1:12.86. David Flores, who rode runner-up Intercontinental, was frustrated at the result.
"When I passed them I thought she was going to keep going, but the other filly is just too good," Flores said.
Trained by John Sadler, Belleski has won 7 of 14 starts and $344,586.
Short Route eyes bigger race
Short Route gave trainer Joe Herrick and jockey Cesar DeAlba their first stakes win at Santa Anita in Wednesday's $81,825 Cover Gal Stakes for statebred fillies.
Herrick said he is hopeful Short Route can return for a bigger prize - the $125,000 California Cup Juvenile Fillies on Oct. 16.
The Cal Cup was Herrick's goal for Short Route at the start of meeting. He supplemented the filly for $1,500 to the Cover Gal when he realized the field was weak and did not include Del Mar stakes winner Coastal Strike.
"I had the Cal Cup on the brain, but this race came up kind of weak," Herrick said.
Sent off at 5-2, Short Route stalked pacesetter Kelly's Princess for the first half-mile, battled for the lead in early stretch, and won by a length over Lady Truffles, a maiden. Home Ice finished third.
Short Route ($7) finished seven furlongs in 1:23.20. "This was a pretty easy race for her," Herrick said.
By Mud Route, Short Route beat maidens at 52-1 in her debut at Del Mar on Aug. 1 and returned Sept. 1 to finish fourth at 32-1 behind Coastal Strike in the Generous Portion Stakes for statebred 2-year-old fillies.
Norfolk field grows to five
More contenders are emerging to take on top 2-year-old Roman Ruler in Sunday's $200,000 Norfolk Stakes. Second as a heavy favorite in the Del Mar Futurity on Sept. 8, Roman Ruler may have four opponents in the Norfolk, a key prep to the Breeders' Cup Juvenile at Lone Star Park on Oct. 30.
Boston Glory and Littlebitofzip are expected to start and may be joined by the maiden winner Compulsive and Wise Diplomat, who is winless in two starts.
Bob Baffert, who trains Roman Ruler, said Wise Diplomat may start in the Grade 2 Norfolk instead of a maiden race Sunday.
Trainer Nick Hines said Compulsive is possible. Compulsive is owned by Jim McIngvale, who switched his stable from Baffert to Hines in early September.
Compulsive won his only start by 2 1/2 lengths over 5 1/2 furlongs Aug. 14. "It depends on the strength of the field," Hines said, referring to whether Compulsive would start.
Hines said Actxecutive and Attack Alert, two prominent horses owned by McIngvale, have been turned out. Actxecutive placed in two sprint stakes for 2-year-olds during the summer. Attack Alert was considered an outside candidate for the Breeders' Cup Sprint.
Hines has his first runner for McIngvale in Saturday's sixth race with the 3-year-old maiden Allright.
Pohave said to be Dubai-bound
Even if he wins the Grade 1 Ancient Title Handicap on Oct. 10, there will be no Breeders' Cup for one of California's premier sprinters. Pohave, who early this year won the Triple Bend and Los Angeles Times handicaps at Hollywood Park, has been purchased by Sheikh Mohammed's Darley Stable and is headed out of the country. Trainer Doug O'Neill said Pohave will go to Dubai soon after the six-furlong Ancient Title.
According to O'Neill, Pohave, a 6-year-old gelding, will race for Darley in the Ancient Title, then ship to Dubai to point for next spring's $2 million Golden Shaheen. O'Neill did not disclose the sale price on Pohave.
Pohave was purchased in 2003 by Ty Leatherman, Mark Leib, and Kagele Brothers Inc. After winning a $50,000 claiming race in fall, he emerged this year as one of the leading sprinters in California and finished second behind Kela in his most recent start July 25 in the Bing Crosby at Del Mar. Overall, Pohave has won five races and $526,240 from 26 starts. He won four races and more than $400,000 for O'Neill.
- additional reporting by Brad Free