03/22/2011 2:03PM

Always a Princess continues to recover after surgery

Shigeki Kikkawa
Always a Princess is recovering from a sesamoid injury and a decision on whether she will be bred this year will be made next month, owner Arnold Zetcher said.

ARCADIA, Calif. – Always a Princess continues to improve from a sesamoid injury suffered in the Grade 1 Santa Margarita Invitational on March 12, but a decision on whether she will be bred this year or in 2012 depends on the filly’s condition in coming weeks, owner Arnold Zetcher said.

Always a Princess underwent successful surgery March 13 to stabilize the leg at an equine hospital in Cypress, Calif., and has since been transferred to an equine hospital in Chino, Calif., to continue her recuperation.

“Everything seems to be quiet,” Zetcher said last weekend. “She was comfortable and a really good patient. The word we got back from Chino is that she’s doing just fine.”

Zetcher said a decision on whether Always a Princess will be bred this year must be made by late April.

“If it happens, it must be in the next six weeks or so,” he said. “We won’t rush it. The 30 days after the surgery are the most critical. So far, she has done well. This was a lot better than it seemed the same day it happened. We feel a lot better about her now. We’re glad that she’s going to be okay.”

Bred by Zetcher, Always a Princess, who was trained by Bob Baffert, won 5 of 10 starts and $516,048. Earlier this year, she won two Grade 2 stakes for 4-year-old fillies at Santa Anita – the El Encino Stakes and La Canada Stakes – beating 2010 champion 3-year-old filly Blind Luck in both races.

Game On Dude resumes training

Game On Dude has resumed training after suffering an abscess in a foot earlier this month that kept the Santa Anita Handicap winner from traveling to the Middle East for the $10 million Dubai World Cup.

Game On Dude could run in April, though co-owner Bernie Schiappa said Baffert has not finalized a decision.

The options include the $350,000 Oaklawn Handicap on April 9, a race that Baffert also has mentioned for Misremembered, who he co-owns, or the $1 million Charles Town Classic in West Virginia on April 16.

“I imagine he would run sometime in April,” Schiappa said of Game On Dude. “I don’t know if he’ll run in Oaklawn or Charles Town. Charles Town probably fits the schedule a little better.”

Schiappa said the missed opportunity of going to Dubai was frustrating, especially since the slight injury was detected days after Game On Dude was invited to the race.

“If the race was in the United States, we would probably have been running,” he said. “With the situation, it didn’t make sense. It was a little bit disappointing we couldn’t be able to go. If he’s the horse we think he is, we can go next year. Hopefully, that happens. If we win a couple or three races this year, we’ll go next year.”

Juveniles to make first start of meet

The first juvenile race of 2011 in Southern California is a $100,000 claimer for California-bred maidens over two furlongs in Thursday’s first race.

The field of seven features five fillies and two colts, including two starters trained by Walther Solis – Musical Miracle and Oh Righty. Both were bred by Terry Lovingier and are by the stallion Rio Verde, who stands at his farm. Lovingier retains ownership of Musical Miracle, who drew the rail and will be ridden by Martin Pedroza.

Musical Miracle has worked quickly at Hollywood Park in recent weeks.

In the past, Santa Anita has run two-furlong race for maiden claimers and the maiden special weight categories, but this year the races will be limited to maidens worth claiming prices ranging from $50,000 to $100,000, track officials said earlier this year.

Last year, five two-furlong races for juveniles were run.

Tokyo City Cup tops weekend schedule

The forthcoming weekend features only one graded stakes, the $100,000 Tokyo City Cup over 1 1/2 miles on the main track, a Grade 3.

The race features 11 nominations, including Juniper Pass, winner of Sunday’s San Luis Rey Stakes on the main track. Juniper Pass will be pointed to the San Juan Capistrano over about 1 3/4 miles on turf on April 17, trainer Ray Bell said.

Setsuko, beaten a nose by Game On Dude in a roughly run Santa Anita Handicap, is nominated for the Tokyo City Cup.

California Flag resumes galloping

California Flag, the winner of the 2009 Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint, has resumed training with trainer Brian Koriner at Santa Anita.

Koriner said last week that he does not have any immediate plans for California Flag, a 7-year-old gelding who has won 9 of 21 starts and $1,166,504. California Flag has been jogging and galloping in recent weeks and could start during the Hollywood Park spring-summer meeting.

California Flag was bred by Keith Card, who died March 8 at the age of 83. His wife, Barbara, continues their Hi Card Ranch in Murrieta, Calif.