04/24/2011 8:07PM

Amazombie eyes Grade 1 at Hollywood Park next

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Benoit & Associates
Amazombie (right), with Joel Rosario riding, wins the Tiznow.

INGLEWOOD, Calif. – Amazombie and Ultra Blend, the winners of sprint stakes for older horses on Saturday’s California Gold Rush program at Hollywood Park, are likely to start in graded stakes at Hollywood this summer.

Amazombie won the Grade 2 Potrero Grande Stakes at Santa Anita on April 3 and won Saturday’s Tiznow Stakes over 7 1/2 furlongs by 2 3/4 lengths, never facing a serious threat. Trainer and co-owner Bill Spawr said Amazombie may start in the $250,000 Triple Bend Handicap, a Grade 1 over seven furlongs on July 2.

“The way he handled this track, we might just wait and run in the Triple Bend,” Spawr said. “He just gets better and better.”

Co-owned by Tom Sanford, Amazombie has won three stakes this year, including the Sunshine Millions Sprint at Santa Anita in January. A winner of 8 of 18 starts and $493,708, Amazombie, 5, has not started in a Grade 1 in his career.

Ultra Blend won her fourth stakes in her last five starts in the B. Thoughtful Stakes for fillies and mares.

A 5-year-old mare, Ultra Blend has never won a graded stakes but was second in the Grade 3 Santa Paula Stakes for 3-year-old fillies at Santa Anita in March 2009. She has not started in a race at that level since a fourth in the Grade 3 Railbird Stakes at Hollywood Park in May of that year.

Trainer Art Sherman said on Sunday that owner Nels Erickson is likely to retire Ultra Blend at the end of this year, making a start in the $200,000 A Gleam Handicap, a Grade 2 over seven furlongs for fillies and mares, more likely.

“That’s one of the targets,” Sherman said. “She came out of the race in good shape. I wouldn’t like to run her back too quick. She runs well fresh.”
A winner of 9 of 20 starts, six stakes, and $535,646, Ultra Blend had a two-month break before the B. Thoughtful. She won the Valentine Dancer Handicap at Santa Anita in late February.

While plans have not been determined for Nahem, the upset winner of Saturday’s $150,000 Snow Chief Stakes for 3-year-old statebred males, Miles Rules, the winner of the $125,000 Melair Stakes for 3-year-old fillies, has the $150,000 Hollywood Oaks on June 25 as a long-term goal, trainer Clifford Sise said.

Sise was impressed that Miles Rules led throughout the Melair Stakes over 1 1/16 miles, her first start around two turns. Owned by Ted Aroney, Miles Rules, a 5-2 favorite, set early fractions of 23.05 and 46.52 seconds, led by two lengths at the eighth pole, and won by a nose over 11-1 Screaming Regal.

“She went legitimate fractions,” Sise said. “You’ve got to give her credit. She didn’t break that good.”

The Hollywood Oaks is a Grade 2 and does not typically draw a large field.

“By then, the track may be playing more to speed,” Sise said. “I think she’ll be better.”

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