12/28/2010 1:58PM

Amazombie set to herald his arrival in Santa Anita allowance

Benoit & Associates
Dancing in Silks is going for his first victory since the 2009 Breeders' Cup Sprint.

ARCADIA, Calif. – The consistent Amazombie has won 4 of 8 starts this year, a career-best season for the 4-year-old gelding. He has won everything but a stakes race, and that may be on his agenda in 2011 if he runs well in a $68,000 allowance race at Santa Anita on Thursday.

Trained and co-owned by Bill Spawr, Amazombie was entered for the $75,000 On Trust Handicap for statebreds at Hollywood Park on Dec. 19, but the race was canceled when significant rainfall left the track uneven.

Thursday’s allowance is a replacement race, of sorts. The purse is lower, and the distance is 6 1/2 furlongs instead of 7 1/2 furlongs, but four of the seven entrants for the On Trust are back in the allowance race – Amazombie, Cayambe, Earnednevergiven, and The Bat Signal.

They are joined by two stakes winner – Dancing in Silks, the upset winner of the 2009 Breeders’ Cup Sprint who is winless in four starts this year, and My Summer Slew, the winner of the Kerlan Handicap on turf in the summer.

Amazombie, a 4-year-old gelding, has never faced a field of this caliber, but his recent form merits respect. He has won 4 of 6 starts since March, and has improved greatly since he was gelded last year, Spawr said.

“He’s a better horse than he was before,” Spawr said.

The unknown element for Amazombie is Santa Anita’s new sand-and-clay track. Amazombie’s 13 starts have been on synthetic tracks or turf courses. He had two workouts on the new track earlier this month, and has trained on it regularly, when weather permitted.

“We know he likes the turf,” Spawr said. “If he likes the dirt, it opens up a different era. One thing is for certain, he tries. You can put him anywhere in a race.”

Amazombie can race near the lead or from off the pace. Earnednevergiven, the winner of an optional claimer over 6 1/2 furlongs at Hollywood Park on Nov. 21 against The Bat Signal, is expected to set the pace.

Dancing in Silks is a closer, and assessing his form is more difficult. Trained by Carla Gaines, Dancing in Silks was third in the Grade 2 Palos Verdes Handicap here last January, but unplaced in three subsequent stakes. Thursday’s race is his first start since a sixth in the Grade 1 Ancient Title Stakes at Hollywood Park in October.