11/11/2008 12:00AM

Anderson shifts focus east


ETOBICOKE, Ontario - Trainer Cody Anderson enjoyed a rather sensational rookie campaign this year, capped by a stakes triple on Northlands Park's Fall Classic Day for Alberta-breds.

Now, Anderson will be trying to make his mark in the east, with Cool Ventura looking to use Thursday's $96,700 allowance prep for the Valedictory as his stepping-stone to that $125,000 closing-day feature at Woodbine on Dec. 7 and Cool Diablo slated to start in Saturday's $250,000 Coronation Futurity.

Cool Ventura, Cool Diablo, and Cool Synsation, all sons of owner/breeder Abe Brewster's mare Devil's Favour, provided Anderson with the best day of his young career on Sept. 27.

Cool Ventura won the 1 1/16-mile Beaufort, while Cool Diablo captured the one-mile Alberta Premier's Futurity and Cool Synsation scored in the 6 1/2-furlong Red Diamond Express.

Anderson, a 38-year-old native of Trochu, Alberta, finally struck out on his own this season after spending the last 15 years working with Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame trainer Red Smith.

"Everybody's been after me to do it, and I decided it was time," said Anderson, who won with 5 of 29 starters at the Stampede Park meeting and with 12 of 48 at Northlands. "I had a very good year out there. I had lots of nice horses; that will make anybody look good."

It was Cool Ventura, a 3-year-old gelding who finished third in Northlands Park's Grade 3 Canadian Derby at 1 3/8 miles, who gave Anderson the original impetus to come east.

"He's a horse that wants a lot of distance, and wants a big track," said Anderson. "After the way he ran that day, I thought maybe I'd try him out here. The owner wanted me to take all three horses."

Cool Ventura, a gelding by Seattle Syn, was the first of the siblings to see action here.

After working just once on the Polytrack surface, Cool Ventura finished a solid second under leading rider Jim McAleney in a third-level $80,000 optional claiming race at 1 1/16 miles on Oct. 25.

Anderson takes heart from the fact that Stunning Stag, who defeated Cool Ventura that day, came back to finish second here in last Sunday's Grade 2 Autumn.

"I think he'll fit on Thursday," said Anderson. "The competition's fierce, but the distance is in his favor. If he runs good, he'll go in the Valedictory."

The Valedictory prep goes at 1 1/2 miles. The main event, at 1 3/4 miles, is the longest stakes race of the meeting.

Cool Diablo, who is by Young Devil, had won his maiden going six furlongs three weeks prior to his Premier's score.

"I brought him out here to see if I could get a race for him," said Anderson. "I hadn't really been thinking about the Coronation."

Anderson admits he is concerned that Cool Diablo will be racing for the first time on Polytrack in the Coronation Futurity, a 1 1/8-mile race for Canadian-bred 2-year-olds.

"He's been working excellent, but Jimmy said he thinks a lot of horses need a race over the surface," said Anderson.

Cool Synsation, a 4-year-old gelding who is a full brother to Cool Ventura, made his local debut in the six-furlong prep for the Kennedy Road and showed speed before faltering to finish last in the field of six.

"He has no conditions, and I ran him in a spot I shouldn't have," said Anderson."It was a shot in the dark, and it was the wrong shot. I might run him here once more."

Alywyn may improve second time out

Alywyn, who is the only other member of Anderson's invading string, will be making her second local appearance here Friday in a $50,000 claiming race for 2-year-old fillies at seven furlongs.

In her first start locally, Alywyn was prominent early but weakened to finish eighth of 13 for a $25,000 tag at 6 1/2 furlongs.

"She was sitting good," said Anderson. "She might have needed one over the Polytrack."

Head Chopper third in Mountaineer Mile

Head Chopper was back at Woodbine on Tuesday after finishing a creditable third in last Saturday's $125,000 Mountaineer Mile.

"He just needed a start over that track; the jockey said he wasn't getting hold of it," said Steve Owens, who trains Head Chopper. "He came out of the race in great shape."

Head Chopper, ridden by Tho Nguyen, earned a career-high Beyer Speed Figure of 93 in the Mountaineer Mile after finishing 6 1/4 lengths behind the winner, Researcher.

Jambalaya handles first workout

Jambalaya breezed two furlongs in 24.20 seconds on the training track here Tuesday in his first tentative step toward an already twice-delayed comeback.

Jambalaya, a 6-year-old-gelding trained by Catherine Day Phillips, has not raced since winning the Grade 1 Arlington Million on Aug. 11, 2007.

Shortly thereafter, Jambalaya had shown up with a deep bone bruise in his right front foot and suffered a recurrence of that injury while training in Florida last winter.

In June, Jambalaya had worked his way up to his first breeze but then was sidelined by a tear in his right hind hamstring.

"The most important thing is to get him back on a regular breezing pattern," said Day Phillips. "He's doing well. Hopefully, he'll start in Florida this winter."

Jambalaya will be among the equine snowbirds heading for the Day Phillips farm in the Ocala, Fla., area on the Monday following the end of the Woodbine meeting.

In the meantime, Day Phillips hopes to have about a dozen more starters here in the final four weeks of the meeting.

"In general, our horses ran well," said Day Phillips, whose charges had a record of 14-17-12 for earnings of $986,000 from 89 starts. She characterizes her meeting as "workmanlike."

"And of course, there was the added bonus of Van Lear Rose."

Van Lear Rose won the Grade 3 Mazarine, then wound up her campaign with a sixth-place finish in the 13-horse field for the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies at Santa Anita.

Bred in Ontario by Richard Day, the trainer's brother, Van Lear Rose is a leading candidate for the Sovereign Award as Canada's champion 2-year-old filly.