04/27/2009 11:00PM

Belmont Cat shouldn't mind shorter distance

Benoit & Associates
Belmont Cat (second from right) and jockey Joel Rosario shortens to a mile after winning last month's nine-furlong Santa Ana Handicap.

INGLEWOOD, Calif. - Five weeks after winning a Grade 2 at 1 1/8 miles on turf, Belmont Cat cuts back to a mile Saturday in the Grade 3 Wilshire Handicap at Hollywood Park. No problem, according to trainer John Sadler.

"I'm shortening her in distance, but she won here at a mile and she can be 'punchy' at a mile," Sadler said.

In fact, there is not much Belmont Cat cannot do. The New Zealand import has won a distances ranging from six furlongs to 1 1/4 miles, winning 4 of 10 overall and 2 of 3 in the U.S., including a head victory in the Santa Ana last out at Santa Anita.

"I think she can get better," Sadler said, though she might not need to Saturday. Belmont Cat will have significant current-condition edge over 2008 Wilshire winner Diamond Diva, who will be racing for the first time since last July.

Tizfiz, Miss Singhsix, Charming Legacy, Kayd Kodaun, and In My Glory are also probable for the Wilshire.

Plans for Evita Argentina uncertain

Sadler-trained Evita Argentina had an excuse for finishing fourth as the odds-on favorite April 8 in the Grade 2 Beaumont Stakes at Keeneland. Sadler said she popped an abscess that compromised her performance.

"She'll make something later on," Sadler said, without being specific. Evita Argentina has won 4 of 8, including the Grade 2 San Vicente Stakes against males, and would have been a contender next weekend in the Grade 3 Railbird for 3-year-old fillies.

Witty, the probable favorite for the Railbird, worked five furlongs Tuesday in 1:00.20 at Santa Anita.

Mitchell mulls trio for Triple Bend

California-based Halo Najib is on his way home after a wicked pace led to his defeat last Saturday at Lone Star in the Grade 3 Texas Mile. Favored at 7-5, Halo Najib was sent to the front by jockey Jose Lezcano, but after a 45.83-second half, he caved the final eighth and finished fourth. Next stop, seven furlongs at Hollywood, trainer Mike Mitchell said.

"I want to give him enough time, and how tough could the Triple Bend be?" Mitchell said, referring to the Grade 1, $300,000 sprint July 5.

Halo Najib could have company from his own barn in the Triple Bend.

"I could potentially have three," Mitchell said.

Prussian, sixth in the Grade 3 San Simeon Handicap on turf April 18, is being considered for the Grade 3, $100,000 Ack Ack Handicap at 7 1/2 furlongs June 6. Mitchell also has a new shooter from Australia who is working well. Dehere Again makes his U.S. debut May 16 in the Grade 3 Los Angeles Handicap at six furlongs.

Silver Swallow sharp in comeback

Silver Swallow slipped through the parimutuel cracks Sunday when the Grade 1-placed mare won a five-horse allowance sprint and paid $13.20.

"She ran close to the two of the best fillies in America," trainer Bruce Headley said.

He was referring to Silver Swallow's 2008 third-place finish to Zenyatta in the Grade 1 Vanity, and 2007 runner-up finish to Rags to Riches in the Grade 1 Santa Anita Oaks. Silver Swallow, nearly white, was racing Sunday for the first time since she was eased Sept. 25 on the Santa Anita Pro-Ride.

"There was nothing wrong with her, but the track was hot and she was just shod the day before," Headley said. Silver Swallow was turned out, had a series of sharp works for her comeback, and beat stablemate Free Flying Soul by a half-length while earning a 95 Beyer, highest of her 3-for-17 career.

* The unbeaten 4-year-old Rail Trip worked seven furlongs Monday in 1:27.40 under Jose Valdivia. Trainer Ron Ellis said Rail Trip would breeze again Sunday and make his first start in a graded stakes May 9 in the Grade 2 Mervyn LeRoy Handicap.