10/26/2009 11:00PM

Bestdressed finds a spot in stakes


ARCADIA, Calif. - The $55,000 California Sky Stakes at Santa Anita on Wednesday solves one problem for trainer John Sadler and the Great Friends partnership - the race will keep the 5-year-old gelding Bestdressed active.

"We don't have a lot of other races," Sadler said.

The California Sky Stakes, run over about 6 1/2 furlongs on the hillside turf course for statebreds, will be Bestdressed's second start of the meeting. He was a fast-closing third in the $100,000 California Cup Sprint over six furlongs on Oct. 3.

"He's a good late-running sprinter," Sadler said. "Would I rather run on the main course? Sure. He's got very little speed, and you can't change his style."

Bestdressed will be seeking his first win on turf Wednesday. In three previous starts on the hillside turf course, his best finish was a second, beaten a neck, in an allowance race in January 2008. He was third in the 2008 Sensational Star Handicap for statebreds on the hillside turf course.

The California Sky, which was originally scheduled for Sunday but did not draw sufficient entries for that program, has a field of six. There is one 2009 stakes winner - Dance With Gable, who won the California State Fair Sprint Handicap at Sacramento on Aug. 29. That six-furlong race was Dance With Gable's first start for trainer Mike Machowsky, who claimed him for $40,000 at Del Mar on Aug. 7 from a turf sprint.

"He's so versatile," Machowsky said. "He can sprint on dirt, turf, or synthetic."

Dance With Gable was sixth in the Governor's Cup Handicap at Fairplex Park on Sept. 23, but Machowsky dismissed that loss after the 5-year-old gelding was forced to steady in the first turn on that tight track.

"He got bumped in the first turn at Fairplex and that was it," Machowsky said.

The other four runners - A Lil Dumaani, Big Bad Leroybrown, Bonfante, and Flashover - have run this year in stakes with minimal results.

Flashover, second in the California Cup Distaff Handicap on Oct. 3, returns to racing five days after finishing fourth as the 6-5 favorite in an optional claimer for fillies and mares on the hillside turf course.

Bonfante and Big Bad Leroybrown were fourth and fifth in the California Cup Sprint. Bonfante has won five races on turf but is winless in two starts on Santa Anita's hillside turf course.