10/29/2009 11:00PM

Black Astor taking a shot in Marathon


Since winning the Grade 2 Sunset Handicap over the Hollywood Park turf on July 19, Black Astor has had one race - and you can forget it, trainer Lisa Lewis said.

"After a quarter-mile, we just turned to each other and shook our heads," Lewis said.

Racing in the 1 3/8-mile Del Mar Handicap on Aug. 30, Black Astor had entered into a ruinous speed duel, eventually finishing last of 10.

Regrouped at Santa Anita, where Black Astor has "trained like a horse that really likes the synthetic," according to Lewis, the 5-year-old gelding will try stretching out to 1 3/4 miles in the $500,000 Breeders' Cup Marathon, for which he figures as a longshot pace presence in a field of 11.

"With the race being here at Santa Anita and the horse doing as well as he is, we figured why not, especially since the distance is a big question for a lot of them," said the locally based Lewis. "It's a Breeders' Cup race, so the competition will be strong, but we're going in with the thought that he's going to run his race."

Mastery, winner of the Group 1 St. Leger Stakes last out, will be a solid favorite in the Marathon over Nite Light, Cloudy's Knight, and Father Time, with Black Astor one of the middle choices.

Mastery was scheduled to arrive here Sunday with the rest of the foreign-based Godolphin contingent and go into quarantine on the Santa Anita backstretch, with his first appearance on the racetrack likely to come Tuesday morning.