12/03/2008 12:00AM

Black Mamba wants longer


INGLEWOOD, Calif. - Several times in the last year, Black Mamba has closed furiously through the stretch of major turf stakes for fillies and mares, always tipping that races were not long enough to suit her style.

Sometimes she won, as was the case in the Grade 2 Beverly Hills and Grade 1 John Mabee handicaps during the summer, and sometimes she lost, as in a third-place finish in the Grade 1 Yellow Ribbon Stakes in September.

Trainer John Sadler has found a solution to the distance issue - Saturday's $250,000 Hollywood Turf Cup at 1 1/2 miles.

While Black Mamba must face males in the Grade 1 event, Sadler thinks the race still suits the 5-year-old mare, who has won 4 of 22 starts and $647,171.

"We've always wanted to run her farther," Sadler said.

Sadler withdrew Black Mamba from the $500,000 Matriarch Stakes for fillies and mares at a mile on turf last Sunday in favor of the Turf Cup. The Turf Cup will be Black Mamba's first start at 1 1/2 miles since she finished fifth in the Group 1 New Zealand Oaks in March 2007, her final start in that country before joining Sadler.

Owned by Doubledown Stables, Black Mamba has made 12 starts for Sadler, winning 3 races and finishing second or third in 8 other races. Her only finish out of the top three was a seventh-place finish in the Grade 2 Las Palmas Handicap going a mile on turf at Santa Anita on Oct. 24, a loss that contributed to the decision to skip the Matriarch.

Black Mamba finished 2 1/2 lengths behind race winner Roshani in the Las Palmas. She was last by 11 lengths with a quarter-mile remaining. Sadler said he was most impressed by her third-place finish in the Grade 1 Yellow Ribbon Stakes at 1 1 /4 miles on turf.

"She was really closing in the Yellow Ribbon," he said, calling the the mile of the Matriarch "a little short."

The Turf Cup field is led by Champs Elysees, who won the Grade 1 Northern Dancer Stakes at Woodbine in September but was eighth in the Breeders' Cup Classic at Santa Anita in October, and Winchester, who won the Grade 1 Secretariat Stakes at Arlington Park but was seventh in the Breeders' Cup Turf in October.

The race drew one other mare, High Heel Sneakers, the winner of the Hermosa Beach Handicap at 1 1/2 miles on turf here on Nov. 9.

Slew's Tizzy has rebound potential

Even though Slew's Tizzy finished 11th in the Breeders' Cup Dirt Mile at Santa Anita on Oct. 25, owner Joseph LaCombe and trainer Doug O'Neill have a reason to be optimistic about the colt's chances in Saturday's $100,000 Native Diver Handicap.

Slew's Tizzy's 3-year-old full brother, Slew's Tiznow, rebounded from a 10th-place finish in the BC Dirt Mile to win the War Chant Stakes in track-record time here on Thanksgiving Day. Similar to Slew's Tizzy, Slew's Tiznow entered the BC Dirt Mile following a win, in the El Cajon Stakes at Del Mar in August.

Slew's Tizzy's loss in the BC Dirt Mile was preceded by a convincing win in an allowance race at Santa Anita in late September.

O'Neill envisions using the Native Diver as a prep for the San Pasqual Handicap at Santa Anita on Jan. 10 for Slew's Tizzy.

"I look for him to rebound," O'Neill said. "He didn't have the clearest of runs" in the Breeders' Cup.

Slew's Tizzy has won 4 of 18 starts and $551,419. He won the Grade 2 Lexington Stakes and Grade 3 Lone Star Derby in the spring of 2007, but has lost nine consecutive appearances in stakes.

Malibu hopefuls tuning up

Into Mischief, the winner of the Damascus Stakes at Santa Anita on Oct. 25 in his most recent start, worked six furlongs in 1:14.40 at Santa Anita on Wednesday, preparing for the $250,000 Malibu Stakes on Dec. 26.

The Grade 1 Malibu, run for 3-year-olds at seven furlongs, will be Into Mischief's final start. Trained by Richard Mandella for B. Wayne Hughes, Into Mischief will enter stud in Kentucky next year.

Two other prominent hopefuls for the Malibu worked recently. Tuesday at Hollywood Park, Georgie Boy, the winner of the San Vicente and San Felipe stakes earlier this year, worked six furlongs in 1:13.20. Georgie Boy was fourth in the Damascus Stakes.

Colonel John, the winner of the Travers Stakes and Santa Anita Derby, worked five furlongs in 59.80 seconds at Santa Anita on Wednesday. He was sixth in the Breeders' Cup Classic on Oct. 25.

The Malibu is the first leg of the three-race Strub Series for 4-year-olds of 2009. At least three of the also-rans from Sunday's Hollywood Derby are expected for the second leg of the series, the $150,000 San Fernando Stakes at 1 1/16 miles on Jan. 17. The race is expected to draw Dixie Chatter and Muny, who were fourth and fifth in the Hollywood Derby at 1 1/4 miles on turf, as well as eighth-place finisher Madeo.

Muny set the pace to the final furlong of the Hollywood Derby before fading to finish 1 3/4 lengths behind the race's winner, Court Vision.

"The distance was a little far for him," trainer Mike Puype said.

Madeo, winner of the Grade 2 Del Mar Derby in September, raced in traffic in the stretch, eliminating any chance for a rally.

"He didn't get a chance to do much running," trainer John Shirreffs said.

Two trainers fined for drug positives

Trainer Jorge Alcala and A.C. Avila have received stiff fines for recent medication violations, the California Horse Racing Board announced last week.

Alcala was fined $1,500 after Ourtequilasunrise, the winner of the 13th race at Fairplex Park on Sept. 14, tested positive for hydroxy dantrolene, a muscle relaxant. Ourtequilasunrise won a $20,000 claiming race for maidens, earning $9,600.

Avila was fined $750 after Winky, the runner-up in the first race at Santa Anita on Oct. 26, tested in excess of the permitted level of the anti-inflammatory phenylbutazone. Winky earned $4,800 for the second-place finish in a starter allowance on the hillside turf course.