07/18/2007 11:00PM

Blanc confident in Double Trouble


DEL MAR, Calif. - Double Trouble's only loss in her last six starts was a fourth-place finish in the Grade 3 Wilshire Handicap at Hollywood Park in April.

Since then, she has won two allowance races that have resulted in her returning to the stakes level for Saturday's $85,000 Osunitas Handicap over 1 1/16 miles on turf for fillies and mares at Del Mar.

Her regular rider, Brice Blanc, does not expect Double Trouble to lose this stakes race.

Blanc was aboard Double Trouble for her two allowance race wins and is left with the impression that she can show further improvement in the restricted Osunitas.

"She's finally putting it all together," Blanc said. "I think she'll move forward."

A 4-year-old Brazilian-bred filly trained by Bobby Frankel, Double Trouble was a Group 2 stakes winner in Brazil last September, her final start in that country.

In the Wilshire, she took the lead at the start and was beaten 2 3/4 lengths. In the allowance race victories, she came from the back of the field and reached the front in the final sixteenth.

"She's got a nice turn of foot," Blanc said. "She has a tendency to be a little aggressive. Bobby has always thought highly of her. I think he was a little disappointed with her first race."

Owned by Patricia Bozzano, Double Trouble will be strongly favored in the Osunitas, which is restricted to nonwinners of a stakes worth $50,000 or more to the winner this year.

The race has drawn three fillies or mares that are stakes-placed this year - Arm Candy, Kris' Sis, and Sweet Belle.

The race marks the stakes debut of Fleetheart, an undefeated 4-year-old filly trained by Vladimir Cerin. She has won all four of her starts, and is making her first start on turf.

Sun Boat has shot in San Diego

In two major stakes at Hollywood Park this summer, trainer Mike Mitchell nearly pulled upsets with former claimers.

Sun Boat, a 25-1 shot, finished second by a nose to Buzzards Bay in the $250,000 Californian Stakes on Juneo2. Big Booster ran third at 24-1 in the $750,000 Hollywood Gold Cup on Juneo30, finishing three-quarters of a length behind race winner Lava Man.

In Saturday's $300,000 San Diego Handicap, Mitchell starts Sun Boat, and he thinks the horse can win.

Sun Boat was claimed for $50,000 at Santa Anita in April by a partnership that includes Bongo Racing stable. He returned to win a $40,000 claimer in May before rallying from 11 lengths off the pace to just miss winning the Californian.

Mitchell says that Sun Boat has thrived on synthetic tracks.

"I know that being gelded helped him, but the Cushion Track helped him, too," he said of Hollywood Park's synthetic surface.

Since arriving at Del Mar earlier this month, Sun Boat has trained well on Polytrack, Mitchell said.

"I thought he ran great on the Cushion Track and he really worked awesome on this," Mitchell said.

Regardless of the results of the Californian, Mitchell will have another starter in a big race next month. Big Booster, claimed for $62,500 at Gulfstream Park in February, is being pointed for the $1 million Pacific Classic on Aug. 19, a race that could draw Sun Boat as well.

Kanan Dume a pleasant surprise

Kanan Dume surprised trainer Richard Mandella by winning a maiden race over 5 1/2 furlongs in Wednesday's third race.

"As big as he is, I thought he might need to go farther," Mandella said.

Ridden by Victor Espinoza, Kanan Dume dueled with Good Man Dan for the lead, took over in the final furlong, and held off a late run from even-money favorite Coast Guard to win by a neck in 1:06.85.

"He's just learning," Espinoza said. "He's a little green. I think he has a future, especially on the Polytrack."

Owned by breeder B. Wayne Hughes, Kanan Dume is by Malibu Moon. Mandella hasn't decided if Kanan Dume will start in the $150,000 Best Pal Stakes on Aug. 11, but is hoping to start him in the $250,000 Del Mar Futurity at seven furlongs on Sept. 5, closing day of the meet.

"Any time a 2-year-old wins it gives you a reason to have big dreams," Mandella said, smiling. "We reserve the right to do all that."

Racing dates under discussion

All seven commissioners of the California Horse Racing Board will be nominated to serve on the racing board's dates committee, according to chairman Richard Shapiro.

Shapiro is proposing a different approach to the discussion of 2008 racing dates in coming months. Instead of the typical format of having two or three commissioners serve on the dates committee, he has suggested that all commissioners participate. The proposal was scheduled to be discussed at Thursday's racing board meeting at Del Mar.

Racing dates for the following year are typically discussed in July and August and awarded no later than September. Shapiro said he would like to have dates meetings at two-week intervals over the next few months until the issues are resolved.

There is uncertainty surrounding the short-term dates for the Northern California Thoroughbred racing and long-term issues regarding Southern California Thoroughbred racing.

The Northern California dates are unclear beyond 2008 because of the expected closure of Bay Meadows after next year. In Southern California, Hollywood Park faces an uncertain long-term future.

When the Bay Meadows Land Company purchased Hollywood Park in 2005, track officials committed to running for three years unless a deal was reached to bring significant additional revenue in the form of slot machines or a mitigating payment from native American tribes that conduct casino gambling in the state. No such deal has been reached.

"We have to look at the long term and the short term," Shapiro said. "I'd like to get through this process by September."