Updated on 09/16/2011 9:35AM

Blinkers back on 'Jellyfish'


ARCADIA, Calif. - Trainer Jenine Sahadi is taking an extra precaution with Spinelessjellyfish for Saturday's $175,000 California Cup Mile at Santa Anita.

Frustrated by an 11-race losing streak, the longest of Spinelessjellyfish's career, Sahadi is equipping the 6-year-old horse with blinkers for the first time since March.

The change could give Spinelessjellyfish his first victory since the California Turf Championship Handicap at Bay Meadows in September 2001.

"I worry about him being discouraged," Sahadi said.

But the Bay Meadows race was not the last time that Spinelessjellyfish looked like a winner. In the 2001 California Cup Mile, Spinelessjellyfish had the lead at the eighth pole, but was caught near the finish by Native Desert and lost by a head. Three races later, in the Crystal Water Handicap here last March, he had the lead in the final furlong and was beaten a nose by Hugh Hefner. He was later a respectable third in the Grade 1 Shoemaker Breeders' Cup Mile.

"He's run some very good races this year," Sahadi said. "The Shoemaker at Hollywood was tremendous. I'm going to blinkers because he's won all his races with blinkers."

Despite the lengthy losing streak, Spinelessjellyfish is the 120-pound highweight in the Mile, the ninth race on the program. The race drew 15 entrants, but only 14 will start because of a safety limit on the turf course.

Spinelessjellyfish is a stalker who will have ample pace to chase from the 3-year-old Lennyfromalibu and the longshot Sea to See.

"This is what I've been trying to do with him all year," Sahadi said. "He may have lost a step, but he looks fabulous."

Ninebanks is Spinelessjellyfish's biggest challenger, but he was badly hindered when he drew post 14. Trained by Jerry Hollendorfer, Ninebanks won the San Matean and California Turf Championship Handicap (with Spinelessjellyfish third) over the summer, then finished a game second to David Copperfield in the Grade 3 Bay Meadows Breeders' Cup Handicap on Sept. 21.

The outside post may take Ninebanks out of his routine. He is typically a stalker, but attempting to save ground on the first turn could be difficult for jockey Ron Warren, Jr.

Aside from Lennyfromalibu, who is making his stakes debut, there is one other 3-year-old in the field: the well-regarded Joey Franco.

Trained by David Hofmans, Joey Franco won his fourth consecutive race, and stakes debut, in the restricted El Cajon Stakes at Del Mar on Sept. 6, but was a well-beaten seventh in the Grade 3 Indiana Derby at Hoosier Park on Oct. 5. The performance left Hofmans baffled.

"It was awful," Hofmans said. "He never got into the race. He didn't handle the night racing or the ship."

Joey Franco will make his turf debut in the Cal Cup Mile, and has had two workouts in the surface in recent weeks.

"He worked on it and, Kent Desormeaux said he went very well," Hofmans said.

"Even if they haven't raced over it, most of them got a hold of it."

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