11/20/2009 12:00AM

Canani breathes easier with import


INGLEWOOD, Calif. - Julio Canani often talks nonsensically, mutters to himself, and stall-walks. Thursday, he washed out big time.

Canani was anxious about running Loup Breton, a top-class European import, in the day's featured seventh race at Hollywood Park. It was the first North American start for Loup Breton, and the first runner Canani has ever trained for the Wildenstein family.

Loup Breton came through magnificently, and now gives Canani a major player in the local turf division. Under jockey Garrett Gomez, Loup Breton, 5, rallied from last in the six-horse field with a powerful kick that carried him 1 3/4 lengths clear at the wire. He covered the final furlong of the 1 1/8-mile grass race in about 11.60 seconds without ever feeling Gomez's whip.

"I was so nervous," Canani said. "This is a big owner. He got trapped, but when he saw the light, he exploded."

Canani put small blinkers on Loup Breton, known as "cheaters." Loup Breton also was treated with Lasix for the first time.

"He bled a little over there," said Hubert Guy, the bloodstock agent who guided Loup Breton Canani's way.

Loup Breton was previously trained by Elle Lellouche. His best performance in 2009 was a second-place finish to Vision d'Etat in the Group 1 Prix Ganay at Longchamp in April.

As for what's next, Canani said, "I'm going to play it by ear."

"I don't know," he said, adding, as only he can, "If I wake up in the morning, I will feel good."

Sky Victor going for second straight

As he readies the Breeders' Cup Turf Sprint winner California Flag for a trip to Hong Kong next month, trainer Brian Koriner will try to develop another turf sprinter, Sky Victor. Though Sky Victor only owns a maiden win in four starts, Koriner has had high hopes for him, but soundness problems have interrupted his career.

On Sunday, Sky Victor competes in a first-level allowance in the day's fifth race as he seeks his second straight win.

"He finally gets a chance to put together back-to-back races," Koriner said Friday morning at Hollywood Park. "He's had soundness problems, but he's doing as well as he's ever done. Unfortunately, he's got to go up against some tough old-timers like Trail Mix, who I'd rather not run against. But I do think he'll run well. I think he's a class horse in the end."

California Flag is scheduled to leave for Hong Kong on Dec. 4 for the International Races at Sha Tin on Dec. 13. The six-furlong grass race California Flag runs in there will be contested on a right-handed course, though California Flag has negotiated a right-handed turn as part of Santa Anita's hillside course.

Rosario hearing starts

A long-delayed hearing into charges by the California Horse Racing Board that jockey Joel Rosario "did not put forward his best effort riding his horse to the finish line" in a race at Del Mar on Sept. 6 began Thursday at Hollywood Park. But testimony dragged and only three witnesses were called in nearly two hours before the hearing was adjourned until Dec. 3.

Luis Jauregui, a former jockey who is now the local safety steward, testified as a witness for the racing board, while retired Hall of Fame jockey Gary Stevens - now a trainer - and Darrell Haire, the Western regional manager for the Jockeys' Guild, testified on behalf of Rosario.

The charges were filed by the state racing board more than two months ago, following a complaint by John Glenney, who trains and co-owns Cedros, Rosario's mount in the 11th race on Sept. 6. According to the race's official chart, Cedros "fell back some leaving the second turn and angled in, continued along the rail in the stretch and was edged for the show." He finished a head behind the third-place finisher, Never.

Glenney at the time said that Vic Stauffer, Rosario's agent, called him after the race and inquired whether Cedros was for sale.

"After an exchange of unpleasantries, a remark was made as to whether Mr. Glenney would sell the horse," Kenneth Jones, the attorney general prosecuting the case, said during his opening remarks Thursday. "We are not presenting this case as involving a larger conspiracy. The focus is on the ride in question."

After viewing video of the race from several angles, Jauregui testified that, in his opinion, Rosario "wasn't giving it down the lane."

Stevens said he thought Cedros "was green, lacking experience," and cited several points in the race where he believed Cedros was trying to lug in.

Tom Ward, Ingrid Fermin, and Scott Chaney were the stewards at Del Mar this summer. Ward and Chaney are stewards at Hollywood Park this fall, along with Randy Winick. Chaney is scheduled to testify as a witness at the hearing. Ward was not put on the panel by the racing board. The stewards hearing the case are Winick, along with Albert Christiansen and Kim Sawyer, both of whom are currently working at Los Alamitos.

Frankel tribute on HRTV

HorseRacing TV will have a tribute to the late trainer Bobby Frankel on its newsmagazine show "Inside Information" on Sunday, beginning at 9 p.m. Eastern.

The half-hour special includes tributes to the Hall of Fame trainer's success and his impact on the sport. Numerous members of the Thoroughbred racing community will share their thoughts.

"Bobby was personally very close to many of HRTV's on-camera and production group, or as close as Bobby allowed himself to be," said Amy J. Zimmerman, HRTV's executive producer. "Under the leadership of Stephen Nagler and the production of Phil Kubel, this show is our way of honoring his memory."

The show will replay a number of Frankel's major wins. He is the winningest trainer in Santa Anita history.

* Ever a Friend and Monzante, both preparing for the Grade 1, $300,000 Citation Handicap on Friday, worked five furlongs in 1:00.20 for trainer Mike Mitchell at Hollywood Park on Friday morning. Across town at Santa Anita, another Citation contender, Blue Chagall, worked six furlongs in 1:12.60 for Canani.