11/09/2008 12:00AM

Caprice comes far for chance at black type


INGLEWOOD, Calif. - Caprice travelled a long way for a long race for a small purse. Trainer Graham Motion admits the Hermosa Beach Handicap for fillies and mares is not usually high on a list of priorities.

"It's a little bit of a gamble flying all the way out for $65,000," he said, referring to the 1 1/2-mile turf stakes Sunday at Hollywood Park. But in early fall, the prospects for 5-year-old Caprice to enhance her broodmare value are minimal.

"There are limited opportunities at this time of year for black type going a distance of ground," Motion said. "If it wasn't black type, we probably would not have" flown from Kentucky.

Caprice arrived in California on Tuesday and is expected to start as the tepid favorite Sunday in the Hermosa Beach, one of only two late-season marathon stakes for fillies and mares. The other is the Grade 2 La Prevoyante Dec. 13 at Calder.

Seven of the nine Hermosa Beach entrants are eligible to the second allowance condition, including Caprice, third in the $150,000 Dowager Stakes at Keeneland last out. She drops considerably in class Sunday to face stakes-placed High Heel Sneakers, front-runner Rushen Heat, and Brushed Gold.

Rafael Bejarano rides Caprice, the 118-pound topweight who has 2 wins from 15 starts. To win, she needs help up front.

"Last time, she was hurt by the lack of pace, it was hard to make up ground," Motion said. "In California, there's a chance of more pace."

Rushen Heat is the lone speed Sunday, and she could shake loose under Jose Valdivia. If the Barry Abrams trainee can stay 1 1/2 miles, she could be gone. After losing her first 12 starts, Rushen Heat has won 3 of her last 10 and comes off the best race of her career, a runner-up finish in a 1 1/4-mile turf stakes for California-breds.

Rushen Heat and Brushed Gold are the only entrants with second-level allowance wins; Brushed Gold won by four lengths last out at Delaware Park. The filly she beat returned to win at the Meadowlands, but was disqualified. Garrett Gomez rides Brushed Gold for trainer Todd Pletcher.

As for East Coast-based Motion, he will have "eight to 10" horses in California this winter. Saucey Evening, winner of the California Cup Juvenile Fillies, returns early in the Santa Anita meet; Cherokee Artist will aim for the Strub Series; Rebellion could run in Hong Kong or the Citation at Hollywood. He will stay in training next year.