09/03/2009 11:00PM

Chalula One takes a shot in stakes

Benoit & Associates
Queen Ofthe Catsle (left), with Mike Smith up, holds off Reba Is Tops by a nose to win Thursday's $88,620 Daisycutter Handicap at Del Mar. Queen Ofthe Catsle also won a division of the race last year.

DEL MAR, Calif. - Chalula One has generated little hype through the first eight starts of her career, which includes three wins and placings in two stakes. That soon could change.

When she starts in Sunday's $100,000 Torrey Pines Stakes at Del Mar, Chalula One will be after her first stakes win over a track and distance at which she has already excelled.

On Aug. 23, she won for the first time around two turns in an optional claimer over a mile against older fillies and mares. The one-mile Torrey Pines is restricted to 3-year-old fillies and is an ideal fit for Chalula One.

"I think she's settled in pretty well," trainer Richard Mandella said.

Despite the recent success, the Torrey Pines Stakes will be a test for Chalula One, her first stakes appearance against open company.

"That could make a difference," Mandella admits.

She must beat Third Dawn, who was third in the Grade 2 Hollywood Oaks in June, an overmatched ninth in the Grade 1 American Oaks on turf on July 5, and a winner in an optional claimer over a mile here July 31. Back in March, she was beaten a nose by 2008 champion 2-year-old filly Stardom Bound in the Grade 1 Santa Anita Oaks.

Trained by John Sadler for Ike and Dawn Thrash, Third Dawn figures to be favored.

The race has just six entrants. Third Dawn and Chalula One will race from off the pace, tracking the longshot Malibu Win, who won her debut in a one-mile turf race at 33-1 on Aug. 19.

Queen Ofthe Catsle repeats in Daisycutter

There will be little variation to Queen Ofthe Catsle's itinerary in coming months. Just like last year, her job will be to dominate turf sprints for females.

Last summer and fall, Queen Ofthe Catsle won three consecutive turf sprints at Del Mar, Santa Anita, and Hollywood Park. She reached her first objective for an encore of that accomplishment on Thursday at Del Mar, with a hard-fought victory in the $88,620 Daisycutter Handicap.

Ridden by Mike Smith, Queen Ofthe Catsle ($7.60) outfinished 6-5 favorite Reba Is Tops to win the five-furlong turf race by a nose and end a two-race losing streak. Queen Ofthe Catsle was timed in 55.33 seconds. Royal Taat finished third in the field of five fillies and mares.

Queen Ofthe Catsle stalked pacesetter Cape of Bradford through early fractions of 22.17 and 44.17 and reached contention with a three-wide rally in early stretch.

The win was a welcome sight to trainer Howard Zucker, who was winless with his first 14 starters at Del Mar this summer.

"It takes a bit to get me in the winner's circle," he said.

A 5-year-old mare by Tale of the Cat, Queen Ofthe Catsle has won 7 of 16 starts and $370,219 for owner C.T. Grether. In 2008, she won three consecutive turf sprint stakes - a division of the Daisycutter, the Grade 3 Sen. Ken Maddy Handicap, and the Dance in the Mood Stakes at Hollywood Park from September through late October.

Zucker has the Maddy on Oct. 17 in mind for Queen Ofthe Catsle.

"She's in excellent form," he said. "Hopefully, she can do the same thing in the Ken Maddy."

Zenyatta ships back to Hollywood Park

Zenyatta has left town. The undefeated champion older female of 2008 was shipped from Del Mar to Hollywood Park late Friday morning.

She will be based there with trainer John Shirreffs's stable through September and will make her next start in the $300,000 Lady's Secret Stakes at Santa Anita on Oct. 10, Shirreffs said.

Owned by Jerry and Ann Moss, Zenyatta made one start at Del Mar, winning the Grade 1 Clement Hirsch Stakes on Aug. 9, her 12th career win.

Champagne d'Oro cross-entered in Futurity

Champagne d'Oro, a filly entered in Saturday's $300,000 Darley Debutante, has been entered against males in Monday's $300,000 Del Mar Futurity. Her trainer, Eric Guillot, also entered Sorrento Stakes winner Mi Sueno in Saturday's Debutante and was strongly considering scratching one of them as of Friday morning.

The Grade 1 Futurity, run over seven furlongs, is led by Lookin at Lucky, the winner of the Best Pal Stakes on Aug. 9. Zip Quik, who finished second to D' Funnybone in the Grade 2 Saratoga Special in New York on Aug. 20, will make his first start in California since finishing second in the Grade 3 Hollywood Juvenile on July 12.

* Wednesday is the closing day of the Del Mar meeting, and the Los Angeles County Fair meeting at Fairplex Park begins Thursday in Pomona.

The opening-day program at Fairplex Park is highlighted by the $50,000 Beverly Lewis Stakes for 3-year-old fillies over 6 1/2 furlongs.