02/19/2011 1:17PM

Cloneylass out to turn tables at Santa Anita


ARCADIA, Calif. - With luck, Cloneylass would have won her first stakes in the Sweet Life Stakes at Santa Anita last month.

Ridden from off the pace by jockey Corey Nakatani, she was in trouble through the final sixteenth, hampered by a loose horse, and lost by a half-length to pacesetter Bloemer Girl. A chance for revenge arrives in Monday’s $100,000 La Habra Stakes for 3-year-old fillies over the same about 6 1/2 furlongs on the hillside turf course as the Sweet Life.

“I think she came out of the race better than she went into it,” said Jamie Lloyd, who trains Cloneylass. “We ran straight into the back [of the loose horse] but she re-rallied. She really gutted it out to come back on again.”

But Lloyd acknowledges that the Grade 3 La Habra Stakes is far more difficult.

Bloemer Girl is part of the La Habra field, as are two Grade 1 winners from 2010 – Rigoletta (Oak Leaf Stakes at Hollywood Park) and A Z Warrior (Frizette Stakes at Belmont Park). A Z Warrior will start if the race is transferred to the main track, trainer Bob Baffert said, but Rigoletta will start on either surface, trainer Dan Hendricks said.

Those Grade 1 winners are the fillies that Lloyd fears.

“I was surprised to see that many nominations and horses like A Z Warrior and Rigoletta,” he said. “It came up tougher than the last race.”

Hendricks has two excellent chances to win the Grade 3 La Habra. Aside from Rigoletta, he has taken over training of Bloemer Girl, from Northern California-based trainer Jedd Josephson.

Bloemer Girl won her stakes debut in the Sweet Life, leading throughout, and is likely to do the same in the La Habra, which has drawn 14 entries but will have a safety limit of 11 starters.

“We’ve kept up with Jedd on what to do,” Hendricks said. “We’ll see how she fits with these horses.”

Rigoletta has not started since the Oak Leaf Stakes in October, and may need the outing, Hendricks said. “If she comes back and runs a good race and finishes well, we’ll be back in action,” he said.

The field also includes Dawnie Macho, who won the Landaluce Stakes at Hollywood Park last July; Cambina, a troubled sixth in the Sweet Life Stakes; and True Way of Grace, who won the Barretts Debutante at Fairplex Park in September.