12/01/2008 12:00AM

Cocoa Beach isn't done yet


INGLEWOOD, Calif. - Taken by itself, Cocoa Beach's victory in Sunday's Grade 1 Matriarch Stakes at Hollywood Park was enough to define the career of any 4-year-old filly.

Add two stakes wins in her native Chile in 2007, two stakes wins in Dubai earlier this year, and a victory in the Grade 1 Beldame Stakes at Belmont Park in late September, and Cocoa Beach qualifies for one of the most unique records in the world.

She can win anywhere.

Perhaps the best part is that Cocoa Beach is not finished. Trainer Saeed bin Suroor said on Sunday that Cocoa Beach will remain in the United States this winter. A preliminary plan for 2009 would feature Cocoa Beach resuming her career in May, he said.

Suroor said it became obvious last winter that Cocoa Beach was exceptional.

"She really changed a lot in Dubai," Suroor said. "It gave us a lot of confidence. She's a very tough filly and handled training very well."

Cocoa Beach won her first Grade 1 on turf in the Matriarch.

Ridden by Ramon Dominguez for Godolphin Racing, Cocoa Beach rallied from sixth in the final quarter-mile to win by three-quarters of a length over defending champion Precious Kitten. It was Cocoa Beach's first start since a game second to Zenyatta in the Breeders' Cup Ladies' Classic on the synthetic main track at Santa Anita on Oct. 24.

"She's improved from every race," Suroor said. "After the Breeders' Cup, she looked much better. She's more aggressive than ever."

Cocoa Beach's reputation was enhanced by her loss to the undefeated Zenyatta. The win in the Matriarch must rank as one of her best performances.

If she runs that way in 2009, Cocoa Beach could add to an already remarkable career.

Hyperbaric's next target is Dubai Duty Free

Hyperbaric won his fourth consecutive race in last Friday's Grade 1 Citation Handicap. It may be another four months before he attempts to extend the winning streak.

Trainer Julio Canani said Hyperbaric may not start again until the $5 million Dubai Duty Free Stakes in the Middle East in late March. It is unclear whether Hyperbaric will start between now and then at Santa Anita's winter-spring meeting.

"I want him very fresh and very sharp for that race," Canani said of the Dubai race.

Owned by Prestonwood Racing, Hyperbaric was held out of the Breeders' Cup Mile at Santa Anita on Oct. 25 to give him more time to prepare for the Citation.

In the Citation, Hyperbaric led throughout to win by three-quarters of a length under jockey Tyler Baze. The Citation was Hyperbaric's third consecutive stakes win and the most prestigious victory of his 12-race career. He has won seven races and $654,476.

Mr. Rod will remain on turf for Eddie Logan

Mr. Rod, who won his stakes debut in last Saturday's Generous Stakes on turf, will stay on that surface - for the time being.

Trainer Dan Hendricks said on Sunday that Mr. Rod will be pointed for the $70,000 Eddie Logan Stakes at a mile on turf for 2-year-olds at Santa Anita on Dec. 27.

"We'll keep him on the turf for as long as we can," Hendricks said.

In the Generous, Mr. Rod led throughout under jockey Chantal Sutherland and won by 1 1/2 lengths over even-money favorite Bittel Road. Hendricks said Mr. Rod's speed is his best asset.

"He's a quick horse," he said. "He's got the natural speed. It's nothing I did to put it into him. He just had it."

Owned by Cecil Peacock, Mr. Rod won 2 of 6 starts and $125,755.

California Flag, who led throughout Saturday's Grade 3 Hollywood Turf Express to win his second stakes of the fall, is unlikely to start again until early 2009.

Trainer Brian Koriner would like to keep California Flag in turf sprints, but wants to run for more prize money than the $70,000 Impressive Luck Handicap on Dec. 29. The next opportunity in early 2009 is the $100,000 Daytona Handicap on the hillside turf course on Feb. 15.

Another day, another derby for IEAH

Michael Iavarone has Derby fever. Iavarone, the co-president of IEAH Stables, won the Kentucky Derby earlier this year with Big Brown, and won the final derby of the year, the Hollywood Derby, on Sunday with Court Vision, whom IEAH co-owns with WinStar Farm.

"I wanted to win this race bad," Iavarone said in the winner's circle while watching a replay.

IEAH bought into Court Vision as a 2-year-old with the intention of getting to the Kentucky Derby. He did - after a spring in which he finished third in the Wood Memorial and Fountain of Youth Stakes - but Court Vision could only finish 13th, 24 1/4 lengths behind Big Brown, at Churchill Downs.

At that point, Court Vision's trainer, Bill Mott, decided to move the colt to the turf. Of his five remaining races in 2008, Court Vision raced four times on turf. He was an unlucky loser in the Virginia Derby, tried dirt once more in the Travers Stakes (finishing sixth), then won both the Jamaica Handicap and Hollywood Derby, which gave him his first victory in a Grade 1 stakes race.

"Mott is such a good turf trainer," Iavarone said. "He wanted to give him a shot on grass. I never thought it would turn out this good."

Court Vision left California on Monday morning, bound for the Payson Park training center in Florida, where he will spend the winter.

"I think the switch in surfaces has helped him," said Kenny McCarthy, the Mott assistant who saddled Court Vision on Sunday. "I think the dirt kind of pulls on him a little bit more. The grass is not so hard on him."

Cowboy Cal, who finished second in the Hollywood Derby, will remain in California and target the Strub series this winter on Santa Anita's synthetic Pro-Ride surface, trainer Todd Pletcher said. Cowboy Cal finished second in the Blue Grass Stakes on Polytrack at Keeneland earlier this year in his only previous race on a synthetic surface.

Gayego ends drought in record time

Gayego set a track record of 1:13.37 for 6 1/2 furlongs in an optional claimer on Sunday, a race designed as a prep for the $250,000 Malibu Stakes at Santa Anita on Dec. 26.

The optional claimer was Gayego's first win since the $1 million Arkansas Derby in April. He later finished 17th in the Kentucky Derby and 11th in the Preakness Stakes in May and seventh in the Damascus Stakes at Santa Anita in October.

In Sunday's race, Gayego led throughout and won by two lengths under jockey Mike Smith. Gayego set early fractions of 21.91 and 44.19 seconds, putting away an early challenge from Call on Carson, who faded to finish last in the field of five.

"He ran huge," trainer Paulo Lobo said of Gayego. "He was against a small field, but a tough field."

The previous mark of 1:13.79 was set by Banner Lodge in December 2007.

In Sunday's race, Talkin to Mom Roo finished second, followed by Peace Chant and El Gato Malo, a three-time stakes winner who was making his first start since winning the Grade 3 Lone Star Derby in May.

Lobo said he schooled Gayego in the paddock "about 10 times" since the Damascus after the colt "almost melted down" at Santa Anita on Oct. 25. The Damascus was run after the Breeders' Cup program before a large crowd.

* Tiffanyspringsroad, a 2-year-old colt, died during Sunday's first race after suffering an apparent heart attack, according to track officials. Trained by Bill Spawr, Tiffanyspringsroad was making his fourth start and first since being claimed for $40,000 in October.

- additional reporting by Jay Privman