04/21/2009 11:00PM

Compari aims high in Snow Chief


INGLEWOOD, Calif. - The way that Compari stormed down the stretch in a maiden race at Santa Anita on March 29, his connections figure a start in Saturday's $250,000 Snow Chief Stakes is a gamble worth taking.

The Snow Chief Stakes for 3-year-old statebreds will be Compari's first stakes appearance in his third career start. Owned by breeders John Harris, John Nicoletti, and Don Valpredo, and trained by Marty Jones, Compari will face a stern test.

The field of 11 will include two-times stakes winner Triumphant Flight, plus Feisty Suances and Unbridled Roman, who were fifth and sixth in the Santa Anita Derby on April 4.

Compari, by Redatoore, is a committed front-runner, which could make the Snow Chief Stakes even more of a test. In his maiden win, over a mile on turf, he led by a length with a quarter-mile remaining, and drew off to win by 3 3/4 lengths.

"Our dilemma is we need to be on the front end," Valpredo said on Wednesday, while visiting the Hollywood Park backstretch. "Marty likes the way the horse is training."

Triumphant Flight, who won the San Miguel Stakes over six furlongs on March 28, also races near the front, which could pose a strategical problem for Compari.

"We'll look at Triumphant Flight as long as we can," Valpredo said.

The Snow Chief Stakes is the richest race on a 10-race card that includes six races worth $150,000 or more, as well as two maiden races and two allowance races.

Golden Doc A, the winner of the Grade 1 Las Virgenes Stakes in 2008, will be favored in the $150,000 B. Thoughtful Stakes for fillies and mares over seven furlongs.

Bel Air Sizzle, who won the Valentine Dancer Handicap at Santa Anita in February, drew the outside post of seven in the $150,000 Fran's Valentine Stakes for fillies and mares over 1 1/16 miles on turf.

The $200,000 Melair Stakes for 3-year-old fillies could provide Beltene with her second stakes win. She won the $250,000 Sunshine Millions Oaks over six furlongs on Jan. 24, but lost two subsequent starts in graded stakes at Santa Anita.

Stella Mark can defend his title in the $150,000 Tiznow Stakes over 7 1/2 furlongs. He has not started since finishing third in the Grade 3 Lone Star Park Handicap in Texas last May.

The $150,000 Khaled Stakes over 1o1/8 miles on turf lacks a standout. Harlene, winless in 10 starts since the 2008 Snow Chief Stakes, is among the 10 entrants.

Midships will await Whittingham

Midships, the leading turf marathoner of the Santa Anita winter-spring meeting, may make only one start at the Hollywood Park spring-summer meeting.

Midships won two Grade 2 handicaps - the San Luis Rey over 1 1/2 miles in March and the San Juan Capistrano over about 1 3/4 miles on Sunday. Trainer Bobby Frankel said Midships will be pointed for the $300,000 Charles Whittingham Memorial Handicap over 1 1/4 miles on turf on June 6.

"He's not going to run until the Whittingham," Frankel said.

Midships, 4, led throughout the San Juan, winning by three-quarters of a length over Spring House. Midships has won 4 of 14 starts and $342,830.

Smaller better for Come Back Girl

There were two options for Come Back Girl this weekend - an allowance race against open company on Friday or the $70,000 Warren's Thoroughbred Stakes on Gold Rush Day.

Owners Pat Milligan and Mike Silvas urged trainer Jim Kasparoff to start Come Back Girl in Friday's race over 6 1/2 furlongs Their thinking was a race against open company, in a small field, may be easier than a bulky field of statebreds. The Warren's Thoroughbred Stakes drew 12.

"The thinking is that if we can run in a five- or six-horse field, why not?," Kasparoff said. "They kind of want to see where they're at with her."

Come Back Girl is among five fillies and mares in Friday's third race. She will be tested. The race has drawn Ms. Olympio, who won an allowance race for statebreds at Santa Anita on April 8; Dish the Dirt and Witchy Meeting, who were fourth and fifth against open company on March 27; and Life by R R, who is trained by Bobby Frankel.

Come Back Girl has won her last two starts - a $22,500 claiming race for maidens on March 12 and a $25,000 claimer for nonwinners of two on April 5. She has run for a claiming price in all nine of her starts.

"I was pretty impressed with her last win," Kasparoff said. "She battled hard and got away from them late. She seems like she's on the improve."

Joe Talamo has the ride, replacing Rafael Bejarano, who is aboard Witchy Meeting. Kasparoff is hoping that Come Back Girl will have something of a home track advantage, since his stable is headquartered at Hollywood Park.

"We train here, it's our base," he said.

Kasparoff trains Bob Black Jack, the winner of the Grade 1 Malibu Stakes in December and the 2008 California-bred horse of the year. Bob Black Jack, 4, is sidelined with a leg injury diagnosed in January, but is expected to return at the end of the year.

"It's six to eight months off and it could be 10 months," Kasparoff said. "It depends on how much time we think he needs."