01/02/2010 12:00AM

Compari earns shot at big money

Email

ARCADIA, Calif. - It has taken Compari nine months to compile a four-race winning streak, with the most recent victory occurring in Friday's at Santa Anita.

The win has given trainer Marty Jones and the partnership that owns Compari a reason to test the 4-year-old gelding in the most lucrative race of his career, the $500,000 Sunshine Millions Classic at Santa Anita on Jan. 30.

The race over 1 1/8 miles for California-breds and Florida-breds is a logical spot for Compari, who returned from a six-month break last month to win an allowance race over six furlongs on turf at Hollywood Park. The Sensational Star was run over about 6 1/2 furlongs on the hillside turf course.

The Sunshine Millions Classic would be Compari's first start on a synthetic main track since a win in the $250,000 Snow Chief Stakes for 3-year-old statebreds at Hollywood Park last April. He was turned out after that race.

"He's handled the main track before, going long," Jones said. "That would be our first preference. Hopefully, he can keep on running strong."

To keep Compari on turf in the Sunshine Millions series, Jones would have to ship the gelding to Gulfstream Park in Florida for the $300,000 Turf over 1 1/8 miles. He would prefer to stay near home.

In the Sensational Star, Compari ($4.60) led throughout under Garrett Gomez, stretching a one-length lead on the hillside portion of the course to 1 3/4 lengths at the finish. Enriched, a half-brother to the seven-time Grade 1 winner Lava Man, finished second in the field of six. Shadow of Illinois, who was trying to become the first 10-year-old to win a stakes at Santa Anita, was as close as fourth in the stretch but faded to finish last.

Compari ran about 6 1/2 furlongs on turf in 1:12.42.

"That was a tougher race than he'd run and he was coming back a little quick," Jones said.

Owned by breeders John Harris, John Nicoletti and Don Valpredo, Compari has won 4 of 5 starts and $272,640.

Long wait for In the Slips

The stakes schedule for the Santa Anita winter-spring meeting is not an ideal fit for In the Slips. She won the first stakes of her career in Friday's Blue Norther Stakes for 3-year-old fillies on turf, but will have to wait as late as April 3 for the next stakes for the division, the $150,000 Providencia Stakes.

Trainer Jeff Mullins is hoping that Santa Anita puts up a small stakes or even an allowance race in March, as a prep to the Providencia.

Switching to a race on the main track is considered a last-resort option, he said.

"I don't want to put her on the main track unless I'm forced to," Mullins said.

Owned by Michael House, In the Slips ($2.80) rallied from sixth in a field of seven to win the one-mile Blue Norther by a head over 10-1 shot Jet Blue Girl. In the Slips was wide for much of the race under Gomez, who swept the day's two stakes on his 38th birthday.

"Garrett gave us a little bit of a heart attack," Mullins said. "She wound up getting shuffled back and I was getting a little worried at the top of the stretch. He got her there."

A Kentucky-bred by More Than Ready, In the Slips began her career in England where she won 2 of 5 starts. In her U.S. debut, she was second by a half-length in the Grade 3 Miesque Stakes at Hollywood Park in November.