09/24/2008 12:00AM

Crucial test for Albertus Maximus


ARCADIA, Calif. - Albertus Maximus needed 13 races to win his first stakes, finally doing so in the $91,400 Windy Sands Handicap at Del Mar on Labor Day. It was far from the most lucrative race of that meeting for older horses, but the win did impress trainer Vladimir Cerin.

"There were three Grade 1 winners in the race," Cerin said.

There are three different Grade 1 winners waiting for Albertus Maximus in his next start, the $500,000 Goodwood Stakes at Santa Anita on Saturday. The Grade 1 Goodwood is a pivotal race for Albertus Maximus, who is owned by breeders Brandon and Marianne Chase. If he wins, which would be an upset, Albertus Maximus will earn an automatic berth to the Breeders' Cup Classic at 1 1/4 miles here on Oct. 25. A loss, but a respectable performance, could lead to a start in the Breeders' Cup Dirt Mile on Oct. 25.

"My hope is that he can win the race," Cerin said of the Goodwood.

The Goodwood drew a field of 11, although Slew's Tiznow, the winner of the El Cajon Stakes at Del Mar on Aug. 29, may pass for the BC Dirt Mile, according to Joe Lacombe Jr., the son of owner Joe Lacombe.

The Goodwood field is led by defending champion Tiago, Arlington Million winner Spirit One, Hollywood Gold Cup winner Mast Track, and Well Armed, the runner-up in the Pacific Classic at Del Mar last month.

Albertus Maximus drew post 6 and will be ridden by Garrett Gomez

Cerin began training Albertus Maximus this summer after the Chases moved the 4-year-old colt from trainer Gary Mandella. For Mandella, Albertus Maximus won 3 of 12 starts, finishing second in the Grade 3 Affirmed Handicap and Grade 2 Swaps Breeders' Cup Stakes in 2007.

In the Windy Sands, Albertus Maximus showed a different style of racing. He rallied from off the pace instead of racing near the front. "I probably wouldn't change it," Cerin said of colt's style.

Five Win and You're In spots up for grabs

The Goodwood is the richest of five Grade 1 stakes on Saturday's 11-race program, all of which are part of the Breeders' Cup's Win and You're In program, offering automatic berths for Breeders' Cup races.

The $250,000 Clement Hirsch Turf Championship, at 1 1/4 miles on turf and the only Saturday stakes that is not a Win and You're In race, is led by Red Giant, the winner of the Fourstardave Handicap at Saratoga, and Spring House, the winner of the Del Mar Handicap.

Zenyatta, unbeaten in seven starts, will be a heavy favorite in the $250,000 Lady's Secret Stakes at 1 1/16 miles. She has only four rivals.

Street Boss and In Summation, the first two finishers of the Grade 1 Bing Crosby Handicap at Del Mar in July, highlight the $250,000 Ancient Title Stakes at six furlongs.

The largest stakes field of the day is the $250,000 Oak Leaf Stakes for 2-year-old fillies, which has drawn 12 entrants. Stardom Bound, the winner of the Grade 1 Del Mar Debutante on Sept. 1, will be favored.

The $400,000 Yellow Ribbon Stakes for fillies and mares at 1 1/4 miles on turf features 2006 race winner Wait a While against Black Mamba, the winner of consecutive turf stakes at Hollywood Park and Del Mar this summer.

Midshipman drills for Norfolk

Midshipman, the leading 2-year-old male in California, worked a half-mile in 46.80 seconds on Wednesday, preparing for a start in Sunday's $250,000 Norfolk Stakes at 1 1/16 miles.

Midshipman was ridden by Tyler Baze in the workout.

"He sat behind a horse and when Tyler asked him, he did it in hand," trainer Bob Baffert said.

Midshipman won the Grade 1 Del Mar Futurity on Sept. 3.

Booyah to continue running long

Booyah, who won his first stakes in Sunday's $122,500 Ralph Hinds Invitational Handicap at Fairplex Park, will be kept in longer races, trainer Jerry Fanning said Sunday.

At 18-1, Booyah was the longest shot in the field of seven. He led early, was headed by Freesgood, and fought back along the rail in the stretch to win by a head under Joe Talamo.

"He's improving a little bit," Fanning said. "I hope he keeps improving. I'll wait for a route race, maybe a mile and a quarter."

Owned by Lathrop Hoffman, Booyah, 4, has won 4 of 17 starts and $167,060.

Lemon Chiffon, who gave owner Ron Beegle and trainer Sean McCarthy their first stakes win in the $99,000 Las Madrinas Handicap on Sunday at Fairplex Park, is being pointed for the $250,000 Las Palmas Handicap at a mile on turf on Oct. 24, McCarthy said.

"We were in the right place at the right time on the right day," McCarthy said.

The Las Madrinas victory ended a streak of three fourth-place finishes in stakes for Lemon Chiffon, who has won 3 of 7 starts and $136,917.