04/07/2008 11:00PM

Daytona targets Shoemaker Mile


ARCADIA, Calif. - Fresh from a victory in the Grade 2 Arcadia Handicap last Saturday, Daytona will try for the second Grade 1 win of his career in the Shoemaker Mile at Hollywood Park on May 26.

Daytona has won 5 of his last 6 starts, all in stakes. He won the Grade 1 Hollywood Derby at 1 1/4 miles on turf at Hollywood Park last November. This year, he has won 2 of 3 starts, including the Grade 3 Fair Grounds Handicap at about 1 1/8 miles in February. His only loss of the current campaign was a third in the Mervin Muniz Jr. Handicap at Fair Grounds last month.

"A mile to a mile and a quarter, he can run with the best of them," trainer Dan Hendricks said.

The Arcadia Handicap, which he won from the front by a neck over Hyperbaric, was Daytona's first stakes win at a mile.

"I thought it was great," Hendricks said. "He dropped back to a mile and he handled the pressure."

The Shoemaker annually draws one of the best fields of milers in California. Hendricks considered the $500,000 Woodford Reserve Turf Classic at Churchill Downs on the Kentucky Derby undercard on May 3, but said he is reluctant to ship Daytona for a third time this year.

"I'd love to go back there, but I'll stay here," Hendricks said. "He handles everything, but I'd rather not ship and run back in four weeks and wear him out this early in the year."

The Shoemaker gives him seven weeks between starts, Hendricks pointed out.

Daytona has won 7 of 14 starts and $781,390.

Gaines on hottest streak of career

Trainer Carla Gaines says she has never had a span of success similar to the one she has enjoyed over the last 2 1/2 weeks. Since March 21, Gaines has won 12 races from 17 starters, including wins with six consecutive starters from March 31 through Saturday and with three consecutive starters on Sunday and Monday.

If Dancing in Silks had won Sunday's first race at Santa Anita instead of finishing second, Gaines would be on a 10-race winning streak.

"You get in zones when everything is doing well," she said in the winner's circle on Sunday.

Gaines swept Santa Anita's two stakes on Sunday with the full sisters Tiz a Blend (Valentine Dancer Handicap) and Tiz Elemental (Grade 3 Las Flores Handicap). The 5-year-old Tiz a Blend and the 4-year-old Tiz Elemental are owned by breeder Warren Williamson.

The California-bred females are expected to return in stakes on California Gold Rush Day at Hollywood Park on April 27. Tiz Elemental may start in the $150,000 B. Thoughtful Stakes at seven furlongs, while Tiz a Blend is a candidate for the $150,000 Fran's Valentine Stakes at 1 1/16 miles on turf.

Lucky J.H., the winner of the Sensational Star Handicap for Gaines last Friday, her fifth winner of the six-race streak, may start on April 27 in the $150,000 Khaled Stakes on turf or the $150,000 Tiznow Stakes at 7 1/2 furlongs on the main track.

Gaines's recent success has vaulted her into fifth place in the trainer standings at the winter-spring meeting with 20 wins.

Missit may get a break until June

Missit may be given a brief vacation following her win in Saturday's Providencia Stakes, her U.S. debut.

With an eye on the major stakes for 3-year-old fillies on turf in the second half of the year, trainer Ben Cecil said that Missit may not start again until the $175,000 Honeymoon Handicap at Hollywood Park on June 7.

Cecil hopes to use the race as a prep for the $750,000 American Oaks at 1 1/4 miles on turf on July 5. In the long term, Cecil is hoping that Missit is good enough to start in races such as the Grade 1 Del Mar Oaks in August and the Grade 1 Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup at Keeneland in October.

The $100,000 Senorita Stakes at Hollywood Park on May 10 would be a suitable spot for Missit, but Cecil said it may come up to soon.

In the Providencia Stakes going a mile on turf, Missit rallied from third to beat Sweeter Still by a nose.

"I think she'll go farther," Cecil said. "I think there is some more improvement to come."

Owned by Three Chimneys Racing, who purchased her privately last fall, Missit was second in the Group 2 Rockfel Stakes in England last year.

The Senorita may draw Decorator, the winner of an optional claimer on the hillside turf course on Sunday. Trained by Richard Mandella for Malibu Farms, Decorator was third early and won by 1 1/2 lengths.