Updated on 09/15/2011 2:40PM

Definite Edge waits in the wings


ARCADIA, Calif. - Move over, Siphonic. Trainer David Hofmans may have another prospect for the spring classics if Definite Edge runs to expectations Saturday in race 3. A field of seven entered the one-other-than allowance at 1 1/16 miles, and Definite Edge fits perfectly off his his impressive Dec. 13 maiden win.

Definite Edge was making his third career start, and first around two turns, when he won that 1 1/16-mile race by 1 1/4 lengths, earning a commendable Beyer Speed Figure of 89. "That race really picked him up," Hofmans said. "He really wanted to go long and come from out out of it, " which Hofmans said was exactly what rider Victor Espinoza did.

Owned by David and Jill Heerensperger, Definite Edge is a $600,000 son of Deputy Minister. His rivals Saturday include Gold Dollar, Hawk's Top Gun, and Lord Fhazio.

As for Siphonic, Hofmans said he continues to train well, though Hofmans who expressed frustration at Santa Anita's 3-year-old stakes schedule. After the Grade 2 Santa Catalina Stakes on Jan. 19, the next unrestricted route for 3-year-olds is March 2. "There's nothing for him in February it almost forces you to look around and go out of town," Hofmans said.

McAnally puzzled, peeved

Early Flyer's eighth-place finish as the 2-1 Malibu Stakes favorite remains a mystery to his trainer, Ron McAnally. "I don't understand it," he said. "He cooled out good, he ate up, we had him scoped and he showed just a couple specks but nothing to make him stop. So we'll watch him closely the new few days."

The effort by Early Flyer was the first time he had finished off the board. Though he got hot going to post, McAnally said he usually does get hot. "It's hard to figure, he's been so consistent."

McAnally will reload for the Grade 1 La Brea on Saturday with Affluent, but comebacker Dark Moondancer will skip the Grade 2 San Gabriel Handicap. McAnally was displeased that Dark Moondancer was assigned top weight of 122 pounds, despite not having raced since July 2000.

Mike Harlow, the track's racing secretary, "put a lot of weight on a horse that hasn't raced in more than a year," McAnally said. "He goes on past race record without considering that the horse hasn't raced. He's a year older, he's had surgery. Who knows if he's the same?"

Explaining Yonaguska's Malibu

Handicappers should disregard the sixth-place finish Wednesday by Yonaguska in the Grade 1 Malibu, according to his trainer, D. Wayne Lukas. "He likes to be free and clear, but he got trapped on the inside," Lukas said. Breaking from the rail, Yonaguska and jockey Gary Stevens never had a chance to get to the outside.

"It's frustrating, because you know he is good enough," Stevens said. "He's 10 lengths better when he gets outside."

Beaten nine lengths in the Malibu, Yonaguska will come back Jan. 27 in Grade 2 Palos Verdes Handicap at six furlongs, Lukas said.

Orientate possible for San Fernando

Orientate may have earned a spot in the $200,000 San Fernando Stakes on Jan. 12 after a front-running win in the Sir Beaufort Stakes on Wednesday.

Making his first start on turf, Orientate was not challenged until the final turn, but kicked clear to win by two lengths over Sigfreto. Ridden by Chris McCarron, Orientate ($11.20) finished a mile in 1:36.39. Blue Steller, the 2-1 favorite, finished third in the field of 10.

Trained by Lukas, Orientate had mixed form in October. He won the Indiana Derby at Hoosier Park on Oct. 6, but was well beaten in the Breeders' Cup Classic at Belmont Park three weeks later. Sent off at 34-1 in that race, Orientate led to the final turn, but faded through the stretch to finish 12th. In the Sir Beaufort, McCarron had Orientate as many as 3 1/2 lengths in front through the first half-mile.

"The turf was uncharted territory, but he handled it," Lukas said.

Lukas said he would discuss plans for Orientate with owners Bob and Beverly Lewis, but seemed intrigued at the idea of trying the 1 1/16-mile San Fernando, the second leg of the Strub Series. The first leg was Wednesday's Malibu at seven furlongs.

"When he won the Derby at Hoosier, it wasn't a bad field," Lukas said. "He could be effective in the San Fernando."

Werblin set for second turn

Werblin, who remained unbeaten by winning a six-furlong allowance race in fast time on Wednesday's opening-day card at Santa Anita, will stretch out around two turns for his next start, according to trainer Eduardo Inda.

The possibilities for Werblin include the Grade 2, $150,000 Santa Catalina Stakes on Jan. 19 at 1 1/16 miles, or the $75,000 Sham Stakes at 1 1/8 miles on Feb. 8. The Sham is a restricted stakes race, a level for which Werblin is currently eligible, since he only has a maiden and an allowance win to his credit. He has yet to run in a stakes race.

Royal Moro, who finished second to Werblin, beaten by 1 1/2 lengths, is going to stick to sprinting for the time being, according to trainer Juan Garcia. A possibility, Garcia said, is the Grade 3, $100,000 Baldwin Stakes on Feb. 24. That race is at 6 1/2 furlongs on the hillside turf course, and Garcia said he is eager to try Royal Moro on the turf.

Springtime date for Stevens's book

Gary Stevens's timing has always been flawless, so it is appropriate that the release date for his autobiography coincides with the sport's most widely publicized series of races.

"The Perfect Ride" is scheduled for a May release by Kensington Publishing, just in time for the Triple Crown. According to Stevens, the book has been in the planning stages for about five years.

"The Perfect Ride" was written by Stevens with author Mervyn Kaufman.

- additional reporting by Steve Andersen and Jay Privman