03/31/2009 11:00PM

Dixie Chatter keeps it close


ARCADIA, Calif. - It's time for Dixie Chatter to finish his job.

After finishing third or fourth in four consecutive graded stakes from October to March, Dixie Chatter starts in a tough running of the $150,000 Arcadia Handicap on Saturday. The one-mile turf race has drawn Desert Code, the winner of the Breeders' Cup Turf Sprint last October, and Madeo, the winner of the Grade 2 Del Mar Derby last August, as part of a field of nine.

Dixie Chatter was beaten three-quarters of a length in his last start, the Grade 1 Frank Kilroe Mile here on March 7. He led by a half-length at the eighth pole but faded to finish behind Gio Ponti and Ventura.

"He made the lead and hung," trainer Richard Mandella said.

Dixie Chatter has lost his last four starts by a combined 4 3/4 lengths. "He runs well all the time," Mandella said. "I need him to get that last length."

Owned by Herman Sarkowsky and Marty and Pam Wygod, Dixie Chatter has won 3 of 11 starts and $368,196. He won the Grade 1 Norfolk Stakes at 2 in 2007 and a division of the restricted Oceanside Stakes last summer. A win on Saturday would put Dixie Chatter on course for the Grade 1 Shoemaker Mile at Hollywood Park on May 25.

The Arcadia Handicap is one of four stakes on the undercard of the 11-race Santa Anita Derby program.

Rail Trip, unbeaten in four starts, makes his stakes debut in the $85,000 Santana Mile on the main track. Sea of Pleasure, a minor stakes winner last year, returns from a layoff of more than nine months in the $150,000 Potrero Grande Handicap at 6 1/2 furlongs.

The $150,000 Providencia Stakes for 3-year-olds fillies at a mile on turf has drawn a strong field of 11, featuring Pasar Silbano, the winner of the Grade 3 La Habra Stakes on Feb. 1, and the European stakes winners African Skies, Mrs Kipling, and Pride Dancer.

Homecoming for Indian Blessing

Indian Blessing, the two-time champion who was second to males in the $2 million Golden Shaheen for sprinters in Dubai last Saturday, was scheduled to return to California late Wednesday.

Trainer Bob Baffert said that Indian Blessing has emerged from the race without incident, and that he will let her recover from the race and travel before making any plans for her next start. The Breeders' Cup Filly and Mare Sprint here in November is a long-term goal, though Indian Blessing is expected to resume racing in the summer.

"The next day the groom said it was like she didn't run," Baffert said.

Ridden by Edgar Prado, Indian Blessing finished second to Big City Man in the six-furlong race over a straightaway. Starting from the outside post in a field of 12, Indian Blessing took the lead midway through the race but was caught in the final sixteenth.

Indian Blessing finished five lengths in front of third-place finisher Diabolical.

"She broke a little flat-footed," Baffert said. "They came over on her and Edgar had to make a move. She got a little late at the end. Once you move on her, she's gone. At least she finished second."

Owned by Hal and Patti Earnhardt, Indian Blessing has won 9 of 13 starts and $2,837,200. The champion 2-year-old filly of 2007 and champion female sprinter of 2008, Indian Blessing has not finished worse than second in her career. She won the Grade 1 La Brea Stakes last December, her start before the Golden Shaheen.

If Indian Blessing returns to racing at Hollywood Park this summer, one possible race is the $150,000 A Gleam Handicap at seven furlongs on July 18.

Ginger Pop goes back to grass

Experiments with main-track routes have ended for Ginger Pop, the 4-year-old filly trained by Dan Hendricks.

After losing three starts on the main track in the La Canada series, Hendricks is putting Ginger Pop back on turf for an optional claimer at about 6 1/2 furlongs on the hillside turf course Friday.

"She'll run a lot better," Hendricks said. "I want to get her back on grass, and 6 1/2 will suit her well."

Owned by Thor-Bred Stables, Ginger Pop was second in the Flawlessly Stakes on turf at Hollywood Park last July. Her best result in four subsequent starts was a second in the Grade 1 La Brea Stakes at seven furlongs on Dec. 27. She was well-beaten by Life Is Sweet in the El Encino and La Canada stakes earlier this year.

Ginger Pop won a maiden race on the hillside turf course last April in her second start.

The field of eight includes Expensive Art, who was second in an optional claimer on March 8; Waveline, who was second in the Irish O'Brien Stakes for statebreds on March 15; and Flashover, who won twice in late March - an optional claimer for statebreds on March 20 and a first-condition allowance race on March 28.

Expensive Art had the early lead in her last start, but trainer Jim Cassidy does not want her there on Friday. Expensive Art was beaten three-quarters of a length in her last start.

"I'm just trying to shut her off a little," Cassidy said. "She did everything but win the race."

Kitty in the Bag a maiden no more

Kitty in the Bag won the first 2-year-old maiden race for fillies on Wednesday, scooting away from nine rivals to win by 3 1/4 lengths.

Ridden by Tyler Baze for trainer Mel Stute, Kitty in the Bag ($4.40) ran a quarter-mile in 21.11 seconds. Mona Storm, a 25-1 shot, finished second, a nose in front of Rivergrade Girl.

By Wildcat Heir, Kitty in the Bag is owned by Patrick and Elizabeth Everard.

Jeranimo works toward Lexington

Jeranimo, who finished third in the Grade 2 San Felipe Stakes on March 14, worked seven furlongs in 1:25.80 on Wednesday. Trainer Mike Pender said that Jeranimo will make his next start in the $300,000 Lexington Stakes at Keeneland on April 18.

"That was a nice tune-up," Pender said.

A winner of 1 of 4 starts and $66,800, Jeranimo is owned by B.J. Wright.