Updated on 09/17/2011 1:50PM

Ema Bovary aiming high


ALBANY, Calif. - Northern California-based 's next stop will most likely be the $250,000 Grade 1 Santa Monica Handicap at Santa Anita on Jan. 25. She concluded 2003 by winninng her sixth straight race in the $84,850 Kalookan Queen Handicap at Santa Anita on New Year's Eve.

Trainer Larry Ross gives jockey Roberto Gonzalez credit for the victory, which came about after Gonzalez claimed foul against Royally Chosen and Alex Solis, who got to the line first by the narrowest of noses in the 6 1/2-furlong race.

Ross and Gonzalez thought they won the nod at the wire and, according to Gonzalez, so did Solis. As the two pulled up after the race, Gonzalez said he told Solis he was going to claim a foul, and Solis replied it probably wouldn't matter anyway. Gonzalez lodged his claim with an outrider.

"I didn't know if they'd take him down," Gonzalez said. "He did come out on me. I think if I would have lost by a neck, they might not have taken him down, but I only lost by a quarter-inch."

"Bobby saved the day," Ross said. "When we were watching the race we didn't see it, but as we were going to the winner's circle everybody thought we won anyway. When watching the replay the first time, I didn't really see it, but the more you watched, the more you realized that Ema was running in a dead-straight line. Too bad we had to back into it, but if they would have kept going, Ema would have pulled away."

Gonzalez said race tactics may have worked against him.

"I had to move her twice early to avoid trouble down the backstretch and on the turn," he said. "We could have taken the lead at the quarter pole, but I wanted to save her as long as I could.

"She'll do better at seven furlongs when I don't have to rush her like I did."

Ross won't say definitively that the seven-furlong Santa Monica is next for Ema Bovary, but he's definitely leaning that way.

"We're looking at it," he said. "We'll point for it and nominate to it. That's a big step up, but the Sunshine Millions is the day before with a $300,000 purse that might attract some [of the competition].

"She really needs only one good work to set her up."

Patience rewarded

If there's one thing trainer Chuck Jenda is, it's patient. If there's one thing A B Noodle is, it's frustrating.

The frustrations ended and patience paid off Saturday when the mare, a multiple stakes winner at age 3 but winless in six starts as a 4-year-old, beat a strong allowance field at 1 1/16 miles on a wet-fast track for her first main-track win.

"We did a lot of schooling and spent a lot of time with her," said Jenda's assistant, Victor Trujillo. "With this kind of horse, what else can you do but be patient and see if she'll turn around? There was never ever a doubt that this horse was a good horse."

A B Noodle is high-strung and too often left her race in the paddock or the post parade.

That was why Jenda stopped on her as a 3-year-old and why he tried to take his time with her. And on Saturday, A B Noodle ran the way she did as a 3-year-old, which is good news for Jenda but may be bad news for the other local fillies and mares.

Wednesday feature

The local 3-year-old filly crop is strong, headed by Wildwood Flower, who ran third in Sunday's Grade 3 Santa Ysabel at Santa Anita. The depth in the crop is evident in Wednesday's feature, a six-furlong allowance race that marks the return of Lyin Goddess, who won the Juan Gonzalez Memorial Stakes at Pleasanton in her only start.

"She had a little chip in her ankle we had to take out," trainer Jeff Bonde said. "She's been training well. I might have been able to come back a little earlier, but we got a good gate drill [six furlongs in 1:13.40 at Santa Anita on Dec. 27] into her."

Lyin Goddess was impressive in her debut, sitting off the pace and finishing strongly. She looms the one to beat, but Smoke Break, who returned from a nearly four-month layoff to run second to Bending Strings on Dec. 12, will be tough to catch up front.

"We were going to give her some time after the [Aug. 16] Mid Peninsula Stakes," trainer Gil Matos said. "She shin-bucked in that race, so we gave her time to grow. That was an awful nice filly she met the other day, but I think she'll improve off that race."

The Greg Gilchrist-trained Madrone, a good-looking winner in her debut, also should be a strong factor.

"Up to a month ago, I didn't like her, but her last three works were really good," he said. "She ran real well. I don't know what she beat, but this is the next logical spot."

Golden Gate Derby noms

Twelve 3-year-olds, headed by Perfect Moon, a winner of $353,870 last year, are nominated for Saturday's Grade 3, $100,000 Golden Gate Derby at 1 1/16 miles.

In addition to Perfect Moon, trainer Doug O'Neill nominated Skipaslew, winner of the Gold Rush Stakes here, and Harvard Avenue.

Also nominated are Bensquito, Corvallis Dee, Dixieland Heater, Gwaihir, Kilgowan, Misty'sgoldentouch, O.K. Mikie, Preachinatthebar, and Tacky.