02/03/2010 12:00AM

Ex-claimer gives Strub a shot

Photos by Z/Keeneland
Diamondrella (right) has been sent to a Kentucky farm for a break and then will join trainer Rick Dutrow at Gulfstream Park.

ARCADIA, Calif. - The timing of owner Larry Smith's arrival at Del Mar late in the afternoon of Sept. 4 could not have been better.

With that afternoon's first race quickly approaching, trainer Dan Hendricks was desperate to submit a claim for the maiden claimer Diferentkindagreat. But Hendricks did not have authorization to act on behalf of Smith and co-owners K.B. Sareen and John Pagano. When Smith arrived before the first race, the issue was cleared up.

"Larry Smith walked in or we wouldn't have been able to claim him," Hendricks said. "I'd watched the horse's workouts. There was no doubt that [assistant trainer Francisco Alvarado] and I wanted to claim him."

The team claimed Diferentkindagreat for $32,000 and saw him win that day. The colt has developed sufficiently in recent months to be entered in Saturday's $200,000 Strub Stakes at Santa Anita.

The Grade 2 Strub Stakes, run over 1 1/8 miles for 4-year-olds, will be Diferentkindagreat's stakes debut.

"I think he has a good outside shot to hit the board," Hendricks said. "There are a couple of nice horses in there, and the rest of us fit well. I'd rather not move him up so quickly, but it's a unique race for 4-year-olds only."

The Strub Stakes drew a field of 10. The leading contenders are Misremembered, who won the Swaps Stakes last July, and Rendezvous, who won the Del Mar Derby last September.

The claim of Diferentkindagreat was largely financed the previous day when the partnership and Hendricks had the maiden claimer Pico Pico claimed from them for $80,000.

"We had a little cash at Del Mar," Hendricks said. "It was a good parlay."

Hendricks is not afraid to try an ex-claimer in the Strub. He ran the former claimer Top This and That, who finished second in the 2006 Strub.

Hendricks said Wednesday that there is a slight chance that Diferentkindagreat will start in Sunday's $40,000 Super Bowl Party starter handicap over a mile on turf for horses that have run for a claiming price of $32,000 or less in the last 13 months.

In a way, it would be fitting for a horse co-owned by Pagano to run in that race. He is the linebackers coach for the San Diego Chargers.

Diamondrella heading to Dutrow

Diamondrella, a two-time Grade 1 winner last year who finished 10th of 11 in the Grade 1 Santa Monica Handicap here Sunday, has been sent to a Kentucky farm this week and will go to trainer Rick Dutrow after a break, according to Michael Iavarone of IEAH Stables.

Diamondrella was trained by Angel Penna Jr. last year when she won the Just a Game Stakes at Belmont Park and the First Lady Stakes at Keeneland, both Grade 1 one-mile turf races. She had been trained in recent months by Gary Stevens, who recently disbanded his stable.

"Right now, she's in Kentucky on a stopover and she's headed out to Rick Dutrow at Gulfstream," Iavarone said. "I gather she didn't like the surface [at Santa Anita]. We'll stick with the grass. We'll find a good spot for her."

* Santa Anita officials are anticipating an inch of rain late Thursday and into Friday and are taking steps to ensure that the wet weather will not lead to a disruption of racing. Last month, the track lost three days of racing when more than seven inches of rain fell in a five-day period and the main track failed to drain sufficiently. Track superintendent Richard Tedesco said he planned to aerate the track after the races on Thursday in an effort to improve drainage.