06/11/2008 11:00PM

Flores gets mount on Surf Cat


INGLEWOOD, Calif. - Surf Cat, a six-time stakes winner, will be ridden for the first time by David Flores in the $750,000 Hollywood Gold Cup on June 28, trainer Bruce Headley said on Thursday.

Flores replaces Alex Solis, who has ridden the 6-year-old Surf Cat in 17 of his 19 career starts and all of his stakes wins.

Solis was aboard Surf Cat when he won the Grade 2 Mervyn Leroy Handicap here on April 26 and for a third-place finish in the Grade 2 Californian Stakes here on May 31.

Asked about the switch from Solis to Flores, Headley said, "That's one of those deals."

Earlier this year, Headley said that Solis would no longer be the first-call rider for his stable. At the time, Headley declined to elaborate on the reason for the split. As a team, Headley and Solis won Grade 1 races with horses such as Bertrando, Got Koko, and Kona Gold.

Solis is searching for a replacement mount for the Gold Cup, according to his agent, Scotty McClellan.

Surf Cat will be a longshot in the Gold Cup, a race led by Heatseeker, the winner of the Californian and Santa Anita Handicap this year. Other probable starters are Big Booster, Lava Man, McCann's Mojave, Perfect Drift, Racketeer, Student Council, and Tiago.

Surf Cat set the pace in the Californian. He may have a pace to follow in the Gold Cup if Lava Man goes to the front in search of a record-breaking fourth consecutive win in the race.

"Hopefully, the pace will make the difference," Headley said of Surf Cat's chances. "He's a better stalker."

Racketeer, who placed in two stakes in California last year, has been acquired privately by a partnership that includes trainer Barry Abrams. Previously trained by Bobby Frankel, Racketeer, a 5-year-old by Awesome Again, was purchased from Frank Stronach.

Abrams said Racketeer was purchased as a long-term stallion prospect. Racketeer has won 4 of 19 starts and $251,404. He was second to Heatseeker in the Grade 3 Native Diver Handicap here last December.

"He loves Hollywood," Abrams said.

Silky Smooth comes back a winner

Silky Smooth returned from a four-month layoff to win Wednesday's $79,575 Great Lady M. Stakes over six furlongs on turf. The win was a relief for trainer Jeff Mullins, who has battled illness and bad luck with the 4-year-old filly in recent months.

Silky Smooth was making her first start since finishing last of five in the Grade 1 Santa Monica Handicap on Feb. 2. She became ill after that race, Mullins said.

"She had some kind of infection that was internal," Mullins said. "We were all winter trying to get her coat right and her blood right."

Owned by E.K. Gaylord II, Silky Smooth was entered for the Desert Stormer Handicap on May 17 but was scratched after suffering cuts in a paddock accident.

"She got in the shrubs." Mullins said. "Fortunately, it was superficial."

In the Great Lady M., Silky Smooth ($5.60) rallied from sixth in a field of seven to win by 2 1/4 lengths in 1:08.67. "When she switched leads, she found another gear," Mullins said.

Mullins said Silky Smooth will be kept to races up to a mile, but could start on the main track or turf.

"I think she's got distance limitations, probably a flat mile," Mullins said.

Trevor's Clever ready to go

Trevor's Clever, who won his stakes debut in the Alydar Stakes on May 24, is doing too well to skip Sunday's $100,000 Affirmed Handicap. Trainer Ted H. West considered skipping the Affirmed in favor of the $350,000 Swaps Stakes on July 12, but now wants to run Trevor's Clever in both races.

"He came out of the race really well, and I hate to leave such a good horse in the barn," West said.

Owned by Oak West Farm, Trevor's Clever began his career in maiden claimers last September but has shown steady improvement in recent months.

"He's always been a big, soft, lazy guy," West said. "We knew when we bought him that he wouldn't jump out right away. He's pretty much moved forward with every race. The way he's coming out of his races, hopefully he's got more upside in him."

The Affirmed, run over 1 1/16 miles, has drawn a field of eight, including Two Step Salsa and Dixie Chatter, who were first and third in the Laz Barrera Memorial Stakes on May 18. Dixie Chatter won the Grade 1 Norfolk Stakes last September.

Mare euthanized after injury

Our Mitzy, who was entered in a $53,000 allowance race at Hollywood Park on Thursday, was euthanized on Tuesday after suffering a pastern injury while training at Santa Anita, trainer Gary Stute said.

Our Mitzy was galloping on the training track when the injury occurred. The 5-year-old mare was preparing to make her first start for Stute after being acquired via a $20,000 claim at Golden Gate Fields on May 23. Our Mitzy won 3 of 20 starts and $55,580.