05/21/2010 12:00AM

Forever Together heading to California


INGLEWOOD, Calif. - Forever Together, the champion turf female of 2008, will start in the $250,000 Gamely Stakes at Hollywood Park next Saturday, her first race in Southern California since a third in the Breeders' Cup Filly and Mare Turf at Santa Anita last November.

The Grade 1 Gamely, run over 1 1/8 miles on turf, will be a showdown between Forever Together and the outstanding Tuscan Evening, winner of four graded stakes on turf at Santa Anita earlier this year.

Forever Together, a winner of 9 of 21 starts and $2,842,639 for George Strawbridge's Augustin Stable, has made one start this year, finishing second to Wasted Tears as the favorite in the Grade 2 Jenny Wiley Stakes at Keeneland on April 10.

Forever Together was ridden that day by Julien Leparoux, who is sidelined with a back injury. For the Gamely, Forever Together will be ridden by Rajiv Maragh, according to trainer Jonathan Sheppard. Maragh is in the top five at the Belmont Park spring-summer meeting.

"He's seen her up close and he's beaten her every time," Sheppard said. "He was on the horse at Keeneland that wired the field. He beat her two in a row on Diamondrella [last year]. He's a good rider and a good learner."

Sheppard insists that he is not worried about Forever Together's loss in the Jenny Wiley Stakes.

"I thought she ran great," Sheppard said. "The horse that won got loose on the lead, and we couldn't quite catch her."

Forever Together is being trained in Camden, S.C., where she worked six furlongs in 1:15 on Wednesday, Sheppard said. A 6-year-old mare, Forever Together will have one more workout in South Carolina before being sent to California.

Other probable Gamely starters include the stakes winners Cat by the Tale, Gotta Have Her, Medaglia d'Amour, Princess Haya, and Well Monied, along with General Consensus.

The Gamely is the first of two Grade 1 stakes on a six-day racing week. The $250,000 Shoemaker Mile on turf on Monday will feature Karelian, winner of the Grade 1 Maker's Mark Mile at Keeneland in April as well as Gallant Son and Compari, who won stakes in Southern California in April. Other probable starters are Blue Chagall, Global Hunter, Mr Gruff, and Riviera Cocktail.

La Croix saddles winner in last start

Trainer David La Croix went out a winner Wednesday.

In Wednesday's fourth race, La Croix saddled the 2-year-old maiden special weight winner Drink at Buster's, who won his career debut.

La Croix, 56, said earlier this week that he will continue to operate his family's Meadowbrook Farms as an owner and breeder, but would cease training, sending horses to several colleagues, including Marty Jones, Mike Machowsky, and Mike Mitchell.

"It's time," he said. "I'll be an owner and breeder, not an owner, breeder, and trainer."

La Croix has had a small stable in recent years. He trained the multiple stakes winner Bully Bones, winner of the Grade 3 Sorrento Stakes at Del Mar in 2005, as well as the stakes winners Corazondelcampeon, Fonz's, Jimmy O, and Meetyouatthebrig in the last decade.

Conniption eyeing American Oaks

Trainer Simon Callaghan won an allowance race Thursday with Conniption, who could be a candidate for the $250,000 American Oaks on July 3.

Ridden by Brice Blanc, Conniption rallied from last in a field of seven to win a one-mile allowance race on turf by 1 1/4 lengths, finishing in 1:36.09. Conniption was third in her U.S. debut last month and was fourth or fifth in three stakes in Britain last summer and fall.

"I think she can progress," Callaghan said. "She's out of a staying mare and she's got a great mind."

Owned by Michael Tabor, Conniption is by Danehill Dancer out of Showbiz, who was stakes placed in Ireland in 2005.

There may be an even better 3-year-old turf filly in Callaghan's nine-horse stable, the maiden Dubawi Heights.

Unraced in the United States, Dubawi Heights was third in the Group 2 Lowther Stakes at York, England, last year and later second in two lucrative sale-progeny stakes. Callaghan said Friday that Dubawi Heights is likely to start in June.

"She's about four or five weeks away," he said. "We can maybe break her maiden here and then go to Del Mar."

Reyes handed three-day ban

Jockey Christian Santiago Reyes, the champion apprentice of 2009 who began riding as a journeyman last Wednesday, has been given a three-day suspension for causing interference in the stretch aboard Drink at Buster's.

Drink at Buster's emerged between horses to take the lead in the final furlong, but in doing so forced eventual fifth-place finisher Mr. Gennaro to the outside. There was no disqualification in the race.

Reyes's suspension will run from Wednesday through Friday.