01/08/2010 1:00AM

Gaines looks to keep rolling like the 'Tide'


ARCADIA, Calif. - Trainer Carla Gaines, a native of Alabama, on Friday morning wore a both a bright smile and the red sweatshirt of the BCS champion Alabama Crimson Tide, whom she watched defeat Texas on Thursday night at the Rose Bowl.

That continued what has been a great run for Gaines. She won the Breeders' Cup Sprint two months ago with Dancing in Silks. Earlier this week, he was named one of the three finalists - along with Kodiak Kowboy and Zensational - for the Eclipse Award as champion sprinter, and he is nearing his 2010 debut.

As for a possible future Gaines star, perhaps it will be Theorist, who makes his delayed debut in the third race Sunday going 6 1/2 furlongs down the hillside turf course. Theorist, 4, is a son of Distorted Humor who cost $110,000 as a yearling.

"He's trained very well," Gaines said Friday morning. "He had some minor setbacks, shins and whatnot. He was kind of backwards when he was younger. But he's training very well now. I do think he'll be better going longer."

Gaines scored 40-yard-line tickets to the BCS championship game through friends who have political connections in both the city of Los Angeles and state of California. She attended the University of Alabama at Birmingham, where she received bachelor's degrees in sociology and psychology and a master's degree in counseling, a field she pursued before turning to training.

The biggest win of her career came in the BC Sprint with Dancing in Silks. He is scheduled to race next in the Grade 2, $150,000 Palos Verdes Handicap on Jan. 23. Dancing in Silks is a California-bred and is eligible to the Sunshine Millions, but the race for his division is being run at Gulfstream Park this year, so he will remain on the Pro-Ride surface here.

Lookin At Lucky may get blinkers

Lookin At Lucky, the Breeders' Cup Juvenile winner, galloped in blinkers Friday morning, was scheduled to work in them this weekend, and could race in them, trainer Bob Baffert said.

"Garrett," Baffert said, referring to jockey Garrett Gomez, "thinks he needs blinkers. Garrett said when he makes the lead, he feels like a sitting duck."

Lookin At Lucky is favored to be named the champion 2-year-old male at the Eclipse Awards dinner on Jan. 18.

Hofmans sends pair of live ones

Trainer David Hofmans is in position to have a good day Sunday. His three entrants include the maiden Nicole H, who could be favored in the day's first race, and Devine Actress, a late-bloomer who looks like the one to beat in the fifth race, a first-level allowance.

"She's making up for lost time," Hofmans said of Devine Actress, 5, who did not make her debut until October. She finished second first time out in a downhill turf sprint, then stretched out and beat maidens going 1 1/16 miles on turf at Hollywood Park.

On Sunday, she drew the rail in a one-mile grass race that drew six others.

"She was very immature," Hofmans said. "That's why we waited with her. She's by Theatrical, so she had no business racing as a 2-year-old. I got her in the middle of her 3-year-old year, and I had to stop on her after I trained her a little bit. I didn't feel she wanted the pressure. I wanted to get her head right. She's tall and doesn't carry a lot of flesh."

Nicole H was a sharp second in her debut at Hollywood Park on Dec. 13 when breaking from the rail going 6 1/2 furlongs. On Sunday, she landed the outside post in a field of five going seven furlongs.

Among those lining up to face Nicole H are Elegant, who was second at the Oak Tree meeting in her debut in October, and first-time starter Pink Blossom.

Elegant closed sharply in her first start, but has not raced in 2 1/2 months.

"I think she's a real nice filly," trainer Bob Hess Jr. said. "She closed well in her first race, but she kind of flattened out. I wanted to go two turns with her. I've entered her in a mile race for the past week, but it didn't fill. I wanted to space her races. She's kind of a dainty filly, so I gave her plenty of time after her race."

Pink Blossom, a daughter of Proud Citizen, has a lengthy work tab going back to October for trainer Bruce Headley.

"She's a big, pretty filly," said Karen Headley, who is the top assistant to her father, Bruce. "I think she'll be better going around two turns. We have a couple of very nice maiden fillies in our barn."

Owners Anderson, Waranch die

R. Gregg Anderson and Ron Waranch, who owned horses in partnership and independently, died recently, according to trainer Vladimir Cerin, a friend of both men.

Anderson died Dec. 23 after a lengthy illness. A resident of Palmdale, Calif., where he was a prominent developer, Anderson was 81. In recent years, Anderson and his son Robert owned horses in partnership.

Waranch, a resident of Rancho Santa Fe, died Wednesday at the age of 78. The cause of death was not known.

Anderson and Waranch were partners on such stakes winner as Palmdale and Northern Afleet, who went on to become a successful stallion.

On his own, Waranch owned such Southern California stakes winners as Swiss Lad (2004 Cavonnier Stakes), Saint Afleet (2005 Palos Verdes Handicap), and Afleet Eagle (2009 Oceanside Stakes).

Funeral services for Anderson were held last week. Services for Waranch will be private, Cerin said.

- additional reporting by Steve Andersen