01/15/2009 12:00AM

Ginger Pop promises shorter odds Sunday


ARCADIA, Calif. - Away from racing for more than four months, Ginger Pop ran the best race of her career to finish second at 47-1 in the Grade 1 La Brea Stakes at Santa Anita on Dec. 27.

The performance may have shocked bettors, but not trainer Dan Hendricks.

"People kind of forgot about her," Hendricks said. "We weren't surprised by the result."

No one will be surprised if Ginger Pop runs well in Sunday's $150,000 El Encino Stakes for 4-year-old fillies over 1 1/16 miles.

Owned by Thor-Bred Stables, Ginger Pop will be after her first stakes win in the Grade 2 El Encino. Aside from the La Brea, she has made one other start in a graded stakes, finishing 10th in the Grade 1 Del Mar Oaks last summer. It was that race that caused the layoff, Hendricks said.

"All you have do is throw out the Del Mar Oaks when she bruised a heel, and she hasn't run a bad race," Hendricks said.

Ginger Pop will be part of a crowded field of 12 in the El Encino. If all 12 start, it will be the largest El Encino field since 11 ran in 1983. In recent years, the race has typically drawn six to eight runners.

The field is led by Country Star, winner of two Grade 1 races in 2007 - the Alcibiades Stakes and Hollywood Starlet. She had one win in three starts last year, an optional claimer on turf at Saratoga.

The El Encino will determine the direction of Ginger Pop's career. Hendricks admits she could be on a collision course with some of the top older mares in the nation, such as Zenyatta, a candidate for 2008 Horse of the Year.

"If she runs well over the next few races, we'll end up with the older mares, dirt or turf," Hendricks said.

Mayor Marv can earn a road trip

Mayor Marv will earn a one-way ticket out of California if he wins a maiden race Saturday.

"I think he's a dirt horse," trainer Bob Baffert said. "As soon as he breaks his maiden, he's going on the road."

Before any travel arrangements are finalized, Mayor Marv must end a five-race losing streak in Saturday's third race, a maiden special weight over 1 1/16 miles. Mayor Marv is making his third start in five weeks, having finished second in a maiden race at Hollywood Park on Dec. 14 and a similar race here Dec. 29.

In the latter race, Mayor Marv led with a furlong remaining and was beaten a half-length by Papa Clem as the 3-2 favorite. Papa Clem is entered in Saturday's San Rafael Stakes.

Baffert expects Mayor Marv to be near the front in Saturday's race, which drew nine entrants. "He doesn't like to pass," Baffert said.

If Mayor Marv leaves California's synthetic main track, he has some experience on conventional dirt surfaces. In three starts in New York last year, Mayor Marv's best finish was a second, by a head, in the mud in Aqueduct in November.

Horses euthanized after training accident

Two horses were euthanized at Hollywood Park on Wednesday as a result of injuries suffered during a collision during training hours.

Gyr, a 3-year-old colt who began his career in England, unseated his rider and collided with Downtown Sanger.

Gyr, trained by Jamie Lloyd, was taken back to the barn for treatment following the accident but could not be saved. Gyr had 1 win in 4 starts and was 12th behind eventual Breeders' Cup Juvenile Turf winner Donativum in the Tattersalls Timeform Million Stakes at Newmarket, England, in October.

"It was a severe blow to the stable," Lloyd said. "He was quite a nice horse."

Downtown Sanger, a 6-year-old gelding trained by John Sadler, won 3 of 14 starts and $110,116. Downtown Sanger had not raced since June and was nearing a return from a layoff, Sadler said.

Neither exercise rider was injured, according to Lloyd and Sadler.

Monterey Jazz eyes Thunder Road

Monterey Jazz, the three-time stakes winner who is winless in two starts since returning to racing last fall, is being pointed for the $100,000 Thunder Road Handicap over a mile on turf on Feb. 7, trainer Craig Dollase said.

The winner of the Grade 2 Strub Stakes and Grade 3 Texas Mile in 2008, Monterey Jazz was third in an optional claimer here Dec. 27. He was seventh in the Cigar Mile at Aqueduct in November, his first start in six months.

Online contest resumes Saturday

Showvivor, an online contest that requires contestants to pick at least one horse per day that will finish in the top three, resumes at Santa Anita on Saturday.

The contest offers $5,000 in prize money - $3,000 to the winner, $1,500 to second, and $500 to third. Contestants must register their bets 10 minutes before the first race at Santa Anita each day. Once a contestant's selection finishes out of the top three, the player is eliminated.

There is no cost to participate. The contest is run through the track's website - santaanita.com.