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Got Koko out till summer with sprain
ARCADIA, Calif. - Got Koko, the third-place finisher in the Grade 1 Santa Monica Handicap on Jan. 25 and one of the nation's top older fillies last year, is out until late summer with an ankle injury.
Trainer and co-owner Bruce Headley said Got Koko suffered the injury in her last start and will be sidelined for four months. Headley hopes that Got Koko will return at Del Mar in August.
The injury will keep the 5-year-old Got Koko from starting in two Grade 1's for fillies and mares at this meeting - Monday's $250,000 Santa Maria Handicap and the $300,000 Santa Margarita Handicap on March 14.
"It's just a sprain," Headley said. "I'd like to have her back by Del Mar but it will be close. Everything will have to go perfect."
The long-term goal for Got Koko is the $2 million Breeders' Cup Distaff at Lone Star Park on Oct. 30.
In the Santa Monica over seven furlongs, Got Koko finished 1 1/2 lengths behind the winner, Island Fashion. A winner of 7 of 15 starts and $960,946, Got Koko won half of her six starts last year. She won three Grade 2 stakes - the El Encino Stakes, La Canada Stakes, and Lady's Secret Breeders' Cup Handicap. In the Breeders' Cup Distaff, Got Koko finished third, seven lengths behind Adoration.
Adoration is the 121-pound topweight in the Santa Maria, run over 1 1/16 miles. The other probables are Angel Gift, Bare Necessities, Island Fashion, La Tour, Preeminence, and Star Parade.
Star Parade beat Adoration in the Bayakoa Handicap at Hollywood Park on Dec. 7, the last start for both mares.
There are seven stakes from Saturday to Monday. Saturday's feature is the $200,000 La Canada for 4-year-old fillies over 1 1/8 miles. Expected to run are Atlantic Ocean, Bartok's Blithe, Cat Fighter, Fencelineneighbor, Sea Jewel, Valentine Dancer. and Victory Encounter.
Also on Saturday is the $100,000 Sensational Star Handicap for California-breds over about 6 1/2 furlongs on the hillside turf course. That race is led by Lennyfromalibu, who is trained by Barry Abrams. Lennyfromalibu is seeking his fourth consecutive win, a streak that began in the California Cup Mile in November.
Candy Ride works
Candy Ride, unbeaten in six starts and a top handicap horse in California last year, worked three furlongs in 36 seconds on Wednesday, his first workout of the year.
Owned by Sid and Jenny Craig and trained by Ron McAnally, Candy Ride has not started since winning the Pacific Classic at Del Mar in August. An Argentine-bred, Candy Ride has won two other races in the U.S., an allowance race at Hollywood Park in June and the Grade 2 American Handicap on turf last July.
McAnally has not revealed Candy Ride's goal for his first 2004 start.
Santa Anita clockers timed Candy Ride in 24.40 for a quarter-mile and out three furlongs in 36.
"He went super," McAnally said.
Seven likely for Big Cap
Candy Ride will not be ready for the meet's richest race, the $1 million Santa Anita Handicap on March 6.
Three weeks before the Big Cap there are seven probables - Chinkapin, Domestic Dispute, Olmodavor, Pleasantly Perfect, Saint Buddy, Southern Image, and Toccet.
Pleasantly Perfect, the winner of three consecutive major stakes including the Breeders' Cup Classic last October, is a standout. He is trained by Richard Mandella, who might also start Olmodavor, the winner of the Whirlaway Handicap at Fair Grounds on Feb. 1.
Olmodavor worked a half-mile in 46.60 seconds Wednesday, the fastest of 36 works recorded at the distance. "He's sharp as a tack," Mandella said.
Domestic Dispute won the Strub Stakes last weekend, defeating Saint Buddy and Toccet, who were seventh and eighth.
Saint Buddy was blocked in the stretch and beaten only 3 1/2 lengths. "He never got a chance," said trainer Rafael Becerra. "He's fine. He didn't clip heels."
Promising 3-year-olds tune up
A trio of promising 3-year-old males - Castledale, Lion Heart, and Odds On - worked Wednesday and could meet in the $200,000 San Rafael Stakes over a mile on March 6.
Odds On worked six furlongs in a remarkable 1:09.60, by far the fastest of 13 works recorded at the distance. The average time of the workouts was 1:13.80. Trained by Bob Baffert, Odds On has not started since finishing ninth in the Grade 2 Norfolk Stakes on Oct. 5.
Baffert would like to start Odds On in a first-condition allowance race.
"I've got to have him ready to go at all times," he said. "There are no races for him."
Lion Heart has not started since winning the Hollywood Futurity in late December. Unbeaten in three starts, Lion Heart worked six furlongs in 1:12.60, his third workout since resuming serious training last month. "He's coming along okay," trainer Patrick Biancone said. "It's good to have a build-up."
Castledale worked five furlongs but his time did not appear on the official workout sheet. Trainer Jeff Mullins timed Castledale in 58.40 seconds.
Castledale has not started since winning the Grade 3 Generous Stakes on turf at Hollywood Park on Nov. 29. Owned by a partnership that includes former trainer and current TVG network commentator Frank Lyons, Castledale has never started on dirt, having won 2 of 8 starts.
"He's worked plenty on the dirt and he deserves the chance," said Lyons, who attended the workout.
The filly Silent Sighs worked three furlongs in 35.60 seconds. She won the Sunshine Millions Oaks for California-breds and Florida-breds at Gulfstream Park on Jan. 24.
There was an all-Hofmans double in Santa Anita's first two races on Wednesday.
Grant Hofmans, 33, won the first race with Mark of Courage ($3.20). His father, David, 61, won the second race with View From the Top ($4). The double returned $8.20.
There were six starters in the second race, run over 1 1/16 miles for $20,000 claimers, and five were claimed.
View from the Top went to trainer Al Harris in a six-way shake, while runner-up Lucky Turk went to Summer Mayberry in a two-way shake.
Potri Llama, third, was claimed by Jeff Mullins; trainer Jerry Hollendorfer took fifth-place finisher A Reel Tizzy, while last-place finisher Cease Span went to Bob Hess Jr. Cease Span was vanned off.
The only filly not claimed was One Two Punch, who finished fourth.