11/15/2012 3:48PM

Hollywood: Amazombie will stay clear of Santa Anita for now

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Barbara D. Livingston
Trainer Bill Spawr said that Amazombie’s first objective for 2013 is likely to be the $250,000 Count Fleet Sprint Handicap at Oaklawn Park on April 13.

Amazombie, the champion sprinter of 2011, will have an early 2013 campaign geared to stakes races away from Santa Anita, trainer Bill Spawr said earlier this week.

Amazombie was eighth in the Breeders’ Cup Sprint at Santa Anita on Nov. 3, a race preceded by a fourth-place finish on that track in the Santa Anita Sprint Championship on Oct. 6. Spawr said the addition of more than 1,000 tons of sand to the Santa Anita surface during the summer led to a change in the surface that did not suit Amazombie.

“I guess Santa Anita is out of the question, sad to say,” Spawr said.

The trainer said he had spoken with jockey Mike Smith, “and we agreed that he hates the track.”

Before the summertime renovation, Amazombie had excelled on Santa Anita’s main track, winning such races as the Grade 1 Ancient Title Stakes in 2011, and the Grade 2 Potrero Grande Stakes last April.

Spawr said that Amazombie’s first objective for 2013 is likely to be the $250,000 Count Fleet Sprint Handicap over six furlongs at Oaklawn Park on April 13.

“We’ll look to ship him around to tracks that he likes and go from there,” he said.

Amazombie has run well on synthetic tracks at Betfair Hollywood Park and Del Mar in recent seasons, and could race on those surfaces next year. The Santa Anita issue may resurface in the second half of 2013, since the track is scheduled to host the Breeders’ Cup next November.

Spawr said that Amazombie may get a break away from the racetrack in coming weeks. He described the gelding’s condition as “absolutely 100 percent.”

“People want to know if I’m going to retire him, but no,” Spawr said.

“I might turn him out for 60 days to give him a break.”