04/15/2011 1:31PM

Hollywood Gold Rush too tempting to pass up


The conditions of the $125,000 Melair Stakes for statebred 3-year-old fillies at Hollywood Park next Saturday are too tempting to pass for the owners and trainer of the recent maiden race winner Shezabigbroad.

Trained by Mike Puype, Shezabigbroad won her debut in a six-furlong maiden race at Santa Anita on March 11. Puype did not hesitate to declare Shezabigbroad as a candidate for the Melair, which is run over 1 1/16 miles.

“It’s not my style to go from one sprint to two turns,” he said on Thursday. “It’s an irreplaceable amount of money not to try it.”

The Melair Stakes is one of eight races for California-breds on Saturday’s California Gold Rush program at Hollywood Park, and one of four races worth $125,000 or more. The program is led by the $150,000 Snow Chief Stakes for 3-year-olds over 1 1/8 miles, and two other races over 7 1/2 furlongs, each worth $125,000 – the B. Thoughtful Stakes for fillies and mares and the Tiznow Stakes for older horses. There are two $60,000 races for maidens over 6 1/2 furlongs and two $70,000 allowance races for first-condition horses over seven furlongs.

Shezabigbroad was bred by Richard Kritzki and is owned by him, Magali Ventures and AJL Productions. The filly is by Mr. Broad Blade, who stands at Magali Farms in Santa Ynez, Calif.

In her debut, Shezabigbroad closed from last in a field of nine to win by 1 1/4 lengths.

“She overcame a lot to win that race,” Puype said.

The prospective Melair field lacks depth, which made Puype’s decision to target the race even easier.

“I thought it was a weak group of nominations,” he said.

Some of the leading nominees are Bathing Beauty, third in the fillies division of the California Breeders’ Champion Stakes in December; Irenes Jackpot, who won the Scottsdale Handicap at Turf Paradise last month; and Warren’s Flyer, the winner of a first-condition allowance race for statebred 3-year-old fillies on Feb. 18.

Thirtyfirststreet, the winner of the open division of the California Breeders’ Champion Stakes in December but winless in two graded stakes on the Triple Crown trail, will be favored in the Snow Chief Stakes. Owned by Mark Gorman and partners and trained by Doug O’Neill, Thirtyfirststreet, by Magali stallion Good Journey, was ninth in the Grade 3 Spiral Stakes at Turfway Park in Kentucky on March 26.

“I think running out of his stall, I think he’ll have a good chance,” O’Neill said.

Bench Points, the champion 2-year-old statebred male of 2010, finished seventh in the Santa Anita Derby on April 9 and will pass the Snow Chief.

Goggles McCoy, who won the Real Good Deal Stakes for statebred 3-year-olds at Del Mar last summer, had been pointed to the Tiznow but will miss the rce because of illness, trainer Steve Sherman said on Thursday.

“We had to give him all of last week off,” Sherman said. The $70,000 Cool Frenchy Stakes at Hollywood Park on May 7 is the new goal for Goggles McCoy.

Amazombie, the winner of the Grade 2 Potrero Grande Stakes at Santa Anita on April 3, will be favored in the Tiznow Stakes. He will be trying to win the longest race of his career. Bestdressed, Dontmesroundwitjim, Earnednevergiven, and Leaving New York are some of the other expected contenders.

Ultra Blend, the winner of five stakes, four in the last year, will be favored in the B. Thoughtful Stakes. Trained by Art Sherman, Ultra Blend, a 5-year-old mare by Richly Blended, won the Valentine Dancer Handicap over a mile on the main track at Hollywood Park on Feb. 26.