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Updated on 11/26/2012 5:41PM
Hollywood notes: Nonios faces tough task in Native Diver
INGLEWOOD, Calif. - Nonios has been across the country and back since he last won a stakes, in the Grade 3 Affirmed Handicap at Betfair Hollywood Park in June.
Along the way, he has run in some of the nation’s best races, with mixed results. Second in the Grade 1 Haskell Invitational at Monmouth Park in late July, Nonios was fifth in the Travers Stakes at Saratoga a month later and sixth in the Breeders’ Cup Classic at Santa Anita on Nov. 3.
When he starts in Saturday’s $250,000 Native Diver Stakes at Hollywood Park, the competition will not be much easier.
Trained by Jerry Hollendorfer, Nonios is part of an expected small field likely to include Game On Dude and Richard’s Kid, who were first and second in the Hollywood Gold Cup in July, but seventh and fifth in the BC Classic. Other possible starters are Fly Lexis Fly, Kettle Corn, and Tres Borrachos.
At least there are no out-of-town runners, such as Fort Larned or Mucho Macho Man, who finished first and second in the BC Classic.
“He split a tough field,” Dan Ward, Hollendorfer’s assistant, said of the Breeders’ Cup. “The horses from back East came out here and kicked our (tails).”
Richard’s Kid, who was beaten eight lengths, had the best finish of a California-based horse. Nonios was beaten 10 3/4 lengths after racing as close as fourth on the turn. He was eighth going into the first turn, farther back than expected after a half-mile workout in 46.40 seconds in the days before the race.
“The horse worked a half-mile in 46, and I was surprised to see him eighth into the first turn,” Ward said.
Nonios is trained at Hollywood Park, and Ward considers that to be an asset to the colt’s chances. In July, in his first start after the Affirmed, Nonios finished second in the Grade 2 Swaps Stakes to Bluesskiesnrainbows here over 1 1/8 miles, the same distance as the Native Diver.
Kindle eying Santa Monica
Kindle, the winner of the Cool Air Stakes for female turf sprinters on Friday, may not start again until the $300,000 Santa Monica Stakes at Santa Anita on Jan. 26, trainer Gary Mandella said.
Mandella said he would consider running her in the $100,000 Monrovia Stakes on the hillside turf course at Santa Anita on Jan. 6, but is not eager to start Kindle against BC Turf Sprint winner Mizdirection for such a small purse.
“A $100,000 race is not a lot of money to run against a buzzsaw like that,” Mandella said.
A 4-year-old filly by Indian Charlie, Kindle has won 4 of 8 starts and $143,370 for HnR Nothhaft Horse Racing.
Travesura sticking to turf
Travesura will stay on turf after winning her stakes debut on the surface in Saturday’s $100,000 Miesque Stakes for 2-year-old fillies.
After finishing third and fifth in sprints on the main track in June and July, Travesura is unbeaten on turf, starting with a maiden race win at Santa Anita on Oct. 7.
“I don’t see any reason to change anything,” trainer Jeff Mullins said.
Travesura will be pointed for the Blue Norther Stakes over a mile on turf, which is typically run in late December or early January.
Owned by Val-U-Chem, Inc., Travesura has won 2 of 4 starts.
A previous version of this story misstated the timing of the Haskell. It was run in late July, not August.
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