06/19/2012 2:41PM

Hollywood Park: Amazombie will bypass Triple Bend, point to Bing Crosby

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Shigeki Kikkawa
Trainer Bill Spawr plans to run Amazombie only twice before the Breeders' Cup Sprint.

INGLEWOOD, Calif. – Amazombie, the champion sprinter of 2011, will make his next start in the $300,000 Bing Crosby Stakes at Del Mar on July 29 and will miss the $250,000 Triple Bend Handicap at Betfair Hollywood Park on June 30, trainer Bill Spawr said Tuesday.

Spawr said he would prefer not to start Amazombie against the multiple stakes winner The Factor, who has proven to be dangerous when allowed to set the pace. The Factor is a candidate for the Grade 1 Triple Bend, which is run over seven furlongs.

“No one will go with him,” Spawr said of The Factor.

The Factor and Amazombie met earlier this year at Santa Anita, finishing 1-2 in the Grade 2 San Carlos Stakes over seven furlongs in February. The Factor later finished sixth in the Golden Shaheen in Dubai on March 31.

Amazombie made his 2012 debut in the San Carlos and has since won the Grade 2 Potrero Grande Stakes at Santa Anita and finished second in the Grade 2 Churchill Downs Stakes last month.

Spawr co-owns Amazombie with Tom Sanford. He said the 6-year-old gelding is best when allowed to settle and challenge the pacesetters in the last half of a race.

“We have a style,” he said.

A winner of 11 of 26 starts and $1,725,378, Amazombie is expected to have only one start at Del Mar, in the Grade 1 Bing Crosby over six furlongs. Last fall, Amazombie won the 2011 Breeders’ Cup Sprint at Churchill Downs.

Spawr said Tuesday that Amazombie will have two starts before a defense of that race at Santa Anita on Nov. 3 – the Bing Crosby and a prep race at Santa Anita in the fall.

Even without Amazombie, the Triple Bend is expected to draw a solid field. The Factor will be favored against the multiple stakes winners Comma to the Top and Rail Trip.

Potesta steps up for Hollywood Oaks

Trainer Mike Mitchell has had a quiet year by his standards, with only one stakes winner.

Racing fans are forgiven if they cannot immediately recall that Dhaamer won the minor Round Table Stakes for Mitchell on May 13.

Saturday, Mitchell hopes to make a more lasting impression with the lightly raced Potesta in the $150,000 Hollywood Oaks.

Owned by Anthony Fanticola and Joseph Scardino, Potesta was second in her debut March 22 in a sprint at Santa Anita and won her second start in a maiden race over 1 1/16 miles here by 11 1/2 lengths.

In the Grade 2 Hollywood Oaks over 1 1/16 miles, Potesta, who is by Macho Uno, is expected to face the stakes winners Eden’s Moon, Killer Graces, Starlight Magic, and Willa B Awesome.

Fine, Mitchell says. Bring them on.

“I’m ready,” he said. “They’re not scaring me off.”

Even though the Hollywood Oaks is a major jump in class, Potesta will play a key role in the race. She may set the pace, though Mitchell insists her front-running style in the maiden race win was by default.

“She wants to run long,” he said. “She won for fun.

“She doesn’t have to take the lead. No one wanted it in her last race. I’m excited about running her here.”

Fathers get plenty to celebrate

Sunday was a Father’s Day to remember for two racing families.

Before the races started, Skylar Knapp, the 13-year-old daughter of trainer Steve Knapp, sang the national anthem. About an hour later, Steve Knapp saddled Magic Mama to an upset win at 35-1 in the second race.

“It was a very good day,” Knapp said upon leaving the winner’s circle.

Later in the afternoon, father and son trainers Art and Steve Sherman won races. Steve Sherman won the third race with 3-1 Planet Sunshine, and Art Sherman won the last race with 7-5 Tummel.