05/03/2011 2:00PM

Hollywood Park: Crown of Thorns fitter for Mervyn LeRoy

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Hall of Fame trainer Richard Mandella is accepting blame for the seventh-place finish by Crown of Thorns in the Grade 2 Potrero Grande Stakes on April 3.

“He wasn’t as ready for it as I thought he was,” Mandella said.

The Potrero Grande was Crown of Thorns’s first start since a second in the Grade 1 Goodwood Stakes here last October. Saturday, he is back at Hollywood Park in another two-turn stakes, the $150,000 Mervyn LeRoy Handicap over 1 1/16 miles.

Mandella has more confidence in Crown of Thorns as he approaches his second 2011 start, describing the 6-year-old’s condition as “great.” Crown of Thorns has lost his last six starts, a span that stretches nearly two years and includes a runner-up finish by a nose in the 2009 Breeders’ Cup Sprint at Santa Anita. He missed the 2010 BC Dirt Mile at Churchill Downs because of a knee injury detected in the days before the race.

Crown of Thorns’s last win came in the Grade 2 Robert Lewis Stakes at Santa Anita in February 2008.

Owned by B. Wayne Hughes, Crown of Thorns will be part of a small field in the Mervyn LeRoy. The race is led by the multiple stakes winner Sidney’s Candy, who will be challenged by Honour the Deputy, Spurrier, and possibly Informed.

Recurring injuries force Daytona to retire

Daytona, a six-time stakes winner in 2007-08, has been retired because of recurring injuries, trainer Dan Hendricks said on Sunday.

Daytona ended his career with 8 wins in 18 starts and earnings of $996,190. He was in training earlier this year when an injury surfaced.

“He had an issue come up and enough is enough,” Hendricks said.

Daytona’s career was highlighted by wins in the Grade 1 Hollywood Derby in 2007 and Grade 1 Shoemaker Mile in 2008. Owned by a partnership, Daytona will be sent to a Thoroughbred retirement farm, Hendricks said.

Purse forfeited after O’Neill horse tests positive

The purse of a turf sprint for $35,000 to $40,000 claimers at Santa Anita in February was ordered redistributed by Hollywood Park stewards last weekend after race winner Separate Forest tested positive for etodolac, an anti-inflammatory medication not permitted for use in racehorses.

Trained by Doug O’Neill, Separate Forest was the 8-5 favorite in the fifth race on Feb. 5, which carried a purse of $40,400.

Separate Forest, who won the Grade 3 Las Cienegas Handicap at Santa Anita on April 9, finished sixth in Sunday’s Time To Leave Stakes.

The winning owner’s share of $22,800 from the Feb. 5 race was redistributed to the original second through sixth-place finishers – Caged Mistress, Fairway Road, Candy’s Pleasure, Lisa Lulu and Dislitleliteomine. O’Neill and jockey Patrick Valenzuela were also ordered to forfeit their share of the purse.

O’Neill could face further sanctions from the California Horse Racing Board for the infraction.

Last weekend, trainer Marcelo Polanco was fined $1,000 after Misinjennuous tested in excess of the permitted level of Butazolidin on March 31, the day the 4-year-old filly was given a workout in an attempt to be removed from the veterinarian’s list.

Misinjennuous has not raced since Feb. 27.

Starter will appeal $1,000 fine

Starter Gary Brinson said on Sunday that he intends to appeal a $1,000 fine given to him by Hollywood Park stewards on Saturday after an incident on April 23 when Brinson started a race while one of the 13 runners was still being loaded.

The incident occurred in the last race of the day when Chokecherymary, who was drawn on the outside, was being guided into her stall when the gate opened. An assistant starter was standing in front of the filly on the ground in the stall the moment the gate opened.

Brinson took responsibility for the incident the following day. He said it as the first time in 27 years as a starter that such a mishap occurred.