05/13/2011 5:11PM

Hollywood Park: Crown of Thorns points to Met Mile at Belmont Park

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Barbara D. Livingston
Crown of Thorns will ship all the way across the country for the Metropolitan Handicap at Belmont Park.

Crown of Thorns, the winner of the Grade 2 Mervyn LeRoy Handicap at Hollywood Park on May 7, will make his next start in the $500,000 Metropolitan Handicap, a Grade 1 race over a mile, at Belmont Park on May 30.

“That’s a serious consideration,” trainer Richard Mandella said on Friday. “I just started him back to the track and he looks fine.”

Owned by B. Wayne Hughes, Crown of Thorns won the second stakes of his career in the Mervyn LeRoy, run over 1 1/16 miles. A winner of 3 of 10 starts and $777,080, Crown of Thorns, 6, has had numerous interruptions to his career caused by injuries. The win in the Mervyn LeRoy was Crown of Thorns’s first in a stakes since the Grade 2 Robert Lewis Stakes at Santa Anita in 2008.

In 2009, Crown of Thorns was second by a nose in the Breeders’ Cup Sprint at Santa Anita. Last fall, he was the morning-line favorite for the Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile at Churchill Downs, but was scratched the day before the race because of a knee injury.

Belmont’s Acorn next target for Turbulent Descent

The four-time stakes winner Turbulent Descent is on course for the $300,000 TVG Acorn Stakes at Belmont Park on June 11 after breezing a half-mile in 49.40 seconds at Hollywood Park on Thursday.

Owned by a partnership and trained by Mike Puype, Turbulent Descent has not raced since winning the Grade 2 Beaumont Stakes over about seven furlongs by five lengths at Keeneland on April 17. Earlier this year, she won Grade 1 Santa Anita Oaks, and suffered the only loss in her six-race career, a second to Zazu in the Grade 1 Las Virgenes Stakes.

After the Beaumont Stakes, Puype said he gave Turbulent Descent a few easy weeks before the filly began more intense training. “She’s definitely fit right now,” Puype said. “I’m not afraid of anyone going one turn.”

The Acorn Stakes is run over a mile around one turn.

Santa Anita christens Autumn Meet

The fall meeting at Santa Anita, which replaces the Oak Tree at Santa Anita meeting on the Southern California calendar this year, will be known as the Santa Anita Autumn Meet, track officials announced on Friday.

Earlier this year, Santa Anita’s parent company, MI Developments, was awarded autumn racing dates by the California Horse Racing Board that had been typically run by Oak Tree.

In exchange, MI Developments reached a financial arrangement with Oak Tree officials earlier this year for the right to host the well-known Breeders’ Cup stakes preps run during past Oak Tree meetings. The deal allows Oak Tree, a not-for-profit organization that had leased Santa Anita from 1969 to 2009, to continue donations to various organizations affiliated with the sport. Oak Tree ran its 2010 meeting at Hollywood Park.

The Santa Anita Autumn Meet will run for six weeks, through Nov. 6. A start date has not been announced, but it likely to be Thursday, Sept. 29 since Los Angeles-area tracks have run four-day weeks for the last year. The full stakes schedule for the meeting has not been announced.