04/25/2013 1:34PM

Hollywood Park: Ismene tests distance limitations in B. Thoughtful


INGLEWOOD, Calif. – Ismene’s most recent workout, at Betfair Hollywood Park on April 21, was lost in a fog bank.

All trainer Bill Spawr could do was register a good guess that she worked five furlongs in 58.60 seconds.

“You couldn’t see anything,” he said. “She worked good. I think she worked five-eighths in 58 and three [fifths], but I’m not sure.”

The time is not vital. What Spawr has seen from Ismene in recent weeks leaves him confident that she can win Saturday’s $125,000 B. Thoughtful Stakes for California-bred fillies and mares at Hollywood Park.

Owned by breeder Stephen Ferraro, Ismene will start in the longest race of her career in the B. Thoughtful Stakes, over 7 1/2 furlongs. She is expected to be near the lead in a field of 11, and will race without blinkers for the first time in her career.

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Ismene will need a career-best performance to win. The B. Thoughtful Stakes field includes Teddy’s Promise and Sugarinthemorning, who were first and second in the Grade 2 Santa Monica Stakes at Santa Anita in January, and Warren’s Amber, who won the $200,000 Evening Jewel Stakes at Santa Anita in March 2012.

Ismene has won 3 of 5 starts and $172,190, but is winless in two starts this year. After a disappointing fifth in an optional claimer on a wet-fast track at Santa Anita in January, she was second in the Irish O’Brien Stakes on the hillside turf course there March 17. In the Irish O’Brien, Ismene led to the final furlong and was beaten 1 1/4 lengths by Bench Glory.

“She looked like a winner and she just got caught,” Spawr said. “I’m taking the blinkers off. We’re trying to get her to relax a little more. She’s quick enough and she’s going 7 1/2 [furlongs].”

Ismene, who will be ridden by top rider Rafael Bejarano, has never raced on the synthetic track at Hollywood Park, but that is not a concern for Spawr.

“She goes better over this track,” he said. “She’s like a springboard on it.”

Teddy’s Promise followed her win in the Santa Monica with a second-place finish to Rumor in the Grade 3 Las Flores Stakes over 6 1/2 furlongs on March 10. Trained by Ron Ellis for breeders Ted and Judy Nichols, Teddy’s Promise led by a length in the stretch, but was beaten three-quarters of a length while carrying 123 pounds, five more than Rumor.

“I think she just got outrun,” Ellis said. “I thought we ran our race. We gave [Rumor] five pounds.”

Teddy’s Promise is racing at 7 1/2 furlongs for the first time in her 22-race career on Saturday. Aside from the Santa Monica Stakes earlier this year, Teddy’s Promise won the Grade 1 La Brea Stakes over seven furlongs at Santa Anita in December 2011.

“I’m hoping that with the [California-bred] competition, it will allow her to go another sixteenth,” Ellis said. “I think my filly will stalk.”