05/20/2011 2:14PM

Hollywood Park: Jax El will gun it, hope for best in Fran's Valentine

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Shigeki Kikkawa
Jax El will be the horse to catch in Sunday’s Fran’s Valentine at Hollywood.

INGLEWOOD, Calif. – Before he starts Jax El in the $70,000 Fran’s Valentine Stakes on Sunday at Hollywood Park, trainer Barry Abrams will give jockey Alonso Quinonez the same instructions he gave two weeks earlier.

“Don’t try to rate her,” Abrams said. “I don’t care how fast she goes. If she goes 1:07 and finishes last, it will be my fault.”

Instead, Abrams and Quinonez can take credit for the bold strategy. Jax El, racing above her eligibility in a two-other-than turf allowance at one mile, opened an eight-length lead setting suicidal fractions – a 45.33-second half, six furlongs in 1:09.33.

Jax El died home with a final quarter-mile in 25.22, but it did not matter. She won by three-quarters of a length.

Sunday at Hollywood, Jax El is not the horse to beat, but she is the horse to catch. Seven California-bred fillies and mares run a mile on turf in the Fran’s Valentine; the favorites are 2010 Fran’s Valentine winner U R All That I Am and Lady Railrider.

Abrams recognizes the challenge facing Jax El.

“It’s a tougher race, and a [slow] last quarter won’t get it done,” he said. “She hasn’t learned how to relax yet, but she will. And when she does, she’ll be just like her grandmother – go to the lead and keep going.”

Jax El is by Unusual Heat; her second dam is multiple stakes winner Akinemod, who carried her speed to an 18-length victory in the 1990 El Encino Stakes at Santa Anita. Jax El has won 3 of 13 and is a full sister to graded stakes winner Pretty Unusual.

The chief rival for Jax El on Sunday is Jerry Hollendorfer-trained U R All That I Am. Since winning the first start of her career two years ago at Golden Gate in a $12,500 maiden-claimer, she has compiled a 10-for-24 record, while earning $404,529.

Rafael Bejarano will ride U R All That I Am, who would become the first repeat winner of the Fran’s Valentine. In her most recent start, she won a minor stakes at Golden Gate.

Lady Railrider has won nine races and $540,800 from 26 starts. A 6-year-old trained by Steve Specht, Lady Railrider finished second last time out behind Ultra Blend, who was scheduled to run Saturday in the Grade 2 Milady Handicap. Russell Baze is named.

A potential longshot is Logical Single, first or second in 10 of 12 starts for trainer Dean Pedersen.

“I think we can fall into a good trip, and maybe she’s good enough,” he said.

Logical Single will be ridden by Chantal Sutherland, who entered the weekend tied with Bejarano and Joel Rosario for turf wins (6) at the meet.

Logical Single, sired by Singletary, is a half-sister to Grade 3 Bay Meadows Handicap winner Now Victory. Logical Single has earned $155,122 and is the only horse sired by Singletary to earn more than $100,000.

Other starters in the Fran’s Valentine, race 7, include Camille C, Ruffled Feathers, and Warren’s Jitterbug.