04/24/2013 1:53PM

Hollywood Park: Saint Loup still in hunt for U.S. win


The sort of company that Saint Loup has kept in the last year has left trainer Julio Canani hopeful that the colt can win his first race in the United States at Betfair Hollywood Park on Friday.

In February, Saint Loup finished a well-beaten second to Bright Thought in an optional claimer on turf at Santa Anita. Bright Thought returned to win the Grade 2 San Luis Rey Stakes in March.

In France last year, Saint Loup was second by a nose to Saonois in the Group 3 Prix La Force at Longchamp. Saonois later won the French Derby at Chantilly.

Friday, Saint Loup is entered in an optional claimer over 1 1/4 miles on turf, which will be his fourth start since arriving from France last fall. Owned by Tarma Corp. and Michael Whieldon, Saint Loup was second in his last start, losing in an optional claimer over 1 1/2 miles on turf at Santa Anita by a half-length. Saint Loup led on the final turn and well into the stretch, but was caught late.

“He was too close to the pace,” Canani said. “Maybe a mile and a half is too far for him.

“This is a nice horse.”

Saint Loup is part of a field of eight in Friday’s seventh race. With the French-group placing last year, he is the most accomplished runner in the field. Canani also starts Sumerian, a 5-year-old gelding who beat maidens in his fifth career start over 1 1/8 miles on turf at Santa Anita on March 24. Friday’s race will be the longest of Sumerian’s career.

Three other runners have placed in stakes.

Ain, trained by Carla Gaines, was second in the Emerald Derby at Emerald Downs in 2010. Ain won a $25,000 claimer for nonwinners of two over 1 1/8 miles on turf at Santa Anita on Feb. 14 and was third in a starter allowance there March 30.

Vibrato Jazz, trained by John Sadler, was second in the La Puente Stakes at Santa Anita in April 2012, but has been sixth in three consecutive starts this year, including an optional claimer over 1 1/4 miles on turf Feb. 21.

Zackn’mat, trained by Jeff Mullins, was second in the Borderland Derby at Sunland Park in February 2012. Zackn’mat is winless in three starts this year and makes his turf debut Friday.