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Hollywood Park: Sharp sprinter Minds Eyes tries a route
INGLEWOOD, Calif. – Minds Eyes has won her last two starts in sprints on the synthetic main track at Del Mar and the hillside turf course at Santa Anita. She will be asked to try something new Friday, starting in a second-level optional $62,500 claimer over a mile on turf at Betfair Hollywood Park.
This is the time to try a longer distance, according to trainer John Shirreffs.
“We think the added distance will suit her,” he said. “She’s running late. It’s something a trainer would like to try.”
A winner of 2 of 3 starts for Desert Sun Stables and Michael Talla, Minds Eyes scored a 46-1 upset in a maiden race over 6 1/2 furlongs at Del Mar in August. In her turf debut at Santa Anita on Oct. 14, she closed from eighth in a field of 10 to win a sprint on the hillside turf course by a half-length.
Yet, Shirreffs was most impressed with her fifth-place finish in a six-furlong maiden race at Hollywood Park in July when she closed from seventh in her career debut.
“She had every reason to quit and she didn’t,” he said.
The surface for Friday’s race could change. Rain was expected in Southern California on Wednesday night, and there is a possibility that Friday’s race, which drew eight fillies and mares, could be moved to the main track. A surface switch is not a concern for Shirreffs.
“I think it would be okay,” he said. “Hollywood Park doesn’t have the type of [sand] kickback as Santa Anita, so I might try that.”
Friday’s field includes Cayanna, who was second in the Cat’s Cradle Handicap on Nov. 18; and Kune Kune, who won an allowance race in her U.S. debut at Santa Anita on Nov. 4.
A surface switch would lead to the scratch of In the Stars, who was third in the Group 1 Brazilian Oaks in 2011. Now trained by Richard Mandella, In the Stars has 1 win in 3 starts in this country, an allowance race on turf at Santa Anita on Oct. 5. She was a well-beaten fourth in the Palm Springs Handicap on the main track there Nov. 1.
“If it rains, I probably won’t run if it comes off the turf,” Mandella said. “I tried her on the main track, and she was pretty disappointing.
I thought she’d love it, but she didn’t. I’m not game enough to try again.”
Lady of Fifty, who won the Palm Springs Handicap, came back to win the Bayakoa Stakes at Hollywood Park last weekend.
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