05/23/2013 3:03PM

Hollywood Park: Stevens intends to focus on California this summer

Barbara D. Livingston
Gary Stevens says he will ride primarily in Southern California this summer.

INGLEWOOD, Calif. – Gary Stevens, the Hall of Famer who won the Preakness Stakes for the third time in his career on May 11, will ride primarily in California this summer, beginning this weekend at Betfair Hollywood Park.

With the exception of traveling for major stakes, such as Oxbow’s scheduled appearance in the Belmont Stakes on June 8, and an occasional trip to Saratoga later this summer, Stevens plans to spend the summer riding at Hollywood Park and Del Mar.

“I’m going to be there permanently,” Stevens said of California.

Agent Craig O’Bryan will book mounts on behalf of Stevens, continuing an arrangement in place in Southern California before Stevens left for Kentucky in April. Stevens, 50, said he plans to take the same approach to gaining mounts as he did at Santa Anita earlier this year, emphasizing top-class races while riding some claiming races.

“Craig and I had a long talk and he’s in charge,” Stevens said.

Stevens resumed riding after a seven-year absence in January. Earlier this year at Santa Anita, Stevens won 14 of 94 races. His mounts earned $1,110,164.

This weekend at Hollywood Park, Stevens is booked to ride stakes for trainer Tom Proctor aboard Purim’s Dancer in Sunday’s $70,000 Great Lady M Stakes for female turf sprinters and the Grade 1 winner Marketing Mix in Monday’s $250,000 Gamely Stakes for fillies and mares over 1 1/8 miles on turf.

Marketing Mix, who was second in the Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Turf at Santa Anita last fall, is part of a strong field in the Grade 1 Gamely Stakes.

Other contenders include Tiz Flirtatious, who won the Grade 2 Santa Ana Stakes at Santa Anita in March; Lady of Shamrock, the promoted winner of the Grade 2 Santa Barbara Handicap at Santa Anita in April; and My Gi Gi, who won the Grade 2 Honeymoon Handicap here last June.

Cogito looks to regroup

Cogito, who finished seventh in the Breeders’ Cup Turf at Santa Anita last November, makes his first start of 2013 in a second-level optional $62,500 claimer over a mile on turf Saturday, a race that trainer Doug O’Neill hopes will lead to a productive campaign in the second half of the year.

A winner of 2 of 6 starts and $90,949, Cogito is part of a field of nine in the optional claimer, which O’Neill says is shorter than the 4-year-old colt’s preferred distance. Cogito will be ridden by Mario Gutierrez.

“It’s not an ideal scenario, but we’re trying to get back to the races,” O’Neill said. “We want to see him build on this and get stronger and better. We want to have a future in the Breeders’ Cup.”

Owned by Paul and Zillah Reddam, Cogito was beaten 4 3/4 lengths by Little Mike in the BC Turf, his second start in the United States. Cogito was at the back of the field for the first mile, and closed through the final furlong to be closest to the leaders at the finish.

Previously trained by England-based Brian Meehan, Cogito was fourth in the Grade 1 Jamaica Handicap at Belmont Park last October.

In Europe in 2012, Cogito was a minor stakes winner at Sandown Park and was second in the Group 2 Prix Eugene Adam at Maisons-Laffitte in France last July.

A successful race on Saturday could lead to starts in the $100,000 Sunset Handicap over 1 1/2 miles on turf on July 14, and the $200,000 Del Mar Handicap over 1 3/8 miles on turf on Aug. 24.