07/12/2012 12:36PM

Hollywood Park: Switch tries to regain form in A Gleam

Barbara D. Livingston
Switch will try to break an eight-race losing streak when she runs Saturday in the A Gleam Handicap.

Switch has been one of the best older females on the Southern California circuit for the better part of three seasons, but she has reached a critical juncture in her career, so there will be plenty riding on her, not just a good chunk of the bettors’ money, when she competes on Saturday in the Grade 2, $200,000 A Gleam Handicap at Betfair Hollywood Park.

The A Gleam, at seven furlongs, is a Win and You’re In race for the Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Sprint, also at seven furlongs, at Santa Anita on Nov. 2.

Although Switch has won a pair of Grade 1 races, and has placed multiple times in Grade 1 races, she has not won a race for more than 17 months, and her two starts this year have been below par. In the A Gleam, she will be making her third start following a lengthy layoff, over a track at which she has finished first or second in 5 of 6 starts, and at a distance – seven furlongs – that has been her favorite. She will either step up and again position herself among the elite, or the question will be asked if she is well on the downside of her career.

Switch was a distant fifth in the Humana Distaff at Churchill Downs in her first start this year, then was fourth of six last time out in the Desert Stormer at Hollywood Park on June 17. Her reputation precedes her. Despite her recent setbacks, Switch carries top weight of 122 pounds.

“At least she’s dropping weight from her last race,” her trainer, John Sadler, said Thursday morning. “She’s still giving weight away to everyone. She didn’t run that great last time, but she’s trained forwardly. And I like that there’s a lot of speed in the race.”

Indeed, the A Gleam should have a fast pace, what with the presence of the fleet Izzy Rules, who has led at the quarter and half in nine of her last 10 starts, and Mildly Offensive, who likely will need to use her quickness to flee the rail. Those two both finished in front of Switch in the Desert Stormer.

Teddy’s Promise, fifth in the Desert Stormer, can bounce back if she can get to the outside of the speed. When caught inside and behind horses last time, she never fired.

“The same thing happened in the Santa Monica,” said her trainer, Ron Ellis, referring to a fifth-place finish in that Grade 1 race at Santa Anita. “She gets inside and behind the speed and she won’t run. She has to be in the clear. She doesn’t like dirt. If she’s not on the lead, she needs to be in the clear.”

Sugarinthemorning is an intriguing turn-back play for trainer Ron McAnally, who turned 80 on Wednesday. Sugarinthemorning was second in the La Brea and Santa Monica this past winter at Santa Anita. After a poor try on Polytrack in the Vinery Madison at Keeneland, she went two turns on turf last time out. She’s back at a better trip Saturday, and is favorably drawn on the outside in the field of eight.

Izzy Rules is absolutely the one to catch, but seven furlongs might be outside her comfort zone.

Both American Lady and Glamorista are stepping up for trainer Bob Baffert following victories over softer earlier this meet.

Moonstruck Maya, claimed for $25,000 earlier this meet, is also stepping up while seeking her third straight win.