07/05/2013 3:04PM

Hollywood Park: Wednesday takes two-turn test in Le Cle

Benoit & Associates
Wednesday is prepping with an eye toward major races this summer at Del Mar.

INGLEWOOD, Calif. – A minor stakes on Sunday at Betfair Hollywood Park has major implications for 3-year-old fillies whose summer campaigns will be determined after racing one mile on turf in the $70,000 Le Cle Stakes.

The sharp sprint form of Wednesday stamps her as a favorite, even if her two-turn form is a mystery. She lost two maiden routes, but trainer Carla Gaines still believes she can stay two turns and hopes Wednesday can be a candidate this summer for the Grade 2 San Clemente or Grade 1 Del Mar Oaks.

“The program at Del Mar is basically long on grass for 3-year-old fillies,” Gaines said. “She stays so well in the morning, and gallops out so strong, you keep thinking a mile or more. She has such a long stride. The two times she ran [long] she wasn’t perfect. This time, she is.”

Wednesday has won 2 of her last 3, all sprints, and drew the rail Sunday under Rafael Bejarano. She might be one to catch. And though her recent improvement coincides with a cutback in distance, Gaines believes the Medaglia d’Oro filly has gotten good for another reason.

“I think it is maturity; some of these Medaglia d’Oros take a while,” Gaines said.

Swift Thoroughbreds owns Wednesday, who has won 2 of 7.

Wednesday’s chances may depend on the strategy employed by other Le Cle starters with speed. Judy In Disguise has sprint speed, but she rallied from off the pace last time. Lady Rosamond stretches out and could influence the pace; Travesura also has speed.

If the front end gets crowded, the race could unfold for closers Redressthebalance or Need You Now, who is making her third U.S. start and first in two months. Trainer Mike Mitchell believes it will be her best since arriving from Europe.

“When I first got her, I thought she could use a little weight,” he said. “She’s done well, and her training has been great. I expect a big race out of her.”

The first two U.S. starts by Need You Now were merely a starting point. Since she finished fourth in the Grade 3 Senorita, Mitchell has seen her improve, and the blinkers she wore for her first U.S. starts will come off Sunday based on a recommendation from jockey Julien Leparoux.

“Julien has worked her, and he likes her without blinkers,” Mitchell said. “Watching her work without blinkers, I like her better, too. You want her relaxed. You don’t want her running off. With blinkers, she might be a little keyed up and a little jacked up.”

Mitchell hopes a good effort Sunday catapults 2-for-6 Need You Now into the summer turf series at Del Mar.

“I think she’ll have a good race here, and go into Del Mar. . . . We’re all excited.”

The Le Cle will be run early, as race 3. A good effort by Wednesday would flatter the form of race-7 contender Biorhythm. Tom Proctor trains Biorhythm, who was foiled by a fast pace last out in an allowance won by Wednesday.

When she switches to grass on Sunday in a first-level allowance, Biorhythm and jockey Gary Stevens could be the speed of the field.