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Hyperbaric is Canani's latest Shoemaker hope
INGLEWOOD, Calif. - In the last decade, trainer Julio Canani has used the Grade 1 Shoemaker Mile as an almost annual springtime payday. He won the 1999 and 2000 runnings with Silic and the 2002 race with Ladies Din. Canani was second in 2003 with Special Ring and again in 2006 with Charmo.
"I've run in it a few times," Canani said, with a laugh.
Silic and Ladies Din were top class turf milers. Canani may have another such horse to unveil for Monday's Shoemaker in Hyperbaric, a lightly raced 5-year-old gelding.
Owned by Prestonwood Farm, Hyperbaric is making his Grade 1 turf debut in the Shoemaker, which has a purse of $250,000-added. Despite not having won at that level, Hyperbaric showed the best form of his six-race career in his last start, finishing second in the Grade 2 Arcadia Handicap at Santa Anita on April 5.
"He's doing super," Canani said. In Canani-speak, that's a big endorsement
Hyperbaric won his first three starts in the second half of 2006 before finishing ninth in the Grade 1 Malibu Stakes for 3-year-old sprinters at Santa Anita in December 2006.
He did not start again for 14 months.
"He came back body sore and things like that, so I sent him to the farm," Canani said.
Canani said Hyperbaric did not require surgery, and returned to the track lacking in conditioning.
"When he came back from the farm, he'd done nothing," he said. "I did everything here."
After finishing second by a nose in an allowance race at Santa Anita in February, Hyperbaric was beaten a neck by Daytona in the one-mile Arcadia Handicap.
"He's fresh after his last two races," Canani said. "In his last race, the horse that won was the only speed."
Daytona figures to be a top contender in the Shoemaker.
The favorite may be Ever a Friend, the winner of the Grade 1 Frank Kilroe Mile at Santa Anita in March. Other expected starters are El Roblar, Get Funky, Rebellion, and Thousand Words.
Monday's companion Grade 1 feature is the $250,000 Gamely Stakes for fillies and mares over 1 1/8 miles on turf. Precious Kitten, the winner of the Grade 1 Matriarch Stakes here in November, and a finalist for the Eclipse Award as the nation's outstanding turf female of 2007, makes her second start of the year.
She was fifth, after a wide trip, in the Grade 2 Jenny Wiley Stakes at Keeneland on April 12.
Other candidates for the Gamely include Costume, Diamond Diva, Green Lyons, Lavender Sky, and Rutherienne.
Cinema next for Polonius
Polonius, the winner of Saturday's Will Rogers Stakes, will return in the $150,000 Cinema Handicap over 1o1/16 miles of turf on June 21, trainer Michael Pender said on Sunday.
Owned by B.J. Wright, Polonius won his second turf stakes in the Grade 3 Will Rogers. In March, Polonius won the Pasadena Stakes at Santa Anita.
"We'll stay on the grass," Pender said.
The front-running Polonius won the Will Rogers by a half-length over Indian Sun, using a style that Pender said is the colt's asset. "When he gets to the lead, he tends to relax a little bit," Pender said.
Pender is considering two races for Polonius at Del Mar - the $150,000 La Jolla Handicap on Aug. 9 and the $400,000 Del Mar Derby on Aug. 31. Polonius is ineligible for the $100,000 Oceanside Stakes on July 16.
The race is restricted to nonwinners of a stakes worth $50,000 to the winner in 2008. Polonius earned $64,080 in the Will Rogers.
Magnificience wins, barely
Magnificience remained unbeaten after three starts with a hard-fought nose victory over stablemate Little Boss Chick in an allowance race on Sunday, a race she was expected to win more easily.
Ridden by David Flores, Magnificience took the lead in the final stride, in her first start since a win in the Grade 3 Santa Paula Stakes at Santa Anita in April 2007. She will be further tested in her next start, which is likely to be the $150,000 A Gleam Handicap over seven furlongs on June 28, trainer Bruce Headley said.
Headley said he was not concerned by Magnificience's narrow win. "It was her first race in more than a year and she was running against some nice fillies," he said. "Her career is just starting."
Owned by a partnership, Magnificience, 4, was diagnosed with an ankle injury after the Santa Paula, but the injury did not require surgery. She has earned $121,590.
The Grade 2 A Gleam is likely to include Ashley's Kitty, the winner of Saturday's $81,300 Desert Stormer. The victory showed that Ashley's Kitty is back to top form after a break of more than four months, but it did not leave trainer Ted H. West dreaming of national glory. At least, not yet.
Ashley's Kitty rallied from six lengths off the pace to win the six-furlong Desert Stormer by a half-length over pacesetter Overly Tempting, who is trained by Headley. West said he needs to see more from Ashley's Kitty before a race such as the Breeders' Cup Filly and Mare Sprint at the Oak Tree at Santa Anita in October is considered.
"We'll see if she proves to be of that quality," West said.
Owned by Oak West Farm, Ashley's Kitty has won 5 of 11 starts and $237,038.
Nakatani changes agents
Jockey Corey Nakatani has parted with agent Craig O'Bryan and hired Ron Ebanks.
O'Bryan said he will book mounts on behalf of Nakatani through Monday. "He wanted to go in a different direction," O'Bryan said.
Ebanks will continue to book mounts for Tyler Baze, who is currently second in the jockey standings with 15 wins, one less than leader Rafael Bejarano.
"Tyler and I spoke about it and he's comfortable with it," Ebanks said.
O'Callaghan resumes training
Carl O'Callaghan, 32, a former exercise rider to Todd Pletcher, has resumed training after a break of nearly five years. O'Callaghan had his first starter in Southern California on Friday when One Hot Gal finished sixth in an allowance race at Hollywood Park.
A native of Ireland, O'Callaghan has six horses in training at Santa Anita. In recent years, he has worked as an exercise rider in Southern California, and continues to do so for some other trainers, among them Lisa Lewis. O'Callaghan previously trained on the mid-Atlantic circuit.
Pick six pays $6,417 to 111 winners
Sunday's pick six, which began with a carryover of $135,297 from Saturday, returned $6,417.20 each to 111 ticketholders. Bettors added $1,039,298 to the pool on Sunday.
The winners of Sunday's pick six races were Sneaky Jack ($5.80), Liberian Freighter ($4), Stettler ($7.40), Simply Run ($15.60), Two Step Salsa ($8), and Cassablanca ($6.80).