09/29/2009 11:00PM

Icon Project changes path to try synthetic


ARCADIA, Calif. - When the Breeders' Cup was expanded to 14 races last year and spread over two days, all the races exclusively for females were run on Friday. The Ladies' Classic was the premier race of that day, and it lived up to its billing, with Zenyatta remaining undefeated with a victory over Cocoa Beach and Music Note.

Same time, next year. Zenyatta is still unbeaten. Cocoa Beach and Music Note are still among the nation's leading female runners. Those three are among the top contenders for this year's Ladies' Classic, to be run Nov. 6 at Santa Anita's Oak Tree meeting. But there are some prominent new shooters on the horizon, including Careless Jewel and Icon Project.

In the case of Icon Project, the fact that the Breeders' Cup will be run on a synthetic surface this year directly impacted her preparation for the Ladies' Classic. She had been expected to run Saturday in the Grade 1, $600,000 Beldame Stakes at Belmont Park, but owner Andrew Rosen and trainer Marty Wolfson discussed the situation Tuesday night and decided to re-route to the Grade 1, $500,000 Spinster Stakes on Oct. 11 at Keeneland, which has Polytrack. Santa Anita has Pro-Ride.

Rosen has ties to the inaugural Breeders' Cup. His family owned Chief's Crown, winner of the very first BC race, the 1984 Juvenile, at Hollywood Park. His late father, Carl, owned Chris Evert, best known on the West Coast for tattooing Miss Musket in a match race at Hollywood Park in 1974.

"No question, I was sort of spoiled," Rosen said on a teleconference earlier this week. "Dad had Chris Evert, and after dad passed away, the first horse I had was Chief's Crown."

Careless Jewel, the runaway winner of the Alabama Stakes, will have her final prep for the Ladies' Classic on Saturday, when she heads a field of six in the Grade 2, $750,000 Fitz Dixon Cotillion Stakes at Philadelphia Park.

With Icon Project out of the Beldame, Music Note heads that field.

Music Note is owned by Godolphin Racing, which also campaigns Cocoa Beach. Hoping to keep those two apart, Cocoa Beach will be sent to California for the Grade 1, $300,000 Lady's Secret Stakes on Oct. 10 at Santa Anita. It was a case of pick your poison, because that is where Zenyatta will have her final prep for the Breeders' Cup.

Zenyatta has raced just three times this year. Since returning to Hollywood Park from Del Mar, "she has done very well," according to trainer John Shirreffs.

Shirreffs and Zenyatta's owners, Jerry and Ann Moss, have yet to decide whether Zenyatta will defend her title in the Ladies' Classic or await the Classic, against males, on Nov. 7. But Shirreffs is not looking past the Lady's Secret just yet, not with Cocoa Beach, Life Is Sweet, and the horse who has come the closest to beating Zenyatta, Anabaa's Creation, all pointing to it.

"The Lady's Secret, itself, is shaping up as a good race," he said.

Life Is Sweet, whom Shirreffs trains for Marty Wygod, will run in the Lady's Secret or the Yellow Ribbon on turf on Oct. 10.

- additional reporting by David Grening