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Illness puts Witty out of Hollywood Oaks
INGLEWOOD, Calif. - The unbeaten filly Witty will miss the Grade 2 Hollywood Oaks, a 1 1/16-mile race for 3-year-old fillies on Sunday in which she would have been among the favorites.
Witty stretched her record to 3 for 3 winning the Grade 3, seven-furlong Railbird on May 10, but she got sick last week and missed five days of training.
"She's back at the track now, but she's just starting back," trainer Richard Mandella said Tuesday.
Plans are undetermined for her next start. Witty is a half-sister to Well Armed.
Even without Witty, the Oaks is coming up strong. The field will include Railbird runner-up Carlsbad, Santa Anita Oaks runner-up Third Dawn, Grade 2 winner Evita Argentina, Melair Stakes winner Pretty Unusual, stakes winner Kays, and Jays, Will O Way and Lady Lumberjack.
Carlsbad worked five furlongs Tuesday under Tyler Baze. Her 59.20 clocking was the fastest of the morning.
"She's a dream, she just floats," Baze said.
After winning her first five starts, Carlsbad suffered her first loss in the Railbird.
"There were some circumstances that hindered her performance," trainer Jeff Mullins said Tuesday. "She had a foot issue, and she missed a work. She's doing good; she worked good this morning. She hasn't really missed a beat."
Mullins back from break
Mullins is back in the track program. Unbridled Story in race 5 Thursday is his first starter since May 2. Mullins was suspended one week in May for an Aqueduct security-barn violation; assistant Ral Ayers ran the stable while Mullins was away.
Mullins could have returned sooner.
"The horses were in Ral's name, so I took a couple extra days," Mullins said. "I've been back for about a week."
The Grey connection
Time to pay closer attention to the Grade 3 Grey Breeders' Cup, a 2-year-old route race run every fall at Woodbine. Two recent Grey winners run Saturday, and while 2008 winner Mine That Bird enters the Belmont Stakes as the country's top 3-year-old male, 2007 Grey winner Globetrotter will slip unnoticed into the Grade 1 Charles Whittingham Memorial Handicap at Hollywood.
Globetrotter, a 4-year-old by Street Cry, was off from fall 2007 until spring 2009 after chipping a knee, and has made two starts in California for trainer John Sadler. He finished second in his comeback, and then won a fast second-level allowance by a length, getting nine furlongs on grass in 1:46.04.
"He was cut out to be a pretty good horse, he has a real nice [speed-figure] pattern, and I think he'll run all day," Sadler said.
Globetrotter will be the least-experienced horse in the Whittingham field; he has won 3 of 5. He also gets a weight break in the Whittingham. Globetrotter was assigned 113 pounds for the 1 1/4-mile turf race in which Madeo (119), Artiste Royal (118) and Midships (118) are the principals. Union Avenue and Liquidity also are expected.
The strength of Globetrotter's allowance win will be determined Thursday when the horse he defeated runs in race 7. Lease on Life, a full brother to Mizzen Mast, runs 1 1/16 miles on turf in a second-level allowance. To win the race, Lease on Life will have to catch front-runner Colgan's Chip.
Lease on Life is trained by Bobby Frankel, whose California stable has gone cold. Frankel has not won a race in Southern California since April 19 and currently is 0 for 18 at Hollywood.
Golden Doc A running out of chances
Three starts into her comeback campaign, Grade 1 winner Golden Doc A has been unable to regain her 3-year-old form of last year. After she put in another subpar fourth-place effort Sunday in a turf allowance, trainer Barry Abrams was asked if Golden Doc A is nearing the end of a 21-race career. She has won three races, including the Las Virgenes at Santa Anita, and earned $514,820.
"I don't know what I'm going to do," Abrams said. "We know she likes Del Mar. If not, then it's over for her."
Abrams speculates that the "competition got better" this year, while Golden Doc A is merely running the same speed figures she was running as a 3-year-old.
The Abrams-trained Mama Rosa, a full sister to Golden Doc A, will be among the favorites Thursday in race 1 for California-bred maiden fillies. However, Abrams is predicting victory for his other starter, the five-start maiden Bell Canyon Road.
"If she gets to the front, she'll be tough," Abrams said. "She wants to be in front, that's the bottom line."
Pedroza sets return date
Martin Pedroza returns to the saddle June 11 after the longest injury-caused setback of his career.
"In my 26 years of riding, I've been off a month, maybe a month and a half," he said. "This has been five months."
Pedroza broke his pelvis Jan. 11 in a post-parade accident at Santa Anita. He has not ridden since.
Pedroza, 43, has been working horses six days a week since early May. Between workers Tuesday morning at Hollywood, Pedroza said he is physically fit, despite the longer-than-expected layoff.
"That's why I'm doing extra work, going to the gym, and doing a lot more," he said.
Rail Trip readies for Californian
Rail Trip, who lost for the first time in six starts May 9 in the Grade 2 Mervyn LeRoy Handicap, remains on target for the Grade 2 Californian on June 13. Rail Trip was credited with a six-furlong workout Monday in 1:13.20.
"He actually went a little farther than that," trainer Ron Ellis said. "He went seven-eighths, but he started off pretty slow."
Rail Trip is owned by Jay Em Ess Stable, whose 3-year-old Canonize is scheduled for a nuclear scan this week after a third-place finish as the odds-on favorite May 24 in the Grade 3, seven-furlong Lazaro Barrera. After two sparkling wins to start his career, the 3 1/4-length loss by Canonize was a disappointment.
"It was, because he didn't switch leads," Ellis said.
Ellis said Canonize would undergo the nuclear scan "just to make sure" there are no underlying issues. Canonize previously switched leads on cue.
"He's always been mechanically correct; there had to be a reason he didn't switch leads," Ellis said.
Tiago on comeback trail
Tiago will not make the Californian after a spring setback due to colic, but a sharp five-furlong workout Sunday morning at Hollywood suggests he may be ready sooner than trainer John Shirreffs expected.
"It won't take him long to get ready, because he puts so much into his training," Shirreffs said.
Tiago worked five furlongs in 59.80 under Mike Smith.
"He wanted to do more," Smith said.
Third in the Breeders' Cup Classic, Tiago has made one start this year, a third-place finish in the Grade 2 San Antonio Handicap in February at Santa Anita. Tiago has won five races and more than $2.3 million. His workout Sunday was his second work back.
* Supreme Summit, who blew the turn and finished last in the Grade 3 Withers on April 25 at Aqueduct, has been turned out for a 30-day freshening.
"He'll be back for Del Mar," trainer Doug O'Neill said.