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Indian Blessing targets quick return
ARCADIA, Calif. - Two-time champion Indian Blessing, second in the $2 million Golden Shaheen for sprinters in Dubai on March 28, will make a quick turnaround for the $300,000 Humana Distaff at Churchill Downs on May 2, trainer Bob Baffert said.
Baffert said Indian Blessing has shown no effects of a trip to the other side of the world or her first start against males. Often, horses that compete in Dubai are given lengthy breaks, returning to racing during the summer.
"She came back like it was nothing," Baffert said. "She looks better than before she left. We've done blood work and it looks good."
On Monday, Indian Blessing worked a half-mile in 47.40 at Santa Anita.
Owned by Hal and Patti Earnhardt, Indian Blessing has won 9 of 13 starts and $2,837,200. The champion 2-year-old filly of 2007 and champion female sprinter of 2008, Indian Blessing has not finished worse than second in her career. She won the Grade 1 La Brea Stakes at Santa Anita last December, her most recent start in this country.
Indian Blessing finished second to Big City Man in the Golden Shaheen, a six-furlong race over a straightaway.
Smith gets acquainted with Chocolate Candy
Kentucky Derby hopeful Chocolate Candy worked five furlongs in 59.20 seconds Sunday at Santa Anita under jockey Mike Smith. The workout was the first time that Smith had partnered with Chocolate Candy, his mount in the Kentucky Derby on May 2.
The time equaled the third fastest of 77 works at the distance. Chocolate Candy worked alone.
"This was a workout much better than what I was looking for," Smith said. "He was smooth as silk. He didn't turn a hair. The way he does everything, he should be able to go a mile and a quarter."
Owned by Jenny Craig and trained by Jerry Hollendorfer, Chocolate Candy has won 4 of 9 starts and $532,500. Earlier this year, Chocolate Candy won the California Derby and Grade 3 El Camino Real Derby at Golden Gate Fields. He was second by a length to Pioneerof the Nile in the Santa Anita Derby on April 4.
Hollendorfer said that Chocolate Candy will be sent to Churchill Downs on Thursday and will have two works there.
"I'll give him one serious work and one blowout," he said. "I won't train real hard on him because he doesn't need it."
Square Eddie, unraced since finishing second to The Pamplemousse in the Grade 3 San Rafael Stakes in January, breezed six furlongs in 1:12.20 at Hollywood Park on Saturday. He was sidelined briefly in February because of a cannon bone injury, but resumed serious training in March.
Trained by Doug O'Neill for Paul Reddam, Square Eddie will start in Saturday's $300,000 Lexington Stakes at Keeneland.
Battle of Hastings to American Turf
Battle of Hastings, who has emerged as the top 3-year-old turf miler in California this spring, is bound for the $150,000 American Turf Stakes at Churchill Downs on May 1.
Trained by Jeff Mullins for Michael House, Battle of Hastings won his second stakes of 2009 in Saturday's La Puente Stakes over a mile on turf. Last month, Battle of Hastings won the Baldwin Stakes on the hillside turf course.
In the La Puente, Battle of Hastings overcame an outside draw in a field of 10 to win by 1 1/4 lengths after a wide trip. Ridden by Tyler Baze, Battle of Hastings was timed in a quick 1:34.38.
"Every time Tyler works him, he says he's getting better and better," Mullins said.
Battle of Hastings has won 4 of his last 5 starts, a streak interrupted by a seventh-place finish in the Grade 3 Generous Stakes at Hollywood Park last November in his U.S. debut. Battle of Hastings won two minor races in England last summer.
"He was a little too relaxed when he got here," Mullins said. "He had to pick up the pace and learn our ways."
Gotta Have Her back in winner's circle
Instictively, trainer Jenine Sahadi looked at Gotta Have Her's legs and feet when the mare returned to the winner's circle after Sunday's $100,000 Las Cienegas Handicap.
Gotta Have Her stumbled at the start, and Sahadi feared that she had lost a shoe during the race on the hillside turf course. Much to Sahadi's relief, Gotta Have Her's shoes were intact and there were no noticeable nicks or cuts.
It was not long ago that the story was different. At the start of the Grade 2 Dahlia Handicap at Hollywood Park last December, Gotta Have Her lost a shoe and still finished second to Vacare.
"I watched the assistant starter reach down, pick up the shoe, and throw it into the Hollywood Park infield," Sahadi recalled.
The Las Cienegas was Gotta Have Her's most prestigious victory in a career that includes 6 wins in 18 starts and earnings of $396,023. She was second in three graded stakes from August to January, losing them by a combined two lengths.
"She was due for this," Sahadi said.
Sahadi said Gotta Have Her can be effective in turf sprints and in shorter races around two turns. The $250,000 Royal Heroine Mile on turf at Hollywood Park on July 11 is a summer goal for Gotta Have Her.
Baze rode Gotta Have Her, giving him a sweep of the two major stakes at Santa Anita over the weekend.
Enriquez moves his tack to New Mexico
Journeyman rider Isaias Enriquez has relocated to New Mexico.
Enriquez was booked to ride three races at Sunland Park on Tuesday in his first day on that circuit. He was winless with 65 mounts at the Santa Anita winter-spring meeting through Saturday and expressed frustration about a lack of opportunities because of short fields.
"I'm not leaving just because I didn't win here," he told track publicity. "It's tough for everybody. The economy hit California very hard.
"I'm not the only one struggling right now. If it was just me, I would be asking myself what I'm doing wrong, but I see a bunch of riders who are struggling."
Enriquez's last major win came in the Grade 3 Hollywood Prevue Stakes at Hollywood Park last November aboard Jack o' Lantern.
Zenyatta works toward return
Zenyatta, the champion older female of 2008, is growing closer to her 2009 debut. She worked six furlongs in 1:10.60 on Saturday at Hollywood Park, the fastest of 20 recorded works at the distance.
Trainer John Shirreffs said Zenyatta is likely to start at Hollywood Park in May, but he has not finalized a race. Zenyatta won the Breeders' Cup Ladies' Classic at Santa Anita in her most recent start last October, extending her unbeaten streak to nine races.