02/18/2008 1:00AM

Indian Blessing will return to Fair Grounds


ARCADIA, Calif. - Indian Blessing, the champion 2-year-old filly of 2007 who is unbeaten in five races, will make her next start in the $400,000 Fair Grounds Oaks on March 8, trainer Bob Baffert said on Sunday.

Indian Blessing has already made one successful journey from California to Louisiana this year, winning the Grade 3 Silverbulletday Stakes at Fair Grounds on Feb. 9. She is part of Baffert's stable in Southern California.

Owned by breeders Hal and Patti Earnhardt, Indian Blessing has earned $1,567,200. She won the 2007 Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies at Monmouth Park last October to clinch the championship of her division.

The Fair Grounds Oaks is run over 1 1/16 miles, the same distance as the Silverbulletday. Indian Blessing won the Silverbulletday by a length after leading by four lengths in the stretch. Baffert said he is not overly concerned about the way that Indian Blessing tired in the last furlong.

"She's getting fitter now," Baffert said. "She should run much stronger this time. One thing about her, she gives it her all every time.

"She's doing great and looks awesome. She bounced out if really quick. I like that surface. It's very consistent. You know what to expect."

Baffert considers Indian Blessing to be a contender for the $500,000 Kentucky Oaks at Churchill Downs on May 2.

Yankee Bravo targets Louisiana Derby

The undefeated Yankee Bravo, who closed at 48-1 in the first Kentucky Derby Future Wager pool earlier this month, is being pointed for the $600,000 Louisiana Derby at Fair Grounds on March 8, according to trainer Paddy Gallagher.

Yankee Bravo is perfect in three starts - a maiden race in England last September, the Eddie Logan Stakes on turf at Santa Anita on Dec. 29, and the California Derby at Golden Gate Fields on Jan. 27.

The Louisiana Derby, which is run over 1o1/16 miles, will be Yankee Bravo's first start on a conventional dirt track. He won his first two starts on turf and ran on a synthetic track at Golden Gate Fields.

"We've got to try him on the dirt sometime," Gallagher said. "It's that time of year."

Yankee Bravo worked six furlongs in 1:13.20 at Hollywood Park on Saturday.

On the Acorn returns from long layoff

For the second consecutive year, Saturday's Grade 2 San Luis Obispo Handicap at Santa Anita can be a breakthrough race for On the Acorn.

Last year, On the Acorn finished third in the San Luis Obispo and was promoted to second following the disqualification of a rival. The race was his first stakes appearance in six months after being claimed for $40,000 in November 2006. He went on to win two Grade 2 handicaps in the spring - the San Juan Capistrano and Jim Murray.

This year, the $150,000 San Luis Obispo will be On the Acorn's first start since the Jim Murray at Hollywood Park last May. On the Acorn was turned out last spring after displaying signs of soreness.

"He got where his feet were hurting him," trainer Mike Mitchell said. "He was getting body sore."

Those maladies are gone, Mitchell said. On the Acorn has had a series of solid workouts in recent weeks, and Mitchell thinks the 7-year-old gelding is ready for Saturday's race, which is over 1 1/2 miles on turf.

Mitchell wanted to start On the Acorn in the San Marcos Stakes over 1 1/4 miles on turf on Jan. 19, but said he ran out of time. In recent weeks, Mitchell has employed jockey Martin Garcia to work On the Acorn, repeating a pattern that was successful last year. In the San Luis Obispo, Victor Espinoza has the mount. Espinoza rode On the Acorn to his two stakes wins last year.

"He's worked really well," Mitchell said. "We did the same thing we did last year. Martin Garcia would work him. I've got him fit, but there's nothing like a good race under his belt."

The San Luis Obispo will have a small field. The other probable starters are Church Service, 2007 winner Obrigado, Porfido, and Rocket Legs.

Champs Elysees, the winner of the San Marcos, is nominated, but is being pointed for the $1 million Santa Anita Handicap on the synthetic main track, trainer Bobby Frankel said last weekend.

BC Dirt Mile long-range goal for Surf Cat

The Breeders' Cup races are more than eight months away, but trainer Bruce Headley already has a clear goal for Surf Cat, the winner of the Grade 2 San Carlos Handicap over seven furlongs last Saturday.

The $1 million BC Dirt Mile at the Oak Tree at Santa Anita meeting on Oct. 24 has piqued Headley's interest.

"That's what these sprints are for, to keep him sharp for the Mile," Headley said.

Owned by Headley's wife, Aase, and Marsha Naify, Surf Cat ended a four-race, 21-month losing streak in the San Carlos, a race the 6-year-old won in 2006. Surf Cat has battled minor injuries in recent years.

Headley won the San Carlos for the fifth time on Saturday, and is one win away from catching Charlie Whittingham on the all-time list for that race. Surf Cat will be pointed for the $200,000 Potrero Grande Handicap over 6 1/2 furlongs on April 5, a race that he won in 2006.

Headley has won the Potrero Grande a record six times in its 25 runnings.

Drug positive causes purse redistribution

A portion of the purse of a maiden claimer at Hollywood Park on Dec. 1 has been ordered redistributed after runner-up Happyhour Atthebrig tested in excess of the permitted level of clenbuterol in a post-race test.

Happyhour Atthebrig earned $2,800, which must be forfeited by March 9, according to a ruling issued by Santa Anita stewards on Sunday. The purse will be redistributed to the original third- through sixth-place finishers - Bestatit, Tagline, Forever Irish and Lil Lea.

Happyhour Atthebrig is trained by David LaCroix, who could face a sanction from the California Horse Racing Board for the excessive level of clenbuterol, a bronchodilator used to aid horses with breathing problems.