10/01/2009 11:00PM

Informed to face English foe

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Benoit & Associates
Informed (left) wins the San Diego Handicap at Del Mar in August.

ARCADIA, Calif. - Informed, the winner of two graded stakes this year in California, and the English import Gitano Hernando will start in the $350,000 Goodwood Stakes at Santa Anita next Saturday, a major prep for the $5 million Breeders' Cup Classic here on Nov. 7.

The Goodwood, which is run over 1 1/8 miles on the main track, is expected to draw Kentucky Derby winner Mine That Bird and Pacific Classic winner Richard's Kid. Other probable starters include Chocolate Candy, Colonel John, Monzante, Parading, Tiago, and Tres Borrachos.

Informed, trained by Doug O'Neill, won the Grade 2 Californian Stakes at Hollywood Park in June and the Grade 2 San Diego Handicap at Del Mar in August. He was sixth in the Hollywood Gold Cup in July and ninth in the Pacific Classic on Sept. 6, his most recent start.

Gitano Hernando has won 3 of 6 starts in England, including a conditions race on the all-weather synthetic surface at Wolverhampton last month. The race, over 1 1/8 miles, was his first start since a second-place finish in the Grade 3 Dee Stakes on turf at Chester in May. Kieren Fallon has been booked to ride Gitano Hernando for trainer Marco Botti.

Fallon recently returned to race riding in Europe from a suspension for a substance abuse problem. Earlier this year, he rode morning workouts for various trainers in Southern California at Hollywood Park and Santa Anita in an effort to maintain fitness.

Gitano Hernando is owned by the Team Valor syndicate.

The Goodwood is part of the Breeders' Cup Win and You're In program, offering a guaranteed berth to the BC Classic to the winner, contingent on the payment of starting fees.

Black Mamba going on the block

Black Mamba, a leading turf female in California in the last two years, will make her final start for Doubledown Stables and trainer John Sadler in the $300,000 Yellow Ribbon Stakes next Saturday.

Sadler said on Friday that Black Mamba is scheduled to be sold at the Fasig-Tipton Kentucky selected fall mixed sale on Nov. 10. Black Mamba is not nominated to the Breeders' Cup program and is unlikely to be supplemented to the BC Filly and Mare Turf on Nov. 6, even if she wins the Yellow Ribbon.

Black Mamba won her last start, the TOC and CTT Handicap over 1 3/8 miles on turf at Del Mar on Aug. 28. A New Zealand-bred mare, Black Mamba was third in the Yellow Ribbon Stakes in both 2007 and 2008.

This year, Black Mamba's main rival is California division leader Magical Fantasy, who has won her last three starts - the Grade 2 Santa Barbara, Grade 1 Gamely Stakes, and Grade 1 John Mabee Stakes.

Black Mamba, 6, has won 6 of 28 starts and $869,763. She won the Grade 2 Beverly Hills Handicap for the second consecutive year at Hollywood Park in June.

Lava Man has another workout

Lava Man, the seven-time Grade 1 winner, worked a half-mile in 50.20 seconds at Hollywood Park on Friday, the second workout of his attempted comeback following his retirement after a series of poor performances in the summer of 2008.

The 8-year-old gelding underwent stem cell therapy earlier this year to regenerate cartilage in an ankle. He has not started since finishing sixth in the Grade 1 Eddie Read Handicap at Del Mar in July 2008.

Lava Man, 8, lost the final six starts of his career. His last win was the 2007 Hollywood Gold Cup, the third consecutive year he won that race.

Desert Code pointed for Cup again

Desert Code, the winner of the $1 million Breeders' Cup Turf Sprint last October, remains on schedule for that race on Nov. 7 despite a seventh-place finish in the Grade 3 Morvich Handicap on Wednesday.

Making his first start since an eighth-place finish in the Grade 3 San Simeon Handicap here in April, Desert Code finished 3 3/4 lengths behind BC Turf Sprint contender California Flag in the Morvich.

Trainer David Hofmans said Desert Code will be trained up to the BC Turf Sprint, over about 6 1/2 furlongs on the hillside turf course.

Mullins sending two to Keeneland

Trainer Jeff Mullins is sending his two best 3-year-olds to Keeneland for major stakes next Saturday.

Mullins said that Battle of Hastings, a four-time stakes winner on turf this year, will start in the $600,000 Shadwell Turf Mile. Owned by Michael House, Battle of Hastings was second in the Grade 2 Del Mar Derby on Sept. 6.

Carlsbad will start in the $250,000 Thoroughbred Club of America Stakes over six furlongs. Owned by Dennis Weir, she won the Grade 3 Rancho Bernardo Handicap on Sept. 4.

Mullins said that neither horse is being considered for a Breeders' Cup race.

* The Commerce Casino, a popular card club near downtown Los Angeles, has expanded its simulcasting mini-satellite race-betting operation to include a second room.