03/17/2010 11:00PM

Jones has pair who make a strong case


ARCADIA, Calif. - Between Dotsy Jean and Unzip Me, trainer Marty Jones will start two contenders in Saturday's $100,000 Irish O'Brien Stakes at Santa Anita.

They are responsible for three of Jones's nine wins at the meeting. Jones, guarded by nature, is optimistic that his win total can reach double digits in the Irish O'Brien, which is run over about 6 1/2 furlongs on the hillside turf course for statebred fillies and mares.

"I think they both have good chances," he said.

Pressed on Thursday morning for a preference, Jones cautiously sided with Dotsy Jean, who finished in front of Unzip Me in a first-condition allowance race over six furlongs on turf at Hollywood Park last November.

Since then, both have enhanced their reputations. Dotsy Jean won an optional claimer on the main track here on Jan. 7 and was third in the $200,000 Sunshine Millions Filly and Mare Sprint on Jan. 30. Unzip Me has won two turf sprints - an allowance race at Hollywood Park on Dec. 20 and an optional claimer here on Jan. 28.

Dotsy Jean can be near the front or stalk the pace, Jones said. "She ran her heart out the other day," he said of the Sunshine Millions effort.

Unzip Me has won 2 of 4 starts on turf. In her first start on the hillside course, she was a troubled fifth in the California Cup Distaff last October.

"She had a horrible trip and almost went down in the race," Jones said. "It was a situation when the hole closed up on her. Her last three races have been really good, too."

The Jones-trained runners are part of a field of seven that includes the Cal Cup Distaff winner Bootleg Annie, and the red-hot A Jealous Woman. Bootleg Annie, second in the Sunshine Millions Filly and Mare Turf here on Jan. 30, is making her first start on the hillside since a win in the Cal Cup Distaff last October. Trained by Kathy Walsh, she has won 15 of 33 starts.

A Jealous Woman, trained by Bill Spawr, is making her stakes debut, having won her last four starts at distances ranging from six furlongs to 1 1/8 miles. Joe Talamo rode A Jealous Woman in those four wins.

"If they go slow, she's right there," Talamo said. "If they go fast, she can lay back. In the race over a mile and an eighth, there wasn't much pace in there. She did it so easy. I think cutting back in distance will be good for her."

Who's Up pointed for local derby

Who's Up, unraced since a win in the Grade 3 Generous Stakes at Hollywood Park in November, is being pointed for the $750,000 Santa Anita Derby on April 3, according to trainer Jorge Periban.

Who's Up has been based at a training center in Washington in recent weeks. Previously trained by Kathy Walsh, Who's Up will join Periban's barn upon his return to Santa Anita in coming days.

Who's Up is owned by Mickey Gonzalez, who will also start Cardiff Giant, the fifth-place finisher in the Grade 2 Rebel Stakes at Oaklawn Park on March 13.

Other candidates for the Santa Anita Derby are Alphie's Bet, Caracortado, Outlaw Man, Posse Power, Setsuko, Sidney's Candy, and Thomas Baines.