06/15/2009 11:00PM

Kelly Leak will miss Affirmed

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Kris Coady/Coady Photography
If his bloodwork returns to normal, Kelly Leak could ship to Belmont for the July 4 Dwyer.

INGLEWOOD, Calif. - Kelly Leak's comeback is on hold.

Winner of the $900,000 Sunland Derby in his last start March 29, Kelly Leak would have been the co-highweight Saturday in the Grade 3 Affirmed Handicap for 3-year-olds at Hollywood Park, but blood tests revealed Kelly Leak had elevated liver enzymes that will postpone his return.

"Something is bugging him internally, and I am not quite sure what," trainer Mike Machowsky said. "I don't think it's anything major."

Kelly Leak worked seven furlongs June 7, but the trainer said he "got more tired than I thought he should, and left a little feed the next morning."

Initial blood tests after the seven-furlong work hinted that something was amiss, and the colt's liver enzymes were further elevated Monday, the day after a five-furlong work. On Tuesday, Machowsky made it official: "I'm not going to run him."

Kelly Leak had an ulcer on his epiglottis after he defeated Mine that Bird and others in the Sunland Derby, and was aiming for a summer campaign that Machowsky still hopes to make. Assuming he recovers, Machowsky will consider running Kelly Leak on July 4 at Belmont Park in the Grade 2 Dwyer.

The defection of Kelly Leak from the 1 1/16-mile Affirmed makes Lone Star Derby winner Mythical Power the 121-pound top weight. Other expected starters are Scorewithcater, Cape Truth, Grazen, and Quindici Man.

Gozzip Girl on target for American Oaks

Gozzip Girl, winner of the Grade 2 Sands Point at Belmont Park and likely favorite for the Grade 1 American Oaks July 5 at Hollywood, worked a half-mile Sunday at Belmont and is expected to ship the week of the race. Reached in New York on Tuesday, trainer Tom Albertrani confirmed Gozzip Girl was on target for the $750,000 American Oaks.

"She's been training extremely well since the Sands Point, and she had an easy work on Sunday," Albertrani said.

Gozzip Girl has won 4 of 5 starts on grass to emerge as the top 3-year-old grass filly in the East. Kent Desormeaux will ride her in California.

The top local runners aiming for the 1 1/4-mile American Oaks are Well Monied, winner of the Grade 2 Honeymoon Handicap, and Mrs. Kipling, winner of the Grade 3 Senorita.

Smooth Performer returns in route

The first leg of the pick six Thursday at Hollywood ($125,416 carryover) is the first step back for Smooth Performer, runner-up in the Grade 2 Hollywood Oaks last June and unraced since a statebred allowance win in August. Can she beat race-3 favorite Birdie Birdie first start back?

"Do I have her tight enough? It's always a question going a mile and a sixteenth," Smooth Performer's trainer Cliff Sise said. "She looked awesome working the other day, and I like the field she is in against - there is speed."

A closer, Smooth Performer had 2 wins and 4 seconds in 8 route races last year. She starts slow and finishes fast.

Sise hopes the same is true for his stable. Sise historically wins at a 16 percent rate, but this year is only 3 for 39. With two recent wins at Hollywood, are his fortunes starting to turn? A candid Sise admitted, "Not quite."

Mama Knows Best, the 4-for-6 mare that Sise bred, owned, and trained, suffered a broken hind leg while being transported Sunday from Hollywood to Santa Anita. Mama Knows Best had to be euthanized.

First-time gelding liable to improve

Best of Intentions is the favorite in the second leg of the pick six Thursday (race 4), but many tickets also will include Jacob's Little Bro. He was 0 for 3 as a colt; Thursday he drops into a $40,000 maiden-claimer while making his first start since being gelded.

Trainer Mike Puype was asked if it will make a difference. "I think he'll do better. How many of them don't?" after being gelded, Puype said. "His three performances weren't good enough for him to be left [as a colt]."

Jacob's Little Bro has not raced since March 5.

"They need time after being gelded. It has taken time to get him right," Puype said.

In addition to Jacob's Little Bro and Best of Intentions, two others merit consideration - Practical Magic and Al N Con.

Hewitts can move up on firm turf

Even though Hewitts has sketchy recent form and his work pattern has a two-week gap, things are not as grim as they appear. Hewitts will start as a middle-price contender in race 7, the Robert Kerlan Handicap, and trainer Bob Hess suggests bettors not overlook the gelding.

"What he needs is hard turf," Hess said, and he will settle for firm. Hewitts won an allowance sprint on firm in January at Santa Anita, was overmatched in a Grade 1, and then shipped to Kentucky, where he was compromised by wet weather.

"It rained, and he had no shot," Hess said, referring to the Grade 3 Shakertown on "good" turf at Keeneland. His next start, he faded in the slop at Churchill Downs. Before returning to dry land in California, Hess said Hewitts worked five furlongs June 7 at Keeneland, but the work was not recorded.

Hess said Hewitts worked "great" Sunday on the Hollywood turf, three furlongs in 35.80 seconds. The speed figures earned by Hewitts make him a threat in a wide-open Kerlan.

Long-idle claimer back at right level

Pick-six bettors face a predicament in the finale of the pick six. Senor Afortunado is the likely favorite after successive runner-up finishes at the class level, but he is stuck on the also-eligible list. If he does not scratch in, All Money No Love will be one of the favorites despite not having raced since May 2008.

Ron Ellis trains the 5-year-old All Money No Love, who won 1 of 4 early last year before a condylar fracture ended his campaign.

"He's been a problem horse, and I haven't been all that hard on him," Ellis said, adding "I just wanted to get him back. He's definitely [placed] where he should be."

All Money No Love runs for a $12,500 tag in the claiming race, restricted to nonwinners of two. In-form Magna Cum Laude, deep closer Smart of War, and improving Strength are the other leading contenders.