Updated on 09/18/2011 12:54AM

Le Copain still in search of first win in States


INGLEWOOD, Calif. - Had Le Copain not run into the juggernaut that was jockey Rafael Bejarano at Santa Anita on April 8, the 5-year-old might have won a lucrative optional claimer.

Instead, finished second in the first race on the Santa Anita Derby program behind Bejarano's mount, Hockey the General. It was the first of six winners on the afternoon for Bejarano.

Friday at Hollywood Park, Le Copain is entered in a $51,000 allowance race at 1 1/16 miles - and Bejarano is well out of the picture, riding in Kentucky.

Trained by Gary Mandella for Wayside Corp., Le Copain is looking for his first win since arriving from Argentina last year. In his first six starts in this country, he has finished second three times.

"He's had a little seconditis when there has been one better than him," Mandella said. "One thing that was nice about his last race is we tried to freshen him up and it seemed to work. He put himself into the race earlier instead of dropping back.

"I didn't train him much between races. I want him to be fresh and put himself in a good spot."

Friday, Le Copain has five rivals: Courtnall, Ice Cole, Precis, That's an Outrage, and Woody Be Quick.

Courtnall finished third behind Le Copain on April 8. Trained by Craig Dollase, Courtnall set the pace in that field and is likely to have a prominent role in Friday's race.

That's an Outrage is in good form, but the last few months have been tough on his backers. Trained by Mike Puhich, That's an Outrage finished second by a nose in an allowance race on the hillside turf course at Santa Anita on Feb. 25.

A 5-year-old, That's an Outrage returned on April 19, finishing third in an allowance race on turf, losing by three-quarters of a length to Crystal Castle.

Ice Cole and Woody Be Quick are outsiders.

finished last of five in an allowance race at Santa Anita on March 16, his only start since finishing sixth in the Strub Stakes in February. He is likely to lead.

finished last of five in the Sham Stakes at Santa Anita on Feb. 4, losing by 15 3/4 lengths to Kentucky Derby hopeful Bob and John. Friday's race is Woody Be Quick's first appearance against older horses.