06/17/2009 11:00PM

Life Is Sweet to take on boys


INGLEWOOD, Calif. - Life Is Sweet, winner of three stakes for fillies and mares at Santa Anita earlier this year, is likely to make her next start against males in the $700,000 Hollywood Gold Cup on July 11, owner Marty Wygod said Thursday.

Wygod was at Hollywood Park to watch Life Is Sweet work six furlongs in 1:11. In her last start, Life Is Sweet finished second to reigning champion older female Zenyatta in the Grade 2 Milady Handicap here May 23. Zenyatta is expected to make her next start in the $300,000 Vanity Handicap here June 27.

Life Is Sweet could run in the Vanity against Zenyatta, but Wygod said he would prefer not to face Zenyatta again until the Oak Tree at Santa Anita meeting in autumn on a surface on which he thinks Life Is Sweet excels.

"My intention is to run [Life Is Sweet] in the Gold Cup," he said. "The boys are good, but not as tough [this year] as they are sometimes. I'm leaning in that direction.

"I'd rather wait and face Zenyatta at Santa Anita. I know my filly likes that track."

Both Life Is Sweet and Zenyatta are trained by John Shirreffs. Zenyatta races for Jerry and Ann Moss.

Life Is Sweet has won 5 of 11 starts and $570,810, including 3 of 4 starts this year. At Santa Anita during the winter, she won two Grade 2 races for 4-year-olds - the El Encino and La Canada Stakes - and the Grade 1 Santa Margarita Handicap for older fillies and mares.

Shirreffs said Zenyatta is not being considered for the Gold Cup. The Vanity will be her second start of the year.

"This is Zenyatta's second race back, which is a big deal," he said. "She's never gone a mile and a quarter. I think I'd like to keep her in a more comfortable situation."

Shirreffs said he was more comfortable starting Life Is Sweet in the Gold Cup.

"She's in the middle of her campaign," he said. "The Gold Cup seems like a bit more wide-open race."

In addition to Life Is Sweet, the Gold Cup is expected to draw defending champion Mast Track, who was scratched from the Grade 2 Californian Stakes on June 13; the first four finishers of the Californian Stakes - Informed, Rail Trip, Dakota Phone, and Song of Navarone; and Tres Borrachos, winner of the Grade 2 Swaps Stakes last summer.

The last female to win the Gold Cup was Princessnesian in 1968, preceded by Two Lea (1952) and Happy Issue (1944). In 1977, the 4-year-old filly Cascapedia finished second, a neck behind Crystal Water.

Elusive Bluff returns in Cinema

Elusive Bluff is unbeaten in two starts, a winning streak that trainer Eric Guillot freely admits is likely to end in Sunday's $100,000 Cinema Handicap.

Unraced since a victory in the Pilgrim Stakes at Belmont Park last October, Elusive Bluff is in need of a start before he is capable of an optimum performance, Guillot said. The Grade 3 Cinema is run over 1 1/8 miles on turf for 3-year-olds.

"It's hard to get one going a mile and an eighth off an eight-month layoff," Guillot said. "He's a big heavy, horse anyway."

Guillot will start an entry in the Cinema for his client, Southern Equine Stable. They will run the maiden Arcodoro, the expected pacesetter.

The field of eight includes Massone, who was third in the Grade 1 Blue Grass Stakes at Keeneland in April; Flashmans Papers, who won the Eddie Logan Stakes at Santa Anita in December; and the recent allowance winners Herr Mozart and Oil Man.

* Jockey Mike Smith has stakes mounts at Delaware and Woodbine this weekend. Saturday, Smith rides Skylighter in the Grade 3 Obeah Stakes at Delaware. Sunday, he rides Mr. Foricos Two U in the Queen's Plate Stakes at Woodbine.

* Jockey Michael Baze has switched agents, replacing Nick Cosato with Jim Pegram. The switch takes effect with racing of June 24, Pegram said.

Baze, 22, was the leading rider at the 2007 spring-summer meeting here and the 2007 Del Mar meeting. Through Sunday, Baze ranked 13th in the standings, with eight wins.