Updated on 09/16/2011 8:07AM

Long absent Printemps returns


DEL MAR, Calif. - With a minor injury behind her, Printemps makes her first start in more than five months in Friday's $75,000 Piedra Foundation Handicap, a race that could lead to appearances in major stakes for her later this year.

Trained by Ron McAnally, the

5-year-old Printemps is the 121-pound highweight for the Piedra Foundation, run over a mile on Del Mar's main track.

There are only five entrants in the stakes, which is restricted to fillies and mares that have not won a first-place purse of $45,000 at a mile or over since Feb. 1.

Three fillies and mares in Friday's field have lost to Azeri, the top older female in California in major stakes this year.

Printemps started twice earlier this year at Santa Anita, finishing third to Favorite Funtime in the Santa Maria Handicap on Feb. 17 and third to Azeri in the Grade 1 Santa Margarita Invitational Handicap on March 10. She was favored in both starts.

In the spring, she was found to have a minor tibia injury, which forced a change in the way she was being trained, McAnally said.

"We found a problem with a back leg, some suspicious looking things on the nuclear scan, so they told us to medicate her and keep jogging her," McAnally said. "It was minor things in the X-rays that were abnormal. We jogged her for about two months. Now, she's in great shape."

Printemps has never started at Del Mar, but did win two stakes in 2001 after arriving from Chile - the Santa Lucia Handicap at Santa Anita and the Grade 2 Hawthorne Handicap at Hollywood Park.

In the Piedra Foundation Handicap, she faces two other recent South American imports - Se Me Acabo and Netherland, neither of whom has won in the United States - and Collect Call and Hazen.

Se Me Acabo, a stakes winner in Chile, was third in the Clement Hirsch Handicap behind Azeri on Aug. 11, losing by four lengths. Netherland was a stakes winner in Argentina last year.

Collect Call is winless in four starts this year, but was third to Azeri and the McAnally-trained Affluent in the Grade 1 Vanity Handicap at Hollywood Park on June 22. Collect Call figures to race near the pace as will Netherland, who was fifth in the Fantastic Girl Stakes for sprinters here on Aug. 3.

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