06/30/2009 11:00PM

Long trip doesn't worry Puttanesca's trainer


INGLEWOOD, Calif. - Most horses shipped from the Southern Hemisphere to California are given about six months to acclimate before starting a racing campaign. Puttanesca, a starter in Sunday's $700,000 American Oaks at Hollywood Park, is being given a week.

New Zealand trainer Wayne Hillis contends that a horse can be shipped from the Southern Hemisphere and race quickly in California without feeling the effects of travels.

"You've got time for one or two races and then you have to acclimate," he said.

His theory will be tested by Puttanesca in a wide-open American Oaks, which will be run over 1 1/4 miles on turf Sunday. The race is for Northern Hemisphere-foaled 3-year-old fillies and Southern Hemisphere 4-year-old fillies. By Northern Hemisphere standards, Puttanesca is a 4-year-old filly as she was foaled in the Southern Hemisphere in September 2005.

Puttanesca is one of three foreign shippers for the American Oaks, but the only one from the Southern Hemisphere. Apple Charlotte, who could go favored, is based in England, while Rare Ransom is trained in Ireland.

Their presence must be respected. In seven runnings of the American Oaks, two have been won by foreign-trained fillies.

Puttanesca won a Group 2 stakes in New Zealand earlier this year. She has not only traveled the farthest for the race, but has the most recent start, having finished second in a one-mile race at Ruakaka racecourse in New Zealand on June 17.

Apple Charlotte, trained by Henry Cecil, worked seven furlongs in 1:27.80 at Hollywood Park on Wednesday. She had an unconventional exercise, at least by American training standards. Apple Charlotte galloped and jogged one circuit of Hollywood Park's main track before starting the workout. Most American-trained horses would not have a jog or gallop for any notable distance before a workout.

"That's what the boss ordered," said William Brown, Cecil's assistant. "It was a nice easy pace and she picked it up the last furlong and a half."

Rare Ransom is trained by Dermot Weld, who won the 2003 American Oaks with Dimitrova. Wednesday, Rare Ransom galloped on Hollywood Park's main track.

The American Oaks shares the role of richest race of the meeting with the Hollywood Gold Cup on July 11. The Oaks is expected to have a field of 14, including local stakes winners Acting Lady, Mrs Kipling, and Well Monied, and the New York invader Gozzip Girl, the winner of the Sands Point Stakes at Belmont Park on May 30.

McAnally high on Buenos Dias

The spring was one of near-misses in stakes for trainer Ron McAnally. Charming Legacy and Massone made six starts between them, and finished second or third in all six races.

McAnally will be adding a new horse to his stakes team in Saturday's $150,000 American Handicap with Buenos Dias, a 4-year-old Irish-bred colt.

A minor stakes winner in France last year, Buenos Dias has made one start in this country, finishing a fast-closing second in an optional claimer at Hollywood Park on June 4.

"The horse ran a good race and he had a good pace in front of him," McAnally said. "I'm happy with him."

A winner of 2 of 11 starts, Buenos Dias won the Grand Prix de Clairfontaine over about 1 1/2 miles on turf in France last year. Buenos Dias's preceding race, a head loss in a stakes over about 1 1/4 miles on turf, caught McAnally's eye and led to the colt being purchased by Charles Cella, the owner of Oaklawn Park in Arkansas.

"He was impressive to me," McAnally said. "He fought all the way down the stretch and just got beat a head."

In the American Handicap, Buenos Dias will be tested by Whatsthescript, the defending champion. McAnally is hoping that Buenos Dias can use the American Handicap as a prep for the Arlington Million on Aug. 8, although he is reluctant to say so with conviction.

"Hopefully, he'll run well and we can get that far," McAnally said.

Cella and McAnally have been a team for more than a decade. They won the 1995 Breeders' Cup Turf at Belmont Park with Northern Spur.

Sadler mulls Black Mamba's options

Charming Legacy was beaten a head by Black Mamba in the Grade 2 Beverly Hills Handicap on June 28, and the two could meet again in the $350,000 John Mabee Handicap at Del Mar on Aug. 16.

John Sadler, who trains Black Mamba, is between that race and the $750,000 Beverly D. Stakes at Arlington Park on Aug. 8 for Black Mamba's next start. He plans to handicap the races before finalizing plans.

"If it's equal, we're leaning toward Chicago," he said.

Sadler said "the competition, more than anything" will determine where Black Mamba makes her next start.

Last year, Black Mamba won the Beverly Hills and John Mabee handicaps in consecutive starts, and the latter race has not been ruled out.

"The John Mabee came up light for us" last year, Sadler said. "If it's the same situation, we'll stay here."

Magnum, Richard's Kid eye Gold Cup

Magnum, the winner of the Grade 2 San Antonio Handicap in February, and Richard's Kid, a recent acquisition by owner Arnold Zetcher, are candidates for the $700,000 Hollywood Gold Cup.

Magnum is winless in three starts since the San Antonio. An 8-year-old gelding trained by Darrell Vienna, Magnum was sixth in the Grade 3 Lone Star Park Handicap in Texas on May 25.

Richard's Kid was fourth in the Grade 3 William Donald Schaefer Stakes at Pimlico on May 16 in his most recent start. A 4-year-old colt, Richard's Kid won the Campbell Handicap at Laurel over 1 1/8 miles in February.

Richard's Kid has joined trainer Bob Baffert's stable. Baffert said he was unsure whether Richard's Kid would start in the Gold Cup or be tried in a distance race on turf.

"He acts like a horse that can go a distance either on the grass or the synthetic track," he said.

The Gold Cup is expected to have a large field, including Awesome Gem, Big Booster, Bullsbay, Dakota Phone, Informed, Kizzy's Chaos, Life Is Sweet, Mast Track, Parading, Rail Trip, and Song of Navarone.