10/28/2009 11:00PM

Lord Shanakill part of small Mandella band


Richard Mandella, the Hall of Fame trainer who set a Breeders' Cup record in 2003 at Santa Anita by sending out four winners, will not be nearly as prominent this time around. Mandella will have only as many as two BC starters: Crown of Thorns in either the Dirt Mile (first preference) or Sprint, along with Lord Shanakill, one of the wild cards in the $1 million Turf Sprint.

Lord Shanakill, a Kentucky-bred 3-year-old colt by Speightstown, was sent to Mandella at Del Mar in early September after a four-race European campaign highlighted by a July 5 victory in the Group 1 Prix de Jean Prat at Chantilly in France. His last start resulted in a fifth-place finish behind Rip Van Winkle in the Group 1 Sussex Stakes on July 29 at Goodwood in England.

"He came out of that last race a little rough, had a little problem in his hind end," said Mandella. "But he's fine now. We've got him straightened out pretty good. He's a classy horse."

Lord Shanakill, assured a spot in a field limited to 14 in the 6 1/2-furlong Turf Sprint down the hill, is one of many fringe contenders in the oversubscribed race. One of the likely favorites is Diamondrella, winner of the Grade 1 First Lady over the Keeneland turf in her last start. She is one of four fillies and mares among the 14 preferred pre-entries. One of those fillies, however, is the Euro standout Fleeting Spirit, whose connections have said she will try males instead in the BC Sprint. Her defection would allow the first of eight also-eligibles (and yet another filly), Canadian Ballet, into the Turf Sprint.