01/26/2007 12:00AM

Mandella, Polyfirst poised to get going


ARCADIA, Calif. - It took 19 starts for trainer Richard Mandella to win his first race of the Santa Anita winter-spring meeting, in a maiden race on Thursday. He would just as soon maintain a winning trend when Polyfirst starts in Sunday's $75,000 Wishing Well Handicap at about 6 1/2 furlongs on the hillside turf course.

"It was a great relief to win a race" Thursday, Mandella said. "But I've seen that movie before."

Polyfirst has been a minor disappointment since she arrived from France in late 2004. In 2005 and 2006, she made just eight starts and won three races, including the restricted Osunitas Handicap at Del Mar last summer.

The Wishing Well Handicap will be her first start since finishing a troubled ninth in the Grade 2 Palomar Breeders' Cup Handicap at Del Mar last September.

"We've had little problems with her - mostly little problems," Mandella said. "She's had some good works."

Polyfirst has won twice on Santa Anita's hillside course and has not raced on the surface since April 2005.

"I think she's probably as good at that as anything," Mandella said of her ability on the hillside.

The Wishing Well Handicap is run as the sixth race on a nine-race program that is highlighted by the $250,000 Santa Monica Handicap.

Polyfirst is one of 10 fillies and mares in the Wishing Well, a race that includes the 2006 graded stakes winner Attima, and Kitty Hawk and Somethinaboutbetty, the second- and third-place finishers in the Grade 3 Monrovia Handicap on Jan. 1.

Attima won two Grade 2 races last spring and summer - the Honeymoon Breeders' Cup Handicap and the San Clemente Handicap. Trained by Julio Canani, she was ninth in the Grade 1 Matriarch Stakes at Hollywood Park on Nov. 26.

Kitty Hawk was beaten two lengths by Society Hostess in the Monrovia, making up eight lengths in the final half-mile. Kitty Hawk won an allowance race over this course in January.

Threewitt, 95, bows out in the money

Trainer Noble Threewitt had the final starter of his career in Friday's fifth race, Threeatonce, who finished third in a claiming race for sprinters.

Threewitt, 95, said earlier this month that he plans to retire in February at the urging of his family. A ceremony in Threewitt's honor is scheduled for Feb. 24, his 96th birthday.

Threewitt, who began training in the early 1930's and has been a fixture at Santa Anita since the track opened in 1934, has suffered from vision problems in his right eye in recent months.

A winner of more than 2,000 races, Threewitt remains active with his presidency of the California Thoroughbred Horsemen's Foundation on the Santa Anita backstretch. The foundation provides health care services to backstretch workers.

Cambiocorsa goes to breeding shed

Cambiocorsa, the winner of the 2006 Wishing Well Handicap, has been retired.

Cambiocorsa finished seventh in the Monrovia Handicap on Jan. 1 in her final start. The 5-year-old mare won 9 of 18 starts and $522,055, and was best known for winning 8 of 10 starts on Santa Anita's hillside turf course. At one point, she won eight consecutive starts on the hillside turf course.

Earlier this week, Cambiocorsa's ownership changed. Co-owners Bob Naify and Jan Vanderbos, who race as Ran-Jan Racing, bought out partners Ty and Lee Leatherman. The Leathermans bought Cambiocorsa privately for $90,000 after she failed to reach a $100,000 reserve at the 2004 Barretts May sale of 2-year-olds in training.

Cambiocorsa will be bred in coming weeks, probably to Kentucky-based stallions Forestry or Ghostzapper, according to Magali Farms manager Tom Hudson, who advises Naify.

Singhalese also is retired

Singhalese, the winner of the Grade 1 Del Mar Oaks in 2005, has been retired, trainer Jim Cassidy said. The partnership that owns the 5-year-old mare is in discussion about a stallion mating, he said.

Singhalese won 3 of 12 starts and $398,921 racing in England and the United States. She had her best season in 2005. Aside from the Del Mar Oaks, she finished second in the Grade 3 Pucker Up Stakes at Arlington Park and was third in the American Oaks at Hollywood Park that year.

By Singspiel, Singhalese made just one start in 2006, finishing fifth in the restricted Swingtime Stakes at the Oak Tree at Santa Anita meeting in October. She had three recorded workouts in December and January, but was not responding well to training, Cassidy said.

Cassidy said a slight tear in a tendon was recently diagnosed, which prompted the decision to retire Singhalese.

"When I saw that I said, 'That's it. I won't run the mare,'" he said.

Stormello pointed toward March

Stormello, the winner of the Gradeo1 Hollywood Futurity last month, worked six furlongs in 1:13 at Hollywood Park on Friday, but trainer Bill Currin said he has not selected a race for the colt's first start of 2007.

"We'll probably run in March," Currin said. "We're cruising right now. I don't have a pattern for what I'll do."

Friday, Currin also worked Freesgood, the winner of the California Cup Juvenile in late October. Freesgood worked a half-mile in 48.20 seconds. Currin mentioned the $2 million United Arab Emirates Derby in Dubai on March 31 as a possibility for Freesgood, but has yet to receive an invitation.

Stakes winners this meet return

Awesome Gem and Pirate's Deputy, stakes winners earlier at this meeting, are leading contenders for graded stakes next Saturday.

Awesome Gem, who won the San Fernando Breeders' Cup Stakes on Jan. 13, will start in the $300,000 Strub Stakes, a Grade 2 for 4-year-olds over 1 1/8 miles. He will face Arson Squad, Brother Derek, Fairbanks, Midnight Lute, and Spring at Last.

Jazil, winner of the Belmont Stakes last June, is nominated, but trainer Kiaran McLaughlin said on Friday that the 4-year-old was more likely to start in the $350,000 Gulfstream Park Handicap on March 3.

Pirate's Deputy won the California Breeders' Champion Stakes on Dec. 26 and will start Saturday in the $100,000 Sham Stakes for 3-year-olds.