07/31/2006 11:00PM

Mandella sending two favorites


Gary Mandella will be hoping he has the long and the short of it Thursday at Del Mar. He has top contenders in the day's two richest races - a route and a sprint, both on turf - including the featured seventh, in which Mandella sends out Jazzerin, who has improved significantly since moving to Mandella's barn and to the turf.

After making five starts on dirt, made her debut for Mandella on April 27, when she won her first start on turf, in a $62,500 claiming race at Hollywood Park. She came back on June 3 and finished a close third in a first-level allowance for California-bred fillies and mares. She returns at that condition for Thursday's seventh race, a 1 1/16-mile grass race that carries a purse of $63,000.

"She's really taken to the turf," Mandella said. "She's been off for a couple of months because she had a minor leg infection and we had to treat it with penicillin, and if you come back too quick from that, you can get a positive, and we don't want that. The little break works out well. She's got a big heart, and she's really game."

So was her sire, Dixie Dot Com, who battled back from multiple cannon-bone fractures and was a stalwart for several seasons in northern and Southern California. Based on pedigree, though, there was no inkling that Jazzerin would move up on the turf.

"It was very much "let's give it a shot,' " Mandella said. "When you look on paper, there's not a lot for a grass pedigree. But at that claiming level, races don't go on the dirt. The spot was right, but the surface was a question mark. It was worth a shot. And after winning that race, that earned us a chance to protect her against Cal-breds."

Jazzerin's biggest rival may be , who also has moved up since switching to turf. She was a winner against maidens at Hollywood Park, then was third as the even-money favorite at this class level July 4 at Hollywood Park.

was second to Burst of Light last time out after getting loose on a soft pace.

Mandella's other runner on Thursday is Irish Ty, who is among a field of first-level allowance sprinters going five furlongs on turf in the opener. Irish Ty finished second at this level going 5 1/2 furlongs at Hollywood Park on July 14. It was his first start since a Cal-bred allowance win Dec. 10.

"A week after that win, he got run into by an out-of-control horse on the track and broke two ribs," Mandella said. "He's been training gangbusters even since he went back into training."