10/06/2010 3:10PM

Medici Code, Ryehill Dreamer return to action


INGLEWOOD, Calif. – Medici Code and Ryehill Dreamer return from lengthy layoffs in an optional claimer on turf at Hollywood Park on Friday night, a race that neither of their trainers see as a must-win situation.

Medici Code, 6, has not started since finishing second in the Grade 1 Clement Hirsch Turf Championship at Santa Anita last October. He emerged from the race with a hock injury that required surgery, trainer Darrell Vienna said Wednesday.

“It took a long time to get better,” Vienna said.

A winner of 4 of 22 starts and $546,427, Medici Code has been working steadily in recent weeks at Fairplex Park, where Vienna’s stable is based this fall. In Friday’s race over a mile on turf, Medici Code will be after his first win since the Grade 2 Del Mar Derby in September 2007, and Vienna is guardedly optimistic that the gelding can be effective.

“I think we’re trying to get him fit,” Vienna said. “He’s been away a long time. He has quality and sometimes they don’t have to be at the top of their form. I’ve been more focused on keeping him healthy then getting him ready for the race of his life.”

Ryehill Dreamer will make his first start for trainer Julio Canani on Friday, having been previously trained by John Shirreffs. Ryehill Dreamer joined Canani’s stable during the summer at Del Mar, and the trainer has taken a cautious approach in recent training.

“He’s doing very good,” Canani said. “I haven’t worked him in company.”

Ryehill Dreamer has worked quickly in recent weeks, including six furlongs in 1:12.60 on Sept. 22, the fastest of 17 works at the distance that morning.

A stakes winner in Ireland in 2008 as a 2-year-old, Ryehill Dreamer has made one start in the United States, finishing third to the Canani-trained The Pamplemousse in the Grade 2 San Rafael Stakes at Santa Anita in January 2009.

Friday’s optional claimer, the seventh race on an eight-race program that begins at 7:05 p.m., drew a field of six.

Dixie Commander makes his first start since winning the Turf Paradise Derby in Phoenix last February. Trained by Steve Miyadi, Dixie Commander has worked well in recent weeks at Golden Gate Fields.

Trumpet Player Jay, who is entered for a $62,500 claiming price, Cape Truth, and War Native also start.