02/26/2008 12:00AM

Monterey Jazz hits on all cylinders


ARCADIA, Calif. - With his trainer describing the colt as a "machine," Monterey Jazz had his final workout at Hollywood Park on Saturday for the $1 million Santa Anita Handicap next Saturday.

Monterey Jazz breezed six furlongs from the gate in 1:11.40, the fastest of 16 recorded works at the distance. The workout was Monterey Jazz's final major exercise before the Grade 1 Santa Anita Handicap.

The exercise rider had his feet "in the dashboard," trainer Craig Dollase said. "That's how this horse works. He's a very free spirit. The closer other horses come to him, the more he goes. I've got a machine on my hands."

Owned by A and R Stables and Class Racing Stables, Monterey Jazz approaches the Big Cap on a three-race winning streak that includes a front-running score in the Grade 2 Strub Stakes at 1 1/8 miles earlier this month. The Big Cap will be Monterey Jazz's first start at 1 1/4 miles. The colt is expected to lead even though the field includes another front-runner, San Fernando Stakes winner Air Commander.

Air Commander worked seven furlongs in 1:25.80 at Santa Anita on Saturday, the fastest of six recorded works at the distance.

"I don't think Air Commander can keep up with me," Dollase said.

The Big Cap is expected to draw an oversubscribed field. The other probable starters include Awesome Gem, Big Booster, Celtic Dreamin, Champs Elysees, Go Between, Great Hunter, Heatseeker, Medici Code, Monzante, Seminole Native, Student Council, Tiago, and Zappa.

The race will be limited to 14 starters, with highweights preferred. The weights were scheduled to be released over the weekend.

Student Council, the winner of the $1 million Pacific Classic last August, worked six furlongs in 1:14.40 at Santa Anita on Saturday, although trainer Vladimir Cerin timed him in 1:01.20 for five furlongs.

"If there is a classification easier than breezing, that's what he did - galloping," Cerin said. "I think he'll be hard to beat."

Celtic Dreamin, second to Go Between in the $1 million Sunshine Millions Classic at 1 1/8 miles on Jan. 26, worked five furlongs in 1:00.60.

"If he runs like he did last time, we'll be right there," trainer Rafael Becerra said. "I think the extra furlong will help him. It all depends on how fast they go early."

Great Hunter, who will be an outsider, worked a half-mile in 48.40 seconds at Hollywood Park on Saturday. Trained by Doug O'Neill, Great Hunter won the Grade 1 Breeders' Futurity in 2006 and the Grade 2 Robert Lewis Stakes last year.

Into Mischief may miss San Felipe

Into Mischief, second in the Grade 2 San Vicente Stakes in his 3-year-old debut on Feb. 10, may miss the $200,000 San Felipe Stakes at 1 1/16 miles on March 15 because of a foot problem, trainer Richard Mandella said.

"We're still working on a sore foot," Mandella said. "We'll have to play it by ear. We don't know if he'll make the San Felipe."

Owned by B. Wayne Hughes, Into Mischief has won 2 of 4 starts and $478,800. In his final start at 2, he won the Grade 1 CashCall Futurity last December.

The San Felipe could be on the schedule of On the Virg, the winner of an optional claimer on Friday. Trained by Todd Pletcher, On the Virg is unbeaten in two starts around two turns, including a maiden race earlier this year.

Friday, On the Virg was second early and wore down pacesetter Winsome Charm to win by a half-length, finishing 1 1/16 miles in 1:44.89.

On the Virg behaved erratically in the paddock before the race, leading assistant trainer Michael McCarthy to fear that the colt would not run well.

"When he ran the last time, he was a saint," McCarthy said. "He was acting up in the paddock. For as bad as he was in the paddock, he was good on the track."

Georgie Boy, who beat Into Mischief in the San Vicente, worked five furlongs in 59.40 seconds at Hollywood Park on Saturday. Trained by Kathy Walsh, Georgie Boy is being pointed for the San Felipe.

Discouraging drill for Coast Guard

The $200,000 Sham Stakes for 3-year-olds on Saturday may be run without Coast Guard. Saturday at Santa Anita, Coast Guard worked six furlongs in 1:15.20, which left trainer David Hofmans discouraged.

"He didn't work as well as I thought he would," Hofmans said. "I don't know if it was the racetrack or him, but it was not what I expected."

Owned by Amerman Racing, Coast Guard has one victory in four starts and was second in the Grade 2 Robert Lewis Stakes on Feb. 2 in his stakes debut.

Hofmans said he may consider passing the Sham Stakes in favor of the El Camino Real Derby at Bay Meadows on March 8. "Maybe we need the extra week," he said.

Gomez back aboard Nashoba's Key

Nashoba's Key, a finalist for the 2007 Eclipse Award for outstanding turf female and outstanding older female, will have a new rider when she starts in the $300,000 Santa Margarita Handicap on March 9. Garrett Gomez, who rode Nashoba's Key to wins in her first three starts, will replace jockey Joe Talamo, who has ridden the mare in her six most recent starts, according to trainer Carla Gaines.

Saturday at Hollywood Park, Nashoba's Key breezed six furlongs in 1:12.80. She has made one start this year, finishing second in the Sunshine Millions Filly and Mare Turf on Jan. 26.

Cimyla, 7, euthanized after workout

Cimyla, a 7-year-old gelding winless in five starts in this country, was euthanized on Saturday after suffering injuries at the conclusion of a workout. The injury happened near the finish line after a seven-furlong workout.

Trainer Ben Cecil said that Cimyla suffered a severe sesamoid injury.

Cimyla is the third horse to be euthanized at Santa Anita since the synthetic main track was resurfaced earlier this month in an effort to improve drainage. Cecil was quick to say the racetrack was not at fault.

"I don't blame the racetrack," he said. "I think the racetrack is very good. You're going to get injuries from time to time."