09/30/2007 11:00PM

Nashoba's Key ready for Cup run

EmailARCADIA, Calif. - Nashoba's Key's bandwagon was filling rapidly Sunday, a day after she extended her unbeaten streak to seven in the $400,000 Yellow Ribbon Stakes at the Oak Tree at Santa Anita meeting.

Through the morning, trainer Carla Gaines's cell phone rang incessantly with calls from well-wishers, while Nashoba's Key, displaying the bad temperament she is known for, rested in her stall, about 25 feet outside of Gaines's stable office.

"Everybody loves a winner," Gaines said.

But Sunday was not a day when the winner was given peppermints and pats on the neck. Getting within three feet of Nashoba's Key's stall is a health hazard, just as opposing her at the windows has become a hazard to a bettor's pocketbook.

Nashoba's Key has been a California sensation, winning five stakes in the state since late April. She will take her act to the international stage for the $2 million Breeders' Cup Filly and Mare Turf at Monmouth Park on Oct. 27.

The race will be Nashoba's Key's first start outside of California, first start at 1 3/8 miles on turf, and first Breeders' Cup starter for Gaines. The win in the Yellow Ribbon gives Nashoba's Key the role of top American hope for the Filly and Mare Turf.

"Why shouldn't we go to the next step, as long as she's healthy?" Gaines said. "It was something we've always wanted to try."

Gaines was just as thrilled that Nashoba's Key had a trouble-free race in the Yellow Ribbon, unlike her win in the Grade 1 Vanity Handicap at Hollywood Park in July or in the Grade 2 Clement Hirsch Handicap at Del Mar in August when she was blocked on the final turn.

"It was nice to run a race without interference for a change," Gaines said. "It's been a long time."

Owned by Warren Williamson, Nashoba's Key faced arguably the toughest test of her nine-month career in the Yellow Ribbon, outfinishing Citronnade, winner of four graded stakes this year. Citronnade led for the first mile before being challenged by Nashoba's Key in early stretch. Nashoba's Key slowly pulled clear to win by three-quarters of a length.

"A race is a race, but it's not like she came back blowing," Gaines said. "She walked out of the receiving barn and was very relaxed. When she went into her stall and the feed tub arrived, her head went right in."

The 4-year-old Nashoba's Key has earned $863,460. A win in the BC Filly and Mare Turf would make her the champion turf female.

Infield beer festival results in fights

Oak Tree officials have cancelled a microbrew beer festival scheduled for the infield on Nov. 3 after a disturbances at a similar event here Saturday led Arcadia police and track security to evacuate portions of the track in late afternoon.

The crowd that had gathered for a live music show on the west side of the infield was ordered dispersed shortly before 5 p.m. Saturday, prior to the running of the day's final race. Track officials said some of the customers had instigated fights. Arcadia police said one person was arrested at Santa Anita on Saturday.

At one point, six mounted police officers guided a crowd of approximately 9,000 people toward the exits. While the crowd was leaving, a police helicopter circled the track.

Sherwood Chillingworth, executive vice president of the Oak Tree Racing Association, which runs the fall meeting at Santa Anita, said the decision to cancel the Nov. 3 event was made after a meeting of track officials Sunday.

"This is the first time we've had that kind of thing happen here," he said.

Chillingworth said concern over how Saturday's event unfolded and the track's plan to host a large infield picnic for owners and breeders on Nov. 3 were the main factors in the decision to cancel the next microbrew event.

"We don't know the full extent of what happened and how it occurred," Chillingworth said of Saturday's incident.

Santa Anita president Ron Charles said an infield music show and microbrew festival will remain scheduled for the track's winter-spring meeting, but that security will be increased at such events.

"We had very few people that got out of control," Charles said. "We met for two hours on Sunday to decide how to move forward. I think we'll beef up the security and take steps that we need to. I think 98 percent of the people had a good time, but clearly there were some problems."

Charles said that one possibility is to expand the concert and microbrew festival to a larger part of the west side of the infield to better accommodate the crowd.

Extra day added to Baze, Talamo suspensions

Jockeys Michael Baze and Joe Talamo have had one day added to existing suspensions after riding more than one designated race Saturday. Both Baze and Talamo are in the midst of suspensions for riding infractions at Del Mar.

Talamo will miss Wednesday and will return Thursday, while Baze's additional day will be served Sunday. Baze is scheduled to return to riding on a regular basis Oct. 10, but could miss that day since the same situation with designated races that existed Saturday could occur again Sunday, a day in which three graded stakes will be run.

Graded stakes are classified as designated races for suspended jockeys and are exempt from routine suspensions. Jockeys that ride two or more designated races on one day have suspensions extended.

Small fields for weekend stakes

The three major stakes on Sunday are expected to have small fields.

Lava Man, the leading older horse in California for the last two years, will be a short-priced favorite in the $250,000 Oak Tree Mile on turf. Also expected to start are Surf Cat, a four-time stakes winner in 2005 and 2006 and second in two starts this year, and Zann, who was stakes-placed at Del Mar.

In Sunday's $250,000 Lady's Secret Stakes, Hystericalady, winner of the Grade 2 Molly Pitcher Breeders' Cup Handicap at Monmouth Park on Aug. 25, will face 2007 stakes winners Bai and Bai and Tough Tiz's Sis.

The $250,000 Ancient Title Stakes on Sunday drew only eight nominations. Bordonaro, the defending champion, and Greg's Gold, the winner of the Pat O'Brien Handicap at Del Mar in August, are the top contenders. Idiot Proof, a Grade 3 stakes winner at Monmouth Park in July, is among the probable starters.

The three races feature automatic berths to the Breeders' Cup Mile, Distaff, and Sprint.

Saturday's $250,000 Clement Hirsch Turf Championship is expected to be led by defending champion The Tin Man, who was second in the Arlington Million on Aug. 11. He must beat Runaway Dancer, Spring House, and Toasted.

* Stall applications for Hollywood Park's fall meeting are due Wednesday. The 32-day meeting runs from Nov. 7 through Dec. 22.

Racing secretary Martin Panza said in a statement that the track anticipates a full stable area this fall because of the popularity of the track's synthetic Cushion Track surface.