12/29/2010 1:35PM

New piece of equipment may help Wave of Applause in Blue Norther


ARCADIA, Calif.– When Wave of Applause finished fifth in the Grade 3 Miesque Stakes at Hollywood Park on Nov. 28, trainer Jim Cassidy was already thinking of her next start.

Cassidy decided on an equipment change – a different bit – and expects Wave of Applause to run a better race when she starts in Friday’s $75,000 Blue Norther Stakes at Santa Anita.

“I think it will be a big improvement,” he said. “I changed a bit on her. She kind of blew the turn the last time and I’m keeping her in check. I think these turns are kind of confusing her. Her last couple of works have been great.”

Owned by Chuck Winner and David Bienstock, Wave of Applause makes her fourth start in the Blue Norther, a mile race on turf for 2-year-old fillies. She made two starts in Europe in the spring, winning a maiden race in Ireland and finishing 17th of 22 in the Group 3 Albany Stakes at Royal Ascot in June.

The Blue Norther drew only six runners, and features one stakes winner – True Way of Grace in the Barretts Debutante. Only two have won on turf – Wave of Applause and Scantily Clad, a maiden race winner in England in September.

Scantily Clad is making her U.S. debut in the Blue Norther.

“She acts like she’s got ability,” trainer Doug O’Neill said.”I think she’s got an outside chance.”

They will be chasing Tales in Excess, who was third in the Moccasin Stakes to eventual Hollywood Starlet winner Turbulent Descent at Hollywood Park on Nov. 21. The Blue Norther will be Tales in Excess’s turf debut, which does not concern trainer Jerry Hollendorfer.

“We have an opportunity to work her on the turf at Hollywood and she seemed like she likes it,” Hollendorfer said. “We think she deserves a try. She has good natural speed.”

British rider Winston on working vacation

Scantily Clad may be making her U.S. debut, but she will have one thing in her favor: Jockey Robert Winston, who rode her to a second-place finish in a maiden race in England in July, has the mount.

Winston, 31, is riding at Santa Anita on Friday as part of an arrangement with owner Steve Rudolf, who owns Dominator, a starter in the Eddie Logan Stakes. Winston rides for Rudolf in England, and has three mounts on Friday.

Winston has been in California since Dec. 19, riding for several trainers in the morning. His travels come at a time when he would not be riding extensively in England.

“I’ve taken this as a holiday,” he said on Wednesday morning. “A little break has sharpened me up.”

Dominator was sixth in the Generous Stakes at Hollywood Park in his American debut on Nov. 27. The key to victory in the Logan is to stay near the pace in the first half of the one-mile race, Winston said.

“If I can jump [away from the gate] well and sit in a prominent position, he’ll be there at the finish,” Winston said.

Winston has ridden more than 1,000 winners in his career, which has had its share of troubles.

He was injured in August 2005 when contending for the national riding title in Britain. In 2007, he was suspended for a year by the British Horseracing Authority over illegally providing information to bettors that was not in the public domain.

“It’s water under the bridge,” he said of the penalty. “Life goes on.”

This year in England, he rode 86 winners, including Red Jazz in the Group 2 Victor Chandler Stakes at Newmarket in October.

After Friday, he’s back on a plane. Winston said he is due to ride in Deauville, France, on Monday.