12/19/2008 12:00AM

No clear target for Star Nicholas's next start


Star Nicholas's victory in the On Trust Handicap at Hollywood Park on Dec. 14 left trainer Peter Eurton at a loss.

The victory was certainly welcome, but Eurton is unsure what to do with the 5-year-old gelding.

"I don't know where I'll go next," Eurton said. "I think he's strictly a [synthetic-track horse] up to a mile and a sixteenth. I'm kind of being vague, because I don't have plans set in stone."

Star Nicholas has been well regarded since he was 3 but needed time to recover from a variety of injuries.

"He had problems with everything," said co-breeder and co-owner Pete Cristofi.

Star Nicholas made his debut in March 2007 as a 4-year-old and made only three starts that year, failing to win. This year, Star Nicholas has won 4 of 10 starts and $163,691, nearly all of his career earnings of $173,251.

"He's always acted like a horse that could run," Eurton said. "We had a lot of things wrong early on, always bone issues from a shoulder, to a shin that was really nagging. Now, things have come together."

Eurton said the Sunshine Millions stakes at Santa Anita and Gulfstream Park on Jan. 24 are not a good fit for Star Nicholas. The $300,000 Sprint over six furlongs at Santa Anita may be too short.

"I don't think he'd get up," Eurton said.

The $1 million Classic over 1 1/8 miles on dirt at Gulfstream Park is on the wrong surface.

"I don't want to do dirt with him," Eurton said.

The $500,000 Turf over 1 1/8 miles at Santa Anita is a possibility.

"I could go grass," Eurton said.

Co-owned by King Max Farms, Ron Mostero, and Robert Nugent, Star Nicholas is the second stakes winner for the stallion Poteen, 14, who stands at Old English Rancho in Sanger, Calif. Poteen's first stakes winner was Epitome of a Lady, who won the Harvest Stakes at the Big Fresno Fair earlier this fall. Star Nicholas is out of the Royal Roberto mare Viznaga, who had 1 victory in 19 starts and earned $15,480.

She is the dam of the nine foals to race; Star Nicholas is the most successful.

Star Nicholas also is Cristofi's first stakes winner since Maheras, the crack sprinter from the mid-1970s. Maheras won such races as the Palos Verdes and San Simeon handicaps at Santa Anita and the Albany Handicap at Golden Gate Fields.

Running Horse adds pair of stallions

Blazonry, winner of the Grade 2 Laz Barrera Stakes in 2003, and Southern Africa, who won the Grade 3 Lone Star Derby in 2005, will stand the 2009 breeding season at Running Horse Equine Training Center in Stevinson, Calif.

Blazonry, 8, previously stood at Hopewell Farm in Kentucky for $5,000. A winner of 2 of 8 starts and $105,454, Blazonry's oldest foals are yearlings this year. Blazonry is by Hennessy.

Southern Africa, 6, won 5 of 28 stars and $739,368, racing in the United States and England. In this country, his career highlights were wins in the Borderland Derby at Sunland Park in 2005, the Lone Star Derby at Lone Star Park, and the Ralph Hinds Pomona Invitational at Fairplex Park in 2006. By Cape Town, Southern Africa raced for Al and Sandee Kirkwood for most of his career.

Both stallions stand for $2,500, with a discounted fee of $1,500 available for the first 20 mares. In addition, the first 20 mares to each stallion will pay $10 in mare care charges for the time they are based at the farm, according to Robert Harmon, who is managing the stallions.