07/01/2017 1:56PM

Om gets his year started in American Stakes

Barbara D. Livingston
Om works five furlongs in 1:01.60 at Santa Anita on Wednesday.

ARCADIA, Calif. – Even without a start earlier this year, Om will be ahead of schedule when he starts in Tuesday’s Grade 3 American Stakes at a mile on turf at Santa Anita.

Last year, Om was rested from March to August and later finished second by a nose in the Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint at Santa Anita last November.

Om has not raced since finishing third as the favorite in the Grade 2 Seabiscuit Handicap at Del Mar last November. The rest has trainer Dan Hendricks hopeful that Om can perform well Tuesday and be in peak condition at the Del Mar summer meeting and later in the year.

“He has a good foundation from his works,” Hendricks said. “We’re looking at the turf race at Del Mar, maybe two.”

The American Stakes is the top race on Tuesday’s closing day of the spring-summer meeting. Los Alamitos opens its two-week summer meeting Thursday.

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This year, Om will be campaigned in two-turn races. The BC Turf Sprint is run at five furlongs in November, a distance Hendricks wants to avoid.

“The five-eighths is way too short,” he said. “He needed all the 6 1/2 furlongs. It’s a big difference in a race.”

Owned by K.B. Sareen, Om was winless in six starts last year. As a 3-year-old in 2015, Om won half of his eight starts, including three Grade 2 stakes – the Del Mar Derby, Twilight Derby, and Mathis Brothers Mile.

The projected field for the American Stakes will include Alert Bay, who has three turf-stakes wins at Santa Anita, and Hunt, who has not raced since finishing fourth in the Seabiscuit. Hunt underwent surgery to have a bone chip removed from a knee over the winter, trainer Phil D’Amato said.

“He’s come back better than he’s ever been,” D’Amato said. “I’m excited to have him.”

D’Amato said the American Stakes could serve as a prep for Hunt for one of two turf stakes at Del Mar – the Grade 2 Eddie Read Stakes at 1 1/8 miles on July 22 or the restricted Wickerr Stakes at a mile July 23.

The American is expected to the be the first start in nearly a year for Si Sage, the winner of the Grade 2 Charles Whittingham Stakes in May 2016. Si Sage has not raced since finishing fourth in the Eddie Read Stakes at Del Mar last July.

Ambitious Brew in Lennyfrommalibu

Ambitious Brew is a length away from having a perfect year.

After winning the Sensational Star Stakes for California-breds on the hillside turf course in February, Ambitious Brew finished second to Stormy Liberal by three-quarters of a length in the Siren Lure Stakes in April and second by a neck to that same rival in the Grade 3 Daytona Stakes on May 27.

On Tuesday, Ambitious Brew will be favored to win his sixth stakes in the $100,000 Lennyfrommalibu Stakes for California-breds at about 6 1/2 furlongs on the hillside turf course. Fortunately for Ambitious Brew, Stormy Liberal is not a California-bred.

The projected field includes Pee Wee Reese and Smokey Image, who were second and third in the Crystal Water Stakes for California-breds at a mile on turf May 20.