11/09/2017 1:36PM

Paradise Woods to cap year in La Brea Stakes

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Emily Shields
Paradise Woods wins the Grade 1 Zenyatta Stakes.

DEL MAR, Calif. – Paradise Woods, who finished third in the Breeders’ Cup Distaff last week, will turn back to seven furlongs for the La Brea Stakes on opening day of Santa Anita’s winter meeting Dec. 26, trainer Richard Mandella said Thursday.

Paradise Woods has made her last five starts around two turns, including Grade 1 victories in the Santa Anita Oaks and Zenyatta. She owns a win and a second sprinting, both in maiden company. The allure of a Grade 1 race makes the La Brea, restricted to 3-year-old fillies, an attractive spot for a horse who has made only three starts since the Kentucky Oaks.

“She came out of the Distaff great,” Mandella said at his Del Mar barn. “We’re going to point for the La Brea because it’s a Grade 1, seven-eighths, ought to be a nice race for her.”

Mandella is one of the few trainers who relocates his horses to Del Mar for the fall meeting. Most trainers remain at Santa Anita and ship their runners in. It has been awfully quiet around here the past few mornings after the heady days of the Breeders’ Cup, and like many, the Mandella barn has said goodbye to some old friends while readying some promising new runners.

Avenge, Mandella’s top female turf horse, was retired after the Filly and Mare Turf on Saturday. A two-time Grade 1 winner owned by Ramona Bass, Avenge is in quarantine at Claiborne Farm in Kentucky, where Mandella said she is being readied for a trip to England and a date next spring with the sire Frankel.

“I think I’ll point the [foal] toward the Epsom Derby since I haven’t had any luck with the Kentucky Derby,” Mandella joked.

Bass is the owner of Keystone Field, a 2-year-old colt by Candy Ride. Mandella has him set to debut going six furlongs on Saturday in race 7. Keystone Field is a $525,000 yearling purchase.

“He’s all legs,” Mandella said. “He’s a pretty mover. I think he’ll be better when he goes long.”

Other prominent newcomers in race 7 include Pitino, a Union Rags colt purchased this year for $950,000 who is trained by Doug O’Neill, and Totally Boss, a Street Boss colt with some fast works on the tab at Keeneland and Del Mar for trainer Brian Lynch.