03/14/2009 12:00AM

In Pasadena, time for Hype to match promise

Email

ARCADIA, Calif. - Hype, a 3-year-old trained by Todd Pletcher, has shown more promise than ability in his first six starts.

Pletcher and his team have taken recent steps to change that. After finishing third in an optional claimer over a mile on turf Jan. 19, Hype was gelded. His first start as a gelding may coincide with his first stakes win in Sunday's $70,000 Pasadena Stakes at Santa Anita.

"From a management standpoint, it's been beneficial," said Pletcher's assistant Michael McCarthy. "He was not focused."

Hype's lone victory came in a maiden race on turf at Hollywood Park last October. He was later third in the Grade 3 Generous Stakes and a troubled eighth in the Grade 1 CashCall Futurity before losing the Jan. 19 race as the 3-5 favorite.

Leading jockey Garrett Gomez retains the mount for the Pasadena Stakes, which is run over a mile on turf.

The race drew 13 entries but will be limited to 12 starters. There may not be that many runners. He's Really Big and New Bay were entered for Saturday's San Felipe Stakes on the main track, and their trainers said on Friday they were leaning toward starting in that race.

Rendezvous, trained by Jerry Hollendorfer, would have fit in the San Felipe, too. A former maiden claimer in Florida, Rendezvous has run well in three starts for Hollendorfer at Golden Gate Fields.

Rendezvous won a starter allowance in December, an optional claimer in January, and was third in the Grade 3 El Camino Real Derby behind stablemate Chocolate Candy on Feb. 14.

In the El Camino Real Derby, Rendezvous closed from last in a field of six to be second in the stretch, but faded to finish third, beaten five lengths.

"In the El Camino Real, it looked like [the jockey] moved early," said Dan Ward, Hollendorfer's assistant.

The Pasadena will be Rendezvous's first start on turf since a win in a maiden claimer at Calder last November. Mike Smith will ride Rendezvous for the first time on Sunday.

"He looks like a horse that you sit on and sit on and then come running," Ward said. "I think Smith will be perfect."

The race should have an honest pace. The speedy Leedstheway, second in the Grade 2 San Vicente Stakes over seven furlongs on Feb. 16, makes his turf debut and first start around two turns.