06/24/2011 1:38PM

Patience with Lucky Primo pays off


INGLEWOOD, Calif. – There will never be an extensive schedule of races for the California-bred Lucky Primo, who won the second stakes of his career in Thursday’s $71,800 Golden State Cup Stakes at Hollywood Park.

“He’s got a bunch of problems,” said Joshua Litt, who bred, co-owns, and trains the 5-year-old gelding.

“He’s got a funny knee that needs time off. It’s always been a struggle.”

While Litt’s patience has been tested, Lucky Primo has often made it worthwhile for the trainer and his brother Jason, a co-owner. With limited opportunities, Lucky Primo has won 4 of 11 starts and $236,602.

The Golden State Cup, an overnight race restricted to California-breds that had not finished in the first three in a graded stakes, was Lucky Primo’s second stakes win. In October 2008, Lucky Primo won the California Cup Juvenile at Santa Anita. It was his last start until March 2010.

Since that return, Lucky Primo has made seven starts – four in 2010 and three this year. He won an allowance race over a mile on turf on June 26, 2010, but did not start again until March of this year.

“He needs two months between starts,” Litt said. “I don’t make future plans with this horse You have to wait and see how he is.”

The Golden State Cup provided its own drama. Lucky Primo, ridden by Tyler Baze, dueled with the 4-year-old filly Logical Single through a quick pace of 23.99 and 46.43 seconds, before taking a clear lead on the turn. Lucky Primo was five lengths in front with a furlong remaining, and finished 2 1/2 lengths in front of Norvsky, the 1-2 favorite, in the field of five.

“It looked like they were going too fast,” Litt said. “I was a little worried, because I can’t train him that hard.”

If Litt could make a plan, a race such as the $100,000 California Dreamin’ Handicap for California-breds over 1 1/16 miles on turf at Del Mar on July 24 would be a possibility. Another option could be the restricted Harry Brubaker Stakes on turf at Del Mar on Aug. 24.

“It depends on the horse, how he comes out of the race,” Litt said.

Litt has a vested interest in the long-term success of Lucky Primo, who is by Atticus out of Live Free Or Die, by Personal Flag. Litt owns Live Free Or Die, who is the dam of Kingpin Ryno, a 3-year-old gelding by In Excess. Kingpin Ryno, trained by Litt, lost his first five starts and was entered in a maiden race over a mile on turf in Saturday’s ninth race.

The family also includes a 2-year-old gelding by Decarchy who is in training with Litt at Hollywood Park and a weanling filly by Papa Clem. Their values increased with Lucky Primo’s win.

“I own the mare,” Litt said. “The more he makes, the better.”

◗ The 2-year-old A.P. Caution won a $12,500 claiming race for maidens at the San Joaquin County Fair in Stockton on June 17 to give the stallion Under Caution his first winner.

Under Caution, a 10-year-old by A.P. Indy, stands for an advertised fee of $500 at Moon Valley Stallion Station in San Miguel, Calif., and has 30 2-year-olds this year.

A.P. Caution was making his second start June 17 in a race over five furlongs.