07/14/2011 10:57AM

Sacramento: Special Holiday sharp for California State Fair Sprint


Two of the runners in Saturday’s $75,000 California State Fair Sprint Handicap come into the race off a victory in a sprint stakes, and that might give them an edge in the six-furlong race for fillies and mares on the dirt track at Sacramento.

The 3-year-old Special Holiday won the Pink Ribbon for 3-year-old fillies at Stockton on June 18. Summers Peace, a 5-year-old mare, had to travel to Washington where she won the June 12 Washington Legislators at Emerald Downs.

Saturday’s sprint stakes is the first of the year on the Northern California calendar for older females and brought out a talented crew.

In addition to the two recent stakes winners, the field includes three multiple stakes winners: U R All That I Am, Strawberry Tart, and Perfect Curls, who made her 3-year-old debut chasing Special Holiday in the Pink Ribbon. Also in the field is the multiple-stakes-placed Point of Reference, the front-running router Sweetly Peppered, and the 3-year-old Whispering Express, who has won her past three starts.

Saturday’s race is placed perfectly for Special Holiday, said trainer Bud Klokstad. She came off a 4 1/2-month layoff with a third-place finish against older in an optional-claiming sprint on the Golden Gate Tapeta. She then improved off that race and won the Pink Ribbon over dirt at Stockton by 2 1/2 lengths.

“It’s a good thing I had her ready,” Klokstad said.

Summers Peace, trained by Chuck Jenda, had not run for 11 weeks before her Emerald Downs victory.

Despite their recent stakes victories, Special Holiday and Summers Peace may go off at higher odds than Point of Reference.

A 5-year-old mare, Point of Reference earned a career-best 101 Beyer in her last start, which came at Golden Gate Fields on May 26. She has two bullet works since. Although her win last out came on Tapeta, Point of Reference won on the dirt at Santa Rosa last year and ran second in her other three dirt starts.

Hall of Fame trainer Jerry Hollendorfer has potent duo in U R All That I Am and Whispering Express. U R All That I Am finished fourth in her last start, which came in the Fran’s Valentine on the Hollywood turf in May. She won the Work the Crowd on the Golden Gate turf two back. Last year, U R All That I Am won the E.B. Johnston on dirt at Fairplex.

Strawberry Tart is unbeaten in two tries at the six-furlong distance.