04/13/2012 4:33PM

Santa Anita: Achilles eyes American Turf Stakes after win

Shigeki Kikkawa
Achilles is being pointed to the $200,000 American Turf Stakes at Churchill Downs on May 4.

Achilles may make his stakes debut in the $200,000 American Turf Stakes at Churchill Downs on May 4 after extending his unbeaten streak to two races in an optional claimer at Santa Anita on Thursday.

Trained by Neil Drysdale for Peachtree Stable, Achilles ($3.20) ran a mile on turf in 1:36.12, finishing a length in front of the $80,000 claimer War Politics. Jockey Joe Talamo had Achilles in second on the backstretch. The colt took the lead in early stretch and pulled away to win by a length.

“He got the lead a little earlier than we thought,” Drysdale said. “I thought he did that quite easy.”

By Smart Strike, Achilles won his debut by a head in a one-mile allowance race on turf March 10.

Drysdale said a start in the American Turf over 1 1/16 miles is contingent “on how he does” in coming weeks.

Hollywood Park has one scheduled stakes for 3-year-olds on turf, the $70,000 Tsunami Slew Stakes over a mile on June 22.

Jeranimo points to Woodford Reserve

Jeranimo, winner of four stakes, including three on turf, will start in the $500,000 Woodford Reserve Turf Classic at Churchill Downs on May 5, trainer Mike Pender said Thursday.

A 6-year-old horse owned by B.J. Wright, Jeranimo was fourth in the Grade 1 Frank Kilroe Mile at Santa Anita on March 3. After that race, Pender said that Jeranimo was unlikely to start again until late summer, but the trainer said he changed his mind after watching the horse train in recent weeks.

Most recently, Jeranimo worked a half-mile in 48.20 seconds at Hollywood Park on April 5.

“I didn’t think he’d be ready this soon, but he’s itching to run,” Pender said.

The Grade 1 Woodford Reserve is run over 1 1/8 miles on turf and is the race before the Kentucky Derby.

A winner of 7 of 26 starts and $858,400, Jeranimo won two Grade 2 stakes on turf last fall – the Oak Tree Mile at Santa Anita and the Citation Handicap at Hollywood Park.

Drysdale has stakes pair for closing weekend

Drysdale will have a formidable team in two turf stakes next weekend, the closing days of the Santa Anita winter-spring meeting.
Drysdale plans to start Vamo a Galupiar in the $150,000 Santa Barbara Handicap for fillies and mares over 1 1/4 miles on turf next Saturday and Bourbon Bay in the $150,000 San Juan Capistrano Handicap over about 1 3/4 miles on turf on April 22, closing day.

Bourbon Bay won the 2010 San Juan Capistrano, but did not start in the race last year.

Both of Drysdale’s hopefuls won stakes last month – Vamo a Galupiar in the Grade 2 Santa Ana Stakes and Bourbon Bay in