03/23/2012 3:28PM

Santa Anita: Amazombie leaning toward Oaklawn's Count Fleet Sprint Handicap

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Shigeki Kikkawa
Amazombie could be headed to Oaklawn Park for the Count Fleet Sprint Handicap.

ARCADIA, Calif. – Amazombie, champion sprinter of 2011, worked six furlongs in 1:13 at Santa Anita on Friday for a start in early April at Oaklawn Park or Santa Anita.

Trainer Bill Spawr said that Amazombie will make his next start in the $150,000 Potrero Grande Stakes over 6 1/2 furlongs at Santa Anita on April 7 or the $250,000 Count Fleet Sprint Handicap over six furlongs at Oaklawn Park on April 14.

Spawr said that he was leaning toward Oaklawn Park, “55-45,” but emphasized that a decision will not be made for another week.

“We’ll work him one more time and then make a decision,” he said.

On Friday, Amazombie worked under jockey Alex Bisono, the gelding’s frequent exercise rider. Spawr timed Amazombie in 1:12.60 and said the final quarter-mile was run in 23 seconds. Mike Smith is the regular rider of Amazombie.

The winner of the Breeders’ Cup Sprint at Churchill Downs, Amazombie was third in the Grade 2 San Carlos Stakes over seven furlongs at Santa Anita on Feb. 25, his only start this year. He was third of five through the first half-mile and finished 2 1/4 lengths behind The Factor, a candidate for the $2 million Golden Shaheen in Dubai on March 31.

Spawr never considered the Dubai race for Amazombie, who is co-owned by Tom Sanford. Spawr said Oaklawn’s recent decision to increase the Count Fleet purse by $50,000 is not a factor in the forthcoming decision. He said he is more concerned with the trend of races at Santa Anita, worried that a closer such as Amazombie may be at a disadvantage on a track that has been friendly to front-runners in recent months.

As a result, Amazombie may be bound for Oaklawn Park.

“Because of the bias of the track, we’re leaning toward that,” he said. “We’d rather stay home.”