01/09/2013 4:05PM

Santa Anita: Battle Force tries dirt in San Fernando

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Emily Shields
Fed Biz is among four horses trainer Bob Baffert has entered for Saturday's San Fernando.

Battle Force will make his career debut on a dirt track in Saturday’s $150,000 San Fernando Stakes for 4-year-olds, a race worth trying at this stage of the colt’s career, trainer John Shirreffs said on Wednesday.

By Giant’s Causeway, Battle Force was second as the 3-1 favorite in the Grade 2 Sir Beaufort Stakes over a mile on turf for 3-year-olds here on Dec. 26, closing well through the stretch. That narrow loss, and a game second in an allowance race on the synthetic main track at Hollywood Park on Nov. 17, has led Shirreffs to try the San Fernando, which is run over 1 1/16 miles.

“We hope it works out as well,” Shirreffs said. “He always tries. He’s always been very solid.”

Owned by Woodford Racing, Battle Force has 1 win in 5 starts, a maiden race on turf here in November 2011. He was later third in the Grade 3 Generous Stakes on turf at Hollywood Park that month but did not start again until last November.

“He ran well in his comeback race,” Shirreffs said.

The San Fernando has drawn a field of 10, but it was unclear on Wednesday whether it would have that many starters. Trainer Bob Baffert entered four – Fed Biz, Guilt Trip, Mile High Magic, and Sky Kingdom – but said he would wait until later in the week before determining which of them would run.

Baffert passed on entering three other nominees – Castaway, Conspiracy, and Drill.

Of the others, Handsome Mike, who won the Pennsylvania Derby in September, is a leading contender for trainer Doug O’Neill.

Rematch of Monrovia’s top pair unlikely

Mizdirection and Kindle provided a thrilling running of the Grade 2 Monrovia Stakes last Sunday when they finished a half-length apart in the turf sprint for females.

It will be their last meeting for some time.

Wednesday, trainer Mike Puype said he plans to stick with his pre-Monrovia plan and will point Mizdirection for the $150,000 Buena Vista Stakes over a mile on turf for fillies and mares.

“There is another sprint for her at the end of the meeting, but it doesn’t do much for her value,” Puype said of the Las Cienegas Handicap in April.

Mizdirection, 5, has not started at a mile since she won the minor Sandy Blue Handicap on turf at Del Mar in August 2011.

Kindle could make her next start in the $250,000 Santa Monica Stakes for fillies and mares over seven furlongs on Jan. 26.

“She bounced out of the race in good shape,” trainer Gary Mandella said. “There is a 50-50 chance I’d run her back in the Santa Monica and see if she can hold her form on dirt.”

Mandella said a back-up plan is the $100,000 Las Flores Stakes over 6 1/2 furlongs on March 10.