03/21/2013 2:54PM

Santa Anita: Calidoscopio finally ready for return in Tokyo City Cup


ARCADIA, Calif. – Calidoscopio certainly was the oddest winner of a Breeders’ Cup race at Santa Anita last November.

Not often does a 9-year-old, Argentine-bred horse make his U.S. debut in the Breeders’ Cup and score a 17-1 upset in a race such as the Marathon over 1 3/4 miles on dirt. The performance remains Calidoscopio’s only start in this country. Illness and minor injuries kept him away from expected starts in December, February, and earlier this month.

The wait ends in Saturday’s $100,000 Tokyo City Cup over 1 1/2 miles at Santa Anita. The 10-year-old Calidoscopio will have no trouble with the distance, leaving trainer Mike Puype confident in the horse’s chances.

“This is where we would have ended up anyway,” Puype said. “I’m not worried about him coming off a layoff. He’s had plenty of works.”

Owned by Dona Pancha, Calidoscopio has won 10 of 40 starts and $803,282. He rallied from last of 13 to win the BC Marathon by 4 1/4 lengths, pulling away from his rivals in the stretch. The BC Marathon was Calidoscopio’s first start since a win in the Group 2 General Belgrano over 1 9/16 miles in Argentina last June.

In each of his last 12 starts, Calidoscopio has run 1 1/4 miles or farther.

“He’s a natural stayer,” jockey Aaron Gryder said. “He’s working well. He never does things flashy, but when you see 40 starts and 10 wins, that’s flashy enough.”

Races over 1 1/2 miles on the main track at Santa Anita start on the backstretch and run through the stretch twice. Calidoscopio starts from post 6 in a field of eight that includes Richard’s Kid, who won the 2009 and 2010 editions of the Pacific Classic but was sixth in the Santa Anita Handicap on March 2, and Dhaamer, who was second in the 2012 Tokyo City Cup in his U.S. debut. Dhaamer later won two stakes on turf over 1 1/2 miles.

Dhaamer has not started since finishing second in the Grade 2 Del Mar Handicap over 1 3/8 miles on turf last August.

Puype said Calidoscopio has a significant advantage over his rivals in terms of stamina. “A lot of them won’t go that far,” Puype said.

The Santa Anita Handicap was part of Puype’s plans for Calidoscopio. He had hoped to run the veteran in the San Antonio Stakes in early February as a prep until a minor injury surfaced.

“We lost some time when he wrenched an ankle on a muddy track,” he said. “We couldn’t run in the Big Cap without a prep.”

For the Tokyo City Cup, Puype is relying on an honest pace from Batti Man, who was second in an optional claimer Feb. 22 when entered for a $40,000 claiming price. Oilisblackgold, most effective racing just behind the pace, will not be far from the front. A 6-year-old, Oilisblackgold runs in the longest race of his career after winning an optional claimer over 1 1/16 miles Feb. 24.

“I know I’ll be 15 lengths off the pace,” Puype said. “He was an impressive horse in the Breeders’ Cup. I think he’s got to beat Dhaamer, but he’s coming off a layoff. I’m looking forward to Saturday.”