04/16/2011 12:09PM

Santa Anita: Cassidy sets sights on bigger goals


ARCADIA, Calif. – The last week has been the best of trainer Jim Cassidy’s year at Santa Anita, with Surrey Star winning the La Puente Stakes on April 10 and Fifth Ave pulling an upset in her American debut in Friday’s seventh race.

Cassidy is banking on that success continuing in coming weeks as the stable has runners in major stakes at Churchill Downs on May 6, Kentucky Oaks Day.

Surrey Star, owned by Class Racing Stable, will make his next start in the $200,000 American Turf Stakes for 3-year-olds over 1 1/8 miles on May 6, the same day that Evening Jewel, fourth in Thursday’s Grade 1 Madison Stakes at Keeneland, starts in the $300,000 La Troienne Stakes over 1 1/16 miles for older fillies and mares.

Fifth Ave, who won 2 of 13 starts in England last year, has the $70,000 Manhattan Beach Stakes over six furlongs on turf at Hollywood Park on June 18 as a long-term goal, following her win in an allowance race for 3-year-old fillies over about 6 1/2 furlongs on the hillside turf course in her American debut.

The 13-1 upset by Fifth Ave, the longest shot in the field, may have surprised bettors, but not Cassidy, who said she had thrived since mid-March.

“She trained really well in the last three weeks,” he said.

Ridden by Mike Smith, Fifth Ave won by 1 1/4 lengths over Rumor, the 3-5 favorite in the field of five.

Fluke works for Woodford Reserve

Fluke, winner of the Grade 1 Frank Kilroe Mile on March 5, worked six furlongs in 1:14.60 at Hollywood Park on Saturday, preparing for a start in the $500,000 Woodford Reserve Turf Classic at Churchill Downs on May 7.

Trainer Humberto Ascanio had considered Friday’s Grade 1 Maker’s Mark Mile at Keeneland but wanted to stay clear of any races on a less-than-firm turf course.

The Woodford Reserve is run over 1 1/8 miles on turf and is farther than Fluke’s recent starts.

“He relaxes better now than before,” Ascanio said. “A few more works and if everything is okay, we’ll go to Churchill.”

Trainer Carno dies at age 90

Lou Carno, who trained the 30-race winner Victory Beauty in the 1960s and was a fixture at Southern California tracks until several years ago, died in Monrovia, Calif., on Friday, according to a statement released by Santa Anita’s publicity department. Carno was 90 and had been retired from training for four years.

Victory Beauty, whose wins include the Escondido Handicap at Del Mar and races throughout California and at Caliente in Tijuana, ran until he was 13, giving Carno the distinction of training the oldest winner in Santa Anita history. Carno also trained Caterman, who finished first in the 1981 Hollywood Gold Cup but was disqualified and placed second behind Eleven Stitches.

Carno resided in an assisted-living home in recent years. He is survived by his wife of 23 years, Kathy, and three children. Funeral arrangements have not been announced.