03/09/2011 4:18PM

Santa Anita comeback for the fragile Lucky Primo


ARCADIA, Calif. – Injuries have kept Lucky Primo on the sidelines more than once in his career, and forced owner-trainer Joshua Litt to take a highly cautious approach to his 2011 campaign. Friday at Santa Anita, Lucky Primo returns from a layoff of more than eight months in an optional claimer over a mile on the main track, a race that Litt considers to be a prep.

“He’ll need a race, for sure,” Litt said. “We’ll probably take him back and make one run. I’d like to get him on grass sometime.”

Bred by Litt and co-owned by JBK Stables, Lucky Primo has won 3 of 8 starts, including the 2008 California Cup Juvenile. Marty Jones trained the 5-year-old gelding in 2008 and 2010. Lucky Primo did not race at 3 in 2009.

“He’s fragile,” Litt said. “He’s got some knee problems. It’s the way he hits the ground.”

Lucky Primo is part of a field of seven in Friday’s seventh race. Lucky Primo must catch Sterling Outlook, who won a first-condition allowance race as a front-runner on a wet-fast track on Feb. 20, and should be favored. El Martillo, third in a key optional claimer on Jan. 27, is a threat as a stalker. He lost the Jan. 27 race to Game On Dude, who won the $750,000 Santa Anita Handicap last Saturday.

The surface will be new to Lucky Primo. He has raced only on synthetic tracks and turf, and will make his debut on a dirt track. Litt, 41, has three horses, and they train over the synthetic track at Hollywood Park.

In the day’s fourth race, a $63,000 allowance race over 1 1/8 miles on turf, Rendezvous, the winner of the Grade 2 Del Mar Derby in 2009, will make his first start around two turns since last spring. He finished third and fourth in an allowance race and optional claimer for turf sprinters last month.

Mobilized, the winner of an optional claimer at Hollywood Park in November, returns to racing following a sixth at 55-1 in the $300,000 Sunshine Millions Turf behind Caracortado on Jan. 29. Caracortado was second in the Grade 1 Kilroe Mile last Saturday.

Mobilized’s trainer, Gary Mandella, said, “There should be some speed in there and looks like we can get a nice trip, at least on paper.”