04/05/2012 2:39PM

Santa Anita: Go Forth North ready for return


ARCADIA, Calif. – Go Forth North has spent more time on the sidelines in the last 18 months than she has with trainer A.C. Avila.

A 5-year-old mare who has won two stakes in a 15-race career, Go Forth North made just three starts last year, a season highlighted by third-place finishes in two Grade 2 races – the Robert Frankel Stakes in January, and the Palomar Handicap at Del Mar last September.

Go Forth North returns from a seven-month layoff in Saturday’s $75,000 American Beauty Stakes over a mile on turf for fillies and mares at Santa Anita. It is a pivotal race, which will tell Avila how much training Go Forth North can endure this year.

“Knock on wood, she is doing good,” he said on Thursday. “She’s gained weight. She’s a big mare now.”

Owned by a partnership, Go Forth North underwent surgery to have two screws placed in a shin in January 2011. After the Palomar, she had another operation on the same shin. The second surgery involved three stabilizing screws and a plate to facilitate healing, Avila said.

Go Forth North rejoined Avila’s stable in January.

In the American Beauty, Go Forth North drew the outside post in a field of nine. The presence of quick fillies such as A Jealous Woman and Briecat could ensure a quick pace for a closer such as Go Forth North.

“There is much more speed in there,” Avila said.

Avila also starts Gem of Soul, who won her U.S. debut in an allowance race over a mile on turf on March 8. Gem of Soul won 2 of 3 starts in Brazil last year.

The American Beauty will be the U.S. debut of Belle Royale, who won her last three starts in England last August and September.

Two of Belle Royale’s win were at Chester Racecourse, a left-handed track with a short stretch comparable in length to the one at Santa Anita. “I think that’s a definite plus,” Callaghan said. “She’s very progressive and does well on firm turf.”

Rousing Sermon may get priced out

Rousing Sermon, a stakes winner at Santa Anita last fall and the third-place finisher in the Louisiana Derby last weekend, may miss the Kentucky Derby on May 5 because of insufficient earnings in graded stakes.

Through Thursday, Rousing Sermon ranked 17th on the graded stakes earnings list for 3-year-olds, with $270,000. If the Kentucky Derby draws more than 20 entries, earnings in graded stakes will determine the field.

With numerous prep races to be run in the first three weekends of April, trainer Jerry Hollendorfer is concerned that Rousing Sermon will not be able to hold his place. “I don’t know if we’ll have enough money,” he said.

Hollendorfer said there are no plans to give Rousing Sermon an additional start in a graded stakes in coming weeks to secure a spot.

Owned by breeders Larry and Marianne Williams, Rousing Sermon could start instead in the $300,000 Snow Chief Stakes for California-bred 3-year-olds at Hollywood Park on April 28.

“We would certainly consider that race,” Hollendorfer said.

Last fall, Rousing Sermon won the California Cup Juvenile at Santa Anita.

French Storm returning

French Storm, a 3-year-old by A.P. Indy, will make his long-awaited debut in Saturday’s fourth race, a six-furlong maiden race.

French Storm was part of a three-horse package that owner Heinz Steinmann and trainer Mike Harrington acquired in early 2011. The other two horses were Creative Cause, the favorite for Saturday’s Santa Anita Derby, and Empire Way, who was staked-placed earlier at this meeting.

Harrington hoped to start French Storm earlier this year, but the debut was postponed because of quarter cracks.

French Storm is out of Ile de France, a half-sister to the 2006 Preakness Stakes winner, Bernardini.