03/24/2011 1:25PM

Santa Anita: Honour the Deputy tests stamina in Tokyo City Cup


ARCADIA, Calif. – The racing program at Santa Anita has hit a quiet patch leading to the Santa Anita Derby on April 9, due partly to an uncharacteristically wet spring that has limited turf racing.

Saturday, therefore, is an appropriate time for a low-profile niche category to take the spotlight, which is what six older marathon horses will do when they test their stamina at 1 1/2 miles in the Grade 3, $100,000 Tokyo City Cup, which goes as race 7.

This is the fourth year since the Tokyo City was extended from 1 1/8 miles to its current distance. While the last three winners (Tap it Light, Stream Cat, and Niagara Causeway) achieved little of consequence, a lightly raced gelding has the tools to buck the trend this year.

Honour the Deputy, 3 for 6, is the horse to beat in a field that includes graded stakes winners Soul Candy and Rendezvous, stakes-placed Spurrier, front-runner Arcordoro, and Worth Repeating.

Honour the Deputy won three of four at Laurel before shipping to trainer Jerry Hollendorfer in California. He finished nowhere in the Grade 2 Strub and then improved second start back with a closing third behind Misremembered in the Santana Mile.

The 1 1/2-mile distance is the question for Honour the Deputy.

“It’s an unknown if he can get the distance,” Hollendorfer said. “But the way he ran last time, the way he finished, we think he can.”

Corey Nakatani rides Honour the Deputy. While Hollendorfer is focused on the present, it will be interesting to see how his campaign unfolds in summer.

“We’ll try to look for a race he can win; obviously, there will be races at Hollywood Park,” he said.

Well, maybe. The next main-track marathon in Southern California is not scheduled until Del Mar.

Soul Candy will be well-supported Sunday, after a closing fourth in the Santa Anita Handicap.

“He seems to handle grass or dirt equally well, and the distance should be no problem for him,” trainer Paddy Gallagher said.

Soul Candy won the $150,000 California Cup Classic in October and previously won a 1 3/8-mile turf allowance. Joe Talamo will ride 4-for-13 Soul Candy.

Spurrier finished nowhere in the Big Cap, but three previous in-the-money efforts in graded stakes make him a contender under Martin Garcia.

Arcodoro will set the pace.

“When he gets on the front end with his long stride, he can just continue that one pace,” trainer Eric Guillot said.

Edwin Maldonado will ration Arcodoro’s speed.

Cayambe ineligible, will scratch

Stakes winner Cayambe would have been a standout Saturday in race 6, the $40,000 March Madness Handicap. The mile turf race is a starter allowance restricted to horses that started for a claiming price of $32,000 or less since March 1, 2010.

Cayambe, however, is not eligible and will scratch. He seemingly was eligible due to his participation in a $25,000 claiming race April 18, 2010. However, Cayambe was not eligible to be claimed from that race. He was returning from a layoff of more than six months at the same level at which he previously ran, and his connections entered him in the comeback race “not to be claimed.” Therefore, he is not eligible for the starter allowance condition.

Golden Gate shipper Our Natique, California Solider, and Asperity are the principals in a field that will number no more than five starters.