01/18/2013 3:47PM

Santa Anita: Lady of Fifty sharp for La Canada


ARCADIA, Calif. – Notwithstanding sharp form, Book Review and More Chocolate seem to be up against it Sunday in the Grade 2 La Canada Stakes at Santa Anita.

After all, Book Review is a late-running sprinter trying two turns, and More Chocolate is a turf specialist trying dirt. Beat the favorite Lady of Fifty? What, are they kidding?

Actually, they are not. The 1  1/16-mile La Canada for 4-year-old fillies attracted six entrants, and if distance/footing challenges are too much for Book Review and More Chocolate to overcome, it is fair to ask if a nine-pound weight shift might compromise Lady of Fifty.

“It’s a big shift, but it’s not like she is a small horse,” assistant trainer Dan Ward said. “She’s huge. She towers over other horses.”

Jerry Hollendorfer trains Lady of Fifty, who carried 114 pounds last month winning the Grade 2 Bayakoa Stakes at Betfair Hollywood Park.

She carries 123 pounds Sunday as she tries to extend her four-race win streak in main-track routes against her gender.

Lady of Fifty, the 6-5 favorite by track linemaker Jon White, has won six races and $320,000 from 11 starts, and ran well in both her starts on dirt at Santa Anita in autumn. Sired by After Market, Lady of Fifty is the top California main-track female, at least until My Miss Aurelia and Include Me Out return to form.

Hollendorfer is stocked with older fillies, including Snow Fall, who won the $75,000 Paseana Handicap on Jan.  13 and is headed to the Grade  2 Santa Maria on Feb. 16. Lady of Fifty could also run in the Santa Maria, pending her effort Sunday in the La Canada.

As for the 2013 campaigns for Book Review and More Chocolate, a lot depends on how they run in the La Canada.

Book Review rallied to an upset victory Dec. 26 in the Grade 1 La Brea Stakes at seven furlongs in her first start for trainer Bob Baffert.

Previously trained by Chad Brown in New York, Book Review has won five of 10 starts, mostly around one turn.

Baffert is aware of her reputation. “Her best races are as a late-running sprinter,” he said. “I want to give her the opportunity to try long here. If she can go two turns, it opens more options.”

Rafael Bejarano rides Book Review, 7-5 morning-line second choice.

More Chocolate, trained by John Sadler and assistant Larry Benavidez, has targeted the La Canada since an impressive turf-allowance win Nov. 1. While her seven starts, including two wins, have been on grass, the Malibu Moon filly has trained well on dirt.

“There’s no reason why she won’t dirt,” Benavidez said. “Distance is her best asset.”

More Chocolate was making her first start in nearly two months Dec. 30 in a Grade 3 turf race, and finished a close third behind Qaraaba and Tiz Flirtatious. Garrett Gomez rides More Chocolate, whose Jan. 14 main-track workout was a best-of-the-morning 1:12.40.

The other starters in the La Canada are Open Water, Willa B Awesome and Ubelongtomemissy.