02/07/2013 4:55PM

Santa Anita: Las Virgenes may get Beholder, but not Executiveprivilege

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Barbara D. Livingston
Trainer Richard Mandella says champion filly Beholder has recovered from a throat ulcer in time to make the March 2 Las Virgenes..

ARCADIA, Calif. – Beholder and Executiveprivilege, the first two finishers in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies in November, may not have a rematch in the $250,000 Las Virgenes Stakes at Santa Anita on March 2.

Beholder, the champion 2-year-old filly of 2012, worked five furlongs in 1:01.80 at Santa Anita on Thursday and could run in the Grade 1 Las Virgenes Stakes over a mile for 3-year-old fillies.

Plans for Executiveprivilege are less certain, trainer Bob Baffert said. Baffert said on Wednesday that Executiveprivilege is in training but had been battling a quarter crack.

“I haven’t planned anything for her,” Baffert said.

Executiveprivilege won 5 of 7 starts and $940,000 last year, but was fourth in the Hollywood Starlet Stakes at Betfair Hollywood Park in December, her most recent start.

Beholder finished second in her first start of 2013 – the Grade 2 Santa Ynez Stakes on Jan. 21. In the days after that race, Beholder was found to have a throat ulcer. She was successfully treated in late January, allowing for a resumption of workouts on Thursday.

“We gave her an easy five-eighths,” trainer Richard Mandella said. “The throat looks good.”

He described the Las Virgenes Stakes as “a good possibility.”

Mandella said the throat ailment may have been caught in time.

“The good news is that was just starting and wasn’t very big,” he said. “The aggressive treatment is working. So far, everything is good.”

The Las Virgenes is the first of two Grade 1 races for 3-year-old fillies at this meeting, followed by the $300,000 Santa Anita Oaks on April 6.

Sky Kingdom may join Big Cap cast

Sky Kingdom, the winner of an optional claimer on Jan. 24, worked a half-mile in 47.80 seconds on Thursday. Trained by Baffert, Sky Kingdom could start in the $750,000 Santa Anita Handicap over 1 1/4 miles on March 2 as part of a strong group of runners for the trainer.

Baffert will start Game On Dude in the Big Cap, and is likely to run Guilt Trip, who won the Strub Stakes on Feb. 2. Game On Dude won the Big Cap in 2011 and the San Antonio Stakes last Sunday.

Baffert said on Thursday that Fed Biz, who was third in the Strub Stakes, is an unlikely starter.

“I need to space his races a little bit,” Baffert said.

Amazombie works slowly

Amazombie, the champion sprinter of 2011, worked three furlongs in 38.80 seconds on Thursday, his first workout since an eighth-place finish in the BC Sprint here in November.

Trained and co-owned by Bill Spawr, Amazombie was turned out at a local farm in the final weeks of 2012 before returning to the racetrack last month.

Spawr said he would like to have Amazombie ready for a return to racing in April, with the $150,000 Potrero Grande Stakes over 6 1/2 furlongs at Santa Anita on April 6 or the $250,000 Count Fleet Sprint Handicap over six furlongs at Oaklawn Park on April 13 a possible target. Amazombie has won the last two runnings of the Potrero Grande.

Strong Suit could shorten up

Strong Suit, a four-time stakes winner in England in 2010 and 2011, but 11th in his California debut in the Grade 2 Arcadia Stakes over a mile on turf on Feb. 2, may revert to a sprint for his next start.

A 5-year-old, Strong Suit will be considered for the $75,000 Joe Hernandez Stakes on the hillside turf course on Feb. 23, trainer Simon Callaghan said.

Strong Suit was upset before the start of the Arcadia and reluctant to load. He was at the back of the field throughout and never posed a threat as a 7-1 shot.

“That’s every trainer’s nightmare,” Callaghan said. “He was fine after the race. There really are no other excuses. We want to give him another chance.”