03/27/2013 2:01PM

Santa Anita: Little Jerry giving grass a try

Barbara D. Livingston
Rosengold has won 2 of 3 starts, but has never started over a mile.

ARCADIA, Calif. - Three races into his career, Little Jerry has yet to display the potential trainer Richard Baltas expects.

"He's kind of a baby," Baltas said.

Little Jerry was fourth and last in the Grade 2 Robert Lewis Stakes on Feb. 2, ending his involvement in the major springtime races for 3-year-olds on dirt. Friday, Little Jerry makes his turf debut in the $70,000 Pasadena Stakes for 3-year-olds over a mile on turf at Santa Anita.

A move to turf gives Baltas and owners Jaam Racing Inc. and Riley Racing Stable a chance to assess Little Jerry before the summer, when more turf stakes are run on this circuit for 3-year-olds. A colt by Candy Ride, Little Jerry worked five furlongs on turf in 1:01 here last Saturday under jockey Tyler Baze.

"He came home in 23 and change for the last quarter, but Tyler said he was looking around," Baltas said. "I don't think he's come into his own yet."

Baze rides Little Jerry in the Pasadena. The race drew 11 entrants, but will have 10 starters since the temporary rails will be set 24 feet out from the permanent rail, reducing the width of the course. The race has two graded or group stakes runners -- Counting Days, third in the Grade 3 El Camino Real Derby at Golden Gate Fields on Feb. 16; and Tiger Day, second in a Group 3 in Italy last July.

The Pasadena Stakes has a dedicated front-runner in Rosengold, the winner of the Baffle Stakes for 3-year-olds on the hillside turf course on March 2. Trained by Julio Canani for breeder Bill Currin, Rosengold has won 2 of 3 starts, but has never started over a mile.

Miceli is the only other runner in the field who won his last start.

Trained by Adam Kitchingman, Miceli has won his last three starts, including an allowance race on turf at Turf Paradise in January and an optional claimer on turf here Feb. 1.

In the Feb. 1 race, Miceli, who was entered for an $80,000 claiming price, stalked the pace before taking the lead in early stretch.

"He's better on grass than dirt," Kitchingman said. "It's hard to find races for him. I imagine he'll be close to the front."

Kitchingman is hopeful that Miceli can stay within range of the speedy Rosengold. "The one that impresses me the most is the Canani horse," he said.