01/04/2012 3:49PM

Santa Anita: Longview Drive shows new focus with blinkers


ARCADIA, Calif. – The addition of blinkers should help Longview Drive stay focused on chasing the pacesetters in Saturday’s $100,000 Sham Stakes at Santa Anita. He will have a formidable target in front of him in the early stages of the one-mile race for 3-year-olds.

Secret Circle, winner of the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Sprint at Churchill Downs in November, will be heavily favored in the Grade 3 Sham Stakes. Trained by Bob Baffert, Secret Circle has not started since the BC Juvenile Sprint. The Sham will be his first start around two turns.

Longview Drive has started twice around two turns, winning the Charlie Palmer Futurity at Fresno in October and finishing third in the Grade 3 Delta Downs Jackpot Stakes in Louisiana in November. Those races were run over 1 1/16 miles.

Trained by Jerry Hollendorfer for Steve Beneto, Longview Drive worked when fitted with blinkers at Santa Anita on Monday, going six furlongs in 1:12.60. He has yet to wear blinkers in his five-race career, which includes three wins and earnings of $188,000.

Hollendorfer’s assistant, Dan Ward, said the work was impressive and that Longview Drive may have been intrigued by other horses on the track.

“We put blinkers on him for the first time, and he worked much better,” Ward said. “He’s not the best work horse. I don’t know if it was the blinkers or a horse in front of him that he wanted to catch.”

The Sham Stakes drew a field of six, including Handsome Mike, seventh in the Grade 1 CashCall Futurity at Hollywood Park last month; the maiden race winners Hierro and Out of Bounds; and Senor Rain, who was pulled up after bearing out in the Grade 3 Generous Stakes at Hollywood Park. He has since been gelded, trainer Peter Miller said last weekend.

Bonde to have string at Oaklawn

Trainer Jeff Bonde plans to have a 20-horse stable at Oaklawn Park this winter, doubling the number of horses that he raced at the Arkansas track in 2011. He will continue to have divisions in Northern and Southern California.

“We’ve picked up some horses from back there,” he said. “It’s not going to affect the numbers we have in California.”

One horse likely to stay in California is Frumious, who won a six-furlong optional claimer by 2 1/2 lengths in 1:07.16 on Dec. 31.

A 5-year-old gelding by Grindstone, Frumious has won 5 of 14 starts and $169,192 for George and Mary Clare Schmitt.

“He was a big talent as a 2-year-old,” Bonde said. “He injured his suspensory, and it took a long time to get back to himself. He was gelded, and that probably helped his chances. He’s running back to the way we thought he would as a young horse.”

◗ Tapizar, winner of the 2011 Sham Stakes, worked six furlongs in 1:12.60 on Wednesday and is being pointed to the $150,000 San Fernando Stakes for 4-year-olds on Jan. 14. Trained by Asmussen, Tapizar was fifth in the BC Dirt Mile at Churchill Downs in November.

Prayer for Relief, a three-time stakes winner last year and another candidate for the San Fernando, worked seven furlongs in 1:27.