03/15/2011 2:46PM

Santa Anita: Mandella prepares for stakes near and far

Benoit & Associates
Setsuko (left), who finished second to Game On Dude in the Santa Anita Handicap, could make his next start in the $1 million Charles Town Classic in West Virginia next month.

ARCADIA, Calif. – Trainer Richard Mandella put Champ Pegasus on a plane to Dubai on Tuesday and will leave himself for the Middle East on Thursday, but he’ll still be in action here Saturday, with Blue Maiden and Calla Vista being considered for the Grade 2, $150,000 Santa Ana Stakes and Chalulu One definite for the $100,000 Irish O’Brien Stakes.

The Santa Ana, for older female turf runners at 1 1/8 miles, is expected to be headed by Harmonious, who is returning to the turf after finishing third behind Always a Princess and Blind Luck in last month’s La Canada Stakes on the main track. In her prior start, Harmonious was nosed out in the Robert Frankel Stakes by Spring Style, who also is back for the Santa Ana.

Mandella said he was not sure if he would take a shot with either Blue Maiden or Calle Vista. Both are improving. Blue Maiden, who was group-stakes placed in Great Britain, was second in a second-level allowance here Feb. 24. Calle Vista has finished no worse than second in her last five starts, including a victory last time out Feb. 13 in a second-level allowance.

Certain for the race are Eclair de Lune, Lilly Fa Pootz, and Turning Top, with Malibu Pier, Startjumpin Marnie, and Washington Bridge possible.

Mandella was more certain regarding Chalula One, who heads a likely small field of older females going 6 1/2 furlongs down the hillside turf course. Chalula One has not raced since September 2009. That summer, she was second in the Fleet Treat Stakes at Del Mar.

“She had a long list of little things happen to her, but they’re all behind her now,” Mandella said. “I’m anxious to get started with her.”

Also likely for the Irish O’Brien are La Nez, Saanneen, and Strawberry Tart.

Setsuko recovers quick from cut

Mandella said Setsuko, who was injured when finishing second in the roughly run Santa Anita Handicap on March 5, had recovered quickly from a laceration and was on target to run in the $1 million Charles Town Classic next month in West Virginia.

“He had a cut about six inches long, and it was trying to get infected, which is what worried me the day after the race, but we put him on antibiotics and that knocked it out,” Mandella said.

Mandella said he was not worried about running Setsuko on a bullring track like Charles Town, which is six furlongs in circumference.

“For a million dollars, we’ll bend him,” he said.

Short field likely for San Luis Rey

With division leaders Champ Pegasus and Bourbon Bay, the one-two finishers in last month’s San Luis Obispo Stakes, both heading to Dubai, the Grade 2, $150,000 San Luis Rey Stakes on Sunday is coming up soft.

That has spurred trainer Jerry Hollendorfer to take a shot with New Zealand import Dahoud, who only beat a first-level allowance field in his last start, his third in this country.

The San Luis Rey, like the San Luis Obispo, is at 1 1/2 miles on turf for older horses. Others likely for the San Luis Rey include Buenos Dias, Falcon Rock, Romp, and Haimish Hy, who finished a distant third in the San Luis Obispo.

Also Sunday is the $100,000 Santa Paula Stakes for 3-year-old female sprinters. California Nectar, a two-time sprint stakes winner at the meet, is expected to head a small field in that one, her rivals including recent debut winner Hout Bay.

Hornblower Cohen back in action

Jay Cohen, Santa Anita’s popular hornblower, was back in action Saturday after missing the previous 3 1/2 weeks with a neck injury. He missed 14 race cards.

“They shaved some bone arthroscopically from the C-4 and C-5 in my neck,” Cohen said. “It took me time to heal. I knew I had to have it done when I couldn’t turn my head.”

◗ Trainers Pete Eurton and Adam Kitchingman were fined $500 by Santa Anita’s stewards for recent medication violations.

Eurton was cited after Holy Flapper tested for a high level of the legal medication phenylbutazone following the seventh race on Feb. 6.

Kitchingman’s horse, Go Tena Go, tested positive for more than one nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug following the first race on Feb. 6; only one NSAID is allowed.

◗ Sprint star Smiling Tiger, likely to make his next start in the Count Fleet Stakes at Oaklawn next month, worked a half-mile in 46.40 seconds on Tuesday morning at Santa Anita.