03/15/2012 2:49PM

Santa Anita: No turf in Irish O'Brien likely means no Unzip Me

Benoit & Associates
Turf sprint specialist Unzip Me may run on dirt, but not if the track is sealed, according to trainer Marty Jones.

ARCADIA, Calif. – If The Weather Channel’s forecast for heavy rain in the area for Saturday holds true, the chances of the Irish O’Brien Stakes staying on the downhill turf course are remote. And if the race is moved to the main track, the chances of race favorite Unzip Me staying in the Irish O’Brien are also remote, according to Marty Jones, the trainer of Unzip Me.

“She won’t run on a sealed track,” Jones said Thursday morning. “It if comes off the turf, there’s a slight chance she’d run on dirt. But not on a sealed track. We’ll just have to see. There’s nothing we can do now.”

Unzip Me’s specialty is sprinting on the downhill turf course, and that is the scheduled venue for the $100,000 Irish O’Brien, which is for California-bred older fillies and mares. Unzip Me has won 7 times in 11 starts on this course. But because a portion of the about 6 1/2-furlong course involves crossing the main track, safety precludes running the race on grass if a sloppy surface must be crossed.

Jones was resigned to the weather impacting the race. It would be a shame if Unzip Me could not run on her favorite course, because “it seems like she’s doing really well right now,” Jones said.

“She’s been training really well,” Jones said.

Mike Smith is named to ride Unzip Me because her regular jockey, Rafael Bejarano, is at Oaklawn to ride Secret Circle in the Rebel Stakes.

Unzip Me landed the rail in the Irish O’Brien, which has a field of eight. John Harris, a co-owner of Unzip Me, still should have representatives in the race, whether it’s on turf or dirt. Harris has two other entrants in the race, Bench Glory and Sunburn, both trained by Sean McCarthy.

Bench Glory was third most recently in a first-level allowance on the hillside course. However, McCarthy said he will scratch her if the race is moved to the main track.

By contrast, Sunburn is a go on turf or dirt.

“She’s running,” McCarthy said. “I’m putting the blinkers back on her. She’s done quite well. It looks like a good spot to take a shot.”

Lindz Winz, second in a state-bred allowance on the hillside course last time, is making her sixth start of the meet.

“I’m going to run as long as Unzip Me doesn’t run,” said Barry Abrams, the trainer of Lindz Winz. “It’s not the toughest field in the world. It’s a good chance to get some black type.”

Halo Dolly figures to be a main player. A winner of 8 of 15 starts, Halo Dolly owns wins on both dirt and turf.

Advance Ticket beat a first-level allowance field at Golden Gate in her last start. She has finished first or second in 20 of 31 starts.

Secret Cove was fourth in the Clocker’s Corner on the downhill course in her last start.

Camille C is back in a softer spot after finding the Grade 2 company of the Buena Vista too steep last time out.