04/21/2012 12:34PM

Santa Anita notes: Blingo won't be pigeonholed despite La Puente win

Benoit & Associates
Blingo wins the La Puente Stakes at Santa Anita under Mike Smith.

ARCADIA, Calif. – Blingo has made four starts, and both of his victories have come on turf, including his first stakes win in Friday’s $76,500 La Puente Stakes at Santa Anita. But Blingo’s success on turf will not necessarily dictate how trainer John Shirreffs and owners Jerry and Ann Moss plan the colt’s spring and summer campaigns.

“I think we can do whatever comes up,” Shirreffs said.

Blingo won the La Puente Stakes for 3-year-olds over 1 1/8 miles by a half-length over Vibrato Jazz. The La Puente Stakes was Blingo’s first start since a sixth in the Grade 2 San Felipe Stakes on the Santa Anita main track on March 10, a loss that ended his Triple Crown hopes.

The San Felipe Stakes, a prep for the Santa Anita Derby earlier this month, was Blingo’s first start of 2012. Shirreffs said Blingo was quiet in the paddock before that race and ran to his demeanor.

Blingo was brighter in the build-up to the La Puente, with a less extensive training schedule.

“I think when he ran that race on dirt he wasn’t himself,” Shirreffs said. “We just cruised into this race because we’d done so much for the San Felipe.”

Blingo has earned $102,900. A gelding by Artie Schiller, Blingo closed from third in a field of five in the La Puente, the longest race of his career. Blingo ($3.20) was timed in 1:47.58.

Smith said a slow early pace of 23.42 and 48.24 seconds forced him to move to the leaders on the turn earlier than expected.

“When he gets in a legitimate race with something happening in front of him, he’ll be even better,” Smith told Shirreffs.

At the upcoming Hollywood Park spring-summer meeting, there is only one turf stakes for 3-year-olds around two turns, the $70,000 Tsunami Slew Stakes over a mile on June 22. On the synthetic main track, a surface over which Blingo regularly trains, there are two races that Shirreffs could consider – the $100,000 Affirmed Handicap over 1 1/16 miles on June 3 and the $150,000 Swaps Stakes over 1 1/8 miles on July 4.

Shirreffs compared Blingo’s development at this stage of his career to Mr. Commons, who was third in the 2011 Santa Anita Derby and has since won three stakes.

“He’s a young horse that’s still maturing,” Shirreffs said of Blingo. “It was the same situation with Mr. Commons.”

Switch works for Humana Distaff

Switch, the four-time stakes winner who has been second in the last two runnings of the Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Sprint, both at Churchill Downs, worked six furlongs in 1:12.20 at Hollywood Park on Saturday.

Owned by Lee and Susan Searing and trained by John Sadler, Switch is being pointed for the $300,000 Humana Distaff at Churchill Downs on May 5, part of the Kentucky Derby undercard.

◗ Hollywood Park opens its 50-day spring-summer meeting on Thursday with a program highlighted by the $70,000 Harry Henson Stakes for 3-year-olds over six furlongs on turf. American Act, second in the Grade 2 San Vicente Stakes at Santa Anita in February and seventh in the San Felipe, will make his stakes debut on turf.