12/27/2012 5:33PM

Santa Anita notes: Jimmy Creed to get distance test in Strub Stakes

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Benoit & Associates
Jimmy Creed, with Garrett Gomez up, wins the Grade 1 Malibu Stakes.

ARCADIA, Calif. – Jimmy Creed’s win in the Grade 1 Malibu Stakes over seven furlongs Wednesday will be his last start in a sprint in coming months.

Trainer Richard Mandella said Thursday that Jimmy Creed will be pointed to the $200,000 Strub Stakes over 1 1/8 miles for 4-year-olds on Feb. 2, a key prep race for the $750,000 Santa Anita Handicap against older horses over 1 1/4 miles on March 2.

Whether Jimmy Creed makes it to the Big Cap will be determined by his performance in the Strub over a distance he has never started. The longer race is not a major issue for Mandella.

“His race yesterday was an indication that he wants to go two turns,” Mandella said.

Ridden by Garrett Gomez, Jimmy Creed closed from fourth in a field of nine to win the $301,000 Malibu by three-quarters of a length over pacesetter Private Zone. Jimmy Creed trailed by a length with a furlong remaining and closed well to score an 8-1 upset, earning a career-high Beyer Speed Figure of 105.

Owned by B. Wayne Hughes, Jimmy Creed was ninth in the Breeders’ Cup Sprint here Nov. 3, unable to handle dirt in his face in the early part of the race, Mandella said. In recent weeks, Jimmy Creed trained behind horses to become accustomed to kickback, Mandella said. Jimmy Creed was further helped on Wednesday when Gomez kept him in the clear.

“It was a good learning experience for this horse, and he just keeps getting better,” Gomez said after the race.

A winner of 3 of 7 starts and $313,000, Jimmy Creed has started around two turns once, finishing a game second by a neck to Fed Biz in the El Cajon Stakes over a mile on the synthetic track at Del Mar on Aug. 31.

The disappointment in the Malibu was The Lumber Guy, the 4-5 favorite who finished seventh after stalking Private Zone for the first half mile.

“He didn’t like the track too much,” trainer Neil Drysdale said Thursday. “He’s fine. There were a lot of horses that didn’t handle the track.”

Private Zone will stay in sprints, trainer Doug O’Neill said after the race. A possible long-term goal is the Golden Shaheen for sprinters in Dubai on March 30.

Big day for Mandella family

Mandella, 62, won his fifth Malibu Stakes on Wednesday. It was his fifth stakes win of the year.

Earlier in the day, his 40-year-old son Gary saddled Silentio to win the Grade 2 Sir Beaufort Stakes for 3-year-olds over a mile on turf. Owned by Alain and Gerard Wertheimer, Silentio won his stakes debut in the Sir Beaufort and gave Gary Mandella a personal best fifth stakes win of the year.

Wednesday was the first time in more than seven years that the Mandellas had won stakes on the same day. On Oct. 1, 2005, Gary won the Vosburgh Stakes at Belmont Park with Taste of Paradise. Later that day, Richard won the Goodwood Handicap with Rock Hard Ten at Santa Anita.

They will have a chance for another stakes double Feb. 2. Silentio will be considered for the $150,000 Arcadia Stakes for 4-year-olds over a mile on turf, Gary Mandella said.

Gary Mandella has not ruled out a switch to a synthetic track for Silentio, who is by Silent Name. Gary Mandella trained Silent Name who won the 2006 Arcadia and the Commonwealth Stakes on a synthetic track at Keeneland the following year.

Book Review eyes La Canada

Book Review won her California debut in the Grade 1 La Brea Stakes for 3-year-old fillies over seven furlongs Wednesday and could start in the $150,000 La Canada Stakes for 4-year-old fillies over 1 1/16 miles on Jan. 20.

Trainer Bob Baffert said he will assess the condition of Book Review to see if the La Brea took a toll on her.

“The La Canada comes up pretty quick,” he said. “She’s a light-framed filly, so we’ll let her tell us where to go.”

Owned by Gary and Mary West, Book Review made her first start for Baffert in the La Brea. She earned a Beyer Speed Figure of 86.

Previously trained by Chad Brown, Book Review was sent to California for Santa Anita’s winter-spring meeting.

“Baffert has put 50 pounds on her, and she seems to be thriving in the California climate,” Gary West said.

Baffert had two wins Wednesday, including a maiden race for 2-year-olds with the second-time starter Belvin, a colt by Empire Maker. Owned by breeder Donald Dizney, Belvin won by a length, finishing 6 1/2 furlongs in 1:14.98, good for a Beyer Speed Figure of 90.

Belvin was second in his debut at Betfair Hollywood Park on Nov. 25.

“We thought he’d win his first out, but he came up a little short,” Baffert said Thursday. “It’s going to be interesting. He’s by Empire Maker out of a Storm Bird mare. He’s a pretty strong-looking horse.

“He’ll probably be stretched out next time.”

Rafael Bejarano had a four-win day Wednesday, riding Silentio, Book Review, Belvin, and Tribal Jewel, winner of an allowance race. Baffert said Bejarano will have a major role in his stable in coming months, even though they are not as closely allied as earlier this year.

“I’m spreading the worry,” Baffert said. “He’s a top rider. He tells me a lot.”

For Bejarano, the four-win day, with two for Baffert, was an ideal start to the meeting.

“He’s always given me a good opportunity,” Bejarano said of Baffert. “I’m always appreciative.”