03/16/2011 1:43PM

Santa Anita: Regally Ready big threat to fire fresh in Joe Hernandez

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ARCADIA, Calif. – Given a little more than a month between starts, Regally Ready has proven to be a tough gelding, winning four of his last seven starts since July.

Since he made the transition to turf last fall, Regally Ready is even more effective, winning two of three races. Those statistics will make Regally Ready the favorite to win his first stakes in Friday’s $75,000 Joe Hernandez Stakes on the hillside turf course at Santa Anita.

Trained by Steve Asmussen for Vinery Stable, Regally Ready has made two starts on the hillside turf course this winter, finishing third in the Grade 3 Daytona Stakes on Jan. 1 and winning an allowance race on Feb. 4. The break between those races, and a further seven weeks to Friday’s race, is highly beneficial to Regally Ready, according to Asmussen’s assistant, Scott Blasi.

“He runs really hard when he runs,” Blasi said.

Regally Ready has won 4 of 10 starts and $190,488. By More Than Ready, Regally Ready’s success on turf was not a surprise.

“When we went to the grass, he moved way up, like the More Than Readys do,” Blasi said.

For the Hernandez Stakes, Regally Ready is part of a field of eight that includes Dilemma, who was sixth behind Regally Ready on Feb. 4; the multiple stakes winners Blue Chagall, Gallant Son, and Noble Court; Kelly Leak, who won an optional claimer on the hillside on Feb. 24; and Leroy’s Dynameaux, who won the Grade 3 Will Rogers Stakes at Hollywood Park last summer.

Daytona, the winner of six stakes in 2007 and 2008, is entered following a layoff of nearly 29 months, but is unlikely to start, trainer Dan Hendricks said. Hendricks said Daytona’s condition would be evaluated closer to the race.

Regally Ready, who will be ridden by Corey Nakatani, may control the race as the lone front-runner.

Leroy’s Dynameaux, third in an optional claimer on the hillside on Feb. 12, in his first start since August, is best as a stalker. Trainer Mark Glatt sees Friday’s race as a prep for the $150,000 Arcadia Stakes over a mile on turf on April 9, and would have preferred a start in a two-turn race.

“This race is void of early speed and we’ll see how it works out for us,” Glatt said. “I was hoping we could stretch him out to a mile.”