11/02/2012 2:43PM

Santa Anita: Rhythm of Light makes U.S. debut in Goldikova Stakes

Benoit & Associates
A Jealous Woman is the expected pacesetter in the Goldikova Stakes.

ARCADIA, Calif. – From Turkey to California, by way of England, Rhythm of Light makes her American debut in Sunday’s $150,000 Goldikova Stakes at Santa Anita.

Trained in England by Tom Dascombe, Rhythm of Light, 4, has won races in England and Turkey in the last year. In her last start, she won the Group 2 International Istanbul Trophy for fillies and mares over about a mile on turf at Veliefendi Racecourse in Turkey.

Getting on and off planes is no problem for Rhythm of Light.

“She’s always traveled well,” Dascombe said Thursday. “She’s been to Turkey twice and traveled to Dubai. She takes everything in stride.”

A winner of 5 of 16 starts and $313,659, Rhythm of Light is expected to stay in California. Dascombe said she will join trainer Simon Callaghan’s stable after the Grade 2 Goldikova, which is run over a mile on turf.

The Goldikova Stakes is the feature on a 10-race program that begins at noon. Sunday is the final day of the Santa Anita autumn meeting. Betfair Hollywood Park opens its autumn meeting Thursday.

Rhythm of Light is one of four stakes winners in a field of eight. She has run over a variety of surfaces in her career, racing at nine tracks in four countries.

“A mile on a flat track around a bend will be ideal,” Dascombe said.

The Istanbul Trophy was Rhythm of Light’s first major win since the Sandringham Handicap at Royal Ascot in 2011. In the Goldikova, she will be ridden for the first time by Garrett Gomez.

Rhythm of Light should have a pace to follow. A Jealous Woman, who won the Swingtime Stakes here Oct. 6, is expected to lead. She will be closely followed by Let’s Go Cheyenne, the winner of the CTT and TOC Handicap over 1 3/8 miles on turf at Del Mar in August who was eighth in the Rodeo Drive Stakes on Sept. 29.

Let’s Go Cheyenne can lead, but trainer Vladimir Cerin said he would prefer that she race from a stalking position.

“I’ve been training her to come from a little off the pace,” he said. “She’s a little fresher. I think she’s better at a mile and a quarter or a mile and a half, but she’s in good condition and I want to see what she can do at a mile.”

A Jealous Woman drew the outside post and will be ridden by Brice Blanc. A 6-year-old California-bred mare, she has won 7 of 17 starts and $353,356. She won her first stakes in the Swingtime.

“I’m sure she is getting better,” said Eddie Meza, who assists his wife, trainer Francis Meza. “This is going to be tough for her.”

City to City is the other 2012 stakes winner in the field. Trained by Jerry Hollendorfer, City to City won the Grade 2 John Mabee Stakes at Del Mar in August, but has mixed form since that race. She was second in the Grade 2 Yellow Ribbon Stakes at Del Mar on Sept. 3, but 10th of 13 in the Rodeo Drive Stakes.