10/10/2012 4:52PM

Santa Anita: Silentio seeks a prep for Hollywood Derby

Benoit & Assoicates
Silentio is part of a field of nine in an optional claimer over 1 1/8 miles on turf on Friday at Santa Anita.

ARCADIA, Calif. – Silentio needs a start on turf at Santa Anita on Friday to remain on course for the $250,000 Hollywood Derby at Betfair Hollywood Park on Nov. 25.

Undefeated in two starts, Silentio is part of a field of nine in an optional claimer over 1 1/8 miles on turf. Earlier this week, trainer Gary Mandella said Silentio is approaching Friday’s race in good condition, but that he was concerned about the weather. Rain is expected Thursday, and there is a possibility that Friday’s race could be shifted to the main track.

“I would not run him on the main track,” Mandella said. “If it comes off the turf, I’ll train him up to the Twilight Derby.”

The $150,000 Twilight Derby is run over 1 1/8 miles on turf at Santa Anita on Nov. 3.

Mandella would prefer a start Thursday to give Silentio more time to prepare for the Hollywood Derby, which is run over 1 1/4 miles on turf.

“I’m hoping to use that time to my advantage,” he said.

Owned by breeders Alain and Gerard Wertheimer, Silentio won a maiden race at 2 in October 2011, but was sidelined after that race with tibia and hock injuries. In his comeback last month, he won the final race of the Del Mar meeting, an optional claimer over 1 1/16 miles on turf.

Silentio is by Silent Name, who excelled in races at seven furlongs.

Mandella is hoping that Silentio can run farther, using a slow progression to aid the effort.

“I want to see how far he can go and stretch him out a little bit at a time,” he said. “He’s a big, 17-hand, rangy colt. I think he’s got a better chance to get nine or 10 furlongs.”

Thursday’s optional claimer will be the California debut of Oligarch, winner of the Tropical Park Derby at Calder in October 2011. Now trained by Kristin Mulhall, Oligarch was third in the Our Dear Peg Stakes at Calder on Sept. 8.

A winner of 3 of 15 starts, Oligarch is entered to be claimed for $62,500 on Friday.

Gab Power and Time Lord, each a winner of an optional claimer at Del Mar, are capable of winning. Causeihertz was second and third in two optional claimers at Del Mar in August.