01/20/2013 5:28PM

Santa Anita: Turf sprinter Great Mills just misses track record


The Steve Asmussen-trained Great Mills, fourth in the 2012 Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint, nearly lowered the Santa Anita track record for about 6 1/2 furlongs on the hillside turf course with a win in Sunday’s second race, a third-level optional $80,000 claimer.

Ridden by Rafael Bejarano, Great Mills ($3.60) led throughout and won by a length over Irish Art in 1:11.16. The 2008 course record of 1:11.10 was set by California Flag, who won the BC Turf Sprint in 2009.

In Sunday’s race, Great Mills set a quick pace of 21.41 and 43.02 seconds. In the BC Turf Sprint, Great Mills was within a head of the lead in the stretch but faded to finish three lengths behind Mizdirection.

“I liked his race in the Breeders’ Cup for his first time on the course,” said Asmussen’s assistant, Scott Blasi. “His style suits this course.”

Maiden winner Breeders’ Cup Sprint candidate

A dazzling win in by Let Em Shine in a maiden race for 3-year-olds on Saturday has left trainer Adam Kitchingman thinking about the Breeders’ Cup Sprint here in November.

Let Em Shine won his second start on Saturday, leading throughout the six-furlong race and winning by 7 1/2 lengths in the quick time of1:.08.36 under jockey Edwin Maldonado.

“He looks like a nice horse,” Kitchingman said. “If we can him healthy and sound, hopefully we can run in the Breeders’ Cup Sprint.”

Even with a win in a January maiden race for sprinters, Kitchingman says he has no interest in trying Let Em Shine in longer distances in the next month or two in an effort to reach the Triple Crown.

“We’ll come back in an allowance at the end of the meet,” Kitchingman said. “It would be stupid to run against tough horses and beat him up. His goal is the BC Sprint.”

Kitchingman said that Let Em Shine could start in March or April as a prep for the Grade 3 Laz Barrera Memorial Stakes over seven furlongs for 3-year-olds at Betfair Hollywood Park in May.

“We’ll try to build up his confidence,” Kitchingman said. “I think he’ll be fairly lightly raced. He’s got to accomplish a lot more.”

Owned by William Peeples, Let Em Shine is by Songandaprayer and was purchased for $100,000 at the 2012 Barretts March sale of 2-year-olds in training. Let Em Shine was a widely discussed horse at that sale. He had a time that equaled the fastest one-furlong time in a presale training preview – 9.8 seconds.