01/31/2012 4:13PM

Santa Anita: Twelve Folds stretching out, switching to turf


ARCADIA, Calif. – If she reproduces her dazzling maiden victory, the filly Twelve Folds can be long gone Thursday at Santa Anita in her first start against winners.

There is a catch, however. The recent romp by Twelve Folds was in a sprint on dirt. But on Thursday, Twelve Folds will race in uncharted territory – stretching to two turns and switching to grass a one-mile allowance that will not showcase her attribute, speed.

Twelve Folds is fast. She went the opening half-mile in 44.28 seconds before widening late and winning by more than eight lengths with a Beyer Speed Figure of 97. Kamikaze-style is effective for a short race on dirt, but long races on grass generally require a horse to ration speed.

“I think she’ll love the grass,” trainer Mike Machowsky countered. “And I think she’ll love the two turns, I’ve always thought that.”

The first-level allowance race for 3-year-old fillies is the third race on an eight-race card. And pick six bettors who leave Twelve Folds off the ticket in the first leg of the sequence will do so for reasons beyond obvious challenges that face a dirt sprinter in a turf route.

That is because the race includes one of the more probable winners on the card in Byrama, who had been off five months before her U.S. debut for trainer Simon Callaghan on Dec. 30 in the $81,000 Blue Norther Stakes. She lost all chance at the break.

Byrama hopped at the start while away awkwardly. Before regaining her stride, Byrama trailed by 19 lengths. Nonetheless, she ran a faster second half-mile than she ran the first half (48 seconds early, under 47 late). That finish, combined with a pace meltdown up front, allowed Byrama to make it respectable. She finished third by three lengths.

Byrama makes her second U.S. start on Thursday, and a clean takeoff under new rider Rafael Bejarano may be all she needs to win. Bejarano is the meet’s leading turf jockey, with 11 wins from 46 mounts on grass.

Other starters in race 3 include Mike Mitchell-trained European import Graser, stretchout filly Indecise, and outsiders My Kentucky Rose and Assure.

The main goal for Twelve Folds is the $200,000 Evening Jewel Stakes for state-bred fillies at 6 1/2 furlongs on dirt March 31. A turf route in the interim seems an unlikely prep, but Machowsky liked what he saw Jan. 26 when Twelve Folds worked five furlongs on grass in 1:01.

“She worked really well, she has really good action [for turf],” Machowsky said. “And I don’t think the distance should be an issue. She’s a long, stretchy filly.”

Twelve Folds was sired by Cindago, whose six foals to race made just one start (unplaced) on grass. Win or lose, Twelve Folds and jockey Martin Pedroza are the controlling speed. “And the rails are at 24 feet,” Machowsky added.

In the supporting feature, race 7, Dixieland Blues also attempts a class raise. He won a maiden race last out, and faces winners in a turf sprint for California-breds. Dixieland Blues, trained by Marty Jones, is a half-brother to multiple stakes winner Compari.