10/23/2007 11:00PM

Southwest jumps into Pinjara off maiden win

EmailARCADIA, Calif. - Southwest showed a liking for turf when he drew away from nine rivals to win a maiden race by 2 1/4 lengths in his debut on that surface at the Oak Tree at Santa Anita meeting on Oct. 3.

The win gave trainer Gary Mandella and Lazy Lane Farms an excuse to try Southwest in Friday's $60,000 Pinjara Stakes over a mile on turf for 2-year-olds at Santa Anita.

To win the Pinjara, Mandella thinks that Southwest will need to show further development. A repeat of his last race, even though it was a stylish win, may not be enough, Mandella said.

"My guess is he'd have to improve a little bit," Mandella said. "Every 2-year-old in his situation will get smarter with each race."

Southwest is one of seven juveniles entered in the Pinjara, which is restricted to horses that have not won a stakes at a mile or over. Later in Friday's 10-race program, the $60,000 Hidden Light Stakes will be run under the same conditions for 2-year-old fillies. First post time is 12 noon.

Southwest finished second in his debut, a maiden race for sprinters at Del Mar on Sept. 1. He has a closing style, perhaps a benefit in the Pinjara, which also includes the speedy Trickster Nickster and Yes It's a Cat. Trickster Nickster is making his second start, while Yes It's a Cat was eighth in the Grade 1 Norfolk Stakes on Sept. 30. Both are making their first start on turf.

Robscarvic, trained by Paddy Gallagher, is making his U.S. debut, having raced in England over the summer. Robscarvic beat maidens at Newcastle in June, but was a troubled third at Catterick Bridge in July, breaking through the gate before the start.

The Hidden Light features two stakes-placed fillies - Ididntmean-too, who was second in the Barretts Debutante last month, and Shes a Lucky Wager, who was second in the Wine Country Juvenile Stakes at Santa Rosa in July.

The maiden winners La Mina and Set of Wings have turf experience. La Mina beat maidens here on Sept. 27, her first start on the surface and her sixth career start.

Set of Wings overcame trouble to beat maidens over a mile at Laurel on Sept. 19 in her debut. The win prompted trainer Lisa Lewis to buy the filly for Don Becker's Flintridge Stables and Alex Venneri.

"I really liked her last race," Lewis said. "She looks like she has a lot of room to improve and develop."

P. Val wants to ride this weekend

Jockey Patrick Valenzuela, who has not ridden since last November because of a rib injury and knee surgery, has received doctor's clearance to resume riding, and was seeking a license from the California Horse Racing Board on Wednesday.

Valenzuela said he was hoping to ride this weekend at Santa Anita.

"I've got a doctor's release, and I'm fit to ride," he said in a telephone interview. "I'm going to try to ride this weekend."

He declined to comment on what the racing board had requested in the licensing process. Valenzuela's previous license expired last December.

Valenzuela, 45, has won 15 riding titles in Southern California since 1986. He has had a history of substance abuse problems that have interrupted his career. In recent years, the racing board has granted Valenzuela a conditional license that required occasional drug testing.

Valenzuela met with Dr. James Tibone, who works closely with jockeys in Southern California, earlier this week.

* Belgravia, the winner of the 2006 Hollywood Prevue Stakes, starts in a six-furlong optional claimer in Friday's eighth race. He is trained by Chris Crowe, an assistant to the suspended Patrick Biancone.