12/11/2009 1:00AM

Stardom Bound heading back to California


OZONE PARK, N.Y. - The connections of Stardom Bound hope that a return to the West Coast will result in a return to form for the champion 2-year-old filly of 2008.

According to Michael Iavarone, co-president of the IEAH Stables, the majority owner in the filly, Stardom Bound will make her next start in the Grade 2, $150,000 El Encino Stakes at Santa Anita on Jan. 17. Stardom Bound has won four Grade 1 races at Santa Anita, including the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies in 2008.

Stardom Bound is currently stabled in south Florida, according to Iavarone, but she will soon be sent to Hall of Fame jockey-turned-trainer Gary Stevens at Santa Anita to prepare for the El Encino.

"That race is going to tell us everything," Iavarone said. "If she doesn't run huge there, then we got to look at other options. If she wants to show us she still wants to be a racehorse, we'll continue on. If she wants to show us she wants to be a mommy, we'll consider that, too."

In her first start on dirt, Stardom Bound finished fifth as the 2-1 favorite in the Grade 1 Gazelle at Aqueduct on Nov. 28. She veered in at the break and bumped with Peach Brew, was last heading into the first turn, and seemed to shy away from the dirt being kicked in her face.

"That was a failed attempt to see if she could handle kickback," Iavarone said. "Going into the first turn, I knew we were in trouble. She looked like a corkscrew. What Mike [Smith] did was get off the rail out in the clear and she got rank on him."

Stardom Bound is trained by Richard Dutrow Jr., who is serving a suspension through Dec. 15.

Saarlight targets Interborough

Saarlight, who returned from a six-month layoff to win a second-level allowance race here Thursday, will most likely make her next start in the $65,000 Interborough Stakes here on New Year's Day, according to her connections.

Under Alan Garcia, Saarlight broke a step slowly before rushing up to take command early and winning by a measured length over Quiet Mover. Saarlight, making her first start since finishing eighth in the $200,000 Jostle Stakes at Philadelphia Park on June 13, ran six furlongs in 1:10.73 and earned a Beyer Speed Figure of 87.

Saarlight had been entered in last Saturday's Garland of Roses Stakes but was scratched when the allowance race filled.

"We were happy with the race, we thought she'd run very well," said Art Magnuson, the assistant to Kiaran McLaughlin who is serving a suspension. "The Garland of Roses was definitely a lot tougher, we didn't want to do that first time off the layoff, but now she's ready to go."

In the Interborough, Saarlight will most likely face Garland of Roses first- and third-place finishers Awesome Ashley and Distorted Passion.

DeGregoris, owner, dies at 81

Gerard DeGregoris, who owned horses for more than four decades and even attempted to train horses for a few years, died Dec. 7. He was 81.

DeGregoris, a resident of Hewlett, N.Y., on Long Island, owned a couple of car dealerships in New York, according to Gary Gullo, who trained for DeGregoris.

"He was a very, very generous person and was a very good family man, just a real good guy," Gullo said. "He would be upset for me if a horse didn't run good. Owners like that are hard to come by."

* Jockey David Cohen won with his first three mounts on Friday's card to move one ahead of Ramon Dominguez, 9-8, in the early stages of the inner track meet. Dominguez is riding in Hong Kong this weekend. Two of Cohen's winners - Kid Freud ($4.70) and Gentle Edwin ($14) came for trainer Cody Autrey, who is plying his trade in New York for the first time this winter. Autrey, the leading trainer at Delaware, is now 3 for 7 at the meet. Both of his winners Friday were making their first start off the Autrey claim.

* Fans can vote for the NYRA Story of the Year by going to nyra.com. The five nominees are Linda Rice winning the Saratoga training title; Summer Bird sweeping the Belmont Stakes, Travers, and Jockey Club Gold Cup; Ramon Dominguez winning riding titles at Aqueduct, Belmont, and Saratoga; Rachel Alexandra's Woodward victory; and Gio Ponti's victories in the Man o' War and Manhattan.