01/12/2010 12:00AM

Stardom Bound starting over again

Barbara D. Livingston
Stardom Bound, unraced since finishing fifth in the Gazelle in November, is back on the West Coast for Sunday's El Encino Stakes.

ARCADIA, Calif. - Stardom Bound, the champion 2-year-old filly of 2008, will try to resurrect her career on Sunday at Santa Anita in the Grade 2, $150,000 El Encino Stakes for 4-year-old fillies. She and Amen Hallelujah, who runs in the Grade 2, $150,000 Santa Ynez Stakes for 3-year-old fillies on Saturday, were sent west by trainer Richard Dutrow Jr. and are being cared for here by his top assistant, Michelle Nevin.

Both fillies are owned in partnership by IEAH Stables.

"I'm excited to have Stardom Bound back out there," Dutrow said Tuesday morning via telephone from Florida. "She's training great. She's nothing but class. She likes that track."

Dutrow said he would remain in Florida. "Michelle can saddle the horse, and Iavarone," Dutrow said, referring to IEAH president Michael Iavarone, "will be there to handle publicity, so they don't need me."

Stardom Bound has raced just twice since taking the Santa Anita Oaks last March. She returned from a 7 1/2-month layoff and finished fifth of eight in the Gazelle Handicap at Aqueduct on Nov. 28. Mike Smith, her regular rider, has the mount.

"Depending on what happens, she'll either stay here or go home," Nevin said. "She's doing good."

Others expected for the 1 1/16-mile El Encino include Best Lass, Dream Empress, Freedom Star, Gilded Gem, Gumption, Justwhistledixie, and Spirit Seeker.

Justwhistledixie worked five furlongs in 1:01.80 on Sunday for trainer Bill Mott, who was here over the weekend.

The riding assignment on Gumption, who has won her last two starts, is in flux owing to a disagreement between Vic Stauffer, the agent for jockey Martin Garcia, and Karen Headley, who assists her father, trainer Bruce Headley. Stauffer and Headley were in a heated, animated discussion last Thursday morning at Clocker's Corner that had the backstretch buzzing.

"I don't know who's going to ride our horse," Headley said Sunday. Garcia is expected to ride Baffert-trained Freedom Star, whom he rode to a four-length victory in her last start.

Steward Scott Chaney said mediation of the dispute would not be finalized until Thursday, when entries are taken for Sunday's card.

Long and short of Monday stakes

The San Marcos Stakes, at 1 1/4 miles on grass, and the San Pedro Stakes, at 6 1/2 furlongs, headline the special Martin Luther King Jr. holiday card on Monday, the finale of a six-day race week.

The Grade 2, $150,000 San Marcos is expected to be headed by Loup Breton, who was second in the San Gabriel Handicap on Dec. 27. Other older horses likely for the race are Aggie Engineer, Dynamic Range, High Court Drama, Muhannak, Obrigado, Quasicobra, and Ridge Dance.

Muhannak, the winner of the 2008 Breeders' Cup Marathon, finished fifth in the 2009 BC Marathon in his last start. He has remained on this circuit and is now trained by Ben Cecil.

The $70,000 San Pedro likely will have a small field. Of the 15 3-year-olds nominated to the race, six are trained by Baffert, who said he would be represented by Indian Firewater and Tiny Woods.

General Consensus seeks stakes win

General Consensus, who won the featured third-level allowance race on Friday, will move back into stakes company for her next start, according to her trainer, Paddy Gallagher. General Consensus, 5, has won twice in her last three starts, and finished second in the restricted Swingtime Stakes during the Oak Tree meeting here.

"She's got a nice pedigree, and her owners are breeders," Gallagher said. "She's stakes placed. It would be nice to get a stakes win."

General Consensus, owned by Sierra Farm, is by Giant's Causeway and is out of a Seattle Slew mare.

High hopes for Pink Blossom

The debut win by Pink Blossom in the first race on Sunday for trainer Bruce Headley has her connections thinking big, because they expect her to do even better around two turns. She won going seven furlongs on Sunday.

"We're really excited about her," said Karen Headley. "It's hard to win going seven-eighths first time out, but he had her ready. Five of her last six works were going three-quarters. She was ready to roll."

Pink Blossom, 3, is a daughter of Proud Citizen who cost $180,000 as a yearling.

* Gene Williams, a longtime fixture with Triple Crown Productions, will be in Southern California through Saturday seeking nominations to the Triple Crown races: the Kentucky Derby, Preakness, and Belmont. The early nomination deadline for the Triple Crown is Saturday, at a cost of $600.

* Jockey Corey Nakatani has left this circuit, bought a house in Kentucky, and will ride there this spring after spending the next few months at Oaklawn Park. Nakatani's children from his marriage to the former Michelle Dollase live in Kentucky.

* Owner Javier Perez has been suspended by the stewards for violation of financial responsibility.