Updated on 09/18/2011 12:21AM

Stay away, Pussycat Doll


ARCADIA, Calif. - Winning a major stakes with Sharp Lisa is the goal this weekend for owner Paul Reddam and trainer Doug O'Neill. Staying away from Pussycat Doll is the second priority.

Sharp Lisa and Pussycat Doll are nominated for Saturday's $250,000 for older fillies and mares and Sunday's $200,000 La Canada Stakes for 4-year-old fillies.

As of Wednesday, they appear to be on different courses - Sharp Lisa for the Grade 1 Santa Maria and Pussycat Doll for the Grade 2 La Canada.

"We'll enter both races, and if Pussycat Doll enters the Santa Maria, we'll play a little horse poker," O'Neill said.

Owned by Pablo Suarez and Mark Schlesinger, Sharp Lisa won the Grade 1 Las Virgenes Stakes last February but is winless in three subsequent starts. If she starts in the Santa Maria, the race will be her third consecutive start in a Grade 1 at this meeting, preceded by a fourth in the La Brea Stakes and a fifth in the Santa Monica Handicap. Those races were at seven furlongs.

"My filly is training great," O'Neill said. "I would like to see her run around two turns."

Despite the presence of older mares, Sharp Lisa would start against a smaller field in the 1 1/16-mile Santa Maria. Other probable starters are Healthy Addiction, Hollywood Story, Musica Si, and Star Parade.

Aside from Pussycat Doll, the La Canada field is expected to include Paddy's Daisy, Play Ballado, Proposed, and Skipping Court.

O'Neill has seen enough of Pussycat Doll. She beat his Skipping Court in the Skirball Stakes at Hollywood Park in November and was an easy winner of the La Brea. But Sharp Lisa and Pussycat Doll may meet later this year, whether O'Neill likes it or not.

"She seems to be in the zone," he said of Pussycat Doll.

Two more commit to Big Cap

With Distinction, the runner-up in the San Antonio Handicap on Sunday, and Borrego, a two-time Grade 1 stakes winner last year, are probable starters in the $1 million Santa Anita Handicap on March 4, their respective trainers said Wednesday.

They would join Giacomo, High Limit, Lava Man, Spellbinder, Top This and That, and Wilko as contenders for the Big Cap, which is run at 1 1/4 miles and is one of two $1 million races at this meeting.

With Distinction finished three-quarters of a length behind Spellbinder in the San Antonio at 1 1/8 miles. The San Antonio was the longest race of With Distinction's career, which includes a win in the Grade 3 El Conejo Handicap at 5 1/2 furlongs here on Jan. 2.

"For his first two-turn race, it wasn't that bad," said trainer D. Wayne Lukas. "I think he'll like a mile and a quarter. I think I'll look" at the Big Cap.

Borrego remains on course for the Big Cap, even though he has battled a cough this week, trainer Beau Greely said. Greely said the cough has not cost Borrego any training time. The 5-year-old Borrego has not worked since early January.

Greely said there is still time to prepare Borrego for the Big Cap, which would be his first start since finishing 10th in the Breeders' Cup Classic at Belmont Park last October.

"We don't have to run in the Big Cap," he said. "It's a long year."

As a backup, Borrego could start in the Oaklawn Handicap on April 8.

Lava Man and High Limit are top contenders for the Big Cap. Lava Man won the $1 million Sunshine Millions Classic here on Jan. 28. High Limit, trained by Bobby Frankel, has won two stakes at this meeting - the San Pasqual Handicap and the Strub. In the Strub, High Limit won by 4 1/2 lengths over Top This and That, who finished a half-length in front of Giacomo, the 2005 Kentucky Derby winner who was making his first start of the year.

Giacomo returned to training on Tuesday at Hollywood Park, trainer John Shirreffs said. Giacomo jogged on Tuesday and Wednesday.

Captain Squire headed to Dubai

Captain Squire, who finished sixth in the Sunshine Millions Turf at Gulfstream Park on Jan. 28, is bound for a race on the Dubai World Cup program on March 25, trainer Jeff Mullins said.

Mullins is torn between the $2 million Golden Shaheen at six furlongs and the $1 million Godolphin Mile. He said he might wait until entry day, March 22, before deciding on a race.

Captain Squire, 7, finished third in the 2003 Golden Shaheen. A winner of 8 of 29 starts and $1,113,065, Captain Squire led to early stretch in the Sunshine Millions Turf at 1 1/8 miles before tiring.

"I think it was too far for him," Mullins said.

Captain Squire returned to Mullins's stable this week after being given a break at a farm.

If Captain Squire starts in the Mile, he will be one of two Mullins-trained runners in the race. He intends to start the closer Choctaw Nation, who finished third in the 2005 Dubai World Cup. Choctaw Nation is entered in an allowance race on Friday at Santa Anita.

"I'll have one at both ends - one on the front and one at the back," Mullins said.

Stevens adds to his new duties

Retired jockey Gary Stevens has joined the Little Red Feather Racing syndicate as a management partner.

Earlier this week, Stevens advised Little Red Feather on the purchase of three colts at the Ocala Breeders' Sales Co. auction of 2-year-olds in-training sale. According to a statement, Stevens will be involved in selecting horses, financing, and attracting new investors to the group.

Headed by Billy Koch, Little Red Feather is best known for winning the 2004 Breeders' Cup Mile with Singletary. The group was formed in 2002 and has Hollywood Park-based Don Chatlos as its trainer.

Stevens retired last fall after a Hall of Fame career that included three Kentucky Derby wins. He is also working as a commentator on TVG and NBC.