12/31/2009 12:00AM

Stoneside may wake up sans blinkers

Email

ARCADIA, Calif. - The objectives are unchanged for Stoneside in 2010 - a campaign of turf sprints and one-mile races. Maybe this year, he can mix in a win.

The winner of the Grade 3 San Simeon Handicap in 2008, Stoneside lost all three of his starts in 2009. He begins his 2010 campaign in Saturday's $60,000 Impressive Luck Handicap over about 6 1/2 furlongs on the hillside turf course at Santa Anita.

The hillside course has provided Stoneside with his only victory in 11 starts in this country since arriving from France in the summer of 2007 with a lofty reputation. In that country, Stoneside won two minor stakes and finished second in the Group 1 Prix Jean Prat over a mile on turf.

Trainer Julio Canani said Stoneside will race without blinkers in the Impressive Luck. In his last start on Dec. 6, Stoneside was second in an optional claimer over six furlongs on turf at Hollywood Park, but was demoted to third for causing interference in the stretch.

"The other day, he was too rank," Canani said. "That's why I'm taking the blinkers off."

Owned by Marsha Naify, Stoneside commands respect in a field of eight in the Impressive Luck because of his narrow loss last month, and his stalking style, which will allow jockey Mike Smith to keep him near the front.

Stoneside could be pestered by the recent Argentine import Mr. Cacht, who has won 6 of his last 8 starts. Trained by Jeff Mullins, Mr. Cacht was third in his U.S. debut, the Grade 3 Underwood Stakes on the main track at Hollywood Park on Dec. 6. Mr. Cacht was always near the front and was beaten 1 1/2 lengths by winner Kinsale King.

"He needed the race," Mullins said. "He likes to be close."

In Argentina, Mr. Cacht won six races from January to July, including a listed stakes over seven furlongs on turf.

Felipe Valdez rides Mr. Cacht. He earned the mount after working the 6-year-old horse in the fall.

"I couldn't get anyone to come and work him," Mullins said. "Felipe worked him and we put him on."

Aside from Mr. Cacht, the only horse to win a stakes in the field in the last year is Noble Court, who won two sprint stakes last spring, but is winless in his last four starts, including a seventh in the Breeders' Cup Turf Sprint.