06/25/2009 11:00PM

Street Magician's visit may not be last


INGLEWOOD, Calif. - Street Magician's first trip away from the East Coast for the $300,000 Triple Bend Handicap at Hollywood Park next Sunday may not be his only cross-country journey this year.

A strong performance in the Grade 1 Triple Bend could lead to a return west for the Breeders' Cup Sprint at Santa Anita in November, trainer Mike Trombetta said on Friday.

"It's in the back of our minds," he said.

At the least, Street Magician has earned a start in a Grade 1 race. Owned by breeder Larry Johnson, Street Magician has won 5 of 9 starts, including the Karl Boyes Memorial Stakes over a synthetic track at Presque Isle Downs on June 7. Street Magician led throughout, winning the 5 1/2-furlong race in track-record time of 1:02.24.

The race was Street Magician's first start on a synthetic track, and prompted Trombetta to consider a trip to California and another start on a synthetic track.

"He handled the synthetic track at Presque Isle without trouble," Trombetta said. "I think he deserves a chance."

Trombetta's timing may be perfect. California sprint stakes winners Georgie Boy and Johnny Eves are not part of the Triple Bend picture. Georgie Boy is returning from a foot problem and is expected to start at Del Mar, while Johnny Eves is out with injury.

The Triple Bend field is expected to be led by Zensational, the speedy

3-year-old trained by Bob Baffert. Zensational has won 2 of 4 starts, including a very easy victory in an optional claimer here over 6 1/2 furlongs on May 29.

Other probable starters include Noble Court, Paul's Hope, and Rebellion. Trainer Neil Drysdale said that Liberian Freighter, a two-time stakes winner this year, is out of training and won't make the Triple Bend.

The Triple Bend is one of two Grade 1 races on the July 5 program, which is led by the $700,000 American Oaks for 3-year-old fillies over 1 1/4 miles on turf.

Bone feeling pinch

Poor economic conditions in the last year have forced many owners to curtail their ownership in Thoroughbreds. Few have been hit quite as significantly as Bob Bone, the car dealer from the Sacramento area.

Bone, who led all California with 58 wins in 2005, said recently that he is down to 10 horses in training from a high of "about 80 or 90" a few years ago.

The downturn in the economy hurt business at his five used-car dealerships and forced him to reassess his involvement in racing.

"I've got to back off until things look a little better," he said. "I don't want to invest in horses until the economy turns a little bit."

Bone said that he doesn't intend to own as many horses as he used to.

"I don't think I'll get to that number again," he said. "It became a job and less of a hobby. I want to race in California. When purses start increasing as much as expenses, I'll be more involved."

Business at his car dealerships has improved in recent months, he said.

Bone has owned such horses as the millionaire multiple stakes winner Choctaw Nation, who was claimed for $40,000, and Boule d'Or, the winner of the Grade 2 San Luis Rey Handicap in 2008. In November 2005 Bone won a record four races on one day at Hollywood Park.

Gorgeous Goose, Witty hurt

Gorgeous Goose and Witty, two horses who won graded stakes in early May, have been sidelined for the rest of the year after they were found to have bone chips in an ankle. Both fillies are expected to undergo surgery.

Gorgeous Goose won the Grade 3 Wilshire Handicap on May 2. Her injury was detected after a fifth-place finish in the Redondo Beach Stakes on June 6. Trainer Mike Puype said he plans to bring the 4-year-old filly back for the 2009-10 Santa Anita winter-spring meet.

"We feel our agenda is not fulfilled," he said. "It's a simple surgery and a flake."

Gorgeous Goose has won 4 of 15 starts and $225,032.

Witty, unbeaten in three starts, won the Grade 3 Railbird Stakes over seven furlongs in her stakes debut on May 10. She was knocked out of the Hollywood Oaks earlier this month because of illness, and was being prepared for the Flawlessly Stakes on July 3.

Her injury was detected after a recent workout and will keep her away from racing until the winter, trainer Richard Mandella said.

Grazen headed for Swaps

Grazen, the winner of the Affirmed Handicap in his stakes debut June 20, will make his next start in the $300,000 Swaps Stakes for 3-year-olds on July 18, trainer Mike Mitchell said.

Grazen won his third consecutive start in the Affirmed, which was run over 1 1/16 miles. It was the first stakes win for owner-breeder Nick Alexander after 28 years of owning Thoroughbreds.

Mitchell said he plans to start Big Booster in the $700,000 Hollywood Gold Cup on July 11. An 8-year-old gelding, Big Booster was fourth in the Grade 2 San Juan Capistrano Handicap at Santa Anita on April 19, his last start. His last win came in the Gallant Man Handicap here in June 2008.

Big Booster was third in the 2007 Gold Cup and fifth last year.

The Gold Cup field will also include Parading, the winner of the Grade 3 Ben Ali Stakes at Keeneland in April and the Grade 2 Dixie Stakes on turf at Pimlico on May 16. Trainer Shug McGaughey said that Kent Desormeaux will ride Parading in the Gold Cup, which is at 1 1/4 miles.

Other top contenders are Informed, the winner of the Grade 2 Californian Stakes on June 13; Life Is Sweet, the 4-year-old filly who won the Grade 1 Santa Margarita Invitational at Santa Antia in March; as well as Bullsbay, Kizzy's Chaos, Rail Trip, Song of Navarone, and Tres Borrachos.

Life Is Sweet breezed six furlongs in 1:12 at Hollywood Park on Friday.