12/23/2008 12:00AM

Things may finally go right for Kelly Leak


ARCADIA, Calif. - The defection of Mr. Rod from the $70,000 Eddie Logan Stakes on Saturday at Santa Anita gives the hard-luck colt Kelly Leak an excellent shot at redemption.

In just four starts, Kelly Leak has had enough bad luck to last a career. He was disqualified from victory in the Best Pal Stakes at Del Mar in August, and in his most recent start lost a heartbreaker by a nose in his first start on turf, going six furlongs at Hollywood Park on Dec. 4.

"He ran awesome," said Kelly Leak's trainer, Mike Machowsky. "Unfortunately he drew the 8 post. It's a tough post to overcome."

Kelly Leak drew the 8 post again on Saturday in the Eddie Logan, a one-mile grass race for 2-year-olds. That places Kelly Leak on the far outside, but the small field should give him time to establish position by the first turn.

The Eddie Logan, named for the popular shoeshine man who has been at Santa Anita every day since its opening on Christmas Day in 1934, became a much more open race when Mr. Rod, the winner of the Generous Stakes, was forced to skip it.

"He came up with a little foot abscess. No big deal, but we've got to get it right," said Dan Hendricks, the trainer of Mr. Rod.

Flashman's Papers, who nosed out Kelly Leak in that first-level allowance race on Dec. 4, is back for the Eddie Logan.

The other major contenders are Congor Bay, who is making his turf debut but is out of the stakes-winning grass mare Pico Teneriffe, and Back at You, who scored a fast win against maidens in his second start Nov. 15 at Hollywood Park.

Saucey Evening looks a heavy favorite

Saucey Evening has run respectably against open company, so a drop back into a race against California-breds should make her a strong favorite against six other 2-year-old fillies in the $125,000 California Breeders Champion Stakes over seven furlongs on Saturday.

Saucey Evening has proven effective on both turf and synthetic surfaces, both sprinting and going long. In her most recent start, she was fourth in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf, which followed an easy victory in the California Cup Juvenile Fillies on the Pro-Ride here. Saturday's race finds her back on the main track, and shortening up to one turn for the first time since a troubled seventh-place finish in the Grade 1 Del Mar Debutante in September.

Saucey Evening carries co-high weight of 122 pounds along with Ten Churros, who was second in the Cal Cup Juvenile Fillies and most recently was third in the Sharp Cat Stakes at Hollywood Park on Nov. 1.

"She tries hard every time," said Bob Baffert, trainer of Ten Churros. "She's a tough little filly."

Ten Churros is owned by Patti and Hal Earnhardt, who also have Baffert-trained Indian Blessing in the La Brea Stakes later in the day. John Velazquez is coming from the East Coast to ride both fillies.

Other top contenders in the Cal Breeders Stakes are Chalula One, a winner of her lone start, which came at Hollywood Park on Nov. 29, and Stretchinthelimits, who has won both her starts.

Rail Trip to try a second turn

Rail Trip, unbeaten in two sprints during the Hollywood Park fall meeting, will try something new at Santa Anita.

The 3-year-old Rail Trip easily won an allowance race over 6 1/2 furlongs at Hollywood Park last Saturday, and trainer Ron Ellis is planning to start him around two turns in his next start.

Owned by Mace and Samantha Siegel, Rail Trip ran 6 1/2 furlongs in a quick 1:13.92 on Saturday. He was third, about a neck behind pacesetter Gold Star Status, for the first quarter-mile and took the lead in midstretch under jockey Jose Valdivia, Jr.

"Jose said he relaxed well in the first part," Ellis said.

The next start will not be in a stakes, Ellis said.

"He needs more experience," Ellis said. "He's getting a late start in life."

Rail Trip made his debut at Hollywood Park on Nov. 7, winning a six-furlong maiden race.

Bai and Bai facing career finale

Bai and Bai will end her career in the $500,000 Sunshine Millions Distaff at Santa Anita on Jan. 24 in search of a cool 10th stakes win.

Saturday at Hollywood Park, she overcame traffic to win stakes No. 9 in the $77,225 Cat's Cradle Handicap for statebred fillies and mares. Bai and Bai was fully extended through the stretch to hold off a late threat from Spenditallbaby.

Owned by Beverly Lewis and trained by Craig Dollase, Bai and Bai, 5, will be after the richest win of her career in the Sunshine Millions Distaff. Her nine stakes wins have come in minor stakes as well as races such as the $125,000 California Cup Juvenile Fillies in 2005.

The Cat's Cradle Handicap win ended a three-race losing streak. Making her 28th start, Bai and Bai wore blinkers for the first time. Dollase cited a turn-back in distance from two-turn races to 7 1/2 furlongs and facing California-breds as factors that helped Bai and Bai on Saturday.

"She's such a pro," Dollase said. "I think the turn-back in distance helped her. She ran a game race, and it was nice to get her back."

The Sunshine Millions Distaff, run over 1 1/16 miles, is for California-breds and Florida-breds. Following that race, Bai and Bai will be sent to Kentucky and will be bred to Indian Charlie.

* Lucky Primo, who won the California Cup Juvenile in October, is getting a freshening at Magali Farm in Southern California and will not be back in action until later in the meet, trainer Marty Jones said. Lucky Primo "needed a little break," said Jones, who said an early 2009 goal would be the Snow Chief Stakes, part of the Gold Rush card at Hollywood Park in April.

* Monterey Jazz, seventh in the Cigar Mile in his comeback race last month, returns to the turf for Saturday's fourth race, a money allowance at one mile. One year ago, Monterey Jazz won the one-mile Sir Beaufort Stakes over this turf course.

* Jockey Tyler Baze, who fractured ribs in an accident at Hollywood Park earlier this month, is expected to be back in action by Jan. 1, according to his agent, Ronnie Ebanks.

- additional reporting by Steve Andersen