02/03/2011 4:09PM

Thunder Road will determine path for Victor's Cry


ARCADIA, Calif. – The $100,000 Thunder Road Handicap on turf at Santa Anita on Saturday will determine Victor’s Cry’s March itinerary.

A win could lead to a start in the $5 million Dubai Duty Free at Meydan Racecourse in Dubai on March 26. Anything else would likely lead to a start in the $300,000 Frank Kilroe Mile at Santa Anita on March 5.

Trainer Eoin Harty is thinking of Dubai but has yet to pack a bag.

“If he runs the type of race I think he can run, I’d consider a trip to Dubai,” Harty said.

Owned by Bob and Michele Billings’s Equilete Stable, Victor’s Cry had a career-best season in 2010, winning 3 of 8 starts and $418,761. The highlights were victories in the Grade 1 Shoemaker Mile and Grade 2 Citation Handicap, both at Hollywood Park. The Citation, run over 1 1/16 miles, is Victor’s Cry’s most recent start.

“He’s back to the way I want him to be,” Harty said. “He’s sitting on a big race.”

Victor’s Cry has drawn the outside post in a field of nine, a setback from Harty’s perspective.

“Being that far outside is not optimum,” he said.

Victor’s Cry is a closer, so jockey Victor Espinoza will be more concerned about establishing a ground-saving position in the first quarter-mile than zooming to the lead. He will need to reserve some of Victor’s Cry’s energy to run down a solid field.

The cast includes Fluke, who was second in the 2010 Kilroe; Proudinsky and Meteore, second and third behind Victor’s Cry in the Citation; the minor stakes winner Blue Chagall; Colgan’s Chip, who placed in three stakes last year; and Skyrush, a stakes winner at Del Mar in 2009 who has not started in 15 months.

Dakota Phone, upset winner of the Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile at Churchill Downs in November, is entered but may not start, trainer Jerry Hollendorfer said. Dakota Phone also will be entered in Sunday’s $150,000 San Antonio Handicap.

“We want to take a look at both races,” Hollendorfer said.

Dakota Phone, 6, has not raced on turf since finishing second in an allowance race over a mile at Hollywood Park last June.

The Factor misses some training

The Factor, who set a six-furlong track record of 1:06.98 on Dec. 26, missed a few days of training recently because of a bruised foot, trainer Bob Baffert said. The setback may not disrupt a scheduled start in the $150,000 San Vicente Stakes over seven furlongs on Feb. 20.

“It looks good today,” Baffert said Thursday. “I walked him for a couple of days. I think we can still make it.”

The Factor was fourth in his debut and won the Dec. 26 maiden race by 8 1/4 lengths, with little urging from jockey Rafael Bejarano.

Bruce’s Dream turned out

Bruce’s Dream, who finished sixth behind Victor’s Cry in the Citation, has been turned out after having a bone chip removed from a knee, trainer Mike Puype said. Bruce’s Dream is expected to remain sidelined until the spring, when he resumes training.

“He’ll have a few more months off,” Puype said. “He may be a Del Mar horse.”

Owned by Bruce Corwin, Bruce’s Dream won the California Dreamin’ and California Cup Mile last year and has won 6 of 9 starts and $293,940 in his career.

Well Armed works toward return

Well Armed, winner of the 2009 Dubai World Cup who has not started since that summer, is scheduled to have his third workout of 2011 this weekend, Harty said.

The workout was scheduled for last weekend but was postponed a week after Well Armed coughed. Owned by WinStar Farm, Well Armed is being prepared for a return to racing this spring. He was taken out of training with an ankle injury in summer 2009 and battled illness last year.