11/13/2009 12:00AM

Tracks planning to parade Zenyatta


INGLEWOOD, Calif. - Zenyatta has not abdicated her throne quite yet, and fans that missed her historic triumph in the Breeders' Cup Classic may have another chance to see her in person.

Hollywood Park and Santa Anita, along with owners Jerry and Ann Moss and trainer John Shirreffs, are making plans for Zenyatta to parade in front of the crowd at both tracks. The date for the Hollywood showcase this fall has not been announced; Shirreffs said Santa Anita "wants to do something opening day (Dec. 26)."

Meanwhile, Zenyatta, a 5-year-old mare, will remain stabled with Shirreffs at Hollywood.

"She'll stay here for a while," he said. "We'll just play around."

The win by Zenyatta in the BC Classic was her 14th without a loss.

Meanwhile, Shirreffs-trained filly Life Is Sweet will race next year at 5. Runaway winner of the Breeders' Cup Ladies' Classic, Shirreffs said Life Is Sweet "is going to run. ... I don't know if she will run at Hollywood, but she will run at Santa Anita"

Marty and Pam Wygod own Life Is Sweet, a 4-year-old filly whose six wins include two Grade 1's at Santa Anita. She would enter the winter meet as the top-ranked older filly or mare on the West Coast.

Dubai still in Gio Ponti's plans

Gio Ponti, the country's top older male, is stabled at Hollywood with trainer Christophe Clemente's assistant Nicholas Bachalard, but it remains undecided if the 4-year-old will race again in 2009. Runner-up to Zenyatta in the Breeders' Cup Classic, Gio Ponti will stay in training next year and target the Dubai World Cup on March 27 as his main goal.

It remains to be seen how Gio Ponti prepares for Dubai, because the timing of the Santa Anita Handicap just three weeks before, on March 6, makes the Big Cap less desirable as a prep race. Gio Ponti, who jogged Friday at Hollywood, all but clinched outstanding turf male of 2009 by winning four Grade 1s and will be strongly considered as outstanding older male.

According to Bachalard, the 5-year-old mare Rutherienne will run next in either Hong Kong or the Grade 1 Matriarch on Nov. 28 at Hollywood. Rutherienne finished seventh in the BC Filly and Mare Turf.

Matriarch to be Ventura's last start

Ventura will try to go out a winner when she starts one final time Nov. 28 in the Grade 1 Matriarch at Hollywood Park, Bobby Frankel's assistant trainer Humberto Ascanio said this week.

"The Breeders' Cup was supposed to be her final start, but Bobby wants to run her one more time," Ascanio said. "She came back good out of the race, and the plan is to run in the Matriarch.

A one-run mare, Ventura was compromised by a slow pace in the BC Filly and Mare Sprint, finishing second behind winner Informed Decision. Although she is best known for winning the 2008 Filly and Mare Sprint, Ventura is not bad running a mile on grass, either. She won the Grade 1 Woodbine Mile in September, and in March finished a nose behind Gio Ponti in the Grade 1 Frank Kilroe at Santa Anita. Ventura has won nine races and more than $2.4 million from 20 starts for owner-breeder Juddmonte Farms.

Lava Man works toward return

The comeback campaign is on for Lava Man, who worked six furlongs Wednesday at Hollywood and will target a Grade 3 race next month for his first start since July 20, 2008.

"He worked great; we're tentatively looking at the Native Diver for his comeback," trainer Doug O'Neill said Friday, referring to the Grade 3, 1 1/8-mile main-track race Dec. 12 at Hollywood Park.

O'Neill was in the process of finalizing jockey arrangements for Lava Man, who O'Neill said will have a new rider. Corey Nakatani was his regular rider from fall 2005 through sprint 2008; Tyler Baze rode Lava Man twice in summer 2008. Lava Man has won 17 races and more than $5.2 million from 46 starts.

California Flag could try Hong Kong

California Flag, who crushed 13 rivals in the $1 million Breeders' Cup Turf Sprint on Nov. 7, could be going international. Trainer Brian Koriner said Friday California Flag is being strongly considered for the Hong Kong Sprint on Dec. 13, a six-furlong sprint run around a right-hand course with a purse of approximately $1.8 million.

"The horse is doing so well," Koriner said, while noting he has "already been a right-hand turn."

True, in a manner of speaking. California Flag has won three graded stakes on the Santa Anita downhill course, which has a right-hand turn. Koriner said the Hong Kong Jockey Club contacted him "in the winner's circle of the Breeders' Cup" with the idea of shipping to Hong Kong.

California Flag went 3 for 3 in 2009 while earning $669,780. A 5-year-old by Avenue of Flags, he is considered the leading candidate for California-bred horse of the year. He is owned by Keith Card.

Dewey's Special isn't lone speed

When he entered Dewey's Special in a nine-furlong turf race Sunday at Hollywood Park (race 8), trainer Ron Ellis figured the pace scenario would favor him since he is a front-runner.

"I thought the longer distance might keep some of the speed out of there," Ellis said.

Ellis was hoping to give Dewey's Special, a California-bred stakes winner, a confidence-builder after a last-place finish in the California Cup Mile that unfolded with "a faster pace that he is used to."

Unfortunately, the Sunday allowance came up with three good front-runners, including the speed of the speed, You Got Me Rocking.

"I'm not taking my horse back," said Mike Mitchell, who trains You Got Me Rocking. "That's how he runs . . . he is speed."

Dewey's Special, winner of the $125,000 California Dreamin in summer at Del Mar, might have to sit behind the speed to win.

"He's getting back to his favorite turf," Ellis said, referring to the 2-for-2 course record by Dewey's Special.