11/13/2008 12:00AM

Two fillies to consider for Starlet


INGLEWOOD, Calif. – The handicapping notebook keeps filling up, with stuff like this . . .

* The best juvenile filly working regularly in California will not run in the Moccasin Stakes on Sunday at Hollywood Park. John Sadler was concerned Alpha Kitten ran too fast (97 Beyer) finishing second Oct. 19 in the Anoakia Stakes, her second start.

“It took discipline to skip the Moccasin,” Sadler said, adding Alpha Kitten “will be able to stretch out” for the Grade 1 Hollywood Starlet at 1 1/16 miles on Dec. 13. Stay tuned.

* Speaking of the Starlet, here is a seldom-heard quote by a trainer: “I made a mistake.”

Bob Baffert was referring to Toro Bonito’s ambitious campaign. When she ran fifth in the Oak Leaf, jockey David Flores told Baffert he did not think she could go long. Baffert wheeled her back in a sprint, and then Rafael Bejarano told Baffert “you need to run her long.” Baffert stretched her back out two weeks later, and Toro Bonito ran second with trouble in the Sharp Cat Stakes. Three races in five weeks were too many. Toro Bonito will have had six weeks between starts when she enters the Starlet. Don’t forget.

* Assuming a Dubai campaign is inadequate preparation for Midshipman and Vineyard Haven, the early favorite for the 2009 Kentucky Derby must be a horse based in North America. Two that Vineyard Haven already buried are on the short list: Nashua Stakes winner Break Water Edison and Champagne- and Hopeful-placed Cribnote. But the truth is, November is way too soon to consider any Kentucky Derby Future Wager, except good old No. 24.

* Due-diligence handicapping Saturday at Hollywood Park mandates video review of both starts by Salah Pick Six, including his last race, the sixth race at Santa Anita on Oct. 13. In that race, Salah Pick Six was given an “educational run” and finished sixth while under a hammerlock through the lane. It answers the question of whether Salah Pick Six can rally from behind horses Saturday in race 5.

* Top jockey Joel Rosario has all but disappeared this fall. He entered Thursday 2 for 57, and was winless in 43 mounts on the Hollywood Park main track. A top-three rider at the Oak Tree, Del Mar and Hollywood spring-summer, Rosario is due. Make that overdue.

* During his year-long suspension, trainer Patrick Biancone learned to play poker. It turns out, he is pretty good. According to bluffmagazine.com, Biancone won $25,700 finishing third in a $317,675 satellite tournament in April at the Bellagio in Las Vegas. Biancone is ranked 1,764 in Bluff Magazine 2008 Player of the Year rankings.

* Hyperbaric has not raced since Sept. 28, but his stock continues to rise after winning the Grade 2 Oak Tree Mile last out. Dilemma on Wednesday became the fourth Oak Tree Mile also-ran to win his next start, joining Global Hunter, Ferneley and Hurry up Austin. Hyperbaric runs Nov. 28 in the Grade 1 Citation. * Stallion plans have not been announced. The farm at which he will stand has not been revealed. And the $10 million horse Curlin is galloping daily at Churchill Downs. It makes you wonder – in which 2009 race will Curlin make his first start as a 5-year-old?

* Want a no-brain system for winning at Hollywood Park? It’s easy, just bet the favorite in a turf race. Through Wednesday, turf-race favorites had won 48 percent (13 of 27) and generated a flat-bet profit. Cushion Track favorites, meanwhile, aren’t doing bad, either. On the main track, favorites had won 34 percent (23 of 67).

* Anonymous horses-to-watch tip: The 3-year-old stakes-placed filly Grenadia will switch to synthetic this winter; hopes are high. The 2-year-old Point Encounter, an unraced Point Given colt out of a stakes-producing dam, is up to a half-mile in workouts, and looking good.

* Bobby Frankel was comparing second-level allowance winner Jibboom to Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Sprint winner Ventura. “She is not too far behind [Ventura], believe me,” Frankel said. “You haven’t seen the best of her yet.” There you have it, another horse to watch.

* Just wondering: Is it possible to lose more ground than Model and still win a stakes? Racing 1 1/16 miles Nov. 2 in the It’s in the Air Stakes, Model was three and four wide every step of the way, and still won by almost two. It’s something to remember when she returns Dec. 7 in the Grade 2 Bayakoa Handicap.

* At first, it seemed silly when trainer Ben Cecil suggested High Heeled Sneakers might try the Grade 1 Hollywood Turf Cup after winning a 1 3/8-mile stakes for fillies and mares last weekend. But maybe it’s not such a wacky idea considering the state of the division. Artiste Royal hasn’t raced since June, Obrigado has not won in nearly two years, and Good Request is eligible to a second-level allowance.

* Before criticizing the Real Quiet winner Chocolate Candy as a bad favorite for the Grade 1 Cash Call Futurity on Dec. 20, a recent history lesson is in order. Chocolate Candy’s highest Beyer is 79; Into Mischief had a career-high of only 83 when he won the Futurity last year. And who will Chocolate Candy face? The entire division is injured or headed to Dubai. That includes Square Eddie, Street Hero, Lucky Primo, Midshipman, and Coronet of a Baron.

* Moments before apparent race-3 standout Specific Rule entered the gate Wednesday for a $12,500 claiming race, a Hollywood Park press box denizen wondered aloud: “Why is Specific Rule only 4-5? Shouldn’t he be 1-5?” Halfway through the sprint, the answer became clear. Specific Rule lugged out on the turn, fell apart in the lane, and pulled up after the wire with an injury to his right front. When a dominant favorite does not get bet as heavily as expected, sometimes there is a reason why.

* Saturday stakes prognostications: Lady Digby (race 9) at Churchill Downs; Brilliant Son (race 8) at Aqueduct; All Is Vanity (race 10) at Calder; and Briecat (race 8) at Turf Paradise. As for race 8 on Saturday at Hollywood, I am pretty sure you can stay alive by simply using “all.”