04/23/2009 11:00PM

Unbridled Roman will seek a cleaner trip

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Triumphant Flight
Triumphant Flight will try to stretch his speed in Saturday's $250,000 Snow Chief, the card's richest race.

INGLEWOOD, Calif. - Cranky, irritated, and finally discouraged, Unbridled Roman had little success in the $750,000 Santa Anita Derby on April 4. He fought jockey Tyler Baze in traffic on the backstretch, and faded through the stretch to finish sixth behind Kentucky Derby hopefuls Pioneerof the Nile, Chocolate Candy, and Mr. Hot Stuff.

There will be no tilt at the Kentucky Derby for Unbridled Roman. Fortunately for breeders Rod and Lorraine Rodriquez and trainer Christopher Paasch, there is a suitable consolation in Saturday's $250,000 Snow Chief Stakes for statebred 3-year-olds at Hollywood Park.

The Snow Chief is the richest of 10 races on a program dedicated to California-breds. Six of the races are worth $150,000 or more, offering lucrative stakes for statebreds on turf and the main track. The program begins at 12:30 p.m. Pacific.

With 11 entrants, the Snow Chief has a big field. Paasch is hopeful that Unbridled Roman can get a stalking trip, race away from the rail, and have better luck than he did earlier this month.

"He never got a chance to run all the way down the backstretch and around the turn," Paasch said of the Santa Anita Derby. "After that, he couldn't finish. I thought if he had a chance to run, he could have hit the board. He was in a bad spot the whole way."

Paasch, well known as the trainer of 2008 champion 2-year-old filly Stardom Bound, needs Unbridled Roman to run a career-best race in the Snow Chief. The race has drawn a competitive field that includes Feisty Suances, who was fifth in the Santa Anita Derby; Triumphant Flight, a two-time stakes winner; and J P Jammer, who was second in the Real Quiet Stakes here last November behind Chocolate Candy.

Unbridled Roman may be the only runner from the Santa Anita Derby in the Snow Chief field. Feisty Suances, who was second to Pioneerof the Nile in the Grade 2 San Felipe Stakes at Santa Anita in March, is not a definite starter because of sore feet, trainer Darrell Vienna said on Thursday.

"His feet are pretty tender," Vienna said. "He's got to get better. I can't see any bruises. We're working on them. I sure want to run. If he's fine, we'll run."

Feisty Suances had the lead on the turn of the Santa Anita Derby, but faded to finish 4 1/4 lengths behind Pioneerof the Nile. If Feisty Suances starts in the Snow Chief, Vienna hopes that jockey Victor Espinoza can stalk expected pacesetters Compari and Triumphant Flight.

Compari is making his stakes debut, having won a one-mile maiden race on turf at Santa Anita on March 29. Triumphant Flight has won two sprint stakes, the Barretts Juvenile at Fairplex Park last September and the San Miguel Stakes at Santa Anita in March. The Snow Chief Stakes will be the longest race of his career, though he was a game second to Lucky Primo in the California Cup Juvenile at 1 1/16 miles at Santa Anita last fall.

Triumphant Flight has drawn the rail. Trainer Eric Kruljac said jockey Rafael Bejarano will not be under orders to send Triumphant Flight to the front.

"He doesn't have to be on the lead," Kruljac said. "He's ready. We've got to let him run his race. Bejarano can ride with confidence.

"My main concern is that he'll be in the gate longer than I'd like if there is a bad loader or two."

Triumphant Flight is the only stakes winner in the field. J P Jammer ran in three stakes last fall, with his best result a loss by 1 1/2 lengths in the Real Quiet Stakes. He followed that with a 10th-place finish behind Pioneerof the Nile in the Grade 1 CashCall Futurity here in December.

The CashCall result essentially ended trainer Rafael Becerra's interest in starting J P Jammer in a Triple Crown prep. In three starts in allowance races at Santa Anita, J P Jammer was second against open company on turf in January and a troubled second against older horses on the main track on March 19. In the latter race, J P Jammer was blocked in early stretch and still came on to finish 1 1/4 lengths behind Unusual Smoke, who starts in Saturday's Khaled Stakes here.

"I think he deserves to take a shot," Becerra said. "He should have won last time when he got blocked. He was running at the end, but it was too late. He's matured and mind-wise he's better. I think he's grown up."

If he is a changed horse, J P Jammer could sprint a mild upset on Saturday.