10/09/2005 11:00PM

Uncle Denny returns for a Cal Cup prep


ARCADIA, Calif. - Just in time for the California Cup next month, Uncle Denny returns from a seven-month break in a $50,000 allowance race for statebreds at Santa Anita on Wednesday.

A two-time stakes winner, Uncle Denny has not started since winning the Grade 3 El Camino Real Derby at Bay Meadows in March. He emerged from that race with a bone chip in an ankle, according to trainer Rafael Becerra.

In recent weeks, Uncle Denny has had several quick workouts, including six furlongs in 1:11 on Oct. 1 and three furlongs in 35 seconds last Friday. They were the fastest published workouts at the distance on those mornings.

Becerra intends to use Wednesday's seven-furlong race as a prep to the $250,000 California Cup Classic on Nov. 6.

"He doesn't have to win, but I would love to win," Becerra said. "It's a prep for him, and I want to see a good race."

has won 4 of 5 starts and $144,913. He won his first three starts, with a little help from the stewards.

Following a win against maidens, Uncle Denny finished second in an allowance race at Hollywood Park last November, but was promoted to first when the first-place finisher, Lucky J.H., was disqualified for causing interference.

Uncle Denny followed that with a victory against statebreds in the California Breeders' Championship Stakes at seven furlongs. After finishing fourth in the Sham Stakes in early February, Uncle Denny won the El Camino Real Derby at 1 1/16 miles by 2 1/4 lengths.

Wednesday, Uncle Denny has only four opponents: Ata Olympio, Kool Suggestion, Proud Tower Too, and Super Strut.

has won 6 of 8 starts, including the California Cup Starter Sprint Handicap at six furlongs last October. Best as a stalker, Ata Olympio has not started since winning an optional claimer in March.

will be making his first start since being claimed for $50,000 by trainer Mike Mitchell out of a two-length win here Sept. 30.

Proud Tower Too is a threat from the front. He was second in an allowance race here Sept. 28.

Super Strut was fourth in the Crystal Water Handicap for statebreds here last March in his most recent start.