10/16/2008 12:00AM

Ventana's debut effort could win this


ARCADIA, Calif. - The first two races of Ventana's career do not match.

After winning a maiden race convincingly at Belmont Park on Sept. 5, he followed with a last-place finish in the Grade 1 Champagne Stakes there on Oct. 4 after acting up in the starting gate. The loss seemed too bad to be true, and has led trainer Bob Baffert to make changes for Ventana's third start in Saturday's $75,000 Jack Goodman Stakes at Santa Anita.

"I've been schooling him and I took the blinkers off," Baffert said.

Ventana's career debut makes him a contender in the Goodman, which is run at six furlongs over Pro-Ride. Baffert said Ventana had an excuse for his race in the Champagne, run on dirt.

"He broke horrible," Baffert said. "He was up on heels and rushed up. He was done at the quarter pole."

Baffert is hoping to use the Goodman as a prep for the major stakes of the Hollywood Park fall meeting, such as the Grade 1 CashCall Futurity on Dec. 20.

"I want to see what he's got," Baffert said.

Ventana is part of a talented six-horse field in the Goodman, which includes three undefeated entrants - Arashi Cat, Backbackbackgone and Details R Sketchy. Bear It's True, trained by Toronto-based Reade Baker, has won his last two starts, at Woodbine and Presque Isle Downs, while Charlie's Moment won the Gateway to Glory Stakes at Fairplex Park last month in his fifth career start.

Arashi Cat beat maidens at Del Mar on Aug. 9 in his only start, while Backbackbackgone and Details R Sketchy have won twice. Backbackbackgone won a maiden race by 10 lengths at Bay Meadows on May 11 and the Willard Proctor Memorial Stakes at 5 1/2 furlongs at Hollywood Park on May 25. He missed the summer races because of a minor injury.

"He had some sore shins, nothing major," trainer Peter Miller said. "He's bigger and stronger and he looks fantastic. He's training exceptionally well, and I expect him to run very well."

Details R Sketchy is making his stakes debut. Trained by Carla Gaines, he won a maiden race at 5 1/2 furlongs at Del Mar on Aug. 31 and an optional claimer at six furlongs here as a heavy favorite on Sept. 25.

Bear It's True "literally galloped" when he won an allowance race at Presque Isle Downs, Baker said.