02/09/2010 1:00AM

Washout could change makeup of Lewis

Benoit & Associates
Tiz Chrome, winning the Stuka Stakes in December, may wind up in the Southwest Stakes at Oaklawn.

ARCADIA, Calif. - The postponement of the Grade 2 Robert Lewis Stakes at Santa Anita to this Saturday because of significant rain last weekend may cost the Triple Crown prep a few starters.

Santa Anita canceled Saturday's program when approximately four inches of rain fell from early Friday to early Saturday. The track has rescheduled the three graded stakes from that program - the Lewis, Grade 2 Strub Stakes, and Grade 1 Las Virgenes Stakes - for this Saturday.

Monday, trainer Bob Baffert said he was thinking of skipping the Lewis with the undefeated Tiz Chrome and sending him to Oaklawn Park for Monday's $250,000 Southwest Stakes. Sunday, trainer John Sadler said he had the one-mile Southwest in mind for Domonation, who was also entered in last Saturday's Lewis Stakes.

Tiz Chrome won the Stuka Stakes for sprinters at Hollywood Park in December and has never raced beyond 6 1/2 furlongs. Baffert said he will finalize his plans on Wednesday whether to send Tiz Chrome or Conveyance, the winner of the Grade 3 San Rafael Stakes here on Jan. 16, to Oaklawn.

Wednesday is the day a flight leaves California bound for Arkansas.

"They're kids," Baffert said of his 3-year-olds. "You don't know who will wake up with a sniffy nose."

Baffert has wanted to try some of his 3-year-olds on a dirt surface. California's Thoroughbred tracks have synthetic surfaces.

American Lion, the winner of the Grade 3 Hollywood Prevue Stakes in November, remains on course for the rescheduled Lewis, trainer Eoin Harty said.

Sadler said that Dave in Dixie, unraced since finishing sixth in the Grade 1 Norfolk Stakes last October, will remain in the Lewis, though he was not pleased with the delay.

"It's never optimal," Sadler said. "They were ready to go last Saturday. You want to go when you've trained and [are] ready to run."

The Lewis Stakes, run over 1 1/16 miles, is a key prep for the $750,000 Santa Anita Derby on April 3.

In reaction to Santa Anita's disrupted training, and with another rainstorm forecast for late Tuesday and early Wednesday, Sadler sent Dave in Dixie, the 3-year-old colt Sidney's Candy, and the 3-year-old filly Crisp to Hollywood Park on Sunday to train this week.

Trainer Mike Machowsky said original Lewis entrant Caracortado would likely stay at Santa Anita

"He's nominated everywhere," Machowsky said. "I'd prefer to stay here. I've got backup plans if something unforeseen happens."

The favorites for the other two graded stakes last weekend - Blind Luck for the Las Virgenes and Misremembered for the Strub Stakes - are expected to start in the rescheduled runnings.

Battle of Hastings loses spot

Not all of the stakes horses from Saturday's canceled program may have a chance to race.

Battle of Hastings, the winner of four turf stakes and $1,062,717 last year, was entered for the $65,000 Leroidesanimaux Handicap over a mile on turf, but the race failed to fill when it was reopened for entries on Sunday. The track had hoped to card the race on Thursday or Friday, and will try to card it again for Saturday. It's possible the race will be canceled.

For Mullins, the Leroidesanimaux Stakes was intended as Battle of Hastings's prep for the Grade 1 Frank Kilroe Mile on March 6.

"I don't know what to think," Mullins said.

The track's racing office, said Mullins, "said they would try to get something to go for those horses."

Maintenance a handful

Santa Anita completed an eight-race program without incident on Sunday, though two turf races were switched to the main track.

The track superintendent, Richard Tedesco, and his crew worked late Saturday afternoon and into the evening and again from dawn until 10 a.m. on Sunday to prepare the track. The Pro-Ride synthetic surface failed to drain sufficiently early Saturday, resulting in the fourth day of canceled racing at this meeting.

The track lost three days of racing in January when the same situation occurred after seven inches of rain fell in a five-day period.

Tedesco's team focused its attention late Saturday and early Sunday on an area on the outside of the main track, near the winner's circle, that has caused drainage problems in the past.

The recent cancellations led track officials to say last month that the surface will be replaced this summer, but they have not stated what material will be used. There are scores of trainers who want a dirt track installed, while others wish that a synthetic surface that drains adequately would be installed.

"It's a good surface when it's not wet," Machowsky said of the existing surface.

Different paths for San Antonio 1-2

The first two finishers of Sunday's Grade 2 San Antonio Handicap are bound for opposite sides of the world.

Race winner Richard's Kid, who made up more than eight lengths in the final three furlongs, is bound for the Dubai World Cup in the Middle East on March 27. He won the San Antonio by a head over Dakota Phone, who will stay in California for the $750,000 Santa Anita Handicap on March 6.

Richard's Kid won for the first time since the Pacific Classic last September. The San Antonio was his first start since a sixth behind Zenyatta in the Breeders' Cup Classic here in November.

"He's supposed to beat those," Baffert said of Richard's Kid win on Sunday. "He's holding his form, and that's important. He got the win under his belt. It will help him mentally. Last time, he was chasing freakin' Zenyatta."

Dakota Phone nearly won his first graded stakes in his 23rd start. A 5-year-old gelding, he was a minor stakes winner at Golden Gate Fields in 2008 for trainer Jerry Hollendorfer.

Compact Santa Maria

The forthcoming Saturday program was already notable for the 2010 debut of Life Is Sweet in the $250,000 Santa Maria Handicap. Life Is Sweet won the Breeders' Cup Ladies' Classic here in November.

The Grade 2 Santa Maria will draw a small field. Aside from Life Is Sweet, another leading contender is St Trinians, the winner of the Paseana Handicap here last month. Joffe's Run, Once Upon a Grace, and Pretty Unusual may start.

* Sunday's $150,000 La Canada Stakes for 4-year-old fillies over 1 1/8 miles will have a large field, led by 2008 champion 2-year-old filly Stardom Bound. She was second in the Grade 2 El Encino Stakes last month to Pretty Unusual, who is also being considered for the La Canada.