08/17/2009 11:00PM

Works hint California Flag is ready


DEL MAR, Calif. - The style in which California Flag has trained in advance of Wednesday's $85,000 Green Flash Handicap at Del Mar has left trainer Brian Koriner pleased.

Koriner said that California Flag, who has won two sprint stakes on turf, "is training unbelievably" for the Green Flash, run over five furlongs on turf.


"It's freaky watching him in the morning," Koriner.

The Green Flash is California Flag's first start since November. California Flag worked five furlongs in 57.80 seconds on Aug. 2 and a half-mile in 45.80 seconds on Aug. 9.

"I've never had a horse train like this before," Koriner said. "He's doing so well."

Owned by Hi Card Ranch, California Flag has won 5 of 13 starts and $283,216. He won two Grade 3 stakes last year - the Morvich Handicap in September and the Hollywood Turf Express in November - and finished 10th in the Breeders' Cup Turf Sprint at Santa Anita in October in between.

In the BC Turf Sprint, California Flag led to the eighth pole, but finished 9 1/2 lengths behind winner Desert Code.

After the Turf Express, California Flag underwent surgery to have a bone chip removed from an ankle.

California Flag is part of a full field in the Green Flash. There are 11 entries, but the field will be limited to eight starters.

There are two runners besides California Flag who are unraced since last year - Stoneside and Tropic Storm. Stoneside, who won the Grade 3 San Simeon Handicap at Santa Anita in April 2008, makes his first start since a sixth-place finish in the Grade 2 Del Mar Mile last August. Stoneside races as a gelding for the first time on Wednesday.

Tropic Storm, who placed in four consecutive stakes last year, returns from a layoff of more than 10 months. He was third in the Grade 2 Oak Tree Mile last fall. The Green Flash will be the shortest race of Tropic Storm's career.

"It's a tough spot," said Craig Dollase, who trains Tropic Storm. "It's a prep for quite a few of them."

Defending champion Get Funky will be a longshot. Trained by John Sadler, Get Funky is winless in five starts since the 2008 Green Flash.

There are two stakes winners from the Hollywood Park meeting in the field - Bamaha Breeze (El Segundo Stakes) and Delta Storm (Kerlan Handicap).