09/30/2009 11:00PM

You Can Lift Me Up a speed threat

Email

ARCADIA, Calif. - The success story of You Lift Me Up is assured. Any filly claimed for $32,000 who goes on to win three stakes in 14 months has to be considered a steal.

Still, anything less than a win by You Lift Me Up in Saturday's $75,000 California Cup Distance Handicap will be a disappointment. She is the 121-pound highweight in a field of five, and she will be heavily favored. Century Park, the winner of the Grade 3 Santa Ysabel Stakes here last January, is the only other stakes winner in the field.

Race tactics should favor You Lift Me Up. Trained and co-owned by Jerry Hollendorfer, You Lift Me Up can lead or stalk the pace. With no other confirmed front-runners in the Distance Handicap over 1 1/4 miles on turf, You Lift Me Up may lead throughout.

"If they leave her alone, she can get the lead," said Dan Ward, Hollendorfer's assistant trainer.

A 4-year-old filly, You Lift Me Up has won 6 of 25 starts and 4 of 14 starts since being claimed. She won her most recent start, the Solana Beach Handicap over a mile on turf at Del Mar on Aug. 23. In that race, she rallied from fourth in a field of six to win by a half-length.

"The last time they said it didn't look good for her because there was speed, and she came from five lengths off," Ward said.

Earlier this year, You Lift Me Up was third of four in the Grade 2 Beverly Hills Handicap over 1 1/4 miles on turf at Hollywood Park after leading to the final furlong.

"Those were some good horses in there," Ward said.

Saturday's Distance Handicap drew five runners. Aside from the stakes winners Century Park and You Life Me Up, Catsalot, Novato and Rollerskates will also start.

Century Park is a Florida-bred but is by the California-based stallion General Meeting. This year, eligibility for the California Cup has been opened to statebreds and California-sired horses.

Century Park, 3, is winless in eight starts since the Santa Ysabel. She was fourth in the Sandy Blue Handicap on turf at Del Mar on Aug. 21.

Catsalot and Novato are making their stakes debuts. Catsalot was second in an optional claimer for statebreds at Del Mar on Aug. 28. Rollerskates was fourth in the 2007 Distance Handicap, her most recent stakes appearance.

Trainer Barry Abrams intended to start Bel Air Sizzle, but an apparent clerical error in the racing office led to her not being part of the entries when the race was drawn Wednesday.

"We're still looking into what happened," the director of racing, Mike Harlow, said.

Abrams said on Thursday that he intended to start Bel Air Sizzle in the Distance Handicap when it became apparent the race had a small field.

Instead, Bel Air Sizzle, who finished in a dead heat for first in the Valentine Dancer Handicap last February, was scheduled to run Thursday in an allowance race.