04/20/2005 11:00PM

A to the Z bound for Grade 1 Woodford


INGLEWOOD, Calif. - A to the Z, the winner of the California Cup Mile last fall, will skip Sunday's $150,000 Khaled Stakes at Hollywood Park in favor of the $400,000 Woodford Reserve Turf Classic at Churchill Downs on May 7.

Trainer Paula Capestro said A to the Z must be supplemented for $20,000 to the Grade 1 Woodford Reserve, one of the nation's top turf races of the spring.

The decision will cost Sunday's California Gold Rush program the presence of the top California-bred older turf male. Capestro said she wants to race A to the Z in the Woodford Reserve because of the race's prestige.

Owned by Capestro and her husband, Andy, A to the Z finished second by a head in his last race, the Mervin Muniz Handicap at Fair Grounds on March 19.

"He's just too good right now," she said. "The timing is good. This horse wants a little more time between races. He's too good not to give it to him. I thought it would be a good idea, too. I want to do what's right for the horse."

A 5-year-old gelding, A to the Z has won 4 of 21 starts and $529,283. Since his win in the California Cup Mile last October, A to the Z has been second in three major turf stakes - the Grade 1 Citation Handicap at Hollywood Park in November, the Sunshine Millions Turf at Santa Anita, and the Muniz Handicap.