05/29/2010 12:00AM

Zardana targeting Ogden Phipps


INGLEWOOD, Calif. - Zardana, who beat 2009 Horse of the Year Rachel Alexandra in the New Orleans Ladies in March, is likely to make her next start in the $250,000 Ogden Phipps Stakes at Belmont Park on June 12, owner Arnold Zetcher said.

Zetcher said a start in the Grade 1 Ogden Phipps Stakes gives Zardana a chance at a leading race for older fillies and mares on dirt and keeps her away from Zenyatta, the undefeated two-time champion who is scheduled to make her next start in the $250,000 Vanity Handicap at Hollywood Park on June 13.

Zardana and Zenyatta are trained at Hollywood Park by John Shirreffs.

"It's a Grade 1, and I think she deserves the chance anyway," Zetcher said of the Ogden Phipps. "That's the race we're looking at."

Zardana won the Grade 2 Bayakoa Handicap at Hollywood Park last fall and pulled a 9-1 upset against Rachel Alexandra in the New Orleans Ladies at Fair Grounds. In the rematch in the Grade 2 La Troienne Stakes on the Kentucky Oaks undercard, Zardana was fourth early and faded through the stretch to finish 13 1/4 lengths behind winner Unrivaled Belle and runner-up Rachel Alexandra.

"At Churchill Downs, she was rank," Zetcher said. "She's got to relax."

The Phipps is run at 1 1/16 miles around one turn.

Gato Go Win works for True North

Gato Go Win, who was second in the Grade 2 Potrero Grande Handicap at Santa Anita on April 3, worked a half-mile in 48.60 seconds at Hollywood Park on Saturday and will make his next start in the $250,000 True North Stakes at Belmont Park next Saturday.

Trainer Robert Troeger said he wants to start Gato Go Win on a dirt track to learn whether the 4-year-old colt should be pointed to the Breeders' Cup Sprint at Churchill Downs in November. Hollywood Park has a Cushion Track synthetic surface and the Potrero Grande was run over Pro-Ride.

"I want to see how he handles it," Troeger said.

Last year, Gato Go Win made two starts on dirt tracks, finishing sixth in the Grade 3 Derby Trial over 7 1/2 furlongs at Churchill Downs and seventh in the Pink Ribbon Invitational at the San Joaquin County Fair in Stockton in June.

"Churchill Downs was over seven-eighths and at Stockton we had a tired horse," Troeger said. "I don't think it was a fair assessment."

Troeger said that Gato Go Win will be ridden by Mike Smith in the Grade 2 True North, which is run over six furlongs.

California jockeys set for Belmont

Smith, Martin Garcia, and Joel Rosario are riding the Belmont Stakes program next Saturday. Smith rides Drosselmeyer, Garcia is on Game on Dude, and Rosario has the mount on Make Music for Me.

They will miss a lucrative program at Hollywood Park, which features the $250,000 Charles Whittingham Memorial Handicap over 1 1/4 miles on turf, the $100,000 Los Angeles Handicap over six furlongs, and the $60,000 Redondo Beach Stakes for fillies and mares over a mile on turf.

The Grade 1 Whittingham is likely to feature Acclamation and Falcon Rock, the first two finishers of the Jim Murray Handicap here May 15, and the multiple stakes winner Loup Breton and Battle of Hastings, who were third and fourth in the Woodford Reserve Turf Classic at Churchill Downs on May 1.

Blind Luck, winner of the Kentucky Oaks on April 30 and the nation's leading 3-year-old filly, will be a heavy favorite in the $150,000 Hollywood Oaks next Sunday. Trained by Jerry Hollendorfer, Blind Luck will be after her sixth stakes win.