05/30/2009 11:00PM

Zensational bound for King's Bishop


INGLEWOOD, Calif. - The striking 3-year-old sprinter Zensational has trainer Bob Baffert dreaming of the Breeders' Cup Sprint - five months from now.

Zensational won an optional claimer going 6 1/2 furlongs at Hollywood Park on Friday that had Baffert planning a start in the $300,000 King's Bishop Stakes at seven furlongs for 3-year-olds at Saratoga on Aug. 29. The King's Bishop is a Grade 1, and would serve as a vital prep for the BC Sprint at Santa Anita on Nov. 7. There is a possibility that Zensational would have a start in the interim.

In Friday's optional claimer, Zensational dueled for the lead for the first half-mile and pulled clear to win by 1 1/4 lengths under jockey Victor Espinoza.

"I think he passed a good acid test," Baffert said. "It was his first time over here [at Hollywood Park] and first time at night. He crossed a lot of checks.

"We know he's fast. We've got to keep his speed harnessed."

Owned by Zayat Stable, Zensational has won 2 of 4 starts and $69,300. A colt by Unbridled's Song, Zensational has yet to appear in a stakes.

Zardana headed back to stakes

Don't tangle with Zardana.

That was the message from trainer John Shirreffs after the 5-year-old mare led throughout a one-mile allowance race at Hollywood Park on Sunday.

Allowed to set her own pace, Zardana and jockey Mike Smith ($14.60) won by 1 3/4 lengths, earning a likely start in the $250,000 Royal Heroine Mile on turf on July 11.

The allowance race was Zardana's second start for Shirreffs, having been transferred from trainer Ron McAnally's stable last fall by owner Arnold Zetcher. In her first start for Shirreffs, at Santa Anita in March, Zardana did not make an early lead and was never a factor. Shirreffs believes Zardana is better when allowed to lead.

"The first time I ran her, she dropped back, and I don't think she wants to do that," Shirreffs said. "She doesn't have a big kick, but she has a lot of stamina."

Zardana, 5, has won 5 of 12 starts and $156,801. She won the restricted Osunitas Handicap in a 43-1 upset for McAnally last summer. She has yet to finish in the first three in three graded stakes appearances.

Zardana beat a field that included 3-5 favorite Anabaa's Creation, who won her U.S. debut in an allowance race on the main track at Santa Anita in April. Anabaa's Creation was under a ride on the second turn and faded to finish fifth.

O'Neill 2-year-old sets track record

For early June, trainer Doug O'Neill has already unveiled a remarkably deep 2-year-old team.

Sunday, O'Neill won his sixth race with a 2-year-old in the last month when Necessary Evil won her debut in a maiden special weight at five furlongs. She was timed in 56.68 seconds, setting a track record.

Ridden by Joel Rosario, Necessary Evil led throughout, winning by 3 3/4 lengths over Mi Sueno. The race was a prep for the $100,000 Landaluce Stakes for 2-year-old fillies on July 12.

Necessary Evil was purchased for $160,000 at the 2008 Fasig-Tipton Kentucky yearling sale and races for Dapple Stable and Glencrest Farm. She went through the Barretts March sale of 2-year-olds in training but was bought back for $270,000. By Harlan's Holiday, Necessary Evil was withdrawn from the Barretts May sale.

Mi Sueno, who races for Southern Equine Stable, made her debut on Sunday. By Pulpit, Mi Sueno was purchased for $1.7 million as a weanling at Keeneland in November 2007, the highest price for a weanling that year.

O'Neill could have further success with his 2-year-olds on Thursday. In the $70,000 Willard Proctor Stakes at five furlongs, O'Neill starts Track N Attack, a winner of a statebred maiden race on May 7, and Classical Slew, a maiden race winner on May 13. The Proctor will be the second start for both.

Tyler Baze fined for whip infractions

Jockey Tyler Baze has been fined $750 by Hollywood Park stewards for two whip violations in May.

Baze was cited for causing welts or breaks in the skin in the sixth race on May 10, where he finished second aboard the maiden claimer Maid for Plaid, and the fifth race on May 23, a second-place finish aboard the maiden claimer Eclipse Syrah.