ARCADIA, Calif. – The 2013 season has not gone the way trainer Richard Mandella expected with Jimmy Creed, the winner of the Grade 1 Malibu Stakes here Dec. 26.
Mandella hoped to run Jimmy Creed in the Strub Stakes in February and maybe the $750,000 Santa Anita Handicap on March 2. A persistent wintertime cough ended that.
The substitute plan is Saturday’s $150,000 Potrero Grande Stakes over 6 1/2 furlongs, which will be Jimmy Creed’s first start since the Malibu. He has worked quickly in recent days, notably a half-mile in 46 seconds last Monday, giving Mandella confidence that Jimmy Creed can resume his career with a win.
“He’s as sharp as he can be,” Mandella said. “He had a stubborn cough that went back and forth, but he’s doing good.”
Owned by Spendthrift Farm, Jimmy Creed has won 3 of 7 starts and $313,000. He was ninth in the Breeders’ Cup Sprint in November. In the Grade 2 Potrero Grande, Jimmy Creed starts from the outside in a field of eight.
Mandella considers the race a prep for the $750,000 Metropolitan Mile Handicap at Belmont Park on May 27.
“We hope to do well here and then think about the Met Mile,” he said.
Jimmy Creed is best when racing as a stalker and could be joined in that position by the consistent Unbridled’s Note.
Trained by Steve Asmussen, Unbridled’s Note has won two turf sprints here – the Grade 3 Eddie D Stakes last September and the Joe Hernandez Stakes in his most recent start Feb. 23. A 4-year-old colt, Unbridled’s Note was second in the BC Turf Sprint and third in the Malibu Stakes.
“He ran very good in the Breeders’ Cup,” said Scott Blasi, Asmussen’s assistant trainer. “He’s competitive here. I think we’ve got a good shot.”
Jimmy Creed and Unbridled’s Note will be in pursuit of Comma to the Top, the 5-year-old gelding trained by Peter Miller who won the Grade 2 Tom Fool Handicap at Aqueduct on March 2. Comma to the Top won the Grade 3 Daytona Stakes over 6 1/2 furlongs here Dec. 29 and is expected to set the pace in the Potrero Grande.
“I think we can sit off that horse,” Blasi said of Comma to the Top.
In the Tom Fool Handicap, Comma to the Top led by a length on the backstretch and prevailed in the 10-runner field by a nose.
Jimmy Creed is one of two Grade 1 winners in the field of eight, joined by Camp Victory, who won the Grade 1 Triple Bend Handicap over seven furlongs at Betfair Hollywood Park last summer.
Trained by Mike Mitchell, Camp Victory, 6, was 11th in the BC Turf Sprint in his last race in November, unable to overcome a poor start.
“He’s ready to run,” Mitchell said. “He needs 6 1/2 furlongs more than six, that’s for sure. I’ve always through that 6 1/2 or seven-eighths is his best distance.”