Home Sweet Aspen seeks Cool Air

Updated: December 6, 2011, 2:03 PM ET
By Steve Andersen | Daily Racing Form



INGLEWOOD, Calif. -- Home Sweet Aspen is likely bound for the Grade 1 La Brea Stakes at Santa Anita on Dec. 31, which makes her appearance in Wednesday's $60,000 Cool Air Stakes at Hollywood Park a key tune-up for that major stakes.

The Cool Air Stakes is run over six furlongs on turf, and will be Home Sweet Aspen's first start on the grass. A 3-year-old filly by Candy Ride, Home Sweet Aspen has won 3 of 6 starts and $157,822, with the wins on dirt or synthetic tracks.

A surface switch is not a concern for trainer John Sadler.

"I think the Candy Rides can run on any surface," he said. "I'm confident. She's doing unbelievable. For me the intellectual conversation was whether to hold her for three weeks or give her a race."

Owned by breeder Jenny Craig, Home Sweet Aspen won her first stakes in the Louis Rowan Stakes over 6 1/2 furlongs at Santa Anita on Oct. 9. She led throughout and won by 2 1/4 lengths under jockey Joel Rosario, who has the mount on Wednesday.

Home Sweet Aspen has won her last two starts, the first of which was an optional claimer over six furlongs at Del Mar on Sept. 5. Earlier this year, she was second in the Eight Belles Stakes at Churchill Downs in May, but emerged from that race with an illness, Sadler said. She did not start again until a second-place finish at Del Mar in late July.

"She got sick after the Eight Belles, and may have been sick before that," he said. "I freshened her to run at Del Mar and I ran her early in the meeting. Since then, she's won and won."

Home Sweet Aspen is part of a field of seven in the Cool Air, which has drawn four other stakes winners -- Bella Diamante, Briecat, Givine, and Rare Sunset.

Briecat, the winner of the Grade 2 Las Palmas Handicap at Hollywood Park in 2010, has not started since late March, and will need more distance to be effective, trainer Vladimir Cerin said.

"I think she's probably better longer, but she's training really well," he said.

Givine is easy to support. She won the Great Lady M. Stakes over six furlongs on turf here in May and was second in the Grade 3 Sen. Ken Maddy Stakes at Santa Anita in September.