ARCADIA, Calif. -- Zenyatta, the unbeaten champion older female of 2008, is likely to make her 2009 debut at the Hollywood Park spring-summer meeting, possibly in the $150,000 Milady Handicap on May 23.
Trainer John Shirreffs said Wednesday that Zenyatta continues to show progress in her training. She had her second workout of the year on Monday, breezing a half-mile in 49 seconds at Hollywood Park.
With a limited number of works, Zenyatta won't run in the $500,000 Apple Blossom Handicap at Oaklawn Park on April 4, Shirreffs said. Zenyatta won the Apple Blossom in 2008.
"You can't really rush a horse back," he said.
Shirreffs stopped short of committing Zenyatta to the Milady, a Gradeo2 stakes over 1 1/16 miles. But he said that with some five-furlong and six-furlong works in the next couple of months, she should be ready by then.
Owned by Jerry and Ann Moss, Zenyatta has not started since the Breeders' Cup Ladies' Classic at Santa Anita last October. The victory was Zenyatta's seventh stakes win of 2008.
The Ladies' Classic in November is the long-term goal for Zenyatta.
Stardom Bound points to Ashland
Stardom Bound, the champion 2-year-old filly of 2008 who won her fifth consecutive Grade 1 stakes in the Santa Anita Oaks last Saturday, is being pointed for the $400,000 Ashland Stakes at Keeneland on April 4, confirmed Michael Iavarone, co-president of the IEAH Stables partnership.
"I think that's our focus right now, unless the filly tells us otherwise," Iavarone said. "I'd love to see her go to the Ashland."
Earlier this year, there were discussions about trying Stardom Bound against males in the $750,000 Santa Anita Derby on April 4, but those thoughts dissipated after she won the Santa Anita Oaks by a mere nose.
The Grade 1 Ashland Stakes is run over 1 1/16 miles for 3-year-old fillies, and is a leading prep for the $500,000 Kentucky Oaks on May 1.
Stardom Bound was trained by Bobby Frankel earlier this year and remains in his stable at Santa Anita. She will be shipped to Kentucky next week and will join Rick Dutrow.
There is a possibility that Stardom Bound could skip the Ashland and be trained up to the Kentucky Oaks. Iavarone said that plans for the filly could change if he was advised to do so by Frankel and Dutrow. Frankel said last weekend that he would recommend that Stardom Bound be trained up to the Kentucky Oaks.
Vets, Mitchell fined for positive test
Three veterinarians and trainer Mike Mitchell have been fined a total of $5,000 after reaching a stipulated agreement with the California Horse Racing Board regarding a positive test for procaine penicillin at Del Mar last summer.
The penalties were reached after discussions among the veterinarians, Mitchell, and racing board officials. The rulings were released earlier this month by Santa Anita stewards Scott Chaney, Albert Christiansen, and Tom Ward.
The positive was found in a post-race test taken from Scat Thief, the Mitchell-trained third-place finisher of a $50,000 claimer over a mile Aug. 3. The Equine Medical and Surgery Group practice of veterinarians Joseph Dowd, Jennifer Finley, and Edwin Simpson was fined $4,500 for treating Scat Thief.
According to Chaney, the veterinarians said the wrong horse was treated at the Mitchell stable. Mitchell was cited under the trainer's insurer rule, which leaves a trainer liable for a horse that tests positive under his care.
Allowance winners to try stakes
The winners of three allowance races or optional claimers on Wednesday - Rosy Mantle, Supreme Summit, and Mr Gruff -- are likely to start in stakes in April.
Rosy Mantle won her U.S. debut in a one-mile allowance race on turf for 3-year-old fillies by 1 1/4 lengths, rallying from fifth in a field of seven.
Trainer Ben Cecil said that Rosy Mantle will be pointed to the $150,000 Providencia Stakes on April 4.
Supreme Summit led throughout an optional claimer over 6 1/2 furlongs for 3-year-olds, pulling clear to win by three lengths in 1:15.13. Supreme Summit is unbeaten in two starts. Trainer Doug O'Neill said no specific race has been picked out for him.
Mr Gruff won for the second time in three races in an allowance race on the hillside turf course. Mr Gruff led throughout and won by 2 3/4 lengths. Trainer Ron Ellis said the $100,000 San Simeon Handicap on the hillside turf course on April 18 is next.