Although he can't match the depth of Bobby Frankel, trainer Richard Mandella is building a solid stable of turf horses.
After the $106,250 Senorita Breeders' Cup Stakes at Hollywood Park on Saturday, add Likeable Style to a list that includes San Juan Capistrano winner Kotashaan, promising European import Beyton and multiple-stakes winner Leger Cat.
Perfect in her first three starts before disappointing as the favorite against Eliza in the Santa Anita Oaks, Likeable Style was expected to improve on grass. With Gary Stevens riding Personal Hope in the Preakness, Kent Desormeaux rode the Nijinsky II filly for the first time and she responded with a one-length victory over Adorydar in 1:34 2/5 for the mile.
Owned and bred by John and Betty Mabee, the 5-2 second choice didn't break alertly, saved ground along the inside, then rallied to win going away. Icy Warning, the 13-10 favorite, finished third, a half-length behind Adorydar. On The Catwalk, the 3-1 third choice who won her American debut in the Providencia at Santa Anita, finished last in the field of seven.
Successful in both the Santa Ysabel and Las Virgenes after an impressive maiden victory on opening day at Santa Anita last Dec. 26, Likeable Style had an excuse for her sixth-place effort in the Oaks.
"She came out of the race sore behind," said Mandella. "Within a week, she was all right, but we took a little more time with her. It was a good time to give her a break and go on and have a good summer.
"She's back where she was before the Oaks, and I thought she was pretty good then.
"I've never had the depth (in his barn) that I have now. I just hope it stays that way for awhile. I've had some pretty good mares on the turf, but it's nice to have some colts to go along with them."
Desormeaux, who wouldn't mind keeping the mount, doesn't think anyone has seen the best Likeable Style has to offer.
"She never really got into high gear," he said. "She just kind of loped around out there. Hopefully, I will (get to see her at her best) and I'll get to keep her and we'll go from there."
Jose Santos reported no excuses for Icy Warning, who lost for only the second time in six starts on turf.
"She broke real well and had a perfect position outside at the five-sixteenths pole," he said. "But when I asked her, there was nothing left in the bottle. She just ran evenly the whole way."
With a history of running well fresh, Thirty Slews is the 2-1 morning-line favorite for the $108,200 Los Angeles Handicap at Hollywood Park today.
Rested since his victory in the Breeders' Cup Sprint last Oct. 31, the 6-year-old gelding has trained well for Bob Baffert. He worked five furlongs in 59 4/5 at Santa Anita on Tuesday, six days after going the distance in 58 3/5. Eddie Delahoussaye will ride Thirty Slews, who won the Bing Crosby Handicap at Del Mar last Aug. 2 after being away for nearly six months.
"We don't have him geared up Breeders' Cup style," Baffert said. "But he's ready to run. He's carrying more flesh than he's ever carried . . . that's a good sign."
Star Of The Crop, a distant third as the favorite in the Potrero Grande Handicap on March 27, is the 5-2 second choice. Stevens will ride the 4-year-old Relaunch colt, who won the Bedside Promise Handicap in 1:08 in his last start at Hollywood Park in November.
From the rail out, the six-furlong Los Angeles also attracted Wild Harmony (Chris McCarron, 6-1), Egocentric (Goncalino Almeida, 12-1), Fabulous Champ (Desormeaux, 6-1), Cardmania (Corey Black, 10-1) and Arrowtown (Laffit Pincay, 4-1).