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Trainer Goes for Glory

Horse racing: Mandella tries to end stakes slump in a big way today, with entries in three graded races at Hollywood Park.

June 15, 2002|BOB MIESZERSKI | TIMES STAFF WRITER

No matter how long he continues to train thoroughbreds, Richard Mandella will probably never match the day he had on Nov. 6, 1993.

During the Breeders' Cup program at Santa Anita, Mandella won an unprecedented four stakes. In addition to two victories on the undercard with Region in the $150,000 Skywalker Handicap and Memo in the $100,000 Smile Handicap, the Hall of Fame trainer won the $2-million Breeders' Cup Turf with Kotashaan, who was later named horse of the year, and the $1-million Juvenile Fillies with Phone Chatter.

Such money won't be on the line today at Hollywood Park, but Mandella has an opportunity to come close to four stakes victories.

Hoping to end a stable stakes drought that has lasted for more than three months, Mandella has a chance to win all three graded races Hollywood Park is offering.

The trainer will be represented by Ile de France in the $250,000 Hollywood Breeders' Cup Oaks, Cagney in the $350,000 Charlie Whittingham Memorial Handicap and Investor's Dream and Redattore in the $500,000 Californian.

A win by any of the four horses would be welcome. The last stakes victories for a barn that has been one of the best in the country came during the first weekend of April. Kudos, Crazy Ensign and Alexine won at Oaklawn Park, Bay Meadows and Santa Anita, respectively, in a span of two days.

Since then, there have been seven runner-up finishes, some extremely narrow losses. Two of the seconds were provided by Redattore, who finished behind longshot Night Patrol in the Inglewood Handicap three weeks before he chased favored Ladies Din in the Shoemaker Breeders' Cup Mile.

A 7-year-old, Brazilian-bred son of Roi Normand owned by Luis Alfredo Taunay, Redattore is switching to the main track for the Californian, which is the final prep for the $750,000 Hollywood Gold Cup on July 14.

While he has won seven of 15 on grass, Redattore has also won two of his three starts on dirt. In his last main track appearance, he won the San Antonio Handicap at Santa Anita, beating Euchre by half a length on Feb. 3.

"Redattore's tough no matter where he runs," Mandella said Friday. "He's good on both turf and dirt, so he should be tough to deal with [today]."

Like his stablemate, Investor's Dream was bred and began his career in Brazil. Owned by Stud TNT, which also has Cagney and Ile de France, the 4-year-old Spend A Buck colt was impressive winning on the grass in his first start in this country. He'll be trying the dirt for only the second time. He was a runner-up in South America in his lone start on the main, but his local works suggest he could be a factor in the Grade II.

"He's always trained better on the dirt than he has on the turf," Mandella said.

The horse to beat in the 1 1/8-mile Californian is Milwaukee Brew. Owned by Frank Stronach and trained by Bobby Frankel, the 5-year-old son of Wild Again will be making his first appearance since winning the Santa Anita Handicap by four lengths on March 2.

In the Whittingham, which is at 1 1/4 miles on turf, Frankel again has the horse to beat in Skipping, who shortens an eighth of a mile after winning the Jim Murray Memorial Handicap on May 19.

Cagney is adding blinkers for Mandella in his first race since he was fourth as the 7-5 favorite in the San Juan Capistrano on April 21 at Santa Anita.

Ile De France, a gray daughter of Storm Cat, will break from the rail in the 1 1/16-mile Oaks, which is the first of the day's stakes races. She was third, beaten by two lengths by You at 55-1 in the Santa Anita Oaks, then finished 17 1/2 lengths behind winner Farda Amiga in the Kentucky Oaks on May 3.

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The California Horse Racing Board has scheduled its special meeting to consider the future of racing at Fairplex Park for June 26 at the Los Angeles International Airport Crowne Plaza Hotel.

Los Angeles County Fair officials are seeking to move the 17-day meet to Santa Anita Park. The seven-member board nearly voted to reject the proposed move at its June 6 meeting, but a 3-3 tie was not broken because member Marie Moretti abstained.

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Staff writer Lance Pugmire contributed to this report.

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