INGLEWOOD, Calif. -- Horse Greeley, whose career has been plagued by injuries since a win in the Grade 2 Del Mar Futurity in 2006, will make his second comeback of 2007 in the $250,000 Malibu Stakes at Santa Anita on Wednesday.
Trained by Richard Mandella for Ray and Martha Parfet, Horse Greeley has had as many injuries as he has had starts since the Del Mar Futurity. Following a seventh-place finish in the Grade 2 Norfolk Stakes at Santa Anita in October 2006, Horse Greeley was found to have a bone chip in a left ankle.
After finishing fourth in an optional claimer at Hollywood Park last May, Horse Greeley was sidelined with a strained ligament. Mandella said he would have preferred to start Horse Greeley in an allowance race for his latest comeback, but feared such a race may not fill.
"I'll take my chances," Mandella said.
A winner of 2 of 5 starts and $195,460, Horse Greeley is proven over the Malibu distance of seven furlongs. The Del Mar Futurity is run at the same distance.
Horse Greeley has been based at Hollywood Park following the closure of Santa Anita's main track since Dec. 5 for renovation of the synthetic surface.
"I moved him over when we had to stop at Santa Anita to get some real work in him," Mandella said.
Horse Greeley worked six furlongs in 1:11.20 on Dec. 10 and seven furlongs in 1:25.20 last Monday.
He will need to be at his best in the Grade 1 Malibu. The list of probable starters includes Bwana Bull, Cobalt Blue, Divine Park, E Z Warrior, Great Hunter, Johnny Eves, Quietly Mine, and Song of Pirates.
Idiot Proof will wait for El Conejo
The best 3-year-old sprinter in California will not be part of the Malibu field.
Idiot Proof, the winner of the Grade 1 Ancient Title Stakes against older horses at the Oak Tree at Santa Anita meeting and runner-up in the Breeders' Cup Sprint at Monmouth Park in October, is being held out of the Malibu in favor of the $100,000 El Conejo Handicap over 5 1/2 furlongs on Jan. 1.
Owner Marty Wygod and trainer Clifford Sise have the long-term goal of starting Idiot Proof in the $2 million Golden Shaheen Sprint in Dubai on March 29.
Sise said that he and Wygod want to keep Idiot Proof in races closer in distance to the six-furlong Shaheen. The $300,000 Sunshine Millions Sprint over six furlongs at Gulfstream Park on Jan. 26 is also being considered for the build-up to Dubai.
"Our goal is Dubai and we want to keep him sprinting," Sise said.
Like many horses based at Santa Anita, Idiot Proof has worked on the infield training track while the main synthetic track has undergone a complete renovation. Idiot Proof worked six furlon gs in 1:17.40 on Tuesday, according to track clockers, although Sise said he timed Idiot Proof in 1:14.
Idiot Proof has won 5 of 9 starts and $830,136.
Two stakes options for Daytona
Daytona, the top 3-year-old turf male in California this fall, will start during the first week of the Santa Anita meeting. Now, trainer Dan Hendricks has to choose between Wednesday's $100,000 Sir Beaufort Stakes over a mile on turf against 3-year-olds or the $150,000 San Gabriel Handicap against older horses over 1 1/8 miles on turf on Dec. 30.
Daytona has won his last two starts - the Grade 2 Oak Tree Derby in October and the Grade 1 Hollywood Derby over 1 1/4 miles on turf last month.
Hendricks said his decision hinges on the nominations list for the San Gabriel. He said he is not concerned about starting Daytona at a mile, the distance of the Sir Beaufort, which may be shorter than his ideal distance.
"I didn't want to drop back to a mile after running a mile and a quarter," Hendricks said. "Now that he's so fresh from light training, I don't feel bad about it at all. I want to see what the older horses look like and then make a decision on what's best."
Hendricks is trying Indian Sun for the first time on the synthetic main track in Saturday's $750,000 CashCall Futurity at Hollywood Park. Indian Sun won his maiden in his second start, and followed that with a runner-up finish in the Gradeo3 Generous Stakes over a mile on turf in November.
"He made a real nice move and got a mile," Hendricks said. "It's a big advantage for us going two turns."
Indian Sun will be a longshot in a field of 14 in the CashCall Futurity, which is run over 1 1/16 miles.
"He's worked well over it," Hendricks said of the Hollywood Park Cushion Track. "I'm more concerned about 14 horses. If it wasn't so much money, I'd wait for something else."
'A hard act to follow'
Here's the task facing Alonzo over the next five months: Earn a place in the Kentucky Derby in May, or risk embarrassing the family.
Alonzo, who makes his career debut in Saturday's seventh race at Hollywood Park, is a half-brother to 2005 Kentucky Derby winner Giacomo and a full brother to 2007 Santa Anita Derby winner Tiago, who finished seventh in the Kentucky Derby earlier this year.
"It's a hard act to follow," trainer John Shirreffs said. "You have to treat him like an individual."
Like his older siblings, Alonzo may be best suited to distance races, which is why Shirreffs is taking a cautious approach to Saturday's race over 6 1/2 furlongs.
"He's still maturing and I'm not sure about the distance," Shirreffs said. "He may not want to go short."
Owned by breeders Jerry and Ann Moss, Alonzo has worked steadily at Hollywood Park in recent months. Even though Shirreffs is guarded about Alonzo's chances on Saturday, the trainer does win with 18 percent of his first-time starters.
In the second race, a six-furlong maiden race for 2-year-old fillies, Shirreffs starts Starzig, by Danzig out of the stakes winner Starrer. She is owned by breeder George Krikorian, who campaigned Starrer.
"When I worked her, she looked like she wants to go long," Shirreffs said. "I haven't really asked her for a lot."