Monday, June 10, 1996

By Vince Bruun


Trainer Jenine Sahadi feels like a kid waiting for Christmas as she counts the days to Sunday's $700,000 Shoemaker Breeders' Cup Mile at Hollywood Park. Sahadi, who registered her biggest victory as a trainer with longshot Grand Flotilla in the 1994 running of the $500,000 Hollywood Turf Handicap, will try to top that when she saddles favorite Fastness in the Sunday's Grade II Shoemaker. "Now I'm done," Sahadi said after Fastness worked five furlongs in :59 3/5 Sunday.

"The hardest part now is waiting for the race."

Sahadi will be attempting to win the Shoemaker for the second straight year, but the stakes have been raised this time. The purse was increased to $700,000 from $150,000 in 1995, making the Shoemaker the richest one-mile turf race in the U.S. this year.

Fastness, a 6-year-old Irish-bred horse, has won four of his last six races for Evergreen Farm. He was second in the other two, including the 1995 Breeders' Cup Turf at Belmont Park, where he wasn't fond of a boggy turf course. Since then, he has captured the Citation and Inglewood Handicaps on Hollywood Park's Lakeside Turf Course. Despite a layoff of better than five months, Fastness aired by three lengths while equaling the stakes record of 1:39 2/5 in the 1 1/16-mile Inglewood on May 12. Corey Nakatani, who rode Fastness for the first time in the Inglewood, was aboard him Sunday, when he posted fractions of :24 for the quarter, :35 1/5 for three furlongs, and :47 3/5 for a half-mile. The gray galloped out six furlongs in 1:12.

"I was just trying to keep him sharp," said Sahadi, who supervised the work. "Now I'm done, I don't have to do anything else." Fastness walked Monday morning and will gallop up to race day. A good performance Sunday will propel him well beyond the $1-million plateau in earnings as he enters the Shoemaker with a record of seven wins, six seconds and a third in 22 starts for a bankroll of $967,810.

Probables for the $700,000 Shoemaker Breeders' Cup Mile (3-year-olds, 113 pounds; older, 124 pounds): Debutant Trick, Kent Desormeaux; Fastness, Corey Nakatani; Joker, Rene Douglas; Romarin, Chris McCarron; Tychonic, no rider, and Atticus, Brice Blanc. Possible: Abre Alas, no rider; Petit Poucet, no rider, and Score Quick, no rider.

FINISH LINES: The Shoemaker was known as the Premiere Handicap from its inception in 1938 until 1989. In 1989, Bill Shoemaker, riding Peace for Charlie Whittingham, won the Premiere Handicap, registering his 1000th career stakes win. Fittingly, the race was renamed the Shoemaker for the 1990 running. Shoemaker rode six winners of the race during his legendary career. Whittingham has saddled three winners, the most recent with Shining Steel in 1990 . . . Goncalino Almeida, who suffered two broken legs Jan. 20 at Santa Anita Park, makes his return on Thursday. He is named on Kleven's Cutie in the second race for trainer Larry Risdon and Dinner And Dancing in the sixth race for trainer Clifford Sise . . . Jockey Kent Desormeaux and trainer Marty Jones, who teamed to win Sunday's Gamely Handicap, will attempt to strike again in the $700,000 Shoemaker Breeders' Cup Mile with Debutant Trick. Debutant Trick worked six furlongs Monday in 1:12 3/5 handily . . . Petit Poucet, who will run in either the $150,000-added American Handicap on Independence Day or the Shoemaker, worked five furlongs in :59 4/5 Monday . . . Defending champion Special Price, worked five furlongs in :59 3/5 in preparation for Sunday's $200,000 Golden Gate Handicap. The Gate's 64-day meeting concludes Sunday . . . Gold And Steel worked five furlongs in 1:02 3/5 Monday in preparation for the $500,000 Caesars International at Atlantic City Racecourse on Saturday, June 22. The International is the first of a two-race series, which pays a total of $1 million for a sweep. The second race is the $700,000 Caesars Palace Turf Championship at Hollywood Park on Sunday, July 21. A year ago, Sandpit swept the two races . . . La Presle Farm's Atticus worked seven furlongs Sunday in 1:32 2/5 on a firm turf course in a prep for the Shoemaker Breeders' Cup Mile . . . A.P. Assay, impressive winner of her career debut last month, worked five panels in 1:00 4/5 handily Monday. Trainer Paco Gonzalez is pointing 1992 Horse of the Year A.P. Indy's first winner to the $100,000 Landaluce Stakes (Gr. II) on July 6.

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