O'Neill's Avanzado, Geronimo Drill for Triple Bend
Date Posted: 6/29/2003 6:49:56 PM

Trainer Doug O'Neill worked Avanzado and Geronimo Sunday for the $300,000 Triple Bend Breeders' Cup Invitational Handicap (gr. I) at seven furlongs on Saturday.

Argentine-bred Avanzado was clocked in :59.40, the second-fastest of 37 workers at that distance, while Chilean-bred Geronimo was timed in 1:00.60.

The Triple Bend has been upgraded to Grade I status for the first time.

Avanzado, a 6-year-old horse owned by Cees Stable, will make his first start since a second-place finish in the Dubai Golden Shaheen Stakes (UAE-I) March 29. The speedster won the Forest Hills Handicap (gr. II) at Belmont in October and the Palos Verdes Handicap (gr. II) at Santa Anita in January. He has won nine of 22 starts and earned $773,543.

Geronimo, a 4-year-old colt owned by JMJ Racing Stable, finished third in his United States debut in a 5 1/2-furlong turf sprint here June 4. He won his last five starts in Chile and is 12-for-20 lifetime.

At Santa Anita, Medecis worked five furlongs in :59.40, the second-fastest of 46 workers at that distance. The English-bred 4-year-old colt finished fourth in his last start in the Shoemaker Mile May 26, but trainer Richard Mandella is anxious to try him on dirt for the first time.

"You never know until they race on dirt, but he gives you every indication to think he can," said Mandella of the chestnut son of Machiavellian.

A field of at least nine is probable: Avanzado, Tyler Baze, 117 pounds; Joey Franco, Patrick Valenzuela, 117; Bluesthestandard, Martin Pedroza, 117; Kela, Corey Nakatani, 114; Cayoke, David Flores, 113; Geronimo, no rider, 113; Medecis, Alex Solis, 113; Publication, Kent Desormeaux, 113, and Primerica, Victor Espinoza, 111.

Like Avanzado, Cayoke will make his first since Dubai, where he finished fourth in the Godolphin Mile March 29 for Julio Canani. Prior to that, the French import set a Santa Anita record on the hillside turf course, winning in 1:11.45 for about 6 ½ furlongs.

Aldebaran was high weighted at 122 pounds but was expected to remain in New York with Bobby Frankel. Speedster El Dorado Shooter, winner of the Bay Meadows Sprint Handicap in his last start June 7, was scheduled to work this week at Bay Meadows before trainer Clifford DeLima makes a decision. He was pegged at 115.

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