Breeders' Cup Mile (gr. IT) winner Val Royal continued working toward his return to the races Thursday at Santa Anita. The 6-year-old son of Royal Academy breezed four furlongs on the fast main track in :48 4/5 for trainer Julio Canani. Val Royal is being prepared for a start in the Frank E. Kilroe Mile Handicap (gr. IIT, March 2). David Milch's six-time graded or group stakes winner suffered his only defeat of 2001 in the Kilroe, in which he finished second to Road to Slew on a good turf course.
Also at Santa Anita Thursday, Santa Ysabel Stakes (gr. III) winner Bella Bella Bella worked six furlongs in 1:13 1/5, handily, in preparation for the Las Virgenes Stakes. The Jenine Sahadi-trained daughter of Soft Gold will attempt to remain undefeated from four starts in the Feb. 10 race.
San Rafael Stakes (gr. II) winner Crafty C. T. went five furlongs in 1:00 4/5, handily, and Printemps seven-furlongs in 1:26 4/5, handily, ahead of the Overbrook Spinster Stakes (gr. I) winners 2002 debut in the Santa Maria Handicap (Feb. 17).
In Maryland, Ashland (gr. I) and Mother Goose Stakes (gr. I) winner Fleet Renee worked five furlongs on fast dirt at Tapeta Farm. The 4-year-old daughter of Seattle Slew, unraced since a third-place finish in the Gazelle Handicap (gr. I) in September, was timed in 1:08 for her breeze.
Silver Charm's half-sister Elrose took another step toward her racing debut, completing a five-furlong drill at Fair Grounds. Last week, she rallied to win a training race and came right back Thursday to run five panels in 1:02. Elrose is a 3-year-old daughter of Deputy Minister.
Also at Fair Grounds, Lafayette Stakes (gr. III) winner Griffinite went five furlongs in 1:01 2/5 and 15-time stakes winner Sarah Lane's Oates was clocked in 1:08 for the same distance on a fast track.