Lion Heart Works From Gate; Action This Day on Track
by Margaret Ransom
Date Posted: 2/25/2004 6:31:32 PM
Last Updated: 2/26/2004 12:17:54 PM

Lion Heart, winning the Hollywood Futurity.
Photo: AP/Benoit
Michael Tabor and Derrick Smith's undefeated grade I winner Lion Heart got his final major prep for his March 6 sophomore debut, breezing six furlongs from the gate under regular jockey Mike Smith in 1:12 4/5 at Santa Anita on Wednesday.

Lion Heart is set to go in the San Rafael Stakes (gr. II), trainer Patrick Biancone said.

The work, which was in company with stablemate Tarkovsky, was the second fastest of the 29 who went three-quarters of a mile on the day. Tarkovsky was clocked in 1:13 from the gate.

Biancone also sent out Saratoga Special (gr. II) runner-up Pomeroy for a six-furlong breeze, and the son of Boundary worked a bullet 1:12 3/5 clocking. Also owned by Tabor and Smith, Pomeroy was last seen winning the Kentucky Cup Juvenile (gr. III) before being disqualified and placed third for bumping a rival.

"They worked good; I'm very pleased," Biancone said. "I worked them from the gate to put them back in the racing atmosphere. When they don't race for a while sometimes they get anxious in the gate."

Biancone said that despite the recent heavy rains and several days of a closed main Santa Anita track, his two top sophomores have remained virtually on track for their next scheduled starts. While Lion Heart will go in the San Rafael, Pomeroy will ship and run in either the Gotham Stakes (gr. II) at Aqueduct or the Lane's End Stakes (gr. II) at Turfway Park. Both are on March 20. The Gotham is a one-mile event worth $200,000 while the Lane's End Stakes is a 1 1/8-mile race that carries a $500,000 pot.

"All the time we have 'plan a' and 'plan b' and we go back and forth," Biancone said. "Everything is going good and if we need to we just switch plans, no problem."

Lion Heart hasn't raced since winning the Dec. 20 Hollywood Futurity (gr. I), while Pomeroy has been away from action since the Kentucky Cup thanks to surgery in mid-October to remove a chip from his right front ankle. Biancone said Lion Heart will most likely have a final San Rafael blowout on Wednesday.

Stakes winners Salty Romance and Mambo Slew also worked for Biancone, posting five furlong moves in 1:00 3/5 and :59 3/5, respectively. While Miesque Stakes (gr. IIIT) winner Mambo Slew, a dark brown daughter of Kingmambo, will most likely remain on the turf, Salty Romance, a daughter of Salt Lake, will look to avenge her second place finish to A.P. Adventure in the Santa Ynez Stakes (gr. III) in the Mar. 13 Santa Anita Oaks (gr. I).

B. Wayne Hughes' 2-year-old champion Action This Day earned six furlongs in 1:13 3/5, also on Wednesday morning..

"He went great, just full of himself," trainer Richard Mandella said.

Action This Day, who was fourth in the Feb. 8 Sham Stakes in his last start, is expected in the March 14 San Felipe.

Fellow San Felipe hopeful St Averil, who won the Santa Catalina Stakes (gr. III) in his last start, went seven furlongs in 1:27 4/5 in company with stablemate Special Matter for trainer Rafael Becerra. Special Matter earned a time of 1:28 2/5.

The Stan Fulton color-bearer also owns a second-place to Lion Heart in the Hollywood Futurity.

"I'm happy with how he's coming along," Becerra said. "I haven't been too concerned about the weather, especially since he's done with his major workouts.

"Now we'll just watch the other events and see what comes out of them and focus on the San Felipe."

With more heavy rain imminent, there were 315 recorded workouts at Santa Anita on Wednesday.

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