Blueskiesnrainbows, whose front-running tactics nearly paid off with an upset in last fall's Breeders' Cup Marathon (gr. II), will try another long-distance journey in the $100,000 Tokyo City Cup Stakes (gr. III) March 29 at Santa Anita Park.
The 1 1/2-mile event attracted a field of eight, led by Blueskiesnrainbows, the 123-pound highweight trained by Jerry Hollendorfer. The 5-year-old son of English Channel led the BC Marathon, at 1 3/4 miles on the Santa Anita main track Nov. 1, until deep stretch when he was passed by London Bridge. Sent off at odds of 7-1, he settled for second, beaten by one length.
Since then, Blueskiesnrainbows won both the Native Diver (gr. III) and San Pasqual (gr. II) stakes before being cooked in a speed duel with Game On Dude in the San Antonio Stakes (gr. II) Feb. 8 and retreating to a sixth-place finish. This will be the first start since for the chestnut horse owned by Bad Boy Racing and Whizway Farms.
The Tokyo City is the eighth on Santa Anita's nine-race program Saturday with a 4 p.m. scheduled post time.
Blueskiesnrainbows, who has seven lifetime wins and earnings of $669,802 in 24 starts, finished a close third behind Richard's Kid in his only prior try at 1 1/2 miles in the Cougar II Handicap (gr. II) on Polytrack at Del Mar last summer.
He could have some competition on the front end from Wertheimer and Frere's homebred Segway, who will try dirt for the first time for trainer Richard Mandella.
Lightly raced with just seven starts, all on turf, the 5-year-old Giant's Causeway gelding pressed the pace and ended up a close fourth in the San Marcos Stakes (gr. IIT) Feb. 8. He weakened to third behind Lucayan after leading the way in the 1 1/2-mile Hollywood Turf Cup (gr. IIT) last December.
"He's working well on the dirt and the Tokyo City is a mile and a half, so it would be interesting to see if he could do it. He trains like he wants to," Mandella said.
Tiz Dynamic, from the hot Richard Baltas barn for Barbara Kelly Living Trust, is another that likes to be forwardly placed. Claimed in February 2013 for $32,000, the 5-year-old Tiznow gelding comes into the race with wins in two of his past three starts, the defeat coming by a nose in the Super Bowl Party Handicap Feb. 2. He'll be trying the marathon distance for the first time.
American Blend, from the Carla Gaines barn, and Majestic Harbor, conditioned by Sean McCarthy, were third and fourth, respectively, in the San Antonio and will also be getting a first long-distance test. Both would benefit from a lively pace.
Ever Rider was eased as the 9-2 favorite in the BC Marathon, his U.S. debut. The Argentina-bred 6-year-old was solid third, beaten 1 3/4 lengths by American Blend in a second condition allowance Jan. 1. Last time out, the Mike Puype-trained Ever Rider carved fast fractions going 1 1/8 miles on turf at Santa Anita March 6, and finished last.
Niagara Falls, trained by Patrick Biancone, ran in the same March 6 optional claiming turf race as Ever Rider. He did not factor and finished seventh in his first start since last June. Most recently, he finished fourth in the San Luis Rey Stakes (gr. II).
A winner of the Canadian Derby (Can-III) at 1 3/8 miles at Northlands Park on Aug. 25, 2012, Toccetive is a proven stayer, but hasn’t won in his past nine starts.
$100,000 Tokyo City Cup Stakes (gr. III, Race 8, 4 p.m.), 4 & Up, 1 1/2 Miles
PP. Horse, Jockey, Weight, Trainer, ML Odds
1. Tiz Dynamic (KY), R Bejarano, 118, R Baltas, 4/1
2. Ever Rider (ARG), V Espinoza, 120, M Puype, 6/1
3. American Blend (KY), J Talamo, 118, C Gaines, 4/1
4. Segway (KY), G L Stevens, 118, R E Mandella, 4/1
5. Toccetive (KY), F H Perez, 118, D Greenwood, 30/1
6. Blueskiesnrainbows (VA), C S Nakatani, 123, J Hollendorfer, 5/2
7. Niagara Falls (KY), A T Gryder, 118, P L Biancone, 12/1
8. Majestic Harbor (KY), T Baze, 118, S McCarthy, 7/2
Blinkers Off: Ever Rider