Trinniberg tries to get back to the Winner's Circle in the Santa Anita Sprint Championship.
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Trinniberg tries to get back to the Winner's Circle in the Santa Anita Sprint Championship.
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Anne M. Eberhardt

Trinniberg Faces Vital Test at Santa Anita

Champion faces three other grade I winners in $250,000 Sprint Championship Oct. 5.

Winless in three starts this season, champion Trinniberg  returns to Santa Anita Park, where he won last year's Xpressbet Breeders' Cup Sprint (gr. I), against a strong field in the $250,000 Santa Anita Sprint Championship (gr. I) Oct. 5.

Among Trinniberg's opponents in the six-furlong event, known until last year as the Ancient Title, are grade I winners Points Offthebench, Centralinteligence, and Goldencents . The race is a Breeders' Cup "Win & You're In" qualifier for the $1.5 million Breeders' Cup Sprint Nov. 2 at Santa Anita.

The Santa Anita Sprint Championship is the ninth race on Saturday's program with a 5 p.m. PDT scheduled post. Also on the card is the $150,000 City of Hope Mile (gr. IIT) on the grass, which is race 4.

Voted an Eclipse Award as outstanding male sprinter following his 13-1 Breeders’ Cup triumph, Trinniberg fired blanks in his first two starts of 2013 when he was unplaced in the Dubai Golden Shaeen (UAE-I) March 30 at Meydan and the Churchill Downs Stakes (gr. II) May 4 on a sloppy track. His most recent try was a second-place finish in the Smile Sprint Handicap (gr. II) at Calder Casino & Race Course July 6.

Trained by Bisnath Parboo and owned by his wife, Sherry, the 4-year-old Kentucky-bred colt by Teuflesberg  shipped west from his South Florida base in mid-September and has had two works at Santa Anita in preparation for his upcoming race. Both were half-mile moves in :48 3/5, one from the gate.

Willie Martinez has ridden the colt in his last 11 starts, but Trinniberg will be guided for the first time by Jose Valdivia Jr. from post 5. Trinniberg has five wins and five seconds from 16 starts and has earned $1,552,836.

Centralinteligence, from the Ron Ellis barn, hasn’t run since the biggest win of his life, a 3 1/2-length score in the seven-furlong Triple Bend Handicap (gr. I) at Betfair Hollywood Park June 29. The 5-year-old gelding has two wins from three tries at Santa Anita.  Based at Hollywood, he has a series of sharp drills for his return, with the most recent being a five-furlong gate work in a minute flat over the Cushion Track Sept. 29.

Owned by Amerman Racing Stable and Bongo Racing, Gary Finder, and Elias Sabo, Centralinteligence drew post 3 will be ridden for the third time in a row by Victor Espinoza.

California-bred Points Offthebench, winner of the Bing Crosby Stakes (gr. I) at Del Mar in his most recent start July 28, will bid for his fourth consecutive win and he drew favorably in post 7. Trained by Tim Yakteen, the 4-year-old gelding by Benchmark will be ridden by Hall of Famer Mike Smith, who was aboard last time.

Points Offthebench, who made his stakes debut in the Bing Crosby, has five wins, a second and a third from seven starts for  owners by Donnie Crevier and Charles Martin.

Centralinteligence and Points Offthebench were assigned top weight of 124 pounds, while Goldencents is in with 123 and Trinniberg 121.

Although he disappointed in both the Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes (both gr. I), Goldencents comes off a pair of solid sprint efforts when second in both the Bing Crosby and Pat O’Brien Stakes (gr. II) at Del Mar. The Doug O'Neill-trained 3-year-old son of Into Mischief  was favored on both occasions.

Owned by W.C. Racing, Dave Kenney and RAP Racing, the Santa Anita Derby (gr. I) victor will be ridden for the first time by Rafael Bejarano and has also drawn a cozy outside post for the Sprint Championship.  A three-time graded stakes winner, Goldencents has an overall mark of 10-4-3-0, and earnings of $1,390,000.

Female riding sensation Rosie Napravnik, who took the Chandelier Stakes (gr. I) Sept. 28 aboard the Bob Baffert-trained Secret Compass, draws the assignment on 3-year-old upstart Declassify for Baffert. Owned by Kaleem Shah, the Orientate colt has been idle since a rousing first-level allowance score against older rivals June 8 in his second start. Unbeaten so far, he’s won both by a combined 19 lengths.

Baffert will also saddle Roman Threat, an odds-on winner of the Los Angeles Handicap (gr. II) in May 2012. In his only start since, Patti and Hal Earnhardt's 5-year-old Roman Ruler gelding was fifth as the 7-5 favorite in the restricted Pirates Bounty Stakes Sept. 4. He’ll be ridden for the first time by red-hot veteran Gary Stevens, who had six wins, three in graded stakes, over the first three days of the meet.

Distinctiv Passion, winner of four of his past six races after being disqualified from a win due to bumping in the Green Flash Handicap Aug. 14 on the Del Mar turf, and Gonna Fly Now, third in the Pat O'Brien, complete the field.

$250,000 Santa Anita Sprint Championship Stakes (gr. I, Race 9, 5 p.m.), 3 & Up, 6 Furlongs
PP. Horse, Jockey, Weight, Trainer
1. Gonna Fly Now (KY), J Talamo, 119, J W Sadler
2. Declassify (KY), R Napravnik, 118, B Baffert
3. Centralinteligence (KY), V Espinoza, 124, R W Ellis
4. Distinctiv Passion (FL), E A Maldonado, 118, J Bonde
5. Trinniberg (KY), J Valdivia Jr., 121, B Parboo
6. Roman Threat (KY), G L Stevens, 119, B Baffert
7. Points Offthebench (CA), M E Smith, 124, T Yakteen
8. Goldencents (KY), R Bejarano, 123, D F O'Neill