Melanie has Rooting Interest in Californian

(from Hollywood Park notes)
Melanie Stubblefield, clerk of the course at Hollywood Park for the past 20 years, has usually remained neutral during the thousands of races for which she has handled the paperwork.

But the veteran official admits she will have a cheering interest Saturday in the $250,000 Californian (gr. II) when Melanyhasthepapers, a 5-year-old horse named for her, starts in the 1 1/8-mile test.

"Ron Anson, his owner at the time, asked if he could name him for me and I said 'sure,'" Stubblefield recalled Wednesday from her desk in the racing office. "He asked if it was okay to spell it wrong (Melany instead of Melanie) because the longer way had one letter too many." A maximum of 18 characters is allowed in a Thoroughbred's name, according to Jockey Club rules.

"I've been doing this for 25 years, five as assistant and 20 as clerk of the course," said Stubblefield. "I'll definitely be rooting for him. I always do."

Melanyhasthepapers has developed into the top horse in the barn of trainer-owner Alfredo Marquez with five firsts, four seconds and eight thirds in 25 starts for earnings of $306,152.

"I bought him off Ron as an unraced 2-year-old in October 2003," said Marquez after Anson decided to leave the game and offered to sell the horse to Marquez, who was his trainer.

"He had bought him for $40,000 at a Washington sale. He's an honest horse; he tries hard," said Marquez.

Corey Nakatani, Melanyhasthepapers' ninth jockey in his last nine races, will be riding for the first time. "He doesn't care who rides him," said Marquez.

Melanyhasthepapers won the Cougar II Stakes in his last start at Hollywood Park on April 26.