Trainer Richard Schosberg's Attila's Storm begins the long and arduous path to the 2006 Breeders' Cup Sprint (gr. I) at Churchill Downs with Monday's seven-furlong Malibu Stakes (gr. I) at Santa Anita Park."It's a grade I, it's for straight 3-year-olds and he's a top sprinter," the New York-based Schosberg said in explaining why he ventured in from the East Coast to run. "He's one of the top sprinters around and Mr. Schwartz (part owner Barry Schwartz) has horses here in California and the horse has been here before. He started his career at Santa Anita so we didn't think he'd have trouble adapting."
Attila's Storm, a Kentucky-bred son of Forest Wildcat, was third in a maiden allowance race on opening day at Santa Anita last year, then was second in a similar race on Jan. 15 only to be disqualified to sixth for bearing in near the three-eighths pole. He pressed the pace at 45-1 in the TVG Breeders' Cup Sprint on Oct. 29 at Belmont Park before fading to fourth. Attila's Storm has a 4-1-1 record from nine starts, with earnings of $220,628.
"It looked like a good plan to come here," said Schosberg, a native of White Plains, N.Y., who turned 44 on Monday. "So far everything's worked out well. He's been here for a couple weeks under the care of Eduardo Inda and he's done a great job with him. The horse has handled the track well in his works. He's never a real spectacular workhorse; he never was but he shows up in the afternoon. He does what he has to in the morning."
With Schosberg on hand, Attila's Storm worked four furlongs Tuesday in a leisurely :50 flat. The trainer returned to frigid New York after the drill but plans to be at Santa Anita for the Malibu.
"He went an easy half," Inda said. "Richard wanted :48 and change but said if he goes slow, that's OK."
No matter how he fares in the Malibu, Schosberg does not plan to run in the second leg of the Strub series, the 1 1/16-mile San Fernando Breeders' Cup Stakes (gr. II) on Jan. 14.
"We'll try to win the Breeders' Cup Sprint next year," Schosberg said. "I think we have a horse that has a chance to redeem himself off of this year's fourth-place finish. So we're going to stick to the shorter distances."Probable for the 54th running of Malibu for 3-year-old foals of 2002: Actxecutive, no rider; Attila's Storm, Pat Valenzuela; Diligent Prospect, Jon Court; Fusaichi Rock Star, Shinji Fujita; Greeley's Galaxy, Kent Desormeaux; Lumbre, no rider; Ninety Fine, Javier Santiago; Osidy, Alex Solis; Seattles Best Joe, no rider; Shamoan, Jose Valdivia Jr.; Thor's Echo, Victor Espinoza; Ulistnintome, no rider; Unbridled Energy, no rider; and Wilko, Corey Nakatani.
Shamoan worked five furlongs Wednesday in :59 flat for Eoin Harty, while Fusaichi Rock Star went six furlongs in a bullet 1:11 4/5 for Bob Baffert.