Choctaw Nation On War Path in San Carlos

Robert Bone's Choctaw Nation, who has not started since suffering his only career loss in the Pacific Classic (gr. I) at Del Mar six months ago, has been entered in Saturday's $150,000 San Carlos Handicap (gr. II) over seven furlongs at Santa Anita.

Trained by Jeff Mullins, the San Carlos will be just the seventh start of the 5-year-old gelding's career. Choctaw Nation could be headed for the Dubai World Cup (UAE-I) March 26, according to his connections.

The bay son of Louis Quatorze won his first five races, including his stakes debut in the San Diego Handicap (gr. II) on Aug. 1, when he beat Pleasantly Perfect by three-quarters of a length. In his next start Aug. 22, he was beaten by Pleasantly Perfect by 6 1/2 lengths while running fourth in the Pacific Classic.

Persistent problems with a rear foot quarter crack have contributed to keeping Choctaw Nation on the sidelines. He has trained well for Mullins in preparation for his return, however.

Regular rider Victor Espinoza will be aboard Choctaw Nation, a $35,000 Keeneland yearling in 2001 who was claimed by Mullins in his first start a year ago for $40,000 from Bruce Headley. He'll carry 116 pounds.

High weight among the eight San Carlos rivals goes to Mass Media, a 4-year-old colt who was assigned 117 pounds. Mass Media ran second to Minister Eric as the slight choice in the 1 1/16-mile San Fernando Breeders' Cup Handicap (gr. II) Jan. 15. He'll be ridden once again by red-hot Patrick Valenzuela.

Mass Media was a troubled fifth-place finisher behind Rock Hard Ten in the seven-furlong Malibu Dec. 26. The son of Touch Gold won last year's Sports Page Handicap (gr. III) at Aqueduct by 3 1/2 lengths over Lion Tamer.

$150,000 San Carlos Handicap (gr. II), 4 & up, 7 furlongs
PP. Horse, Weight, Jockey
1. Hasty Kris (FL), 115, Rene R. Douglas
2. Choctaw Nation (KY), 116, Victor Espinoza
3. Sinister G (FL), 113, Alex O. Solis
4. Mass Media (KY), 117, Patrick A. Valenzuela
5. Perfect Moon (MD), 115, Corey S. Nakatani
6. Harvard Avenue (KY), 115, Tyler Baze
7. Del Mar Show (KY), 114, Jon K. Court
8. Oceanus (BRZ), 113, Omar A. Berrio