Rebound Likely for McCann's Mojave

(from Santa Anita report)
Consistent sprinter McCann's Mojave, a winner of five of eight career starts, can make amends for his recent fifth-place stakes finish in Sunday's $150,000 Palos Verdes Handicap (gr. II) at Santa Anita Park.

An evenly-matched field of eight will contest the Palos Verdes at six furlongs.

The 5-year-old McCann's Mojave has earned $283,030, but finished an uncharacteristic fifth, beaten 4 ½ lengths, in the El Conejo Handicap (gr. II), contested in sloppy conditions Jan. 2.

It might not have been what 82-year-old trainer Leonard Dorfman had in mind, but it wasn't all that bad. It was the first start for McCann's Mojave since May 2, so it's likely the son of Memo simply needed the outing.

McCann's Mojave is now four of six on Santa Anita's main track, including a victory in the Potrero Grande Breeders' Cup Handicap (gr. II) in March. He has an effective stalking style, and is double tough once he gets a lead.

"This horse is all grit," Dorfman said of McCann's Mojave. "He doesn't like to let horses go by him."

Owned and bred by Nikki Hunt and racing radio personality Mike Willman, McCann's Mojave was fortunate to make it to the races. "We almost lost this horse when he was a baby. We had to wean him off the mare at the equine clinic out in Chino, and it was a lot of money," Willman said.

Defending champion Bluesthestandard is winless in six starts since capturing the Palos Verdes last year, but leads the field with 15 wins and more than $939,000 in earnings.

Taste of Paradise, co-highweight at 117 pounds with McCann's Mojave, comes off a nose victory at 26-1 odds in the Underwood (gr. III) at Hollywood Park.

Perfect Moon faces older horses after finishing a close fourth against 3-year-olds in the Malibu Stakes (gr. I) on Dec. 26. Exceptionally quick Hombre Rapido comes off a second in the El Conejo, and is likely to set the pace in the Palos Verdes.

$150,000 Palos Verdes Handicap (gr. II), 4 & up, 6 furlongs
PP. Horse, Jockey, Weight
1. Woke Up Dreamin, Rene Douglas, 114
2. Stone Rain, Tyler Baze, 113
3. McCann's Mojave, David Flores, 117
4. Saint Afleet, Patrick Valenzuela, 113
5. Perfect Moon, Mike Smith, 116
6. Taste of Paradise, Jose Valdivia Jr., 117
7. Bluesthestandard, Martin Pedroza, 116
8. Hombre Rapido, Victor Espinoza, 116