Hall of Fame trainer Richard Mandella hopes to continue his good luck in the Native Diver Handicap when he sends out Olmodavor in the $100,000, grade III test at 1 1/8 miles at Hollywood Park on Saturday.Mandella has won the Native Diver a record six times and has Olmodavor primed for his top effort to make the number seven.Olmodavor, a lightly raced 4-year-old colt, has recorded three firsts and three seconds in eight starts. Bred in Kentucky by Wertheimer Farm, the colt is by 1992 Horse of the Year A.P. Indy out of Corrazona, winner of the grade I Beverly Hills Handicap here in1994 for Mandella.Olmodavor scored a pair of impressive seconds behind Medaglia d'Oro in the Strub Stakes and Mineshaft in the New Orleans Handicap last winter before returning from a seven-month layoff with a fifth-place finish in a 6 1/2-furlong allowance race at Santa Anita on Oct. 26."We took a chip out of an ankle," said Mandella of the summer break from his Santa Anita base on Wednesday before shipping Olmodavor across town. "The comeback race was too short for him."Asked about his success in the Native Diver, Mandella replied, "I've had some pretty good horses to run in it."That list consists of Menswear in 1983, Hopeful Word in 1986, Best Pal in 1994, Gentlemen in 1996, Refinado Tom in 1997 and Puerto Madero in 1998.
A lineup of six to eight is shaping up for the race. Probable are Chinkapin, Corey Nakatani, 118 pounds; Total Impact, Mike Smith, 118; Olmodavor, Alex Solis, 117; Tizbud, Victor Espinoza, 116; Nose The Trade, Patrick Valenzuela, 115, and Buckland Manor, Julie Krone, 112. Nose The Trade finished third in the Native Diver last year. Possibles include Gift of the Eagle (115) and Legendary Weave (114).