De Seroux Charts Stakes Course; No Plan for Azeri

(from Hollywood Park notes)
Trainer Laura De Seroux raised her stakes-leading total to four with Azeri's victory in the $250,000 Vanity Handicap (gr. I) Saturday and seeks to add to those numbers during the next two weeks of the Hollywood Park spring/summer meet.

De Seroux's plans include Dublino in the $200,000 Beverly Hills Handicap (gr. IIT) next Saturday, Just Wonder in the $200,000-added Cinema Breeders' Cup Handicap (gr. IIIT) next Sunday, Golden Nepi and Liska in the $750,000 American Oaks July 5 and Little Treasure in the $100,000-added Royal Heroine Stakes (gr. IIIT) July 5.

The trainer said she and Azeri's connections enjoyed a "wonderful evening" in Barn 50 celebrating the reigning Horse of the Year's 10th straight victory in a successful defense of her Vanity crown.

"I left early; we're all a controlled bunch," said de Seroux, who shipped Azeri back to her San Luis Rey Downs base Saturday night. "We didn't talk about her next race either."

De Seroux and her husband Emmanuel – a bloodstock agent and advisor to Michael Paulson, executor of the Allen Paulson Living Trust that campaigns Azeri – said they would confer in about a week to begin studying several options for the 5-year-old mare's next race.

Dublino worked four furlongs in :49 on the turf under Victor Espinoza, who will ride the 4-year-old filly for the first time in the Beverly Hills for fillies and mares at 1 1/4 miles on turf.

"She worked like a deer," said de Seroux of the work. "She had horses in front of her and wanted to go get them."

Dublino finished second to Tates Creek in the Gamely Breeders' Cup Handicap (gr. IT) at one furlong shorter May 26, but de Seroux is optimistic she can improve upon that outcome, noting that she lost a shoe during the race.

Just Wonder has recorded a series of sharp drills on the turf here since winning the Ascot Handicap at Bay Meadows May 10. "He's ready!" cautioned de Seroux in reference to the Cinema, which is for 3-year-olds at 1 1/8 miles on grass.

Golden Nepi, one of 14 invitees for the American Oaks, is scheduled to arrive Wednesday and join the de Seroux stable from Italy, where she won the Group II Italian 1000 Guineas in her last start April 27. She is owned by Giuliano Fratini's Scuderia Golden Horse.

Liska, a French import who is expected to top the provisional invitee list, worked six furlongs in 1:16.60 on the grass. Liska won one of three starts in France this spring.

"I'm right where I want to be with her, like Dublino last year," said de Seroux. Dublino finished first in the American Oaks, but was disqualified and placed second for interference in the stretch with Megahertz.